Exposing Chiropractors Who Use Spinal Manipulation on Newborns

Chiro website

Chiropractic is an alternative medicine pseudoscience based on the notion that certain misalignments of the spine (called subluxatons) disrupts the flow of innate intelligence in the body and cause a wide range of diseases. Chiropractic manipulation of the spine (both neck and back areas) is claimed to fix these alleged subluxations and thus prevent or cure those medical conditions. In reality, chiropractors are not medical doctors, there is no conclusive evidence for the existence of subluxations or innate intelligence and chiropractic adjustments may cause severe harm such as a vertebral artery dissection. They also seem to overuse X-ray scans, despite the apparent realization that subluxations cannot be seen on an X-ray.

A few years back, an Australian chiropractor seems to have broken the neck of a baby infant during a “treatment” session. In a bizarre turn of events, the Australian health authorities turned over the case to the national chiropractic organization that denied it was the chiropractic manipulation that caused the broken neck.

What does chiropractic “treatments” of infants look like? What kind of spinal manipulations do they perform? To find examples of chiropractors using spinal manipulation on newborns, I performed a search on the video community website YouTube on 2015-07-04. The search term used was “newborn chiropractic adjustment” (with quotes). No additional search filters were used. At the time, this returned “about 184 results”. Not all of them show chiropractors working on newborns, but this article features several of the examples found.

The results are truly horrifying, particularly when chiropractors manipulate the C1 vertebra (atlas) or hold newborn infants upside down for an extended period of time. In some cases, the newborns are mere hours old.

Jennifer Taylor

Video: Newborn Chiropractic Adjustment
Chiropractor: Jennifer Taylor
Organization: HealthWorks
Newborn age: 2 weeks

Examples of what I consider pseudoscientific quackery:

1. “It’s recommended that all newborns be checked for subluxation as the birth process is difficult for babies as well as moms.” (video description)

2. “This adjustment will allow [child name redacted] to grow to his full ability.” (video description)

3. Continued pressure against sacroiliac joins for ~30 seconds together with obvious back bridge [~00:30-00:58], newborn experiences visible and audible discomfort (even acknowledged by chiropractor).

4. Continued pressure or pulling of the head and neck for ~30 seconds [01:11-01:43], the newborn’s face contorts of pain and starts crying.

5. “You see how he told me what to do?”

6. “That is one well-adjusted baby.”

Bob Cummins

Video: Newborn Baby’s First Chiropractic Adjustment by Bellevue Chiropractor Dr. Bob Cummins
Chiropractor: Bob Cummins
Organization: Cummins Chiropractic & Wellness
Newborn age: Unknown

Examples of what I consider pseudoscientific quackery:

1. “Chiropractic is safe for all ages, even little babies.” (video description)

2. “[…] having her first very light touch chiropractic adjustment to help align her spine and nervous system.” (video description)

3. Uses Activator Adjusting Instrument twice on the pelvis [~00:53].

4. Uses Activator Adjusting Instrument twice on the neck [~01:09], at which point the mother says that the baby behaves as if “she is trying to eat my shoulder”.

5. Uses Activator Adjusting Instrument twice on the back [~01:44].

Diamond Brown

Video: Newborn adjustment – Diamond Chiropractic – Shreveport, LA
Chiropractor: Diamond Brown
Organization: Diamond Chiropractic Health Center
Newborn age: 1 hour

Examples of what I consider pseudoscientific quackery:

1. “She had a small latching problem so I checked her cranial bones, adjusted her TMJ and atlas (top bone in the neck), and then her palate. As soon as Jett’s atlas is adjusted she is immediately calmed and quiet.” (video description)

2. Continued pressure against the underside of the chin flexing the neck for ~30 seconds [~02:37-03:09].

David Otto

Video: Newborn Infant 3rd Chiropractic Adjustment
Chiropractor: David J. Otto
Organization: Precision Natural Medicine
Newborn age: 3 days

Examples of what I consider pseudoscientific quackery:

1. Holds newborn up-side-down by the feet for ~10 seconds [~00:23-00:34], while switching from one foot to the other in the middle of this time interval. Claims this is therapeutic.

Video: 1 Week old baby Receives a Chiropractic Adjustment
Chiropractor: Brenda Fortin
Organization: Fortin Chiropractic Clinic
Newborn age: 1 week

Examples of what I consider pseudoscientific quackery:

1. “Can you imagine what it is like for a child as they come into our world? This is experience alone is reason for needing to be seen by a chiropractor so that as your child develops and grows that their little body is in optimal condition.” (video description)

2. Neck can get “out of alignment” from normal delivery [~00:13-00:26].
Brenda Fortin
3. Claims that one leg is a “little shorter” than the other by a causal look [01:39] and then makes the same claim for arms [02:04].

