What is chiropractic?
Chiropractic focuses on the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Chiropractic is the largest primary healthcare profession in the world, after medicine and dentistry. Chiropractic is also the first allied health profession to achieve Royal College status.
When asked, we find that most of our patients understand the basis of how our bodies stand and move. They appreciate that the skeleton forms a framework to which our muscles attach.
All bodily function is ultimately controlled by the brain and communicated via nerves. These mostly run within the spinal cord, where they are protected by the vertebrae of your spinal column. From here they travel out through the tissues of the body to the target organ/muscles. The brain can only make accurate decisions on the basis of previous experience and real time information. This information is provided by receptors in the skin, muscles, joints and connective tissue and communicated back to the brain via sensory nerves. These nerves also travel through the tissues, back to the spine and then the brain, which is protected in the bony cavity of the skull (aka the cranium).
These feedback systems are an intrinsic part of nervous system activity, influencing a host of body systems including movement. Like all information systems we are subject to "noise on the line" which can interfere with our control mechanisms. This can be minimal e.g. when you are walking with a stone in your shoe, to major e.g. a fracture. The effects of this interference on the bodily system is either
You don't notice it
You notice it initially, but then get used to it
You are aware of it all the time
You may notice these changes as pain or aching, imbalance, nerve dysfunction (pins and needles/numbness) or you may not be aware of the disruption at all. Of course you are likely to have more than a single source of interference within the whole system.
A chiropractors, our job is to identify, as far as possible, sources of system interference and correct them where possible. Pain can be viewed as an alarm bell, telling you something is not working properly.
What can I expect on my first visit?
When you book your appointment, we will ask you to provide a few personal details including your email address. Prior to your first appointment we will email you some documents to be filled out online. This includes information regarding your current complaint and at the present time also a consent form relating to the public health risks associated with COVID-19. Please complete these before to attending your appointment,
The first consultation will last one hour during which we will take a full history and perform a thorough physical examination. This may include orthopaedic and neurological test as well as specific chiropractic analysis of your posture, gait, bite and spine. We may also wish to measure basic physiological signs e.g. blood pressure, pulse etc. Our aim in this visit is to understand both the nature of your specific complaint (diagnosis) and as far as possible the process by which it occurred. Only then can we consider treatment options or where necessary, onward referral, of which you will be advised at the time.
If we feel we can help a Report of Findings will be scheduled. This is an opportunity to explain in as much details as you require, the nature of your complaint and to discuss a plan to manage your treatment. We generally find that the more a patient understands about their problem, the better the outcome. Should you choose not to go ahead with treatment, there will be generally be no charge for the report.
If you wish to go ahead with treatment at this stage we can start straight away.
In order to schedule appointment times that best suit you, we usually recommend booking in advance as early morning and evening appointments tend to get quite busy. So remember to bring your diary on this second appointment.
At regular intervals throughout your treatment, we will assess your progress. This enables us to ensure we are on track and gives you the opportunity to give feed back and ask any questions you may have.
Many of our patients ask us to check things up on an ongoing basis once they are out of pain and feeling improved. We will discuss whether or not this is appropriate for you at the time.
Who regulates chiropractic?
The General Chiropractic Council is the parliament established board to regulate and develop the chiropractic profession. Chiropractors must adhere strictly to its regulations in order to stay in practice and must keep-up-to date with training. These measures are set up to ensure public safety and maintain the highest standards for practioners.
It is illegal for anyone to call themselves or imply they are a chiropractor without holding the necessary qualifications.
Martin & Verity are members of the British Chiropractic Association which is the largest chiropractic association in the UK