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What is chiropractic?

  • By Nageena

Brief introduction to chiropractic care

Chiropractic is the third largest primary-contact health care profession, after medicine and dentistry, and is regulated by the General Chiropractic Council. Chiropractic is a non-invasive, hands-on health care discipline that focuses on the neuromusculoskeletal system. Chiropractors practice a manual approach, providing diagnosis, treatment and preventive care for disorders related to the spine, pelvis, nervous system and joints.

Chiropractors use a combination of treatments, all of which are personalised on the specific needs of the individual patient. After taking a complete history and diagnosing a patient, a chiropractor can develop and carry out a comprehensive treatment/ management plan, recommend therapeutic exercise and other non-invasive therapies, and provide nutritional, dietary and lifestyle counselling. It is well known that back pain is the biggest cause of sick leave in the UK, costing companies millions of pounds.

A large cause of this is repetitive strain injuries, postural issues, physical work, stress and also general wear and tear. By looking after your spine and keeping it healthy, episodes of debilitating back pain are far less likely to occur in people of any age. Advice on correct lifting and posture is very important, as well as easy exercises and stretches, but getting your back checked by an expert and having treatments to clear any early stage problems that come to light is vital. 90% of the patients that we see, come to us with spinal problems, and we know through experience that the sooner problems get looked at, the less treatments people need because the healing process is much quicker.

What conditions are treated by a chiropractor?

  • Neckpain
    Neck pain may result from abnormalities in the soft tissues the muscles, ligaments, bulging discs and nerves as well as in bones and joints of the spine. The most common causes of neck pain are soft-tissue abnormalities due to injury or prolonged wear and tear. Neck pain can occur anywhere in your neck, from the bottom of your head to the top of your shoulders. Fortunately, most neck pain lasts just a few hours or a few days. Neck pain that lasts longer than a few weeks is considered to be chronic.
  • (Migraine) Headaches
    Chronic headaches and migraines affect millions of people. The severity of pain can vary from mild and intermittent to episodes of exhausting throbbing, brutal agony, as well as nausea and vomiting.

    Migraines are broken down into 2 categories:

    Migraine with *aura (Classic Migraine)
    Migraine without *aura (Common Migraine)

    * An aura is a perceptual experience that usually comes before the onset of a Migraine headache and consists of the visualization of strange light, strange smells, or confusing thoughts or experiences.
    Migraines are more common in women, although can occur in men as well. Many things can trigger migraines including, but not limited to, the use of medications, food triggers, environmental exposure, sleeping habits, etc. The first and best approach to correctly diagnose a migraine is to keep a headache journal, accounting for all foods eaten, sleep patterns, drinking patterns, medications, and other exposures. Additionally, one should keep track of their exercise habits, scenarios of stress, when the headaches come and go, how long they last, etc. The more detailed the better.
  • Tension Headaches
    Tension Headaches are typically described as worse in the afternoon and evening, and are often work and stress related. The pain is usually felt on both sides of the forehead and/or the top of the neck. These headaches can last for long periods of time (as much as weeks) and can be triggered by something as simple as an uncomfortable airplane ride. Tension headaches are caused by both muscle tension as well as trigger points in the muscles, which are small, focused, irritated spots within the muscles that just cannot seem to relax.
  • Backpain
    Generally, back pain occurs when a person bends or overstretches his/her back muscles by pulling or lifting some heavy object. Back pain is also common in athletes and weekend warriors who overextend their muscles and joints. People involved in automobile accidents often experience acute back pain.
  • Sport injuries
    If you’re an athlete, you understand the numerous demands of participating in a sport such as running, jumping and tackling. Putting your body through these activities can result in painful tears, sprains, and strains. But seeing a chiropractor can help you when you’ve suffered sports injuries and also help to prevent them.
  • Sciatica
    The term Sciatica can include a number of different resulting conditions all stemming from a root cause. Sciatica is a set of symptoms including pain caused by general compression and/or irritation of one of five spinal nerve roots, or irritation of the left or right or both sciatic nerves. Sciatica is a symptom, not a disorder.
    Sciatica, so called because it involves the sciatic nerve, is a common cause of lower back pain. The sciatic nerve is actually a group of nerves held together by one nerve sheath, that runs from the lower back through the buttocks and thigh to the knee, then spiralling down into the foot. The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body. In addition to pain, which is sometimes severe, there may be numbness, muscular weakness, pins and needles or tingling and difficulty in moving or controlling the leg. Typically, the symptoms are only felt on one side of the body. You are most likely to get sciatica between the ages of 30 and 50 years.