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What is Chiropractic?

Chiropractic is a health profession concerned with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system (the framework of muscles and bones that support the body), 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 manipulation or adjustment (World Federation of Chiropractic, 1999).

What does Chiropractic treat?

Common conditions Chiropractors see are:

  • General, acute and chronic backache, back pain (not arising from injury or accidents) and lumbago.
  • Sciatica.
  • Mechanical neck pain (as opposed to neck pain following injury ie whiplash).
  • Migraine prevention and headaches arising from the neck (cervicogenic).
  • Muscle spasm and cramp.
  • General aches and pains, joint pains including hip and knee pain from osteoarthritis as an adjunct to core OA treatments and exercise.
  • Minor sports injuries.
  • Shoulder complaints (dysfunction, disorders and pain) including rotator cuff injuries or disorders.
  • Elbow pain and tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) arising from associated musculoskeletal conditions of the back and neck, but not isolated occurrences.
  • Short term management of ankle sprain and plantar fasciitis.

Muscle or joint pain may be seen arising from accidents, stress, poor posture, lack of exercise and every day wear and tear that happens to many of us.

Joint, muscle or nerve pain may be treated with safe manual manipulation and soft tissue techniques restoring mobility and relieving pain.  This is assisted with lifestyle, nutritional and exercise advice.

Chiropractors take a holistic approach to your health and well-being.  This means that they consider your symptoms in the context of your full medical history, your lifestyle and your personal circumstances.

For more information on Chiropractic go to www.gcc-uk.org.

Other treatments available under our Chiropractic care

Ian Wright is a qualified Western Medical Acupuncturist and Nicola Wright has undertaken postgraduate courses in Dry Needling.  Western Medical Acupuncture and Dry Needling are undertaken by healthcare professionals who use their skills to assess conditions suitable for Acupuncture.

Today there are different forms of Acupuncture however, the art of placing a needle through the skin remains the same, but the philosophy of why and where to do it differs.  Traditional Chinese Acupuncture aims at rebalancing energy flow from tissue to tissue by using specific points along meridian lines, whereas Western Medical Acupuncture / Dry Needling looks at the benefits of stimulating nerve endings under the skin, that result in the release of chemicals that have an effect on bodily systems.

Acupuncture has been in existence for over 5,000 years, and many Medical Centres use it on a regular basis as a formal means of pain management. Acupuncture is now an integral part of complementary healthcare in the United Kingdom. Modern research shows Acupuncture can affect most of the body’s systems – the nervous system, muscle tone, hormone outputs, circulation, antibody production and allergic responses, as well as the respiratory, digestive, urinary and reproductive systems.

Acupuncture is commonly used to treat musculoskeletal pain including back, shoulder, neck, leg or arm pain. It can also be used with success when treating certain types of headache, trapped nerves, chronic muscle strain and various kinds of various kinds of arthritic pain.

There is evidence published in leading Medical Journals that demonstrates the benefit of Acupuncture for hip, knee and shoulder arthritis, tennis elbow and chronic neck and shoulder problems.

Acupuncture treatment involves using disposable fine sterile needles.  These are inserted through the skin in specific locations around the body, and left in for up to 15 minutes. The number and size of needles varies. When the needle is inserted you may feel a small scratch sensation, and whilst it is left in the body it may produce an ache or pins and needles sensation.  This resolves once the needle is removed. Side-effects of treatment are normally minor and don’t last very long.  This could include a pimple at the site of insertion, bruising or general tiredness for a day or so.

Fascia is a tissue that runs throughout our bodies. It makes up to 30% of all muscle tensile loading when lifting a weight, the remainder coming from the contractile portion of muscles. Over time fascia can tighten in certain planes of motion leading to stiffness of movement in these planes, or directions. Fascia can be mobilised in direction of stiffness to become more supple, along with appropriately prescribed exercise routines. The methods of fascial work can range from hands-on manual approaches, to the use of instrument aided soft tissue manipulation (IASTM), using tools which have been designed to work with body contours.

Ian and Nicola Wright may use additional Neurological and Orthopaedic tests in order to detect functional imbalances within your nervous system.  Functional imbalances may create abnormalities in muscle tone and posture.  Consequently the nervous system can cause and be caused by musculoskeletal dysfunction.  These functional neurological imbalances may be treated using traditional Chiropractic techniques and various sensory stimuli and exercises.

This is where elasticated tape is temporarily affixed to the skin, over a joint, muscle or soft tissue.  Different techniques are used depending on clinical presentation.  The concept is tape can offer support to a joint so as to reduce movement around that joint during healing.  Or tape can be used to reduce soft tissue swelling.  Alternatively it can be used to stimulate or inhibit muscles that are underactive or overactive respectively.

Exercises may be prescribed to you that are functionally appropriate to your presenting issues, or you may be referred to someone whom is appropriate for your desired needs and functional requirements.

Initially in an acute stage, advice and stretch based exercises may be given.  When the condition stabilises various forms of strength training is available from exercises using your own body weight, to the use of equipment such as Therabands and Gym Balls. 

