As the world grows more accepting of natural and alternative healthcare modalities, chiropractic care has risen to the top as one of the most popular and accessible forms of care. In fact, according to IBIS World, the Australian chiropractic care industry is currently valued at $1 billion and is expected to grow over the next five years.
As chiropractic grows in popularity, let’s discuss this form of healthcare in detail. Keep reading to find out what chiropractic care involves, what chiropractors do, the treatments associated with chiropractic care as well as the potential benefits of chiropractic.
What is chiropractic care?
Chiropractic is a form of complementary and alternative health care is used as an alternative to, or to complement conventional medicine. The term ‘chiropractic’ is derived from Greek works ‘chier’ (meaning ‘hand’) and ‘praktikos’ (meaning ‘done’) to form the definition ‘done by hand’.
Chiropractic care focuses on treating musculoskeletal conditions commonly associated with the spine using a hands-on approach. Chiropractic care may help treat health conditions related to joints, bones and muscles. By performing specific spinal adjustments, chiropractic care aims to improve movement, restore biomechanics and increase flexibility. This also helps to improve communication between the body and the brain.
What does a chiropractor do?
A chiropractor is a primary contact practitioner, meaning patients can visit a chiropractor without a referral from their general practitioner. Chiropractors take a hands-on approach to treating patients with musculoskeletal health concerns, meaning they use their hands to manipulate the spine and perform adjustments or treatments on the body.
Chiropractors can work also in collaboration with other healthcare providers to manage certain musculoskeletal health conditions.
In Australia, chiropractors are required to complete a minimum of five years of university study which usually includes an undergraduate science degree and a Masters of Chiropractic. Students of chiropractic are also required to complete relevant industry training and practice at university health clinics before being able to practise as a professional chiropractor.
Chiropractors also have to take annual continued professional development (CPD) courses to upskill and keep their knowledge of the field up to date. Chiropractors are fully registered and licensed to practice in Australia through the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).
What may chiropractic care treat?
Chiropractic care may treat a range of musculoskeletal health conditions. Chiropractic care may help ease chronic pains (such as aching joints or muscles pains) as well as help individuals maintain healthy spine function.
Individuals may consider seeing a chiropractor if they are experiencing conditions such as:
- Back pain
- Poor posture
- Neck pain
- Sprains and strains caused by daily activities
- Injuries related to muscle overuse
- Sports-related injuries
- Particular forms of headaches and migraines
- Restricted movement in the neck, shoulders, back or limbs
- Joint pain
What does a chiropractic examination involve?
Although chiropractic examinations will differ according to each clinic, generally, the following areas are touched on:
- Examination of your medical history and how your health condition may be caused by your past conditions or experiences.
- Health check and vital signs (e.g. body temperature, respiration rate, pulse and blood pressure)
- Visual inspection of your spine and posture
- Physical check of your spine, areas of concern and surrounding muscles and tissue
- Orthopaedic, neurological or related examinations
On your first chiropractic visit, some chiropractors may recommend diagnostic imaging or further examinations in order to provide an accurate diagnosis and assessment of your case.
What are chiropractic adjustments?
Chiropractic adjustments are a type of procedure chiropractors use to manipulate the spine. It involves the application of a sudden but controlled force to a spinal joint. They can be done by hand or with a special tool employed by chiropractors. During chiropractic adjustments, patients will usually be lying face down on a specially designed, padded chiropractic table.
Chiropractors may also use a range of different treatments and techniques to address your health concerns with chiropractic care. These treatments include:
- Mobilisation, where movement is gently increased on a joint to facilitate its range of motion
- Exercises and stretches
- Heat or ice therapy
- Soft tissue techniques such as massage
- General lifestyle advice
What are the benefits of chiropractic?
Chiropractic care may provide the following health benefits:
- Improved athletic performance
- Long term pain management (for musculoskeletal pains) and potential short term pain relief
- Improved posture
- Increased flexibility
- Improved biomechanical functionality
Where can you find a chiropractor?
You can find a chiropractor local to your area by searching through the Australian Chiropractors Association Find a Chiropractor tool. Registered chiropractors will appear through this directory so that you can more easily locate one near your area.
You can look online to find a local clinic. Review their website and online presence to find out if they look like the right clinic for you. When looking for a chiropractor, be sure to examine their values and consider whether or not they are in line with yours.
You can also ask a friend or one of your health practitioners for their recommendation on a local chiropractic clinic to visit.
Take care of your health with chiropractic care
Chiropractic care is considered an alternative to traditional forms of medicine and may be able to address certain health concerns. Through the chiropractic adjustment, chiropractors aim to improve your body’s general functionality as well as reduce chronic pains and other musculoskeletal disorders.
Chiropractic care is practised by experienced professionals and may help treat a variety of conditions and symptoms (commonly back pain, neck pain and sports injuries). There are many ways you may benefit from chiropractic care, depending on your case and the musculoskeletal symptoms you are experiencing. Some people enjoy chiropractic for acute pain management, whereas other patients seek out longer term chronic pain management.
Remember, keep all of your options open and find the right chiropractor and the right clinic for you.
Dr. Matthew Alch (Chiropractor) has been practicing chiropractic at Sydney Spinal Care since late 2002. Matthew graduated from Macquarie University with a Bachelor of Chiropractic Science and a Masters of Chiropractic. Matthew’s extensive experience and knowledge combine with his honest and caring nature to serve his patients’ healthcare needs in the best way possible. He is a member of the Australian Chiropractors Association.