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What is Chiropractic?
Chiropractic is a health care discipline firmly grounded in science. Although mainly focusing on the relationship between the skeleton and the nervous system, its concern is with the care of the entire body. Chiropractors use a range of methods to diagnose the state of your health including a thorough medical assessment and possibly X-rays. Particular attention will be paid to your musculoskeletal system (bones, nerves, joints and muscles) and treatment will consist of spinal manipulation and manual adjustments. The aim being is to improve the function of joints and relieve pain, muscle spasm and irritation to the nervous system. Chiropractic is the third largest health care profession in the World, after medicine and dentistry with over 60,000 Chiropractors world wide.
Should I see my GP first?
Because Chiropractic training prepares practitioners to assess for and diagnose a wide range of conditions, Chiropractors are able to advise on which are not appropriate for Chiropractic treatment. Therefore, it is safe for the patient to go directly to a Chiropractor if he or she so wishes.
Is Chiropractic safe?
All treatment methods have an element of risk associated with them whether they are administered by a doctor, nurse or chiropractor. Therefore, what should be asked is if Chiropractor is safe compared to other treatments for the same problem? Chiropractic care is safer than anti-inflammatory tablets such as brufen, aspirin etc by a factor of “several hundred times” (IMPT 1995) and “several thousand times safer than spinal surgery” (RAND 1996). More importantly, you must get treated by someone who is qualified to adjust: “spinal manipulations are less safe and less effective when performed by non-Chiropractic professionals.” Ontario Ministry of Health 1993.
What do Chiropractors treat?
Chiropractors treat an enormous range of conditions, including:
Treatment is tailored to the individual and therefore, Chiropractic is suitable for people of any age, including babies, pregnant women and older adults.
Is there any medical research to show that Chiropractic is a valid treatment?
The Medical Research Council conducted extensive research in Chiropractic, comparing it with hospital outpatient management for the treatment of low back pain. In their report published in the British Medical Journal (1990), the medical research scientists stated that: “…Chiropractic almost certainly confers worthwhile, long term benefit in comparison with hospital outpatient management.” The follow-up to this study was published in the British Medical Journal in 1995 and the conclusions reached were that at “three years the results confirm the findings of an earlier report that when Chiropractic or hospital therapists treat patients with low back pain as they would in day to day practice, those treated with Chiropractic derive more benefit and long term satisfaction than those treated by hospitals.”
In 1994, the Government’s Clinical Standards Advisory Group considered the management of back pain and recommended that Chiropractic and other forms of manipulation should be prescribed by doctors and should be more accessible on the NHS. While this report demonstrates support for Chiropractic, the availability of Chiropractic in the NHS is uncommon. Chiropractors specialise in musculoskeletal conditions and therefore are better able than the majority of doctors to diagnose and treat musculoskeletal disorders and problems. General practitioners receive very broad training in order to assess, diagnose and manage common, everyday conditions but will refer specialist treatment elsewhere. The specialist training Chiropractors have received prepares them to deliver care to the highest of standards.
Should I be concerned with my back pain?
Not as long as you seek appropriate care early in the course of the pain. Waddell (1999) has found that if you have back pain for longer than 6 months and are off work as a result you will have a 50% chance of not returning to work. If you are off work for longer than 2 years and have lost your job, you may never work again.
How are Chiropractors trained?
It takes four years in a University to become a Chiropractor and those who qualify do so with a degree in science. Following this, the Chiropractor has to prove that he or she is maintaining their skills and knowledge in order to keep his or her registration and many undertake further courses to specialise in certain techniques. This is also true of nurses and doctors. During the course, Chiropractors have been fully trained in anatomy, physiology and biochemistry which furnish the Chiropractor with the ability to understand how diseases arise and to be able to diagnose them. Emphasis is placed on neurophysiology (study of the brain and the nerves) and musculoskeletal subjects. Students are also trained to take X-rays and interpret X-ray findings to nationally accepted standards.
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