What is a Chiropractor?

back pain image

A chiropractor is also a doctor, but his or her focus is mainly on the correction, relief, and prevention of problems affecting the musculo-skeletal parts of the body, including the peripheral joints and the spine.

Common complaints of patients who consult a chiropractor are neck pain, sciatica, and back pain. Sometimes, the complaints have something to do with sprains, strains, tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, bursitis, and shinsplints. A chiropractor is quite skilled in treating irritation of ligaments, spinal joints, muscles and nerves. This irritation may manifest itself as migraines, tension headaches, shoulder pain, and intercostals neuralgia. But that’s not all. Patients who suffer from hiatus hernia, menstrual cramps, and sinusitis also consult a chiropractor.

Differences Between General Practitioners and Chiropractors

There may be a slight difference between a doctor of general medicine and a chiropractor. A chiropractor’s specialization is towards the proper function of the nervous system, which includes the spinal cord, brain, and the spinal nerves.

Causes of nervous system impairment vary. It may be due to injury, lack of rest, excessive stress, lack of exercise, and diet. The role of the chiropractor is to correct the impairment and give proper advice. Chiropractors are the only ones in the profession who can detect, treat, and prevent vertebral subluxation complex, which is a form of nerve interference.

Commonly Treated Conditions

Common conditions treated by a chiropractor include: auto accident injuries, such as whiplash, headaches, joint injuries, sprains, and strains, work or job related injuries such as sitting or standing conditions, problems with extremity, ergonomic issues, and lifting sprains, home based injury such as sprains and strains of daily living and falls, and also school related injuries such as impacts on the shoulders, knees, and ankles, and athletic sprains.

How to Become a Chiropractor

Before someone becomes a chiropractor, he needs to complete an undergraduate degree before he studies postgraduate medical school for four years. After graduation, the future chiropractor must pass all levels of the National Board Examination. After which, he must continuously update himself with current research and join continuing education seminars, symposiums, and must study professional journals yearly.

Why Should You Go To A Chiropractor?

You might wonder why there is a need to consult with a chiropractor. If your health concern is mainly about physical stress, misalignment of the nerves, lack of adequate physical exercise, it would be better to consult someone who specializes in these areas. For some people, modern medicine may not offer them a solution to their medical problems. There are also those who shy away from the use of too many medicines to cure an illness.

A chiropractor uses his hands to heal and employs therapies to manage pain. The therapy involves the use of spine and acupressure therapy which targets optimal pain relief. This can save the patient money, since there is no need to purchase medications to relieve pain. Think of chiropractor as another form of acupuncture, only there is no needle involved. The patient must keep an open mind about the treatment. It is wise to know and experience the treatment first before casting a vote whether or not the practice works.

Common Chiropractor Questions

How many visits will I need?

Your body can be malfunctioning for months, even years, before you experience symptoms. Since symptoms are the always the last to show and the first to go, it is important to monitor the function of your Nervous System rather than rely on the absence of symptoms as a measure of ‘wellness’.

Following your initial examination and diagnosis, subsequent visits to the chiropractor will last for about 10 to 15 minutes depending on the treatment required. You will be re-scanned at regular intervals and your progress reviewed. You will be asked to give your consent to any changes to your treatment plan. Beneficial Chiropractic Clinic uses this scanning technology to deliver the highest level of chiropractic care.

If there is no improvement in your condition, the chiropractor will discuss referring you to your GP or other therapists.

What do I need to know before my treatment starts?

Treatment is very much a partnership between you and the chiropractor. Before your treatment starts your chiropractor will explain to you clearly:

  • The findings from the examination
  • The proposed treatment plan
  • The receptionist or the chiropractor will tell you how much you will have to pay.

Do ask the chiropractor as many questions as you need, to be sure that you understand what you have been told. You will then be asked to give your informed consent to treatment.

Will the treatment hurt?

Chiropractic treatment is usually painless unless an area is inflamed, in which case treatment will be modified. The form of chiropractic treatment practiced in this clinic does not generate a clicking or popping noise when one of your joints is being adjusted.

It is normal to experience some reaction to treatment including temporary increase in discomfort, stiffness or tiredness for a day or so. On the other hand, you may feel more energetic. The chiropractor may offer advice about diet and lifestyle and rehabilitation exercise programs.

It is important that you talk to the chiropractor if you feel worried about anything either during or after treatment.

Do I need to contact my GP?

Not unless you wish to. With your permission, your chiropractor may send a report to your GP with details of your condition and the treatment you are receiving. This is because your GP is the custodian of your complete medical record so it is in your interests for it to be kept up to date.

Many GP’s refer their patients to chiropractors.

Do I have to pay for my treatment?

Unfortunately, the NHS does not usually fund chiropractic treatment, so you will have to pay for treatment yourself. However, if you have private health insurance, check that it covers treatment provided by your chiropractor. If so, you may be able to recoup all or part of the cost.

How much will it cost?

The cost will vary widely depending on your chiropractor, your insurance coverage, and the treatment you’re receiving.

What to Expect on Your First Visit to a Chiropractor

First visit to chiropractor

Many people wonder: what happens when I first visit a chiropractor?

Your first visit will last approximately one hour. During this time a full case history will be taken, with questions asked about your medical history and anything that may be relevant to your physical well-being. In addition, you may be asked to undress down to your underwear and you will be offered a gown to wear if you prefer.

You will be asked to consent to a Thermal and Surface Electromyography (SEMG) scan.

There may be further physical examinations which may include range of motion tests, palpation, neurological and orthopaedic tests, if necessary your blood pressure, pulse, heart and lungs may be checked.

Why does the chiropractor administer these tests?

The chiropractor administers these tests to learn more about your body. By so doing he or she will learn how best to treat you.

The two scans mentioned above detect and pinpoint abnormal function in the spine. Abnormal spinal function causes abnormal nervous system disturbance.

Your muscles are controlled by nerves.

The SEMG scan measures how well the nerves are working by reading the amount of current in the muscles. Spinal misalignment disturbs the function of the nerve causing abnormal electrical current flowing to your muscles. This will be indicated by colors and/or abnormal patterns on the scan.

The Thermal scan measures the skin temperature along the spine. This provides us with information to monitor the body’s autonomic nervous system which controls the blood vessels, organs and glands of the body for proper function.

The scans, together with any additional testing, provide the chiropractor with the information necessary to make an informed diagnosis of your condition and to prescribe the appropriate level of chiropractic care.

They are beneficial to your overall treatment, but if for whatever reason you don’t want to do any of the above, you are able to opt out

What happens next?

If the chiropractor and patient are agreed on the treatment plan, then the first adjustments will be performed following the physical examination.

Subsequent treatments will be scheduled and will take approximately 10 – 15 minutes to complete.