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Chiropractic Explained


Chiropractic is a primary contact health care profession with its own unique principles and practice. Chiropractic care, including diagnosis and management, focuses upon the relationship between structure, primarily the spine, and function, primarily via the nervous system, as it relates to health, posture and performance. ECU definition of chiropractic (2005)

What is chiropractic treatment?

Chiropractors are concerned with the framework of bones and muscles that support the body (the ‘musculoskeletal system’). Some problems of the musculoskeletal system can be caused by accidents, stress, lack of exercise, poor posture, illness and everyday wear and tear. These problems may cause pressure on the nerves in the body. Depending on your condition, the chiropractor may manipulate parts of your spine or joints and give you advice on exercise, self help, diet and lifestyle. Some chiropractors also offer rehabilitation programmes.

Manipulation (also known as adjustment) involves precisely handling or moving joints, or parts of the spine, sometimes moving them further than they would normally move.

Will the treatment hurt?

Chiropractic treatment is usually painless unless an area is inflamed (swollen). If this is the case your chiropractor will alter the treatment. Don’t worry if you hear a clicking or popping noise when one of your joints is being manipulated – this is perfectly normal with this form of treatment. Some patients have mild reactions such as temporary aches and pains after their spine or joints have been manipulated or after exercising. It is important that you talk to your chiropractor if you feel worried about anything either during or after treatment.

What do I need to know before my treatment starts?

Treatment is very much a partnership between you and your chiropractor.

Before your treatment starts, your chiropractor should explain to you clearly:

  • What they found in the examination
  • The treatment plan they propose
  • The benefits and any significant risks associated with your condition and proposed treatment.

The receptionist or the chiropractor will tell you how much you will have to pay.

Ask your chiropractor as many questions as you need to, to be sure that you understand what they have told you. Your chiropractor will then ask you to give your permission for treatment (they call this ‘consent’). To help you feel more at ease during a consultation, you or your chiropractor may want another person to be there. This might be, for example, a clinic assistant or you could choose to bring a relative or friend. These arrangements should be made before your appointment, so please let your chiropractor know in good time. If you would prefer to have only the chiropractor there, please let your chiropractor know. They will not do anything without your consent, and will respect your privacy and dignity at all times.

How many visits will I need?

This will depend on:

  • Your condition
  • How severe it is
  • How long you have had the condition
  • How you respond to treatment
  • How much of your chiropractor’s advice you follow.

After your first examination and diagnosis, how long any further visits last will depend on your condition and the treatment you need. The chiropractor will review your progress regularly and you will be asked to give your consent to any changes to your treatment plan. They will discuss carrying out further investigations or referring you to your GP if your condition does not improve.