The Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) has applauded the temporary ban on a chiropractor under investigation from treating children under 18. However, the APA warns there could be still risks to other children undergoing similar treatment.

'The health of our children is vital. Unfortunately we know this is unlikely to be the only chiropractor providing potentially very harmful treatment to children,' APA National President Marcus Dripps says.

'There is minimal scientific evidence in chiropractic treatment in infants. Everyone in the health sector has a duty to provide evidence-based treatment, governed by stringent regulations. Those that are not doing so must be censured from treating children completely.'

The APA is calling for the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency and the Chiropractic Board of Australia to review the treatment of children by chiropractors. The APA also wants all Australian parents to question and choose health treatment wisely for their children.

'Every parent or patient must choose treatments for your child or yourself which is safe and effective. Always ask your health provider: do I need this treatment, what are the risks, are there simpler, safer options, what happens if I don’t do anything, what are the costs?' Mr Dripps said.

It comes as the APA joined the national Choosing Wisely initiative that encourages patients and health practitioners to choose quality, evidence-based treatments, procedures and tests.

About physiotherapy care with children in Australia:

  • physiotherapists are qualified health professionals who use research and evidence to improve the health of patients
  • physiotherapists are governed by national law and stringent regulations, workplace rules and guidelines 
  • GPs refer more patients to physiotherapists than any other healthcare profession, demonstrating the reputation the profession has in healthcare 
  • APA paediatric physiotherapists facilitate natural movements and treat babies and young children using exercises, positioning, and gentle stretches, which is current best practice and based on literature reviews 
  • APA paediatric physiotherapists have an in-depth knowledge of all aspects of development, and have the clinical assessment, reasoning and intervention skills for best practice management of acute, non-acute, lifelong and life limiting conditions 
  • other specialist physiotherapists and physiotherapists with extensive experience, knowledge and skills across a sub-discipline area, for instance musculoskeletal and neurological physiotherapy can effectively engage and review individual treatment plans among children, and act in the capacity of a consultant and be involved in the management of complex cases.

Related tags