Chiropractic Treatment Process
Chiropractic is a primary health-care profession that specialises in the diagnosis, treatment and overall management conditions such as joint pains, nerves of the body, particularly those of the spine. Treatment consists of a wide range of manipulative techniques designed to improve the function of the joints, provide pain relief and help with muscle spasms.
The British Chiropractic Association (BCA) – Founded in 1925, represents over 50% of UK chiropractors. All BCA chiropractors will have undergone a minimum four-year full-time internationally accredited degree course and are registered with the General Chiropractic Council, the UK’s statutory regulator for the profession. The BCA aim to promote, encourage and maintain high standards of conduct, practice, education and training within the profession in the UK.
The General Chiropractic Council (GCC) – We are the GCC, and we were set up to keep a register of chiropractors who meet our standards for their training, professional skills, behaviour and health. We expect chiropractors to have your health and wellbeing at the heart of all they do for you. The General Chiropractic Council (GCC) is a UK-wide statutory body with regulatory powers.
Stage One – Consultation
When you meet your chiropractor for the first time, he/she will start with a discussion about you, your health and your reasons for asking for Chiropractic help. You will be asked for a great deal of information, not just about the pain or complaint that may have brought you, but about your past health history. Some of the questions may appear irrelevant, but they are extremely important to your chiropractor. To ensure that Chiropractic care is appropriate for your condition he/she will need to establish an overall heath picture.
If Chiropractic appears not to be suitable for you, you will be referred to your GP or relevant specialist. Your details are confidential. No-one else will be allowed to see your notes without your permission.
Stage Two – Examination
Once your case history is complete, your chiropractor will examine you to confirm any early ideas about your problem. The examination will concentrate on your neuromusculoskeletal system (, muscles and joints), but it may also be necessary to check other things such as your heart, lungs and abdomen to rule out other causes; this thorough check up is a normal procedure in a chiropractor’s clinic.; you will normally be referred to your GP if your chiropractor feels you would benefit from this.
Gowns are made available for to wear for the examination, as well as any following treatments.
After the initial consultation and examination, your chiropractor may offer you treatment almost immediately. However it may be delayed for a day or two if he/she needs to take or view X-rays, perform urine tests or obtain further information from your GP (for example blood test results) and where appropriate, refer you for an MRI/CT scan.
Stage Three – Report of Findings
Before treatment starts, your chiropractor will tell you, in clear, simple language, what is wrong with you, what can be done about it and what you should expect. You will probably be told about any exercises or changes to your lifestyle or diet that may be beneficial, so that you can help yourself. A part of getting better is up to you, so please follow any instructions and advice carefully and completely.
You will also be advised of all costs that relate to your future care. It would be appropriate, at this point, for your chiropractor to tell you of any likelihood of a recurrence of your problem, and the possible need for any ongoing supportive care. This is not an unusual situation for patients who have had serious injuries, as well as those who have long-term problems due to wear and tear to the joints.
Stage Four – Treatment
Chiropractic treatment mainly involves safe, often gentle, specific adjustments done by hand, to free joints in the spine or other areas of the body that are not moving properly. Most often, this requires a short thrust to a joint that can result in an audible ‘crack’, and may bring relief of symptoms as well as an increased feeling of well-being. The ‘crack’ is simply the sound of bubbles of gas popping in the fluid of the joint as the pressure is released.
There is, however, no instant cure, and some patients may experience temporary symptoms such as pain or soreness around the areas being treated, with redness or even bruising of the skin. Spinal disc problems may appear to flare up in the early stages of treatment, and where there is already inflammation, your condition may seem worse to start with. Treatment to the neck may give a distinct lightheadedness and occasionally a short-lived headache.
Apart from the adjustment, your chiropractor may use a wide variety of techniques including ice, heat, ultrasound and exercises. If you have questions about any of these, just ask.