Baby treated with controversial back ‘cracking’
Melbourne chiropractor Dr Ian Rossborough has been criticised for performing a controversial technique on a four-day-old baby.
A Melbourne chiropractor accused of dangerously manipulating a newborn baby’s spine in an “eye watering” video that went viral has been temporarily banned from treating children.
The Chiropractic Board of Australia has ordered Parkdale chiropractor Ian Rossborough not to treat patients under the age of 18 while it investigates his conduct.
In a statement on the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency’s website, Dr Rossborough has entered an undertaking not to treat babies, children and teenagers during that time.
Some chiropractors are offering treatments to newborn babies. Photo: Facebook
The ban, which stays in force until June 2, includes “assessment, undertaking a diagnosis/clinical impression, formulating and implementing a management plan, the provision of any manual therapy (including manipulation of the spine), monitoring or reviewing care and facilitating coordination or continuity of care”.
It comes after an online video emerged on YouTube showing Dr Rossborough performing a manoeuvre on the spine of a four-day-old baby, after her parents allegedly said she had colic and reflux.
In the video, which has been viewed more than 1 million times since it was posted in January, Dr Rossborough flexes the baby’s back before pressing firmly on her spine to produce a cracking sound. The sudden movement causes the baby to cry.
Dr Rossborough and other chiropractors, who treat babies and children, have raised the ire of doctors who say there is no evidence chiropractic techniques can treat non-muscular conditions such as colic, reflux, asthma, eczema, and autism.
Last month, Fairfax Media revealed the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners had told its members to not refer patients to chiropractors and was calling for the federal government and private health insurers to stop paying them for questionable treatments.
At the time, President of the College of GPs, Dr Frank Jones, said there was no evidence to support chiropractic treatment of infant’s spines which appeared “cruel” in the video. He said it may have put the baby at risk of fractures and other soft tissue damage.
“You could rupture ligaments, muscles and even bone if they have underlying bone problems,” the GP obstetrician said.
Melbourne spinal surgeon John Cunningham said the video of the baby made his “eyes water”.
When asked about the video last month, Dr Rossborough told The Age he did not diagnose the baby with colic or reflux and only ever “screened” patients for illnesses in case he should refer them to a medical practitioner. He said manipulating a baby’s spine was not dangerous if done properly.
In a separate video posted on Youtube last weekend, Dr Rossborough said checking and adjusting a baby’s spine was “gentle” and did not involve any “cracking”.
Health Minister Jill Hennessy called for an urgent crackdown on chiropractors performing “unproven and potentially unsafe” procedures on infants.