What is Chiropractic?

What is Chiropractic?

Chiropractic is a primary health-care profession that specialises in diagnosing and treating pain linked to the spine, joints and muscles. 

Chiropractic training – usually a minimum 4-5 year full time degree course with a 1 year internship – is aimed at providing not only the precise manipulative skills for treatment but the diagnostic acumen necessary to differentiate those who may benefit from chiropractic management, from those with conditions requiring further investigation or other treatment. 

Chiropractors provide an individual “package of care” whereby they support their treatment with individual counselling and advice about the patient’s lifestyle, work and exercise, in order to help manage the condition and prevent a recurrence of the problem. 

Who needs a chiropractor?

Whether at home, at work or at play, you put your body through a lot each and every day.  Pain linked to the spine may be caused by factors including your everyday lifestyle, posture, prolonged sitting and bending, or just simple wear and tear.

People of all ages and from all walks of life may benefit from seeing a chiropractor. 

We treat a variety of musculosketal complaints (problems with bones, joints and muscles) but the majority of our patients present with a problem relating to the spine. 

Treatment consists of a wide range of manipulation and soft tissue techniques (some very gentle) designed to improve the function of the joints, relieving pain and muscle spasm.

How do I get referred?

As we are primary care practitioners, you can call our clinic and make an appointment direct – you do not need to be referred.  However, there are some GP practices that have been purchasing our services on the NHS for some years and they may refer you here.  There are many others who have not taken this major step but who approve of and recommend our services.

Your first visit 

The main purpose of the initial consultation is to arrive at a diagnosis of your problem, in order to determine whether chiropractic treatment is likely to help you.  A full case history will be taken, and you will be asked questions not only about your particular problem but also about your medical history which may have a bearing on your condition. 

Your chiropractor will then give you a thorough examination of the spine and any other area related to your symptoms.  This will include a number of orthopaedic and neurological tests aimed at confirming the source of the problem.  Few other orthodox clinicians give as much importance to the “feel” of joints and tissues, nor the strength and function of your muscles, to arrive at a precise diagnosis.

If underlying disease is suspected, you will be referred to your own GP or specialist for further investigation.

Before starting treatment your chiropractor will tell you in clear, simple language, what is wrong with you and what can be done about it.  You will also be advised of any likelihood of recurrence of your problem and the possible need for any ongoing supportive care.

Chiropractic treatment

Chiropractic care mainly involves treatment by manipulation to the joints of the spine or other areas of the body.  Most often, this involves a short impulse to the joint, often resulting in an audible “pop” as the joint is released.  Chiropractors call this an “adjustment”. 

Generally a chiropractic adjustment does not hurt – although there may be some minor short-term discomfort which passes quickly for most patients.

Apart from the adjustment, your chiropractor may use a variety of techniques – including massage, stretching, ultrasound, acupuncture and exercises as well as lifestyle advice on the ways to reduce stress on the body during everyday activities.

When the “hands on” side of the treatment is drawing to a conclusion, care is taken to ascertain whether an ongoing rehabilitation programme of exercises is needed – either at home or in our own rehabilitation gym.

The number of visits necessary varies considerably.  Generally a longer period of treatment is needed for longstanding problems than for more recent ones.  The rate of improvement will also depend on your particular problem.  Some patients feel immediate improvement whilst others will need several treatments before they start to feel better.

We are happy to provide periodic check ups to help keep your spine healthy.

Are there any risks? 

We all know there are risks when attending any healthcare professional, but generally these risks and reactions are much less than with many other options for your problem. 

Some patients may experience temporary soreness over the areas being treated – with redness or even bruising of the skin if deep massage has been administered.  Spinal disc problems may appear to flare-up in the early stages of treatment and where an underlying inflammation is already present, your condition may initially seem to worsen.  Treatment to the neck may give a distinct light headedness – infrequently a short-lived headache may appear. 

Serious side effects are extremely uncommon.  Research shows that chiropractic is one of the safest and most effective forms of treatment available, for a wide array of nerve, spine and muscle associated problems throughout the body. 

Your chiropractor will be more than happy to fully discuss all concerns you may have regarding your treatment, giving an honest appraisal of your particular case.

Further information: 

Several key pieces of chiropractic research on chiropractic can be found by clicking here.