Frequently asked Questions
The Chiropractic profession began in the USA in 1895, and in Australia in 1905, and has developed into the largest drugless health care profession in the world today. In Australia, there are more visits to the ‘so called’ alternative therapists each year, than there are to orthodox medical practitioners.
Chiropractic is a health care discipline based on the scientific premise that the body is a self-regulating, self-healing organism. These important functions are controlled by the brain, spinal cord, and all the nerves of the body. “Chiropractic” comes from the Greek word Chiropraktikos, meaning “done by hand.”
Why has Chiropractic become so popular?
- The community is rapidly turning towards a more natural and safer approach to their health care.
- Chiropractic uses no drugs or surgery.
- Health care information is more readily available for the public. With this information decisions can be made regarding their health, including a broader range of treatment choices. As a result, the public is now choosing to see chiropractors more freely. In the past when information was not so available, the public relied heavily on their local GP, whom rarely recommended chiropractors.
- The research published in the last 25 years is validating the work Chiropractors have been doing for over 100 years.
- Millions of people have enjoyed wonderful results from Chiropractic care.
In brief, what do Chiropractors do?
Different practitioners use different approaches when it comes to trying to solve health problems. This is because the body is so complex that health care professionals have needed to specialise to have an adequate knowledge of a particular area. Chiropractors are one of the many types of manual therapists that exist today whom tackles musculoskeletal injuries or conditions.
The training and focus of the Chiropractor equips them to be a structural specialist of the spinal column. Chiropractors recognise the value of a healthy spinal column and nervous system in enhancing our physical health. From a structural point of view, it is a health requirement for our spinal column to be as symmetrical and well aligned as possible. A healthy posture is a big part of this.
More specifically, what is Chiropractors do?
The practice of chiropractic focuses on the relationship between structure (primarily the spine, and pelvis) and function (as coordinated by the nervous system) of the spinal column.
The skull protects the delicate tissues of the brain. The moving bones or vertebra of the spine protect the intricate communication pathways of the spinal cord and nerve roots. If these nervous system pathways are impaired, malfunction of the tissue and organ function throughout the body can result.
What do chiropractors do?
Chiropractors are the spinal health experts. Helping to restore proper spinal biomechanics and improved nervous system function begins with a patient’s case history. This 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 specific problem, a thorough orthopaedic, neurological, and chiropractic examination is performed. X-rays may be taken to uncover structural and functioning problems associated with the spinal column. These examinations help identify areas of spinal malfunction and resulting nervous system deficit.
The findings of these examinations are explained and a plan of chiropractic adjustments may be recommended. Progress is monitored with periodical examinations and follow-up reports.
What education do Chiropractors have?
In Australia, Chiropractors are required to adhere to strict and extensive educational requirements and standards to become registered health professionals in Australia.
Australian chiropractors are five year university trained, and are government registered and government regulated health professionals.
To become a registered chiropractor in Australia you must have studied an accredited 5-year chiropractic program conducted at a University within Australia, or have completed an accredited program overseas that satisfies the requirements set by the Australian Chiropractic Regulating authority.
Currently there are four universities in Australia that have chiropractic degree programs: Melbourne, Sydney, Perth & Mackay. Their studies include anatomy, physiology, chemistry, biochemistry, physics, neurology, orthopaedics, radiology and biomechanics.
Is chiropractic care safe?
In the words of the New Zealand Government’s Inquiry, chiropractic care is “remarkably safe.” Chiropractic has an excellent safety record. It is the result of a conservative approach to health that avoids invasive procedures or addictive drugs.1
In relation to the treatment of neck and back pain, studies have shown that a course of chiropractic care was 250 times safer than a course of anti-inflammatory drugs.2
1 Chiropractic in New Zealand: Report of the Commission of Inquiry. (1979). Hasselberg PD, Government Printer, Wellington, New Zealand
2 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
What is a chiropractic adjustment?
A chiropractic adjustment is the skill of using a specific force in a precise direction, applied to a joint that is fixated, “locked up”, or not moving properly. This adds motion to the joint, helping the joints to gradually regain more normal motion and function. The purpose of this safe and natural procedure is to permit improved spinal function, improved nervous system function, and improved health.
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.
After years of university training and clinical experience, each chiropractor becomes highly skilled in the delivery of a variety of adjusting approaches.
Is chiropractic care appropriate for children?
Since significant trauma can occur at birth, many parents choose to have their newborns checked for any spinal health related problems. Later, learning to walk, riding a bicycle and other childhood activities can cause spinal health related problems.
While a bandage and some comforting words can help a skinned knee, the potential underlying structural damage to the child’s spine, skull, pelvis and extremities is the unique domain of a chiropractor.
Many childhood health complaints that are brushed off as “growing pains” may be able to be traced to the spine. Regular chiropractic check-ups may be able to identify these problems and help avoid some of the health complaints seen later in adults. Naturally, Chiropractic adjusting procedures are modified to a child’s spine, particularly babies.
Am I too old for chiropractic care?
