Chiropractic: Myths and misconceptions.

Chiro-Myths-RealityLike all modern healthcare, Chiropractic techniques are constantly changing with the times. Just as your GP no longer applies leeches to you, Chiropractors have updates their techniques for improved results and experiences. Here are some common myths debunked…


Once I see a Chiropractor I will have to keep going back.

Our aim is to help you get rid of your symptoms and also keep them away. We give recommendations as to what would be the best course of treatments to achieve both goals.

It may occur that after a few visits you feel improved but are asked to come back for a follow up treatment, this is because the pain or discomfort is one of the last signs or symptoms to come on and the first to disappear. These signs may have disappeared but the imbalance that caused the problem and hence the pain, may still be there to some degree. If this imbalance that is left over is not corrected it can progress again, and the symptoms will return. At Health In The Bay we incorporate different techniques that have been found to be effective in changing your body out of old patterns, which allows the body to become stable and hence need less treatments overall.

We may also recommend that you return for maintenance. It is a good idea to have occasional maintenance treatments as this helps correct any problems before they become symptomatic, and the earlier they are addressed they quicker they resolve.


Adjustments hurt.

Chiropractic adjustments generally don’t hurt. When having a manual adjustment you may hear a crack, which may be surprising if you haven’t experienced it before. This is not bone rubbing against bone or anything similar, it is just the fluid that naturally sits inside the joint, releasing a gas due to the change in pressure. Using the tool called an Activator is even more gentle. It is a tool that gives a small push to the joint in a specific direction, but no crack is heard. The adjustments themselves don’t hurt, but often you have come to see the chiropractor because of some pain you are experiencing, and as chiropractic is a hands on technique, the chiropractor will be working at the area of pain and hence it may be tender.


Chiropractic adjustments are dangerous.

Chiropractors study at University a minimum of 5 years which includes in-depth study of the anatomy and neurology of the whole body as well as adjusting techniques. With this knowledge any risk is minimised. There is a very small risk with manual neck adjustments, but this is only in those already predisposed to circulation problems. By taking a thorough history we can ascertain if there is some risk, and adapt the treatment accordingly. We also conduct screen tests prior to adjusting, if this indicates a potential risk we will not perform the adjustment. If we are happy there is no risk, but you are still not comfortable with the idea of being adjusted manually we can use a different method that does not involve cracking.

There is also a risk of mild soreness after a treatment, which is due to the body changing and adjusting. This is usually only with the first treatment as the body is getting used to these changes, and would only last one to two days.


Chiropractors only treat the spine.

Chiropractors study the anatomy and adjustment techniques of the whole body. It is true that the majority of what we treat is the spine, but that is not all we treat. We commonly treat other non-spinal joints, which can be symptomatic due to their relationship with the spine, or due to injuries. Common problems treated include RSI of the wrist, shoulder pain or stiffness, sprained ankles, or wrists, shin splints, generalised knee pain (often noticed when walking up and down stairs) unexplained knee swelling, dropped arches of the feet, plantar fasciitis, and more.


Should I See a Chiropractor or a Physiotherapist?

Chiro Or PhysioWhen you’re faced with pain, especially if it’s the first time, it’s hard to know who to turn to. Can your GP help, or do you need someone more specialised, someone who treats your specific issue? Both physiotherapy and chiropractic professions specialise in the musculoskeletal system, to help improve overall health and well-being.

What is a Chiropractor?

Chiropractors are known as the ‘spinal health experts’ who work to help improve your body’s nervous system. Chiropractic assumes that a healthy and properly functioning nervous system equates to improved overall health and well-being. Chiropractors address all demographics including babies, infants, athletes and the elderly.

Chiropractic focuses primarily on the spine and the alignment of the vertebrae, the skull and the pelvis. The spinal column, consisting of the vertebrae, contains and protects the spinal cord and the many nerves that branch out from it. These nerves form the nervous system and are responsible for all our bodily functions. A chiropractor aims to improve the flow of information along these nerves, which are sometimes impaired through misalignment of the vertebrae.

Though chiropractic is not just about the spine – it also focuses on nutrition, exercise and your health and well-being as a whole.

Lower back pain is one of the principal reasons people consult a chiropractor, although they also treat a number of other issues, both structural and functional. Examples include digestive issues and headaches. Research suggests it can also be helpful in treating menstrual pain, fibromyalgia and carpal tunnel syndrome.

Chiropractors primarily use chiropractic adjustments to help improve the nervous system. Sometimes they ëmove’ areas that are not moving properly. This is referred to as an ëadjustment’. They may also use an ìactivatorî, a pen-like instrument that addresses the misalignments in the spine and pelvis by correcting them with a gentle percussive force. There are a number of different styles of Chiropractic. Other techniques they could use are massage or hot or cold packs.

Are Chiropractors Qualified?

To practise in Australia, chiropractors must complete a five-year university qualification, which is subdivided into a three year Bachelor and a two year Masters degree. They are also regulated and registered by the government. The Australian Government has set up a regulating body to oversee the industry and ensure high standards of practise are maintained.

What is a Physiotherapist?

