What does a Chiropractor do?
Chiropractors detect and correct areas of spinal dysfunction, called subluxations, that can cause interference to your nervous system, along with pain, stiffness and inflammation. Chiropractic is a natural approach to health and wellbeing and focuses on your body’s innate ability to function and heal itself, by freeing it from nervous system interference. We restore normal function and flexibility by gently adjusting your spine, thereby reducing nervous system interference, pain and inflammation. Chiropractors primarily focus on getting your spine and nervous system to work well.
Why is it important for my spine and nervous system to work well?
Your nervous system consists of your brain, spinal cord and trillions of nerves that run throughout your whole body. As such, your nervous system controls your body and all it’s functions – in other words, it controls every single cell in your body. To ensure good cell function, vital information is constantly conveyed back and forth from your brain to each and every cell in your organs, muscles and tissues. Misalignments in your spine can cause interference to your nervous system, thereby affecting the quality of the information that is relayed back and forth. This, in turn, can affect your overall health and wellbeing. By getting your spine properly aligned and functioning better, your body is able to heal itself. Keeping your spine functioning well, by making chiropractic part of your lifestyle, helps your overall health and wellbeing.
Why would I See a Chiropractor?
You could see a chiropractor to:
- Relieve your pain, aches, stiffness.
- Correct the underlying cause of a chronic health issue.
- Prevent your problem reoccurring.
- Keep your spine functioning at its best to stay healthy and be at your best.
What can Chiropractic Help?
Chiropractic is probably best known for its success with back and neck pain but it may surprise you to learn that it was originally about maintaining health of the whole body. Put simply, it was realised that good spinal alignment leads to better health overall. Currently there is a significant amount of scientific evidence to show that chiropractic can help with back and neck pain, neck related headaches, migraine, dizziness and various general joint problems. However, more research needs to be carried out to support what many chiropractors and their patients know already – that health can improve in all sorts of ways when irritation and stress on the nervous system is reduced.
What is an Adjustment?
Chiropractic adjustments are gentle, specific corrections given to spinal joints that aren’t moving properly. We use a carefully directed and controlled pressure in a precise direction to these less mobile joints to restore normal motion to your spine. When your spine becomes more mobile and flexible, it becomes better balanced and it’s gradually retrained to function more normally. Improved spinal function leads to better nervous system function and better health. We use various ways to adjust your spine depending on your individual needs but they all aim to achieve the same end result. For example, adjusting a baby requires no more pressure than you’d use to test the ripeness of a tomato. Some types of adjustments involves a quick, specific and highly accurate thrust. Others involves a slow, constant pressure or gentle stretches in different directions. Sometimes, we use an instrument which delivers a small, fast and carefully directed thrust. We might adjust one area or several, depending on what you need. We are highly skilled and tailor your adjustments to your age, size and particular health issue.
What does an Adjustment Feel Like?
Most people report that generally adjustments are painless. In fact, many people look forward to their adjustment as it gives them a feeling of ease and well being. Sometimes, you may hear or feel a ‘popping’ sound from the spinal joint. This is nothing to worry about and quite normal. The sound is simply caused by the popping of a tiny bubble of gas that may form in the joint fluid. It’s similar to ‘popping’ your knuckles and it doesn’t alter the efficacy of the adjustment. If you are in moderate to acute pain, you may experience a little discomfort, often due to the inflammation, but we will do our best to make you as comfortable as we can.
Is Chiropractic Care Safe?
Yes, chiropractic care is safe for all ages – from babies and mums-to-be to the elderly. Chiropractic is a conservative approach to healthcare and is natural and non-invasive. It works with your body and avoids drugs and invasive procedures, making it amongst the safest forms of health care available. In fact, a New Zealand enquiry called Chiropractic “remarkably safe”. Chiropractors have an enviable safety record using proven techniques and natural methods to help you get well and stay well.
Will I need x-rays?
We only take them where clinically necessary. It depends on what we find during your consultation and examination. They can be an important diagnostic tool for certain problems. We will advise you of cost before we go ahead. When it comes to taking x-rays, we comply with the legislation under the Ionising Radiation (Medical Exposure) Regulations 2000.
How often will I need to come?
At first, you will probably need frequent adjustments to encourage joint mobility and begin to improve spinal function. Each adjustment builds on the one before and usually needs to be closely spaced, otherwise your body will tend to easily slip back into its old patterns. Repeated adjustments are required in much the same way that regular visits to the gym are required, if you’re going to make a change to the way your body works. Repeated adjustments gradually retrain your body to hold the new balanced state and, as your spinal function improves, the frequency of your visits reduce.
How long will I take to Get Well?
Each person is unique and recovery time varies. As a general rule, newer problems, if addressed soon after injury, tend to respond in fewer visits as long as no major tissue injury has occurred. Older problems, and reoccurring problems, present for months or years will take significantly longer. Your age, current level of health, job and lifestyle also have a bearing on how long your problem may take to resolve. Healing takes time and differs from person to person. Most people can expect some benefits soon after beginning care and for these to consolidate further as care progresses. We will be able to give you more of a timeframe after we have seen you and assessed our findings. We would just add that most problems do not disappear on their own, however much you may wish them to! Remember – the longer you have a problem, the longer it will take to resolve.
How Much will it Cost?
It varies from person to person, depending on your condition, how long it’s been present, your age, general level of health and also your level of motivation to get well.
How Long would I Need Chiropractic Care?
This depends on what result you’re looking for – whether it’s just pain relief, to also correct the underlying cause of your problem, to prevent your problem reoccurring or to keep your spine in good shape and enjoy better overall health. Our wish for you is to live a happy, vibrant and healthy life. As good spinal alignment and function help to maintain good health, we hope that, once you are well, you will want to continue with chiropractic care as part of a healthy lifestyle. Whilst it is your choice to seek care only when you have symptoms, this kind of “crisis management” tends to be more costly and time consuming in the long run. Prevention is the key to reducing recurrences of existing health conditions and minimising the likelihood of new injuries. Chiropractors worldwide find that their clients are healthier and need to consult their GPs less frequently. They recover faster from illness and injury, are less likely to be admitted to hospital and require less surgery and drugs (1). Whatever your health goal, we will help and support you. Our job is to make sure that you are able to make an informed choice, based on helpful information and sound advice.
What is the difference between Chiropractic, Osteopathy and Physiotherapy?
Chiropractic is based on the fact that good spinal alignment and function leads to better health by keeping the nervous system free of nerve interference. Chiropractors are expert in adjusting specific, individual vertebra and joints that need to be corrected. To help with diagnosis, they are also highly trained in taking and interpreting x-rays and some, like we do, use computerised scanning technology. Osteopaths concentrate more on the circulatory system and muscles and manipulate large areas of the spine with less specificity. Many do not take x-rays or use scanning. Physiotherapists aim to improve function and health by stretching, mobilisation and massage.