What is Chiropractic?
Chiropractic is a primary health-care profession, specialising in the diagnosis, treatment and management of musculoskeletal conditions (problems with the joints, ligaments, tendons and muscles).
What is a Chiropractors Education?
The education of a Chiropractor is amongst the highest standards of any of the health professions. The ‘Sweden Report’ demonstrated that the 4-5 year university training programme for a Chiropractor was the equivalent of Swedish medical education.
At the University of Odense in Denmark medical students & chiropractors perform joint training for three years prior to undergoing the clinical component of their education.
Doctors of chiropractic are educated as primary-contact health care providers, with an emphasis on diagnosis and treatment of conditions related to the musculoskeletal system (the muscles, ligaments and joints of the spine and extremities) and the nerves that supply them. Educational requirements for doctors of chiropractic are among the most stringent of any of the health care professions.
Read more about our Chiropractor clinic in Naas here.
Does chiropractic treatment require a referral from a GP?
A chiropractor is a primary care physician and therefore you do not require a referral to attend a chiropractor
Is chiropractic treatment appropriate for children?
Yes, chiropractic is suited to patients of all ages, including children. Children can be more prone to knocks and falls than adults and therefore may require chiropractic care to manage these injuries. Chiropractic care is a highly skilled treatment, and in the case of children, is adapted so that the techniques used are very gentle.
Do professional athletes use Chiropractors?
Several top sports stars from Tiger Woods to Padraig Harrington utilize a chiropractor as part of their medical team to achieve optimal sports performance. Most international Olympic teams and premiership soccer teams also use a chiropractor to optimise performance & to manage & prevent sports injury.
What conditions do chiropractors treat?
Doctors of Chiropractic (DCs) care for patients with a variety of health conditions. Chiropractors are recognised for their expertise in treating back pain, neck pain and headaches. However, they also treat a wide variety of musculoskeletal disorders including knee, shoulder and foot pain.
Chiropractic care extends to general health issues also bases on the premise that our overall spinal and body structure affects our overall function. DCs also counsel patients on diet, nutrition, exercise, healthy habits, and occupational and lifestyle modification.
Chiropractic treatment has been proven to help with the following conditions:
- Cervicogenic headache (headache arising from the neck)
- Joint pain including hip and knee pain
- Muscle spasms
- Acute and chronic backache (not arising from injury or accident)
- Neck pain
- Frozen shoulder, shoulder or elbow pain arising from associated musculo skeletal conditions related to the spine
What Evidence is there for the Effectiveness of Chiropractor treatments?
Short Abstract from the British Medical journal On How Chiropractic is more effective than Hospital Outpatient Care for Lower back Pain for Acute and Chronic Lower Back Pain
Title: Low back pain of mechanical origin: randomised comparison of chiropractic and hospital outpatient treatment.
BMJ 1990;300:1431; http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.300.6737.1431 (Published 2 June 1990)
Authors: T W Meade, S Dyer, W Browne, J Townsend, A O Frank
OBJECTIVE–To compare chiropractic and hospital outpatient treatment for managing low back pain of mechanical origin in 741 patients. DESIGN–Randomised controlled trial. Patients were followed up for up two years.
INTERVENTIONS–Treatment at the discretion of the chiropractors, who used chiropractic manipulation in most patients, or of the hospital staff, who most commonly used Maitland mobilisation or manipulation, or both.
RESULTS–Chiropractic treatment was more effective than hospital outpatient management, mainly for patients with chronic or severe back pain. A benefit of about 7% points on the Oswestry scale was seen at two years. The benefit of chiropractic treatment became more evident throughout the follow up period. Secondary outcome measures also showed that chiropractic was more beneficial.
CONCLUSIONS–For patients with low back pain in whom manipulation is not contraindicated chiropractic almost certainly confers worthwhile, long term benefit in comparison with hospital outpatient management. The benefit is seen mainly in those with chronic or severe pain. Introducing chiropractic into NHS practice should be considered.
Another study by Visser et al. (2013) compared the effects of manipulation of the sacroiliac joint in patients with sciatica. In a single-blinded randomised trial, the effects of physiotherapy, manual therapy & intra-articular corticosteroid injection were compared in 51 patients. The effect of the treatment was evaluated after 6 and 12 weeks.
RESULTS: Of the 51 patients, 25 (56 %) were successfully treated. Physiotherapy was successful in 3 out of 15 patients (20 %), Manipulation in 13 of the 18 (72 %), & intra-articular injection in 9 of 18 (50 %) patients (p = 0.01).
Manual therapy had a significantly better success rate than physiotherapy (p = 0.003).
