Australian Government Inquiry Recommends Ban on Spinal Manipulation of Children Under 12 - Recommends Penalties for Related Advertising Offenses as high as $220,000.00

News Staff
Australian Government Inquiry Recommends Ban on Spinal Manipulation of Children Under 12 - Recommends Penalties for Related Advertising Offenses as high as $220,000.00

Result of Inquiry Mirrors Roadmap Given to them By Australian Chiropractic Association & Chiropractic Board of Australia

The government of Victoria, Australia just released is long awaited and highly anticipated so called "independent report" from Safer Care Australia on the safety and efficacy of spinal manipulation in children under 12.

Its not good.

CLICK HERE to review the report

The report authorised and published by the Victorian Government RECOMMENDS that spinal manipulation should not be provided to children under 12 years of age, by any practitioner, for general wellness and the RECOMMENDATION goes on to add a laundry list of conditions that should not be managed by spinal manipulation:

  • Developmental and behavioural disorders
  • Hyperactivity disorders
  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Asthma
  • Infantile colic
  • Bedwetting
  • Ear infections
  • Digestive problems
  • Headache
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Torticollis.

The Government report says nothing about the use of spinal manipulation in children to manage vertebral subluxation in and of itself nor does it state anything about managing vertebral subluxation secondary to birth trauma using spinal manipulation. Most chiropractors do not "treat" any disease using spinal manipulation and adjustments other than the related biomechanical and neurological aspects of subluxation. However, this crucial distinction is lost on the Australian Government, the Chiropractic Board of Australia and the Australian Chiropractic Association. That distinction, and the failure to understand it and advocate for it, is a fatal failure of the leadership of chiropractic in Australia.     

The Victorian Government then goes on to RECOMMEND that all national boards of the health practitioners permitted to perform spinal manipulation including chiropractic, osteopathy, medical and physiotherapy should consider this recommended ban when reviewing their current policies on spinal manipulation of children.

The Victorian Government also RECOMMENDS that the national boards consider whether they should issue explicitly prohibitive advertising statements based on this recommended ban. Further, they recommend increasing the penalties for advertising offenses as high as $220,000.00 that do not conform to the recommended ban.

The Report was overseen by a panel of supposed "experts" in the topic area including a neurosurgeon, physiotherapist, pediatrician, several lay people, an orthopedic surgeon, primary care provider and two token chiropractors - only one of which does not serve in a regulatory capacity but is in private practice.

The Recommendations in this Governmental report are not surprising given that the Chiropractic Board of Australia had already made statements consistent with the report prior to it even being commissioned.

The Chiropractic Board of Australia had already banned the practice of spinal manipulation in children by chiropractors after calls from the Victorian Health Minister and Australian Medical Association's President to stop the chiropractic care of children.

Incredibly, the Chiropractic Board either lied in their announcement or revealed deep seated ignorance stating:

". . . the Board acknowledges there is no current clinical guideline, or peer-reviewed publication to guide chiropractors with respect to the care of infants and young children, and the use of spinal manipulation in particular."

They may as well have written the Government's response.

Of course nothing could be farther from the truth. There is a robust base of evidence for the chiropractic management of children including practice guidelines by the Council on Chiropractic Practice and the International Chiropractors Association. Further, studies on safety and efficacy have been carried out by the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association among many others.

The chiropractic trade organization, the Australian Chiropractors Association (ACA) through its President Anthony Coxon DC had also made false statements about the evidence related to the chiropractic care of children prior to the commissioning of the Panel and the ACA submitted a report to the inquiry that provided the road map they obviously used in their review.

ACA President Anthony Coxon DC was interviewed on television about the care of children and made this absurd statement:

"Is the care likely to be effective or of benefit to young babies? Look, while there is some positive, moderate level of evidence, its not definitive at this stage. Certainly not at the level of evidence where we would feel confident advertising it on a website"

Click her for a video clip of his statement

In effect, the Chiropractic Board of Australia and the trade organization representing the interests of chiropractors (ACA) told them ahead of time what they were willing to live with and that is what the Victorian Government and its "independent experts" provided.

It is expected that the chiropractic board will adopt the recommendations being made and that the ACA will make a public statement at odds with some of the report to appease its membership to save face.

Meanwhile instead of worrying about one of the safest health care professions in the world, the Australian government apparently isn't concerned at all about the statistics on birth trauma in Australia - which actually leads to the need for the chiropractic care of children. And of course there is no concern about the 18,000 people that die every year in Australian hospitals through preventable medical negligence, the 50,000 people who suffer from permanent injury annually as a result of medical negligence in Australia or the 80,000 Australian patients per year that are hospitalized due to medication errors.

Its important to note that even though the Government recommends this ban - the inquiry (described in the report as EXTENSIVE) found "very little evidence of patient harm" occurring in Australia.
In particular they wrote:

"there were no patient complaints or practitioner notifications that arose from significant harm to a child following spinal manipulation."

In fact, they found only three case reports alleging harm from spinal manipulation, none of them were in Australia and the manipulations weren't performed by chiropractors. Making this nonsense even more bizarre is that the very rules related to what constitutes acceptable research evidence in Australia DOES NOT INCLUDE CASE STUDIES.

Despite this the Government and its "independent panel" concluded:

"This does not mean spinal manipulation in children is not associated with any risk of any adverse effects."

Their basis for this was the identification of "transient or minor adverse events" despite the fact that the "prevalence was very low".

Then - based on ZERO evidence - the "independent panel" claims that despite the "very low" prevalence of these minor and transient effects they are "possibly more common in very young children".

Now that the Australians have allowed this nonsense to get out its only a matter of time before it spreads around the world. As a result, millions of children injured by medical doctors during the birth process will not get the necessary care for those injuries. How sadly ironic that the very people causing the injuries are banning a method used to correct them. 

CLICK HERE for more on chiropractic in Australia

McCoy Press