Frequently Asked Questions
What is Chiropractic and What Do Chiropractors Do?
Chiropractic is a form of healthcare, focussed on the musculoskeletal system and the associated nerves. Problems related to these can produce unpleasant symptoms such as aches and pains, stiffness and odd sensations like tingling and numbness.
Chiropractors assess how your body is functioning in terms of the ability of your joints and muscles to move normally. We also assess the ability of the nerves to communicate with the joints, skin and muscles and some of the organs that they travel to.
What happens at my first appointment?
At your Initial Consultation, you complete a New Patient Registration Form, from which we learn about your full medical history gaining information on any medications you take and medical conditions you’ve been diagnosed with. We also want to know about any accidents and injuries you’ve had. All of these may affect the way that your muscles, joints and nerves behave.
We ask you all about the problem that has brought to see us to gain as much information as possible and understand why you might have developed this problem. We’ll ask you when, how and why it started, how severe the problem is, what types of symptoms you’re experiencing, what makes it worse and what makes it better, whether there are other problems linked to this one and whether you’ve suffered from this problem or some trouble in the same area before.
During an examination we observe how easily you can move and stand and walk. We look at your posture for symmetry and to see how comfortably and evenly your body is positioned. We may ask you to move your back, neck and limbs and we help to move them for you looking for uneven, painful and/or stiff movements of the joints. We use a range of motions designed to give us specific information about certain joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments and areas of cartilage to help identify where your trouble is arising from.
We often test how well your nerves are functioning by checking your reflexes, your muscle strength and your sense of feeling of your skin. We may also check indicators of general health such as your blood pressure, pulses and temperature. We might listen to your heart, lungs or abdomen using a stethoscope and perform additional examinations of these areas if we feel they might be contributing to your symptoms
Will my GP be contacted?
Sometimes we ask your permission to write a letter to your GP if we feel there are medical tests that need to be done because of some of your symptoms.
Will I need an X-ray/MRI/CT or ultrasound?
Some patients need to have one of these methods of imaging conducted to provide us with more information and to help construct the best onward plan of action for them. These tests can be arranged privately or a letter can be written to your GP to ask if they will make the arrangements for the test to be done on the NHS for you.
Report/Explanation of Findings
Before providing treatment we go through a Report of Findings during which we explain to you what our initial consultation and the examination has revealed. We explain what we think your problem is and how we could help you. Once you have fully understood what we have explained and had the opportunity to ask any questions, if you are happy to proceed with the suggested plan of management, we ask you to sign a consent form in which you are giving your permission to proceed. It’s important for you to know that you can always discuss and ask questions about your treatment and of course you must let us know if you feel you want to change your mind about something related to your treatment plan which you can discuss with us at any time during your course of treatment.
What does treatment entail?
Our treatment methods are concerned with helping to correct those areas that are not functioning properly or bring them as best we can back to their normal movement patterns.
With chiropractic care we provide hands on treatment to the areas of your body associated with the trouble you are experiencing.
There are lots of different methods of treating. The word ‘Chiropractic’ literally means ‘done by hand’ so most of our treatment methods involve using our hands to loosen your muscles, to treat tendons and ligaments and to help improve joint motion by applying slow repetitive mobilisations or quick adjustments/manipulations to the joints. Some chiropractors also use massaging equipment and adjusting tools and some use dry needling (a form of acupuncture) and Kinesiotaping (the use of adhesive, elasticated tape) to compliment the other range of techniques they use within treatment.
What is an adjustment/a manipulation
This is a treatment method in which we apply a small and very quick impulse from our hand or finger to a joint which is not moving to the best of its capability. This is aimed at helping the joint to move more easily with less pain. Often a ‘pop’ or ‘click’ is heard but not every time. This sound is simply related to gas bubbles within the fluid that lubricates your joints. If you don’t hear that noise it doesn’t mean that it hasn’t worked, it is actually the movement and not the sound that it is important. Some chiropractors use a tool called an ‘activator’ or an ‘adjustment tool’ to perform this manipulation/adjustment if they feel it would be more ideal for you. This tool applies a small impulse instead of the chiropractor’s hand performing the action. This might be used for patients who are in too much discomfort for a manipulation/adjustment by hand, or in some conditions which give your chiropractor reason to believe this will be a better option for you.