Reference: Visser et al. (2013). Treatment of the sacroiliac joint in patients with leg pain: a randomized-controlled trial. Eur Spine J. Oct 2013; 22(10): 2310–2317. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3804708/
The Worker’s Compensation Study
The worker’s compensation study compared chiropractic care to medical care for back injury claims and concluded that compensation claims were 10-fold less for chiropractic claims. It also found that chiropractor patients return to work ten times sooner after an injury. Total costs per case were $8,175 for total medical care versus $1,065 for chiropractic care.
Reference: Jarvis et al. (1991). “Cost per Case Comparison of Back Injury Claims of Chiropractic versus Medical Management for Conditions with Identical Diagnostic Codes”, Journal of Occupational Medicine, Vol. 33(8): 847-852.
Recent Update to Evidence for Chiropractor Treatment of Back Pain
Recently, research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association analysed the findings from research into chiropractic treatments. They looked at research performed since 2011 and compared this to earlier findings relating to chiropractor treatments.
The evidence from 12 randomized controlled trials of almost 1,400 patients showed that spinal manipulation also resulted in improvements in function in those with back pain.
The evidence collated from 15 randomized controlled trials, involving greater than 1,700 patients, showed that spinal manipulation caused an average improvement in pain of about 10 points on a 100-point scale. The evidence also showed a significant improvement in function from chiropractic treatments.
In February 2017, a systematic review of the literature published in the Annals of Internal Medicine gave rise to new practice guidelines from the American College of Physicians. As part of these new clinical practice guidelines for the treatment of subacute back pain the authors recommended spinal manipulation as a first-line therapy in the treatment of low back pain.
What is the Difference Between a Chiropractor and an Osteopath?
This is a commonly asked question as both professions use similar techniques and have similar philosophies regarding health. The primary philosophy of both professions is that the body has an innate self-healing capacity & that the spine plays an integral part in overall health and body function. The importance of the spine in overall health is common amongst traditional healing techniques such as yoga, tai chi as well as with more modern techniques such as the Alexander technique.
A chiropractor primarily focuses their treatment on the spine using specific spinal manipulation or mobilisation techniques that are aimed at restoring normal joint motion and neurological function. An osteopath uses similar manual techniques but focusses primarily on the importance of the cardiovascular system as opposed to the nervous system. The primary philosophy of the Osteopathic profession is that spinal and joint mobilisations help to improve circulation, thereby improving the overall state of health of the individual.
Both Chiropractic & Osteopathy originated in the United States in the latter part of the nineteenth century. The manipulative techniques; however, have been used for millennia & date back as far as Hippocrates in the fourth century B.C. Chiropractic is the larger of the two professions and is the third largest healthcare profession after Dentistry and Medicine in the West.
Both professions have very high levels of training, with 4-5 years of university training required. In some universities, chiropractors or osteopaths train alongside medical doctors and have similar educational standards. As well as manual techniques, chiropractors and osteopaths tend to provide nutritional & lifestyle advice in order to optimise health. With the evolution of the professions, techniques have evolved so that the techniques used are more similar than they may have been in the past.
Is chiropractic treatment safe?
Chiropractic is widely recognized as one of the safest drug-free, non-invasive therapies available for the treatment of neuromusculoskeletal complaints.
The Manga Report, which is one of the largest scientific analysis of low back pain found that spinal manipulation as applied by a chiropractor was more effective than alternative treatments for low back pain. It also found that manipulation used by chiropractors was safer than other medical treatments for low back pain.
The Agency for Health Care Policy and Research had a 23-member expert multidisciplinary panel review the evidence for Chiropractor treatment. They found that relief from low back pain can be accomplished by one of two methods: medication or spinal manipulation. Side-effects from medication use were found to be greater than those from manipulation, which were very limited.
How is a chiropractic adjustment performed?
A Chiropractic adjustment or manipulation is a highly skilled manual procedure that is developed during the doctor of chiropractic’s intensive years of chiropractic education. The chiropractor typically uses his or her hands to manipulate the joints of the spine in order to restore joint function and reduces pain. Chiropractic manipulation is a highly controlled procedure that rarely causes discomfort. Patients often note an improvement in their symptoms immediately following manipulation.
Does chiropractic manipulation hurt?
A manipulation is a highly controlled technique involving a small amount of joint distraction. This rarely causes pain during the procedure; however, there may be minor discomfort after treatment that normally passes quickly. If you have any queries you should ask your chiropractor prior to undergoing treatment.
Why is there a popping sound when a joint is adjusted?
A joint manipulation (adjustment) may occur due a change in the internal pressure within a joint capsule. This causes a gas bubble to form and to quickly release thus causing a popping sound. The same thing occurs when you “crack” your knuckles. This noise is not associated with pain. .
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