Physiotherapy, like chiropractic, aims to improve your health and wellbeing. Physiotherapists are often referred to as movement specialists and aim to help your joints and muscles work to their full potential. They often give exercise programs to patients to improve mobility, and will also use in massage, stretching, ultrasound and laser therapy, and mobilisation and manipulation.

Common problems that physiotherapists treat include sports injuries, back and neck pain, arthritis, repetitive strain injury (RSI) and even asthma. They will use a range of treatments includuing massage, exercise programs, hot and cold packs and aids such as crutches and wheelchairs to help improve movement and mobility.

Are Physiotherapists Qualified?

In Australia, physiotherapists will have completed either a four-year degree in Physiotherapy of Applied Science (Physiotherapy), or a graduate entry Masters program (a two-year accelerated program). These qualifications enable practitioners to apply for registration with the Physiotherapists Registration Board. In 2010, a single national registration and accreditation program was set up in Australia, with the Physiotherapy Board of Australia responsible to registering physiotherapists and students.


Choosing a Chiropractor

Choose A ChiropractorChoosing a chiropractor is an important decision. A chiropractor helps to improve your health by looking at your spine and nervous system and their relationship to the rest of the body. Before putting yourself in the hands of a chiropractor there are some things you should consider:


Chiropractic Qualifications

All chiropractors in Australia study at university for five years. Check that your chiropractor is government registered and covered by private health insurance. Find out if they belong to a professional body such as the Chiropractors Association of Australia (CAA).

Net Chiropractors

Search the Natural Therapy pages directory to find a chiropractor near you. To find one thatís appropriate think about proximity to work or home. Will it be easy to get to appointments? Does the chiropractor work after hours or at weekends?

Chiropractic Communication

Personal recommendation is an invaluable tool when looking for a chiropractor. Ask friends, family, colleagues and other health practitioners. Find out if the chiropractor has experience treating your particular health issue. If so, what was the outcome?

An Affordable Service

Initial consultations usually cost more than follow-up appoints. Check if you get a rebate from your private health insurer.

Caring Chiropractors

Itís important to choose a chiropractor that you feel comfortable with and who you feel cares about your health. Ask questions about their skills, experience and style. If you donít feel happy after the initial consultation find another chiropractor.

You want a chiropractor who understands your concerns, cares about your health and who makes you feel confident on your journey towards better health.


Back Pain and Chiropractic

Chiropractic Back PainThe back or spinal column is the central support structure of the body, and is therefore crucial to our functioning ñ most especially our mobility. The nerves that radiate out from the spinal cord are essential to the operation of every muscle, nerve and organ in the body ñ so if they become trapped or pinched in any way, they can affect our posture and movement significantly. This is often what happens when the discs that cushion the spinal column become worn or rupture. Other sources of back pain involve injury or strains to the muscles of the back ñ often from unusual movements or over stretching. Lifting and carrying with poor techniques also places strain on back muscles, especially if the knees are not bent, and the back ends up taking all the stress. Typical symptoms of a back problem include headaches, localised pain in the neck or back which may radiate to the shoulders, arms or legs. Chiropractic treatment is a popular alternative to invasive surgery or conventional medication, and is a recognised profession by the medical establishment.


What is Chiropractic Treatment?

Chiropractic treatments and chiropractors are primarily concerned with the alignment of the spine, and to a lesser extent the skull and pelvis, using a range of techniques to adjust it. This is designed to allow the nervous system to function without impediment. Techniques used include hand pressure and gravity as well as specialised equipment, including adjusting tables and wedges. A chiropractic adjustment utilises force applied to a joint, with the intention of encouraging normal motion and function. Chiropractors are health professional that typically undergo tertiary education, are regulated by government and must be registered to practice ñ so they are qualified to deal with a range of back problems.


How Can Chiropractic Treatment Help Back Pain?

A holistic assessment of the patient is first conducted to determine what may be the origin of the condition or ailment. A treatment plan is then devised which may consist of physical treatment or adjustment, exercises and advice on preventative measures that can be followed. Adjustment methods may involve a range of techniques, including quick or slow movements, and constant pressure. Depending on the condition or ailment, this is typically an ongoing program of supportive care, with repeated visits until the problem recedes.

If you are considering chiropractic treatment as a therapy for your back pain, ensure that you consult a trained and qualified chiropractor.

Stress can be a pain in the neck

Have you ever referred to something or someone in your life as a “pain in the neck”? You were probably more accurate than you realised. Any emotional stress (which can include rushing and being very busy) can result in the muscles across the top of your shoulders tensing up. Tense muscles will be uncomfortable. Then if this tension is prolonged, over a short time the muscles in surrounding areas including the neck muscles and between the shoulder blades will also become tight and painful.

Health In The Bay Lizard

Another response to stress is commonly clenching of the jaw or grinding teeth at night. This results in muscle spasms around the jaw, which also will cause muscle tightness in the neck, and hence neck pain and stiffness.
Poor or prolonged work posture can cause neck pain also. Work is commonly related to stress, and this together with a sustained posture over the course of the day will result in tight muscles around the neck and shoulders, resulting in pain.
Chiropractic care can help in several ways. Chiropractors can help release the tight muscles, as well as give advise on stretching and posture and activities to help maintain good muscular balance.
More more information, please read on, or contact Martina, our principal Chiropractor.