Chiropractic is based on the scientific fact that your nervous system controls virtually every cell, tissue, organ and system of your body.
A great deal of misinformation exists in the minds of many people regarding Chiropractic.
This factsheet explains several basic Chiropractic concepts and should give you a better understanding of what a chiropractor does and what place chiropractic has in the health care system today.
More than 10 million Chiropractic treatments are given in Australia each year. This figure indicates that, outside orthodox medical care, chiropractic treatment is the most popular method of health care.
Chiropractors are able to help a wide variety of problems when those problems can be traced back to a problem in the spine or joints.
A Basic Premise
Chiropractic is based on the premise that the nervous system controls and coordinates body systems and that interference to the nervous system predisposes those body systems to malfunction. Faulty body mechanics are a prime source of this interference and it is at the bone, joint and muscle level that the essence of the chiropractor's work is found.
Specific terms that the chiropractor uses
Subluxation: This word describes an abnormal position of one of the bones in the body, particularly the spine. A subluxation provides a potential interference to the normal function of the nervous system.
Adjustment: The specific corrective technique required to correct a subluxation. An adjustment has been likened to a sophisticated form of spinal manipulation but it is more specific and skilled than the gross manoeuvres usually associated with that treatment.
Chiropractic is effective
On a typical first visit to a chiropractic clinic the chiropractor will take a complete history from the patient and perform a comprehensive physical/neurological/orthopaedic examination of the area of concern.
X-Rays will often be taken by the chiropractor to complete the diagnosis.
If the chiropractor feels that the patient may benefit from the chiropractic treatment he or she may recommend a number of adjustments designed to improve the function of the area relating to the problems.
Some patients choose to continue with chiropractic care after their initial treatment in order to maintain their musculoskeletal system at its optimum level of function.
Research conducted throughout the world in recent years has shown chiropractic to be extremely effective. One such study published in the British Medical Journal found chiropractic to be more effective than hospital outpatient care for the treatment of low back pain and suggested that the inclusion of chiropractic in the National Health System would bring about large cost savings for the community. (Meade T.W. et al, Low back pain of mechanical origin: randomised comparison of chiropractic and hospital outpatient treatment. BMJ Vol 300, June 1990, p1431 - 1436).
Chiropractors are highly trained
To be able to recognise the problems involving the musculoskeletal system the chiropractor has undergone extensive training. It consists of some 4000 hours of structured lectures such as anatomy which includes human dissection, pathology, microbiology, physiology, chemistry, physics, X-Ray physics and interpretation, diagnosis and management, chiropractic science and technique.
A further 1500 hours is spent in supervised clinical situations.
The courses available in Australia require five years full-time study. It takes as many hours to gain a chiropractic degree as it does to obtain a medical degree.
What to expect
A survey conducted in 1985 by the University of Queensland found that 80% of the people who seek chiropractic care, do so for reasons concerning the musculoskeletal system. In other words, the majority of chiropractic patients seek care for sprain and strain type problems.
The same survey indicated that people also seek chiropractic treatment for headaches, respiratory and digestive conditions and various other complaints not directly related to the musculoskeletal system.
Taken from the Chiropractors Association of Australia (NSW) - Fact sheet 1.