How can a chiropractor help you?

More and more, evidence supports early referral and assessment of musculoskeletal pain patients to an appropriately qualified musculoskeletal clinician such as a chiropractor. Chiropractors are not only trained to treat musculoskeletal pain patients, they are also trained to facilitate health promotion and lifestyle advice, rehabilitation and patient education.

Consumers usually seek chiropractic care for back pain, neck pain and headaches, as well as for general health and wellbeing.

What do chiropractors do?

There is a common misconception that chiropractic care involves a singular therapeutic technique – spinal manipulation (spinal adjustment). Chiropractors, however, use a patient centred, multi-modal model of care.

Most Australian chiropractors provide a therapeutic approach to care that incorporates a range of manual therapies which may include spinal adjustment, but also includes mobilisation, muscle and soft tissue techniques along with electrotherapies, exercise prescription, rehabilitation, nutritional recommendations and lifestyle advice. These have been shown to be of benefit to people with a range of musculoskeletal conditions.

When treating patients, chiropractors are no different to any other health professional (including GPs). They make an assessment and develop a treatment plan in accordance with the needs of the patient and provide advice on future management strategies.

Is chiropractic care safe?

Chiropractors use skill, not force or strength to conduct specific chiropractic adjustments. Various types of manual therapy and low force interventions are also used where appropriate.

Chiropractic care has a very low risk profile, especially when compared with more invasive methods of spinal healthcare however, all forms of chiropractic treatment have the potential for adverse reactions in some people.

What is a chiropractic adjustment?

A chiropractic adjustment is the application of a specific force in a precise direction, applied skilfully to a spinal joint that is fixated, “locked up”, or not moving as it should. This can help improve or restore motion to the joint, helping the spine to gradually regain more normal motion and function.

There are many ways to adjust the spine. Usually the chiropractor’s hands or a specially designed instrument delivers a brief and highly-accurate thrust. Some adjusting methods are quick, whereas others require a slow, constant or indirect pressure.

Restoring better spinal function can help improve mobility, vitality, and endurance.

Do chiropractic adjustments hurt?

While brief discomfort after an adjustment can occur, it is rare and most people find having an adjustment very relaxing.

With some adjustments you may sometimes feel or hear a popping sound from the spinal joints. This is simply caused by a change in pressure in the joint, as spinal movement is improved.

Some chiropractors use a hand-held instrument to adjust the spine. Others use wedges or blocks to help realign part of the body. Whatever the technique, chiropractors use skill, not force or strength, to care for people with the highest degree of safety and effectiveness.

How are chiropractors educated?

In Australia, chiropractors share a common tertiary education pathway with osteopaths and physiotherapists and chiropractic education involves undergraduate and/or masters-level university training over five years.

All accredited chiropractic programs in Australia include units in basic and clinical sciences. Also included are units in physical therapy, physical rehabilitation, radiology, nutrition, paediatrics, geriatrics, public health and evidence-based practice.

As with other primary healthcare professions, chiropractic pre-professional training requires a significant proportion of the studies to be clinical subjects related to evaluating and caring for patients. As part of professional training, final-year students must also complete a minimum of a one-year supervised clinical internship.

All registered chiropractors must complete mandatory continuing education each year in order to maintain registration and practice as a non-pharmacological, non-surgical spine care and musculoskeletal-allied healthcare professional.

Who can benefit from chiropractic care?

Babies & Children
Recent statistics tell us that millions of visits to chiropractors across the globe each year are for babies and children. In Australia we are lucky that our chiropractors are not only trained but covered under law to fully assess people from all ages and walks of life.

A chiropractor’s focus is to thoroughly assess a baby or child’s spine, nervous system and neurological development. A baby or child’s examinations may differ from adults as it will be more focused on their age group.

The techniques our chiropractors use to adjust babies or children maybe different from adults and tailored to their age group. Babies and children are extremely safe to have chiropractic care and our chiropractors provide a warm and friendly environment to do so.

The Elderly
Whether you are 1 day, 1 year or 1 hundred years young, you can certainly have chiropractic care to improve your health! Your chiropractor will examine you carefully and thoroughly during your initial consultation. Very commonly in the elderly we find degenerative changes and arthritis throughout your spine. The good news is that it doesn’t matter how much or how little ‘wear and tear’ you have in your spine, chiropractic is still gentle, effective and can help you to improve your spinal and nervous system function.

Athletes and Sports Men and Women
A huge number of world class athletes in the world today benefit from a better functioning spine and nervous system. There are 2 major ways in which chiropractic can help an athlete. The first main reason is to improve athletic performance. Ensuring your nervous system is functioning at its peak when training or competing, gives your body the maximum chance to perform at its optimal level. The second main reason is injury prevention. Again, if your spine and particularly nervous system is functioning at a better level, reaction times, reflexes and muscular contraction and release may prevent unnecessary injuries.