Ian Wright also has an interest in Neuromuscular Rehabilitation, which he is currently studying at the Prague School of Rehabilitation www.rehabps.com/REHABILITATION/Home.  These exercises are based around the premise that basic ‘core’ exercises are primitively coded, and movement faults have developed over many subsequent years through poor motion. The use of these ‘core’ exercises enables a correct anchor point, from which limb movement can be properly taught. This results in correct firing patterns of stabilising muscles, and reduced stresses being placed onto joints and the surrounding soft tissue systems.

Frequently Asked Questions

The first visit will take about an hour during which a detailed case history will be taken. Next, with your permission, a physical examination will be undertaken, including neurological and orthopaedic tests. You will be asked to undress and a gown will be provided. You will be given a diagnosis, treatment plan and the risks and benefits of the proposed treatment explained. You may be sent for imaging if necessary. Do not hesitate to ask questions you may have at any stage.

If appropriate, and with your consent, treatment will commence on this first visit.  Subsequent treatments are allocated 30 minutes.

Chiropractic treatment will consist of specific, safe and skilled joint manipulation/mobilisation and soft tissue work.  Advice and exercises may be given according to your specific needs.

However, if the practitioner feels that your condition cannot be treated using Chiropractic from the onset, they will recommend you see your GP or another health professional.  Similarly they will discuss carrying out further investigations or referring you if your condition does not improve.

Your first visit including treatment, allowing one hour, will be charged at £55.  Students and children under the age of 16 will be charged at £45.

Subsequent treatments including reassessments, allowing 30 minutes,  will be charged at £37 at the standard rate, and £27 for students and children.

Payment is collected after each treatment.  The Clinic does not offer accounts or run advanced payment schemes.  There is no card payment system, therefore payment needs to be either with cash or by cheque.

Some health insurance companies remunerate for chiropractic treatment.  Ensure you speak with your insurance company to confirm before commencement of treatment.

During the consultation the Practitioner will inform you of the proposed treatment plan, including the number of treatments they consider necessary, depending on your particular condition, how severe your symptoms have been, and how long you have had the condition.  

Your progress will be reviewed regularly and any revisions to the proposed number of treatments will depend on your response to treatment, and how much of your Practitioner’s advice you follow.  If there are any changes to your treatment plan you will be asked to give your consent.

Similarly the Practitioner will discuss with you the need to carry out further investigations, or referring you to your GP, if your condition does not improve.

Whether you decide to return for more regular treatments is always up to you.  Those people whose job or hobbies are very stressful, physically demanding or repetitive may benefit from check-ups.  This may help reduce reoccurrences of any old conditions, or can detect any potential new problems in their early stages.

Your GP does not need to refer you as the Practitioners are private healthcare professionals, and therefore their services are not available on the NHS.  However, many GPs recommend Chiropractic care to their patients.  Also you are not required to tell your GP that you are seeing a Chiropractor unless you want to.  With your permission, your Practitioner may send a report to your GP with details of your condition and the treatment you are receiving.

Chiropractic treatment is typically painless unless the area is in spasm, in which case treatment will be modified.  You may hear a clicking noise when one of your joints is being manipulated, but this is perfectly normal and commonplace with Chiropractic treatment. There is sufficient good evidence to support Chiropractic being a safe and effective form of care.  Any side-effects of treatment are normally minor and don’t last very long.  This may include soreness, stiffness or tiredness for a day or so.  However, do not hesitate to talk with your Chiropractor if you feel worried about anything either during or after treatment.

Anyone from babies to seniors that are experiencing pain, discomfort or stiffness.  Treatment is modified with babies, children, fragile seniors and pregnant ladies, but that does not exclude them from treatment.

Certain insurance companies do offer Chiropractic care within their schemes.  Consequently it is important to contact you medical insurance company first to see if you are covered.

The main difference between Chiropractic and Physiotherapy is the use of manipulation.  Manipulation forms part of Chiropractor core skills training over the 4/5 years of undergraduate training.  In contrast, Physiotherapists learn this skill in comparably very short post-graduate training courses.

Chiropractic and Osteopathy share much more common ground.  Today there are probably more similarities than differences in terms of concepts and techniques used.  The most important thing is that you find someone whom you have confidence in, and whom you feel comfortable with.

Chiropractors in the UK who possess a postgraduate Diploma, following their degree course, are given the professional title of Doctor of Chiropractic, signified by the use of the letters DC after their name.  However, Chiropractors who call themselves doctors must make it clear that they are a doctor of Chiropractic and not a registered medical practitioner.

It is illegal for anyone in the UK to use the title 'Chiropractor' unless they are registered with the General Chiropractic Council. In order to become registered you are required to undertake a minimum of 4 years full-time undergraduate training, on an accredited Chiropractic Degree course, with an optional one year postgraduate Diploma.  For more information on regulation go to the ‘Regulations’ page.