I had no idea there was a link between chiropractors and a stance against vaccines. If I had known that, I would have been better prepared to save myself from the half-hour lecture I got from my pregnancy chiropractor about the dangers of vaccinations.
The link is so pronounced in Australia that chiropractors have been barred from making anti-vax claims to their patients. According to Amy Corderoy, health editor of the Sydney Morning Herald:
On Thursday the chairman of the Chiropractic Board of Australia said it had removed some courses from its approved training schedule and would be randomly auditing practitioners to ensure they were not making unsubstantiated claims about the benefits of chiropractic.
It also announced all registered chiropractors would be required to remove anti-vaccination claims from their websites.
Even though vaccination is generally seen as one of the great successes of modern public health, pockets of resistance to vaccination exist. One such pocket of resistance is within the chiropractic profession. Reasons for this may relate to the philosophical basis for the profession and the antipathy the medical profession has traditionally shown chiropractic.
When I was nearing the end of my pregnancy, I was instructed by my midwife to visit a chiropractor who specialized in something called the “Webster Technique.” This is a technique that allegedly puts the baby in optimal position for childbirth and speeds up stalled labors. It did nothing to help me go into labor, but it did help me feel a lot better. My sciatic pain disappeared and I felt like I was able to walk better. The only downside was – the woman never stopped talking. She was sweet, but it really was excessive.
Appointments that should have taken 30 minutes would take over an hour as my husband and I sat listening to story after story. One day, she started in on vaccinations. I stopped her the first moment I could get a word in edgewise – about 10 minutes into her speech. I said, “Sorry, I totally believe in vaccinations.” She went on to explain why I was wrong, and why her children had never been vaccinated. I remembered her telling me anecdotes previously about how her daughter goes with her to visit clients in the hospital. Women call her when their labor stalls. She mentioned that her 5-year-old loved being there for the birth and always wanted a front-row seat. Suddenly I realized this woman was bringing her unvaccinated daughter into delivery rooms. What?
In addition to the horror of that idea, I realized she was probably giving this speech to all of her pregnant clients. I remember how much I struggled with fear of vaccinations with my first child because of all of the unsubstantiated hype around the dangers of vaccinations. I wonder how many pregnant women she has swayed with her beliefs and speeches?
I think the Australian Medical Association is on to something. Maybe similar research and restrictions should be made here as well.