How Safe is Chiropractic?
Chiropractic is probably the safest of all the registered Health Professions. It is certainly very much safer than medical care, mainly due to the problem of adverse drug prescription events. There is no record of a serious adverse event in chiropractic practice that has been reported in the last twenty years to the Australian Health Practitioners Registration Board or its predecessors.
What Is Chiropractic?
Your spinal column houses and protects your central nervous system, which affects ‘everything’. All of your organs, muscles, blood vessels and glands derive their innervation from the nerves along the spinal column, as well as the cranial nerves. Chiropractic is all about the relationship of the spinal column to the central nervous system that it protects. Poor motion or fixation of spinal joints (‘subluxation’) can irritate spinal nerve pathways, causing distress to normal nerve function.
Chiropractic care restores normal joint motion with firm but gentle manual corrections (‘adjustments). For certain adjustments, low-force techniques exist that are effective.
How do I know whether I need to see a chiropractor?
Everyone should have their spine checked for subluxations. Even though you may not have any obvious symptoms, only a chiropractor can check your spine for subluxation. In fact, only 10% of your nerves feel pain so a lack of symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t have subluxations. Chiropractic is about your nervous system working at its optimum which allows you to live a greater life!
Are Chiropractors ‘Recognised’?
Chiropractic is a registered health profession in the same manner as dentistry, pharmacy, medicine, or physiotherapy, and has been a registered profession in Australia for many years, starting with Western Australia in 1963.
How Educated Are Chiropractors?
Chiropractic undergraduate study is extensive, and the course hours are, surprisingly to some, slightly more than for undergraduate medicine, with more work in the areas of clinical nutrition, physiology, radiology, biomechanics, and spinal anatomy.
The undergraduate basic science class hours for chiropractic degrees total 2419, and for medicine, 2047 hours.
(The class hours for basic science comparisons were compiled and averaged following a review of curricula of 18 chiropractic colleges and 22 medical schools.)
How long Does It take to Get Better?
Your individual Response will be determined by your existing health history, duration of your spinal health problem, and the extent of joint injury. Your compliance with initial intensive care (visits every few days, at first) will generally get your body to a level where you will function better. The process can be likened to getting your spinal column ‘fit’ again; just like going to a gym regularly to get a desired outcome.
Many people choose to maintain and improve their general health with reasonably regular care every two to four weeks when they have overcome their initial health challenges.
Some problems are so chronic that no real change will be observed for many weeks, and in those cases, lots of patience and compliance with supportive exercise and lifestyle recommendations are required from the client.
My children are still growing – Is it too early to have their spines checked?
Absolutely not. It is essential for children’s spines to be checked at an early age. The earlier potential problems are detected, the easier they can be corrected. Children lead such active lives – constantly jumping, jarring, bumping, falling and the like. Whilst these activities are a normal part of their development, they can cause subluxations which do not manifest themselves as pain for many years. Remember: As the twig is bent, so grows the tree.
Why is the spine so important?
The spine is the framework which supports and protects the spinal cord. It has been likened to the body’s switchboard. Most of the nerves pass from the spinal cord through small openings between the spinal bones (vertebrae), to the muscles, organs, bones and the skin. In fact, the nerve system controls and coordinates all organs, structures, systems and functions of the human body, helping to maintain homeostasis (natural physiological balance). Because of the spine’s complexity, its normal movements are easily disrupted. Falls, incorrect lifting, repetitive movements, faulty posture and even illness may cause disruption to the normal mechanics of the spine. These areas of abnormal alignment and irritation are what Chiropractors call SUBLUXATIONS. You don’t need to feel pain to have them.
What Does an Adjustment Actually “Do”?
Modern developments in neuroscience and imaging technologies mean that chiropractic researchers can now actively demonstrate what adjustments “do”. When a vertebra “fixates” or “subluxates”, it displays measurable electrical ‘irritability’ due to extreme tension in the local muscle, and also a lack of normal electrical activity in the correlated part of the cortex of the brain.
The ‘adjustment’ is usually with a fast thrusting movement that stretches local tight muscles in the spine, and sends a rapid signal up the spinal cord to the brain, where a measurable burst of activity occurs in the corresponding part of the cortex. An adjustment performed in under 0.2 seconds excites the highest-speed pathways to the brain. So a measurable change in brain activity occurs with normal spinal adjustments; sometimes with up to 300% more activity measured in the cortex! New neuroscience research coming out of New Zealand is investigating the possibilities of chiropractic care in stroke rehabilitation because of this powerful effect on brain function.