“Melbourne chiropractor who cracked back of baby temporarily banned from treating children.” – A news headline says.
There has always been a strong emphasis on the importance of evidence based practice within the health industry, as we continue to seek more efficient and effective method in treating a condition of interest. With more methods continue to be invented and discovered. an inevitable question would arise of which is more practical and effective among all treatments available. Most people would remember receiving a session of ultrasound on their injured knee in the past, but without much evidence to support its effectiveness in recent years, ultrasound therapy has been gradually phased out from modern physiotherapy practice. While some patients might have found them useful and some practices may still offer it, ultrasound therapy is in fact an outdated practice.
Ultrasound- an outdated practice, but not commonly considered as a dangerous form of treatment. Spinal manipulation on the other hand is different, in which it is a sudden thrust of force delivered to the symptomatic body parts. One should consider whether such force is meant to release, e.g. simple stiffness without pathology, or to break, e.g. a deformed structure. While it may be safe and sometimes beneficial to people with healthy spines, its justification remains controversial when it comes to infants or people suffering from spinal injuries, e.g. disc prolapse, nerve impingement ..etc. All treatments proposed should never be done without adequate safety screenings, and that, in this case, could have better considered the fragility of young infant.
Patients are encouraged to question and discuss any concerns with their treating clinicians. Only when you know the basic science of how a proposed treatment could work, know its possible risks and potential benefits, you can then make an informed decision on treatment options.