More and more people are consulting chiropractic doctors, especially in their later years. With growing concerns about over-medication and the side effects of combining various prescription drugs, safe, natural chiropractic care is growing in popularity.
Unfortunately, spinal function does not improve with age. The spine stiffens and often aches, as the joints slowly wear out and degenerate. And it does not stop with the spine; hips, shoulders and other extremity joints also get involved.
Chiropractic care helps to restore spinal function and therefore help improve mobility. Many patients report improvements with arthritic symptoms and other chronic ailments often associated with the aging process.
The adjusting technique used by your chiropractor will be modified for maximum comfort and results. As we get older and wiser, the simplicity and effectiveness of chiropractic care becomes more and more obvious.
How long will I need chiropractic care?
A great question; but not really answerable. This could range from one visit only to a life time of visits. It depends on your individual circumstance, as everyone’s case is different, including their priorities.
Spinal problems, neglected since early childhood, may require ongoing supportive care for optimum spinal function. These long-standing problems are often associated with muscle weakness, soft tissue damage, and degenerative changes to the spine.
Most patients find that periodic chiropractic check-ups help keep them in tip-top shape. Those who are active, have stressful jobs, or want to be their very best, find that a schedule of preventative visits are helpful in the maintenance of good health.
Some patients seek chiropractic care only when their ache or pain becomes unbearable. While this style of “crisis management” is usually more costly and time consuming, chiropractors stand ready to help all patients, regardless of their health goals. How long you decide to benefit from chiropractic care is always up to you.
Do chiropractic adjustments hurt?
Adjustments don’t generally hurt, particularly if the chiropractor is adjusting into an area of the spine that is not sore. If the area is sore, it may hurt a little, but it’s not intolerable. In fact 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 gas release from the joint as spinal movement is restored, such as when a wet glass is removed from a table. Some Chiropractors use a hand held instrument to adjust the spine. Others use pelvic blocks to re-align the body. Special techniques are used for adjusting infants and children. Whatever the technique, Chiropractors use skill, not force or strength, to conduct a safe, effective adjustment.
What results can I expect?
If you’re new to Chiropractic care, you’ll want to know what type of result you can expect. Individual experience varies from person to person, but most people can expect some benefits soon after beginning care and for these to consolidate further as therapy continues. Statistically too, research shows that Chiropractic care is more effective and economical and also gives longer lasting results for disorders of the spine than other forms of health care.3 4 5
3 Meade TW, Dyer S, Browne W, Townsend J, Frank AO. (1990) Low Back Pain of Mechanical Origin: Randomised Comparison of Chiropractic and Hospital Outpatient Treatment. The British Medical Journal 300: 1431-7
4 Manga P, Angus D et al (1993) The Effectiveness and Cost-Effectiveness of Chiropractic Management of Low Back Pain. Pran Manga and Associates, University of Ottawa, Canada.
5 Shekelle PG, Adams AH, Chassin MR et al. (1991) AHThe Appropriateness of Spinal Manipulation for Low-Back Pain: Indications and Ratings by a Multidisciplinary Panel. Santa Monida, Calif: RAND Copr, 1991
The difference between Chiropractic and Physiotherapy?
In brief, Chiropractors are structural / bone specialists, whilst Physiotherapists are soft tissue specialists. A more detailed explanation below is:
Chiropractic is a health care discipline based on the scientific premise that the body is a self-regulating, self-healing organism. The practice of Chiropractic focuses 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.
Physiotherapy, as described by the Australian Physiotherapy Association, “uses a variety of techniques to help your muscles and joints work to their full potential. It can help repair damage by speeding up the healing process and reducing pain and stiffness.”
Each individual is different and must make their own choice about the most appropriate method of care for them. We believe Chiropractic, with its central focus on the spine, nervous system and their impact on entire body provides a health care option that can help manage pain as well as assist in achieving optimal well-being.
Are all Chiropractors the same?
Absolutely not! Whether it’s a good thing or bad, there exists a broad range Chiropractic clinics. The differences can lie in Chiropractic techniques utilised or not, bed-side manner, attitudes to health, various scheduling recommendations for the various conditions, reasons for accepting patients, consultation fee’s, level of experience, time spent each visit, attitude to patients etc.
Approximately how much does a Chiropractic session cost?
Chiropractors have varying consultation fees.
Initial consults cost more because the practitioner must spend more time performing a case history, physical examination, discuss the results and answer various questions the patient may ask. Generally first consults are approx. $65 – $120.
Standard visits generally require less time than an initial consult, so cost less. The fees are approx $50 – $65.
What should you bring with you or wear?
Most Chiropractors will take care of people in the clothes they come in with. However any bulky clothing, such as a heavy winter jacket or thick jumper would need to be removed. A small percentage of Chiropractors will require their clients to be gowned.
Do you need a referral from a GP?
Chiropractors are primary healthcare practitioners, therefore a referral is not necessary. However more and more GP’s are referring to Chiropractors via the Enhanced Primary Care Program (EPC).