What is Chiropractic?
"Chiropractic is a health profession concerned with the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mechanical disorders of the musculo-skeletal system and the effects of these disorders on the function of the nervous system and general health''. World Federation of Chiropractic, 1999
By restoring normal function, chiropractors can play a major part in relieving these disorders and any accompanying pain/discomfort arising from them. A core belief of chiropractic is that by removing this dysfunction, and therefore the interference to the nervous system.We are helping the body better heal itself.
Another core principle of chiropractic is that one of, or a combination of, 3 factors contribute to this dysfunction ( In Chiropractic it is called the "3 T's)
- Trauma- physical trauma: accidents, lack of exercise, poor posture, and everyday wear and tear that affects us all.
- Toxins-chemical trauma: excessive alcohol,dehydration, poor nutrition, some medications eg dependancy on pain medication etc.
- Tension-Thoughts and stress of any emotional type may create muscle tension
It is often a combination of these factors.
The nervous system controls and co-ordinates all functions in the body and ''its structure and activities are inseparably interwoven with every aspect of our lives, physical, cultural, intellectual." (Gray's Anatomy, 3rd edition.).
In todays society life can be pretty stressful. This can lead to dysfunction, which is thought to decrease the ability of our bodies to deal with future stressors or maintaining homoeostasis (a healthy balance), and therefore a decline in general health. (This theory, although seen and appreciated by many patients, does not yet have sufficient clinical evidence to support it.)
The chiropractors' toolkit:
A chiropractic Adjustment is a precise movement of the affected joint in a specific direction to encourage the joint to return to it's favoured position. Occasionally you may hear a 'pop', which is a phenomena called a cavitation (read More about cavitations here). Some Chiropractors may also use soft tissue techniques and/or Medical Acupuncture alongside the adjustment
At Align Chiropractic we can use lighter or more forceful techniques, depending on what is most appropriate for you and your body.
We like to think of an analogy of a jacket on a coat hanger to explain how chiropractic works; chiropractic encourages improvement of the bodies framework (straightening the Hanger) which in turn effects the rest of the body e.g. the muscles and ligaments (the jacket can hang straight). We all know that a bent hanger will never hang a jacket straight.
Will the treatment hurt?
The adjustments are typically painless, if you are in a lot of pain the approach will be altered to minimise any discomfort. You may occasionally feel some discomfort later (on the areas that have been worked on), this is perfectly normal and a good sign that the body is adapting to the changes made by the adjustments.
The adjustments are only the start, chiropractic care is very much about you and the chiropractor working together on your personalised care plan. So ask as many questions as you need to make sure you understand what the chiropractor is explaining.
How many visits will I need?
The amount of visits you may need will be dependent on a few things:
- The reason you are seeking chiropractic care (people seek our help for 3 reasons: pain relief, rehabilitation and/or preventive/wellness care).
- The condition you have & how severe it is.
- How long you have had it for.
- How well or quick your body responds to the treatment.
- How well you stick to your care and the chiropractors advice.
eg. For pain relief of simple (uncomplicated) lower back pain NICE Guidelines recommend 9 sessions over a period of 12 weeks.
Chiropractors train from 5 to 7 years in order to become qualified, depending on the college and country that they studied in. In the UK they have to be registered with the General Chiropractic Council (the governing body for Chiropractic in the UK) and be fully insured by law.