What is Chiropractic?
Chiropractic is a health care discipline based on the scientific premise that the body is a self-regulating, self-healing organism.
The practise 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.
Further, the skull protects the delicate tissues of the brain. The moving bones 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.
Chiropractic also places an emphasis on nutrition and exercise, wellness and healthy lifestyle modifications.
What do Chiropractors do?
Chiropractors use a patient centred, multi-modal model of care. There is a common misconception that chiropractic care involves a singular therapeutic technique – spinal manipulation (spinal adjustment).
When treating patients, chiropractors are no different to any other health professional (including GPs). They make an assessment and develop a treatment plan in accordance with the needs of the patient and provide advice on future management strategies.
Chiropractors provide a therapeutic approach to care that incorporates a range of manual therapies. This may include adjustments, mobilisation and soft tissue therapies; often including exercise prescription, rehabilitation, nutritional recommendations and lifestyle advice. These have been shown to be of benefit to people with a range of musculoskeletal conditions.
How does Chiropractic care help?
Chiropractors use a combination of hands-on physical therapy (called adjusting) and exercises, to mobilise, manipulate or adjust joints and improve your posture. This has the effect of reducing musculoskeletal pain, fatigue and injuries, but often people see improvements in other aspects of their health.
Chiropractic techniques and protocols help to restore the natural alignment of your spine, allowing poor posture and chronic problems to be corrected.
What training do Chiropractors receive?
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 regulated health professionals.
Registered chiropractors in Australia 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. All accredited chiropractic programs in Australia include units in basic and clinical sciences. Also included are units in physical therapy, physical rehabilitation, radiology, nutrition, paediatrics, geriatrics, public health and evidence-based practice.
Education never ends. Chiropractors must complete continuing professional development courses and seminars on a yearly basis to upgrade and improve their skills and to stay current on the latest scientific research.
Is Chiropractic safe?
Chiropractic care has a very low risk profile. Chiropractors use skill, not force or strength to conduct specific chiropractic adjustments. All forms of chiropractic treatment have the potential for adverse reactions in some people. It is the chiropractors’ training that helps identify the people who are likely to have possible adverse reactions and alter care to minimize these risks.
Is Chiropractic safe for pregnant women and babies?
Chiropractors regularly adjust women in all stages of pregnancy and babies of all ages.
Chiropractic ensures that a pregnant woman’s pelvic girdle, the supportive muscles, and the suspended uterus sit correctly. This allows optimum room for the baby to move and grow and minimises the load on the woman’s changing body.
Studies have shown that chiropractic can assist in an easier, less traumatic delivery for both mother and child.
Many parents choose to have their newborns checked for any spinal health related problems. Naturally, Chiropractic adjusting procedures are modified accordingly for a babies’ spine.
Do my children need Chiropractic treatment?
A difficult birth, caesarean section, learning to walk, falls, bumps, riding a bicycle and even heavy school bags may all have long-lasting effects on a child’s spinal health. Children have many physical stresses to deal with during their growing years. Developmental problems in children’s spines can occur at almost any point in their growth.
While a bandage and some comforting words can help such things as a skinned knee, the potential structural damage to the child’s spine, skull, pelvis and extremities is the domain of a chiropractor.
To identify these problems and help avoid some of the health complaints seen later in their adult lives, regular chiropractic assessments may be of benefit. Chiropractic adjustments are always modified to a child’s age.
Some signs that your child might benefit from chiropractic include:
- Disturbed sleeping patterns
- Restricted head or neck movement
- One shoulder higher than the other
My child has growing pains, can you help?
Many childhood health complaints that are brushed off as ‘growing pains’ may be able to be traced to the spine. If your child has been diagnosed with growing pains, a visit to the chiropractor may be of benefit. A chiropractic assessment can ensure that any leg and back pains are not the result of underlying spinal problems such as scoliosis.
Scoliosis is a sideways curve of the spine. This causes strain on joints and if left untreated may lead to premature degeneration, bad posture and gait (walking), painful movement and early spinal dysfunction may occur.
Many cases of back pain and complaints in children extend into adulthood and may become a chronic, ongoing problem.
How many consultations will I need?
Chiropractors do everything in their power to help their patients feel better as fast as possible, ultimately reducing care to a maintenance follow-up plan that suits their individual situation and needs.
Some patients seek chiropractic care only when their ache or pain becomes unbearable. While ‘crisis management’ is usually more costly and time consuming, chiropractors work towards your health goals.
How long you decide to benefit from chiropractic care is always up to you.