A health care discipline that is based on the scientific premise that the body is a self-regulating, self-healing organism. These important functions are controlled by the central nervous system.
In practice, chiropractors focus on the relationship between structure (primarily the spine and pelvis) and function (as coordinated by the nervous system) and how that relationship affects the preservation and restoration of health. We also place an emphasis on nutrition, exercise, wellness and healthy lifestyles.
What do Chiropractors do?
Chiropractors are spinal health experts. They focus on helping to restore appropriate spinal biomechanics and improved nervous system function. The Chiropractors begins with a patient's case history which gives the Chiropractor a background about your health, such as surgeries, accidents, the onset of your condition and other details affecting your current health.
After reviewing your history and discussing your presenting problem, a thorough orthopaedic, neurological and chiropractic examination is performed. The Chiropractor make take X-Rays to undercover structural and functional problems as well as rule out any contraindications to the treatment a Chiropractor may administer. It takes Chiropractors a minimum of 5 years at university to acquire these skills and only Chiropractors are trained in bringing all these types of examination together.
The findings of these examinations are explained and the appropriate treatment options are recommended. Progress is monitored with periodical examinations and follow up reports.
How does Chiropractic work?
Chiropractic works by helping to restore the bodies natural ability to be healthy. When under the proper control of your nervous system, all the cells, tissue, and organs of your body are designed to function well and resist disease and ill health. The chiropractic approach to improving and individuals health is to assist their body to function to its optimum capacity. This may involve improving nervous system function through Chiropractic adjustments as well as nutritional, exercise and lifestyle programs.
How are Chiropractors regulated?
Once finishing a minimum of 5 years study at a accredited university in Australia, Chiropractors are registered and regulated by the AHPRA (Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency). This is the same body that regulates Medical Doctors, Nurses and Dentists. These government bodies are responsible to maintaining the highest standards for all practitioners.
Is Chiropractic care safe?
This has often been a major deterrent for people to seek chiropractic care. Unfortunately there has been much misinformation, however multiple large scale studies have found Chiropractic care to be safe and effective. In the words of the New Zealand Government's Royal Commission, Chiropractic care is "remarkably safe".
In relation to neck and back pain, studies have shown that a course of chiropractic care was 250 times safer than a course of anti-inflammatory drugs (1). The Canadian Governments Ministry of Health department conducted a report, known more commonly as the Manga Report, which concluded that Chiropractic was not only safe, but should be the first line treatment option for those suffering from low back pain (2)
What is a Chiropractic adjustment?
This is the skill of using a specific force in a precise direction, applied to a joint that is fixated, "locked up", or not functioning properly. This adds motion to the joint, helping the joints to gradually regain more normal motion and function.
There are many ways to adjust the spine. Some adjusting methods are quick, where as others require a slow, constant or indirect pressure. I will commonly use postural wedges, the Activator instrument and the Thompson table. All of which do not require me to "twist or crack" the spine. The more stereotypical Chiropractic adjustment is more appropriately known as spinal manipulative therapy. This treatment produces a high velocity but low amplitude stretch to the joint which can result in a "popping" sound known as cavitation. This is simply gas being released from the joint.
Chiropractic adjustments are constantly being researched and trailed to determine their effectiveness for specific conditions as well as what is actually occurring during the adjustment. So far we know that there are many mechanisms that assist in improving biomechanical and neurological function.
For more answers to frequently asked questions, please see (www.caa.asn.au) which has kindly been provided by the Chiropractors Association of Australia.
1. Dabbs, V., & Lauretti, W.J. (1995). A Risk Assessment of Cervical Manipulation vs NSAIDs for the Treatment of Neck Pain. Journal of
Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 18(8), 530-536
2. Manga et al (1993) A Study to Examine the Effectiveness and Cost-Effectiveness of Chiropractic Management of Low-Back Pain Ministry of Health, Government of Ontario Canada 1993