The definition of chiropractic according to the World Federation of Chiropractic is,
“Chiropractic is a health care profession concerned with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system and the effects of these disorders on the nervous system and general health. There is an emphasis on manual treatments including spinal adjustment and other joint and soft tissue manipulation.”
Chiropractors undergo rigorous study in order to carry out these tasks and must be registered with the General Chiropractic Council.
Chiropractors undergo a thorough education of 5-6 years duration in order to be able to diagnose, treat and manage conditions of the spine and peripheral joints. Chiropractors employ manual techniques such as manipulative therapy, joint and muscle mobilisation soft tissue techniques, and exercises. Advice regarding what patients should do and not do, treatment expectations, and referral to other health care professionals when required is part of proper management. It is common for chiropractors to co-manage patients with other professionals such as physiotherapists, physicians and surgeons. The co-management of patients is common at our clinic which has the largest group of specialists of any clinic in London.
In reality, the similarities far outweigh the differences. The educational process as well as the conditions treated by both professions are indeed similar. Chiropractors have additional training in the taking of x-rays and their interpretation. In the UK legislation is essentially identical. Elsewhere, particularly in Europe, there are many more chiropractors in most countries than there are osteopaths. In Denmark and Switzerland chiropractic education takes place at medical faculties and chiropractors are employed at spine centres throughout Denmark.
Chiropractic is alternative in the sense that it is carried out by chiropractors and not physicians, however, the rules of the game are the same. In the current environment both groups carry out evidence based care and there is ample evidence regarding the efficacy of conditions that chiropractors treat link to conditions treated.
The initial consultation is structured in order for the chiropractor to determine a working diagnosis of your condition and furthermore, to decide whether your condition is suitable to be treated by him/her. This conclusion is arrived at following a thorough case history and a physical examination involving both orthopaedic and neurological reviews. If needed, x-rays or other forms of imaging such as MRI or ultrasound may be requested. If your condition is not suited to be treated by the chiropractor you will be referred to a more appropriate specialist. At our clinic we have the largest number of spine and joint specialists of any independent clinic in London.
Your status and progress will be reviewed at each session. Important tests that have been shown to provoke pain or loss of function will be tested at each session. Any questions will be answered and advice – which will change in accordance with improvement – will be given.
A treatment strategy is usually divided into 3 sub sections:
- Pain relief – attained through manipulations, advice and medication as needed.
- Functional restoration – normal movement and the restoration of strength and endurance.
- Prevention – primarily exercise, manipulations as required, adjustments carried out at the workplace and alterations to leisure time activities.
Physiotherapy helps to restore proper movement and function to the body affected by injury, illness or by developmental or other disability. Physiotherapy is an effective form of treatment for a wide range of conditions.
Conditions treated include back pain, neck pain, muscle imbalance (e.g. shoulder impingement/rotator cuff injuries) ligament sprains, muscle strains, arthritis, bursitis, tendonopathies (e.g. Achilles Tendon, tennis/golfer’s elbow), sports injuries posture and ergonomic problems. Also physiotherapy is very important in orthopaedic post-operative and neurosurgical rehabilitation.
Different modalities are used at the physiotherapist’s discretion following a thorough initial assessment. This is discussed and explained to the patient and depending on the nature and severity of the injury modalities may include:
- Manipulation or mobilization of joints
- Exercise therapy (Core stability training, stretching, Balance retraining)
- Soft tissue manipulation
- Gait Analysis (video anlysis and footscan)/Orthotics
- Patient education, home exercises
- Biomechanical analysis
You will be asked questions regarding the history of your current problem and also your medical history. This is important information to determine the possible diagnosis of the pathology and also the stage it is in – acute, subacute or chronic.
This is followed by a physical examination to confirm the diagnosis and also differentiate between pathologies with similar symptoms.
There is no predetermined number of sessions but the diagnosis will be discussed after your assessment and advice will be given on the approximate length of treatment, exercise and possible contributing factors such as ergonomic set up, lifting techniques etc.