What is chiropractic treatment?
Chiropractic treatment mainly involves a professional called a chiropractor using their hands to manipulate and adjust the muscles, bones and joints in the spine.
Who is chiropractic treatment for?
Chiropractic treatment is used for people with neuromuscular disorders like back pain, neck pain, migraines and osteoarthritis. Supporters say it can also be used for autistic children.
What is chiropractic treatment used for?
Chiropractic treatment is used to treat problems with muscles and joints as well as the effects these problems have on the nervous system and general health. Supporters of chiropractic treatment say it can also help with characteristics of autism like sensory difficulties and social skills.
Where does chiropractic treatment come from?
Chiropractic treatment is based on the teachings of the ancient Greek physicians Galen and Hippocrates. They believed that the body functions best when there’s nothing interfering with the nervous system.
Chiropractic treatment was developed in the late 1800s by Daniel David Palmer. He claimed that misalignments of the spinal bones (subluxation) interfere with the nerves and cause disease.
What is the idea behind chiropractic treatment for autistic children?
Chiropractors focus on the relationship between the nervous system and spine. The idea is that by aligning the spine normally, chiropractic treatment relieves irritation to the spinal nerves.
The chiropractic profession is split into two groups. The first group is chiropractors who embrace the idea that spinal misalignment causes disease and that adjusting the spine is good for general health. The second group is those who limit their therapy to musculoskeletal care, particularly care of the spine.
What does chiropractic treatment involve?
If your child has chiropractic treatment as an autism therapy, the sessions will be at a clinic. Your child will have a longer initial assessment lasting about 40 minutes, followed by regular treatment sessions of about 15-20 minutes. For children the treatment will usually involve manipulation of the muscles, bones and joints in the spine and sometimes of the skull.
Treatment sessions might be several times a week for several months or longer.
You can expect to pay about $80-110 for an initial assessment, with follow-up appointments costing around $50-$70. You might also have to pay for extra services like X-rays.
You can contact the NDIS to find out whether you can include the cost of chiropractic treatment in children’s NDIS plans.
Does chiropractic treatment work?
There’s controversy over whether chiropractic treatment works for musculoskeletal issues like lower back pain. For example, a high-quality review says that this treatment is no more effective than placebos or other treatments and that more research is needed.
There’s also not enough evidence to say whether chiropractic treatment helps autistic children. One study comparing chiropractic treatment to a placebo found no differences in the outcomes. Some low-quality studies and anecdotal information suggest that chiropractic treatment can help with some of the characteristics of autism, but more research is needed.
The Chiropractic Board of Australia, which registers all chiropractors, has issued a statement about misleading advertising. The Board is concerned about chiropractors claiming that chiropractic treatment can help with developmental and behavioural disorders including autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The Board recognises that there’s not enough evidence to support these claims.
Who practises chiropractic treatment?
Chiropractors are nationally registered and regulated health care professionals. They’re registered by the Chiropractic Board of Australia. You can check whether your chiropractor is registered.
Parent education, training, support and involvement
If your child has chiropractic treatment, your involvement is taking your child to treatment sessions.
Where can you find a practitioner?
You can find a local chiropractor by going to Australian Chiropractors Association – Find a chiropractor.
If you’re interested in chiropractic treatment for your child, it’s a good idea to talk about it with your GP or one of the other professionals working with your child. You could also talk about it with your NDIA planner, NDIS early childhood partner or NDIS local area coordinator (LAC), if you have one.
There are many therapies and supports for autistic children. These range from behaviour therapies and developmental approaches to medications and alternative therapies. When you understand the main categories that these therapies and supports fall into, it’ll be easier to work out the approach that will best suit your child.