Does treatment hurt?
When treating parts of your body that are in pain it would be untrue to say that no aspect of the treatment will be painful, however we aim to keep your treatment as comfortable as possible for you. Some treatment methods are intended to be pain free or as close to painless as possible and some need to be a bit uncomfortable to create the desired result. The main thing for you to be aware of is that you are involved in your treatment and therefore if something is too sore for you or indeed if you believe we can use a stronger pressure e.g. during sort tissue massage techniques then you can tell us.
Will I be sore after treatment?
It is very normal to feel a bit sore after treatment in a similar way as you would feel sore if you did a new type of exercise such as going for a run for the first time. Soreness following treatment usually comes and goes within a 48 hour period.
Is chiropractic treatment safe?
Yes. Your chiropractor will decide which treatment methods are suitable for you taking your health and well-being, your medical history and the results of your chiropractic examination into consideration. As mentioned above some treatment methods can create some soreness and your chiropractor will give advice on how to manage any after treatment soreness at home. Serious side effects related to chiropractic treatment are very rare and the risk of serious complications of spinal manipulations/adjustments are very low. Your chiropractor will explain and answer any questions you have about any risks and side effects of the treatment methods they suggest for you.
Will I be given exercises?
For some patients, exercises are an essential part of chiropractic care and can be necessary to re-strengthen an area that has been injured or an area that has been painful and not functioning properly for some time. This is the part of chiropractic care that we can’t do for you and your commitment to these exercises can enhance your outcome and overall improvement.
What if I have arthritis?
We bear in mind that we can’t turn back time and reverse arthritic changes that have happened to joints such as loss of cartilage, narrowing of spinal discs and the growth of bone spurs, but what we can do is help those areas to move to the best of their capabilities often seeing excellent results even with joints that have been exposed to a lot of wear and tear over the years.
What if I have osteoporosis?
Your chiropractor will choose suitable treatment methods which take into account the condition of your bones.
What if I use blood thinning medication?
As above your chiropractor will take this into account when choosing what treatment methods will be appropriate for you considering your medication and your overall state of health.
How much treatment is enough treatment?
This is a difficult question to answer until we have met you, learned more about your condition and assessed/examined you. Some people need 3 or 4 sessions, some need 10 – 12 and some people continue to have treatment once in a while even when they feel better because they enjoy being treated and feel benefit from a regular check up. Two people with exactly the same symptoms can recover at different rates. Everybody’s body is different. Imagine trying to help an 18 year old and an 80 year old who have both sprained their ankle or twisted awkwardly and hurt their back. There are various factors that influence how much treatment somebody receives. Some people want to feel 100% better and some just want to feel comfortable enough to be able to play with their grandchildren. Some people have suffered a severe injury and some a minor incident. We need to determine the severity of your condition. We need to understand your overall health to give you an idea of how quickly or slowly your body is likely to heal, recover and respond to treatment and very importantly we need to establish your end goals – what would you like to achieve from chiropractic care? We then work on a plan of management for your condition which works towards gaining the best result for you.
Will my problem come back?
This depends upon many things such as whether you have had the problem in the past, whether the issue was brought on by something you will be continuing to do on a daily basis and whether you use the exercises we teach you to re-strengthen the area you’ve had problems with, to name just a few. The answer is that we cannot guarantee that you will not reinjure or experience problems with the same area again but what we will do is help you with our care and our advice to give you the best chance of preventing a recurrence.
What research has been done to demonstrate that chiropractic is effective?
Please follow this link to the website of the British Chiropractic Association to read the research.