HealthWatch: Children And Chiropractic

CBS-TV—New York—March 15, 2011

More and more children are receiving chiropractic treatments, Dr. Max Gomez reports.

The chiropractor does what’s called an adjustment, a spinal manipulation designed to adjust the position and movement of the vertebrae.

Critics said adjustments for children aren’t necessary or even safe. Pediatric orthopedic surgeon Shevaun Doyle of Hospital for Special Surgery showed Dr. Gomez how the vertabrae in an infant’s neck aren’t fully formed and there’s very little protective muscle around it, leaving the spinal cord vulnerable.

“You’re taking care of a patient that is unable to tell you whether or not the manipulation may be too strong. It could be as devastating as, there have been some cases of quadriplegia, paralysis,” said Dr. Doyle.

About two million children in the U.S. receive chiropractic treatment every year, making it second only to natural supplements as an alternative treatment.

While real harm appears to be rare, the potential for a devastating injury makes this a potentially risky approach to pediatric problems. Health experts warn that if you’re considering chiropractic manipulation for your child, make sure you go to a chiropractor who has a lot of experience in treating young children.

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