4. Extended pressure and manipulation of the pelvic and back at multiple time points [e. g. 04:41-05:54, notice multiple cuts indicating longer actual time period]. Child responds with prolonged screaming and crying.

5. Extended pressure and manipulation of upper neck [05:55-07:04]. Child more or less constantly screams.

6. Implies that the “treatment” made the baby “even” [07:26].

Video: Infant baby Chiropractic Adjustment
Chiropractor: Eduard Burt
Eduard BurtOrganization: Burt Chiropractic
Newborn age: 1 month (alleged relative of chiropractor)

Examples of what I consider pseudoscientific quackery:

1. Claims neck is “twisted on the left” [00:17].

2. Twists the neck of the infant with a jerk until it “pops” [00:38-00:42]. Although newborn necks are more flexible, this is very very dangerous.

Video: A Chiropractic Adjustment on an Infant
Chiropractor: Derek Kasten
Organization: One Love Chiropractic
Newborn age: 7 week

Examples of what I consider pseudoscientific quackery:
Derek Kasten
1. Claims that subluxations are real [00:15].

2. Claims subluxations cause constipation, colic, fussiness, trouble sleeping, ear infections, ADHD, acid reflux “and the list goes on” [00:28-00:40].

3. Claims vaccinations can be “stressful” on infants [01:15-01:23].

4. “Vibrates” C1 vertebra [01:47].

5. Manipulates the left sacrotuberous ligament, claiming it helps defecation [03:02-03:25].

6. Claims that the “spine gets kicked out posteriorly and get stuck” from dads wiping the infant when changing diapers [03:45-04:20].

7. Claims chiropractors are safe and effective [05:25].

Video: Beverly Hills Chiropractic : Adjustment of Infants
Chiropractor: Zail Khalsazailkhalsa
Organization: Inner Health
Newborn age: Unknown

Examples of what I consider pseudoscientific quackery:

1. Delivery tends to cause neck injuries that in turn cause chronic ear infections and colic [00:12-00:38].

2. Holds infant upside down by the feet to see if the infant “hangs straight” [01:20-01:45]. During this period, the Khalsa moves his hands up and down, still holding the infant, to make sure the camera can see the chiropractor’s face.

3. Extended pressure on the upper cervical spine [02:06-03:12, notice multiple cuts indicating longer actual time period].

Conclusion

It is very disturbing to see individuals without a medical degree manipulate sensitive areas of the spine of newborn babies that are as young as a few hours. It seems that the consumer protection is very weak in the United States for these kinds of things. There does not seem to be any benefit to infant chiropractic manipulation, and clear risks. It should be illegal for quacks to “treat” very young children.

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Emil Karlsson

Debunker of pseudoscience.

3 thoughts on “Exposing Chiropractors Who Use Spinal Manipulation on Newborns

  • July 4, 2015 at 09:45
    Permalink

    WTF is it with these imbeciles videoing, then uploading “patient consultations” to youtube? When was the last time your GP (or MD) did that?

    Exactly. Real medical professionals don’t do this shit.

  • July 4, 2015 at 12:12
    Permalink

    Chiroquacktors?

    I have a chronic back issue, been seeing a pain specialist for nine years now. My last tune up appointment, the new guy working there told me that using a heating pad (which I resort to sometimes 3x a day for roughly an hour at a time) can cause your muscles to become dependent upon the process. He said he was told that by a chiroquacktor. He recommended I limit my heating pad use.

    Upon getting home I immediately started searching for any kind of info to verify, I didn’t see any anywhere. Small sample, I know. But damn.

    I gotta tell ya, just from the pics of these people, I can say I would not want most of them touching my damn back, and sure as heck not any of my kids, especially at the time they were newborn. I swear I think I’m the only guy that sees the pic of the child molestor on TV and says, “Am I the only one that sees it was a bad idea to expose your kids to this person?” (I know, you can’t judge a book by its cover and it is bordering on a fallacy in my thinking, but c’mon we all do it to some degree)

    Nice write up.

  • July 5, 2015 at 00:11
    Permalink

    Isn’t it interesting to see a pro-chiropractic site really “tell it like it is.” I think that most reasonable people would find this practice of cracking infants’ necks a form of child abuse. It’s criminal (or it should be) to expose kids to such treatment.

    The question is whether it’s the parents or the “doctors” of chiropractic who should be prosecuted.

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