Chiropractic is a primary healthcare profession that specialises in the diagnosis, treatment and management of conditions that are due to mechanical dysfunction of the neuromusculoskeletal (nerves, muscles, tendons, joints and ligaments) systems, with particular interest in the relationship of the spinal joints and their effect on the nervous system.
Treatment consists of a wide range of manipulation (adjustments), mobilisation and soft tissue techniques. It is aimed to restore and maintain improved mechanics of the joints and soft tissues, thus relieving symptoms and improving the health and wellbeing of the body. Manipulation involves the application of carefully directed and controlled pressure to a dysfunctional joint. As the adjustment is performed, the joint is moved and the surrounding muscles stretched, thus encouraging the restoration of normal joint movement.
In addition to the adjustments, the chiropractor will offer individual advice about the patient’s lifestyle and prescribe specific stretching and strengthening exercises to help manage the condition, speed up and maintain recovery and prevent recurrences in the future.
Chiropractors treat many conditions which at first may not appear to relate to the spine.
- Shoulder / arm pain
- Hand / wrist pain
- Carpel tunnel syndrome
- Repetitive strain injury (R.S.I)
- Hip pain
- Knee pain
- Foot / ankle pain
- Slipped disc
- Pins & needles and numbness
- Sports injuries
This is by no means an exhaustive list, so if your specific condition is not listed, please call us for free advice.
People often ask “Do chiropractors crack bones?”. This is a popular misconception, so let’s look at what we do, why we do it and how.Chiropractic works by identifying the underlying cause of your pain, and correcting it.Our focus is the nervous system, which consists of your brain, spinal cord and millions of nerves which control virtually every cell, tissue, organ and system of your body.
Twenty four movable bones (vertebrae) encase your spinal cord and the problems start when factors such as accidents, physical stress, mental stress, lack of exercise, poor diet and posture cause these bones to lose their normal position or motion.This can then cause inflammation of the spinal joints between these vertebrae, and in turn, irritation or compression of the spinal nerves which exit from between the vertebrae and feed all the muscles and organs of your body.
The unfortunate consequence of that chain of events may be localised pain in the spinal joints and nerves, as well as referred pain and compromised function in the muscles and organs that they feed.Where you feel your symptoms is determined by where the irritation has occurred in your spine.
Thus it stands to sense that if the problem is stemmed at its source, by identifying the vertebrae that aren’t aligned or moving properly, and restoring normal alignment and motion, the body’s inherent healing ability is facilitated, and a more effective, long-term solution is provided, rather than simply masking the symptoms short-term.
Normal alignment and motion of the vertebrae is restored using a wide variety of techniques, and the chiropractor will use those most suited to you, depending on your specific condition, age etc. One such technique is the chiropractic ‘adjustment’ (manipulation), where a controlled, precise force is applied in a specific direction to the joint in question.
During this procedure, a ‘click’ or ‘pop’ may be heard coming from the joint.This is where the misconception that we crack bones originates, but in fact, the sound is merely the sound of bubbles of gas popping in the fluid of the joint as the pressure is released, rather like when you ‘crack’ your knuckles.
In addition to manipulation, the chiropractor may use a variety of other techniques such as massage and stretches, depending on your condition.
Your nervous system consists of your brain, spinal cord and millions of nerves. Your brain is well protected within the skull; however, the spinal cord is vulnerable as it passes through the 24 moving vertebrae of the spine.
Everyday activities such as sitting for long periods, car accidents, repetitive strain injuries (RSI), stress, poor posture and diet can contribute to spinal joint (facet joints) dysfunction, nerve irritation and muscle tightness.
Chiropractors are trained to diagnose and treat mechanical spinal joint dysfunction, thus restoring normal joint movement and relieving nerve tension and muscle spasm. Chiropractors are legally obliged to give you a working diagnosis and treatment plan before they can commence with treatment.
We feel that it is of paramount importance that you understand your condition and are equipped with the appropriate lifestyle advice and stretching/strengthening exercises to help speed up the healing process and prevent recurrences in the future.
During your initial consultation, your chiropractor may feel that it is appropriate to take x-ray’s and / or send you to your GP to ensure we offer you the best possible care.
The birth process may be one of the most traumatic events of our lives and infants have different ways of expressing spinal dysfunction. When you bring your child to a chiropractor he/she will take a thorough medical history and examine the child neurologically and orthopaedically. The examination is aimed to determine if spinal motion is normal or if any vertebral segments or cranial bones are locked or not functioning appropriately. The treatment usually consists of very gentle adjustments to the skeletal structure, muscles or viscera to restore normal movement and function of the body.
Advice will usually be given concerning the child's posture, diet and nutrition. Chiropractic is very gentle and safe and does not involve drugs or any other medical intervention. The aim is to establish homeostasis which is the body’s natural healing process.
Headaches in children
Headaches may occur early on in childhood and it is rapidly becoming a frequent occurrence in young children. It is usually associated with spinal joint misalignments of the neck causing referred pain to the skull or even muscle spasm at the base of the head. There is often a trauma associated with spinal misalignment or poor posture whilst sitting on badly designed school chairs. Often chronic headaches can be associated with fatigue, depression and change in behaviour and can often be mistaken for this and medicated incorrectly. The child may have difficulty looking at the blackboard or even feel nausea at times. Chiropractic care for headaches is usually very effective providing it relates to the spine or skeletal structure, and the treatment is always in combination with postural advice and home exercises.
Low back pain in children
Research from around the world (but mainly Finland and Scandinavia) has shown an increase in low back pain in children. It usually starts around 11-14 years old and becomes more frequent with age. There is a strong correlation with competitive sports, time spent watching television and greater weights of schoolbags. This is a health risk widely ignored by the NHS and schools as young children are not “expected” to have spinal complaints. However a study of 1242 students showed that 30:4% of children reported back pain and a third of them had restricted activity (Olsen et al.1992). Chiropractic care will always be initiated with a full spinal screening for symmetry and balance of the body. Spinal alignment and curvatures will be assessed and individual joint movement and muscular balance. The treatment may incorporate exercises and advice on how to sit in school and it is not unusual to see a chiropodist for evaluation of the posture of the feet. The earlier a child can get help the sooner he will get relief from his symptoms and learn how to look after his spine in the future.
Is chiropractic safe? Yes! Especially when compared with other forms of medical treatment. Chiropractic has an excellent safety record, due to its conservative and natural approach to healthcare.
The World Health Organization states that when "employed skilfully and appropriately, chiropractic care is safe and effective for the prevention and management of a number of health problems."
The International Chiropractic Association (ICA) suggests that chiropractic is one of the safest health professions and chiropractors have some of the lowest malpractice insurance premiums in the health care industry. As with all interventions, there are risks associated with spinal manipulation.
Chiropractors are trained and qualified to take and analyse x-rays. Your chiropractor may decide to take x-rays as part of the initial consultation or when a clinical need may arise during the treatment process, as treatment may need to be modified according to what we can see on x-ray.
If, however; you have recent existing NHS or private films or other imaging, your chiropractor may ask for your written consent to access that information, to prevent duplication and unnecessary exposure.
Lechlade Chiropractic Clinic is monitored by the NRPB (National Radiation Protection Board) to ensure the health and safety of the patients.