Chiropractic Care for Infants: Experts Disagree on TikTok

According to The Washington Post, a number of chiropractors in the US are marketing therapies that aren’t supported by research by releasing TikTok videos of themselves working with newborns, babies, and toddlers.

The treatments and equipment seen in the movies include vibrating portable massagers, spinal adjustments, and body movements that are intended to treat colic, constipation, reflux, musculoskeletal issues, and even injuries that babies endure during birthing.

Contrary to the more demanding movements involved in adult chiropractic care, chiropractors claim that the treatments are safe and gentle for infants. Since babies have weaker bones and looser joints, several experts have stated that the videos are alarming.

Sean Tabaie, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon at Children’s National Hospital, told the newspaper: “In the end, there is no way you’re going to have an improvement in a newborn from a manipulation.”

When he sends his coworkers Instagram or TikTok videos showing chiropractic offices treating infants, Tabaie said they are astounded.

He declared, “The only thing you might potentially cause is harm.”

In general, chiropractors are qualified medical professionals who treat patients by stretching, applying pressure, and manipulating joints in the spine. Despite the fact that chiropractic care is sometimes referred to as a “alternative therapy,” some adult studies indicate that chiropractic treatments may be effective for certain illnesses, including low back pain.

According to Anthony Stans, MD, a paediatric orthopaedic surgeon at the Mayo Clinic Children’s Center, “to my knowledge, there is little to no evidence that chiropractic care modifies the natural history of any disease or condition.” Stans stated that he would advise against chiropractic care for infants and would urge parents against it.

According to the publication, some parents find the treatments and TikTok videos enticing since they offer alleviation for issues that conventional medicine can’t always handle, like colic. Colic, characterised by prolonged and intense weeping in a newborn otherwise in good health, usually goes away on its own with time.

Chiropractic therapy for newborns has been the subject of recent investigations. Researchers in Denmark tested light pressure therapies on 186 infants in a randomised controlled trial in 2021. Despite the fact that the treatment group’s excessive sobbing was reduced by 30 minutes, the results weren’t statistically significant in the end.

Researchers in Spain used “light touch manual therapy” on 58 infants in a randomised experiment for a new study that was just published this week. Although the parents weren’t “blinded” and were aware of the study’s treatment conditions, this can skew the results because the babies who received treatment looked to cry substantially less than those who didn’t.

To support manual therapies like chiropractic treatment, it might be difficult to “obtain that level of evidence,” according to Joy Weydert, MD, director of paediatric integrative medicine at the University of Arizona, who told the newspaper. She said that some treatments could be able to ease newborns’ discomfort from colic or reflux, which can be hard to evaluate.

According to The Post, the American Academy of Pediatrics doesn’t have a “official policy” on chiropractic treatment for young children. Nevertheless, a 2017 assessment issued by the organisation came to the conclusion that there is not enough “high-quality evidence” to support spinal manipulation in kids.

Chiropractic care for children is safe and beneficial, according to the American Chiropractic Association, but more studies are required to demonstrate their efficacy.

Jennifer Brocker, head of the organization’s Council on Chiropractic Pediatrics, told the newspaper, “We still haven’t been able to demonstrate in the studies the success that we’ve seen clinically.”

We really can’t say with certainty what’s going on, she said. It resembles a black box in certain

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