Chiropractic – Getting your questions answered
The following information provided by The British Chiropractic Association is aimed at answering the most commonly asked questions our chiropractors at Lowford Clinic get asked.
If you can’t find the answer to your question or want to speak directly with one of our Chiropractors then you can Speak to a Chiropractor who’ll answer your questions.
What is Chiropractic?
A: The word “Chiropractic” is taken from two Greek words and literally means “manual practice”; or, in other words, treatment by manipulation.
Chiropractic is an independent branch of medicine that specialises in the diagnosis and treatment of mechanical disorders of the joints, particularly those of the spine and their effects on the nervous system. X-rays may be used in the diagnosis and a chiropractor carries out treatment by specific manipulation. Drugs and surgery are not used.
What do Chiropractors treat?
A: Chiropractors are mainly involved in the treatment of common musculo-skeletal complaints. These problems include the most common types of aches and pains: such as backache, neck pain and headache. About half of all patients who consult a chiropractor do so because of lower back pain.
Is a Chiropractor properly qualified?
A: Since 1925 The British Chiropractors’ Association has maintained a register of members, all of whom have graduated from recognised chiropractic colleges. These members must subscribe to the code of ethics, rules and by-laws laid down by the Association to regulate relationships between a chiropractor and his/her patients. (In 1984 the Association changed its name to The British Chiropractic Association.)
The responsibility for the register is now held by an independent body since the passing of The Chiropractic Act of 1994. The register was opened in July 1999. After the 15th June, 2001 it will become illegal for anyone not registered to call themselves a chiropractor.
What will happen when I visit a Chiropractor?
A: During the first consultation a full case history is taken. As well as asking details about your principal disorder, your chiropractor will probably want to know something of your past medical history. He/she will examine carefully the area that is giving you trouble and other areas that are relevant. His/her examination will vary according to your particular problem, and may X-ray you if visual information on the condition of your spine is needed. Just as faces look different, so too do spines, and the X-ray will aid in excluding abnormalities, fractures, bone disease, etc. If there are signs of arthritis or wear and tear these will show up on an X-ray.
The purpose of this first visit will be to see if there is a good chance of helping you. Treatment will vary according to the problem but usually involves specific manipulation (adjustment) of the spine.
How long will it take to get better?
A: The number of treatments varies considerably. Results of a survey show that a patient with low-back pain attends a chiropractor, on average, for six treatments. This varies considerably and may be greater in number, especially in chronic cases, or less in others.
What sort of response will I have to treatment?
A: The response varies from patient to patient. Some feel immediate improvement; others have to be treated four or five times before they start to feel better. Improvement at first is often temporary, but becomes longer lasting with subsequent treatment. Sometimes it may be felt immediately after treatment; more frequently, not until the next day or often not for several days or longer. It is not unusual to have a reaction, especially following the first treatment, usually later that day or the next day (sometimes later). This may be felt as soreness, stiffness or aching and sometimes, even increased pain.
Some patients feel energetic following an adjustment and others feel extreme relaxation or tiredness due to the sudden release of muscular tension. Patients seldom get better at a constant rate, so it is not unusual for a patient who has been getting better to suffer a temporary relapse before treatment continues again.
Some patients who improve slowly to begin with suddenly reach a stage where they improve rapidly. Others who improve quickly to begin with may take longer to recover fully.
Following a course of treatment, some patients require an occasional check-up to make sure they maintain their improvement. If the trouble should recur, it can often be cleared up in relatively few treatments if not left too long before the chiropractor is consulted again.
Some patients who do not benefit are those who expect immediate improvement and failing to respond at once, discontinue treatment. The chances of improvement are always helped by following your chiropractor’s advice.
What about my general practitioner?
A: Most patients consult a chiropractor directly, usually after personal recommendation. However, general practitioners are allowed by the General Medical Council to refer patients to chiropractors providing that they maintain responsibility for the patient and they are sure that the chiropractor is the proper person to deal with the patient’s condition. In recent years, general practitioners have increasingly been referring patients for chiropractic treatment. Even so, many GPs are not aware of the GMC guidelines and others remain poorly informed about chiropractic.
What are the differences between chiropractors and osteopaths?
A: In most countries, chiropractors are better known than osteopaths. Their forms of treatment have similarities, but there are important differences.
Chiropractors make use of direct adjustment of a specific vertebra in a given direction, whereas osteopaths often use more massage or soft tissue techniques during the treatment of patients.
Chiropractors use X-rays about five times more frequently than osteopaths and also make fuller use of other diagnostic tests. Differences in theory are mostly historical: early osteopaths believed that the effect of their treatment was on the blood circulation; whereas chiropractors emphasised, and still to this day emphasise the role of the nervous system.
It is probably true to say that the practical differences have become fewer over the years and both professions suffer from misconceptions about their counterpart’s work as there has been inadequate contact between the two of them.
Any questions? Call 023 80405335 and we will be only too happy to help!
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