On 29 September 2013 the Sydney Sun Herald and the Melbourne Age carried prominent stories under the banner headlines ‘Call for age limit after chiropractor breaks baby’s neck’ and ‘Chiros warned off treating children’. The stories related to the supposed outcome of an investigation by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, AHPRA, into a Melbourne chiropractor’s treatment of a four-month-old female child. The media reports stated of the child that ‘one of her vertebrae was fractured during a chiropractic treatment’.

The safety of children is paramount and it is AHPRA’s statutory responsibility to uphold the highest standards for all health professions in order to maintain public safety and confidence in our health system. AHPRA did indeed properly investigate this matter, and I table the independent expert report received by AHPRA, along with the consulting radiologist’s report and a CD containing copies of the MRI, CT scans and X-rays taken of the child.

I now quote from the radiology diagnosis

CONCLUSION:  No evidence of fracture. The appearance of pedicles at C2 is consistent with bilateral spondylosis.

In plain terms, the child suffers from a congenital condition which prevents her spine hardening in the normal way. The symptoms of this condition can be confused with what is called hangman’s fracture, but the radiology report right from the beginning of this matter made it clear there was no fracture. The child’s father suffers from a similar condition. The chiropractor did not and could not have broken the child’s neck because there was never a broken neck to start with. There are clear lessons here about the need for effective communications between health practitioners from different health professions treating the same patient

(extract from Queensland Parliament Hansard)

In addition we can advise an internationally renowned medical radiologist has examined the material (x-rays, CT Scans, MRIs) and confirms that there are “no features on any images to confirm there has been a fracture, with no edema of the bone, cleft or surrounding tissues.”

The medical radiologist has also confirmed that the correct diagnosis is Congenital Spondylolysis.

Congenital spondylolysis is a well documented but rare condition of the cervical spine most common in the lower cervical vertebrae. It does occur at C2 and can be familial.

In summary:

  • The child did not have a fracture as alleged;
  • The child had a congenital condition known as Congenital Spondylolysis;
  • The Chiropractor could not and did not cause any injury to the child.

It has been noted the father of the child had a very similar congenital condition.


If you would like any information regarding treatment for your child please contact us at:

Terrigal Chiropractic & Natural Therapies
202 Terrigal Drive
Terrigal   NSW   2260

4385 3253