Chiropractic care has become a popular and effective method of treating conditions related to the musculoskeletal system, particularly those related to the posture of the spine and how it affects the rest of the body, including the muscles, joints and nervous system. However, for people who have never had the benefit of going to a chiropractor, it can be difficult to know exactly what they do and what to expect at the appointment.
What does a chiropractor do?
A chiropractor is a healthcare professional who diagnoses and treats disorders related to the musculoskeletal system. This normally involves looking at the positioning of the body, particularly the spine and finding points where it is misaligned, meaning not in the correct position due to poor posture, accidents or other medical or lifestyle factors.
The chiropractor will then use hands-on manipulation to readjust the spine and realign the body, allowing the body to heal itself without medical intrusions such as surgery or medication. This type of treatment is often combined with other disciplines such as physiotherapy or massage to help support the primary chiropractic treatment.
What conditions can chiropractors treat?
Chiropractors are capable of diagnosing and treating a wide range of musculoskeletal disorders. These can involve:
- Chronic pain: pain related to the nervous system or spine is extremely common and can present itself in many different forms. These include headaches from neck problems, back pain, pain around the tailbone and pain in muscles around the body that are related to the alignment of the spine.
- Physical trauma to the musculoskeletal system: This might involve whiplash from a car accident or subluxations caused by trauma to the spine. Chiropractors can relieve the pain and realign the joints to bring movement and function back to the body.
- Diseases related to the spine, muscles or nerves: This can be a wide range of conditions including herniated discs, degenerative disc disease, piriformis syndrome, myofascial pain and sciatica.
What are a chiropractor’s qualifications?
Chiropractors are highly qualified individuals who spend a long time studying and practising in the field before being qualified to treat patients. They must complete a Bachelor in Health Science and then do a two-year Master in Clinical Chiropractic. They must also be registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and complete mandatory CPD courses throughout their professional life, keeping them constantly up to date with developments in the field.
This makes them true experts in the musculoskeletal system and treating the various conditions that so often affect the spine and connected tissues.
What does a chiropractic appointment normally look like?
Most first-time chiropractic appointments will start with the patient filling out a medical history form to give the chiropractor a good idea of your general health and any specific issues that you’ve come to treat. This is followed by a physical exam to see how your body moves and presents itself and then a closer exam of the spine to review the alignment of the vertebrae.
Once this is completed the chiropractor will begin treatment including physical manipulation of the joints and vertebrae. Once this is completed the chiropractor might give you advice on exercises to do at home or around the office to keep your treatment going until your next appointment.