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Chiropractic 101

14 Nov 2016

Many times a mention about seeing a chiropractor elicits a response along the lines of “Oh, did you get your back cracked?” Fact: chiropractors do not crack backs. Okay, so what do chiropractors do then? The World Federation of Chiropractic defines a chiropractor as “a health profession concerned with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system, and the effects of these disorders on the function of the nervous system and general health. There is an emphasis on manual treatments including spinal adjustment and other joint and soft-tissue manipulation”. In brief, a chiropractor is a trained professional who focuses on the musculoskeletal system and who treat the bones, muscles, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, joints and connective tissues in the body. Chiropractors assess, diagnose and treat musculoskeletal conditions and disorders as well as work-related musculoskeletal disorders and injuries.

Chiropractors are able to recommend a course of treatment to help relieve pain and improve function without surgery or medication. Some of the treatment modalities they use are manipulation, mobilisation, soft tissue therapy, exercise, education and rehabilitation. Chiropractors are also trained to provide basic nutritional counselling, as well as recommend injury prevention strategies.

A chiropractor can help with many conditions, including lower backaches from sitting too long at work, an inflamed shoulder due to excessive tennis or golf, right down to postural issues. Children, pregnant women and the elderly can all be treated by a chiropractor. A chiropractic assessment of a child may help children to develop better posture and musculoskeletal control as it will help ingrain good walking and weight carrying habits. Chiro DSC_0541 At the first chiropractic session you will be asked to talk about the pain or injury you are nursing. A medical history about past injuries, work habits and family history will be taken in order for the chiropractor to isolate issues that may be causing discomfort. A chiropractor will also do a gait assessment, where he studies the way a patient walks and goes through a range of motions with them. During the hands-on examination the chiropractor will check for the range of motion, beginning with the neck and working down the spine, so expect to be touched as the chiropractor examines how well your spine and other joints function.

Chiropractors take great care to ensure the physical and emotional comfort of their patients. Most manual treatments do not hurt. During a manipulation, there may be a feeling of pressure, as well as an audible ‘pop’ the chiropractor loosens joints that have become stiff or locked.

Most conditions will require several treatments to provide relief. The chiropractor may then provide a series of exercises and suggestions that will help prevent the problem from recurring. Often they may also suggest diet or other lifestyle modifications to improve your overall health. Chiropractors not only offer their own expertise and treatment, but they also provide advice that patients can implement themselves, taking a literal and metaphorical ‘hands-on’ approach to their own healthcare. This article is brought to you by IMU Healthcare.

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