Chiropractors specialise in diagnosing and treating neuromuscular disorders. These health care professionals have been specially trained in adjustment techniques which they apply manually to the spine, addressing spinal misalignments which could be the cause of health issues. Not only can chiropractors help to reduce pain and improve a patient's range of motion; they can also guide people to look after their own health via every day practices - from exercise to ergonomics and complementary therapies - designed to prevent upper back pain and lower back pain.The Australian Chiropractors Association (ACA)
is the representative body for chiropractors in Australia. With over 3,000 members, it seeks to provide a platform for all chiropractors operating in the country, while demonstrating leadership and, like other representative associations, providing a service to its members. The ACA aims to support chiropractors in enhancing health and maximising opportunities for the sector. Beginning life as the Chiropractors' Association of Australia (CAA), the ACA was founded in 1990. As well as professional chiropractors, it also incorporates chiropractic students in Australia. Through its Australasian Institute of Chiropractic Education (AICE), the ACA has established advanced learning pathways via five Clinical Practice Groups, which allow members to widen their knowledge base and skill set. There are also two special interest groups designed for networking and knowledge exchange. Other ACA resources include a classified ads section, a podcast series and the Australian Chiropractor (TAC) magazine.
While it should be remembered that chiropractic treatments don't work for everyone, they do offer a range of potential musculoskeletal benefits. These include; improving joint mobility; improving joint function; decreasing the degeneration of the joint; loosening up tight muscles; combatting the inflammatory process; improving circulation; improving nerve system function; quickening the recovery process; and bolstering the immune system.
Sufferers of chronic pain can benefit from conservative care methods such as chiropractic treatment. Chiropractic adjustments can help in alleviating the symptoms of chronic pain and can potentially correct the mechanical dysfunctions which are causing problems. A chiropractor can recommend exercises which you can do at home that help to self-manage chronic pain symptoms. Treatment can lead to reduced pain, increased mobility, and, ultimately, improved quality of life.
Subluxation refers to a vertebra which has moved, leading to a functional loss. Chiropractic treatment usually focuses on spinal manipulation in the particular location in which the vertebra has moved. The removal or correctional of subluxations is able to eliminate interference with the nervous system; improving not only the function of the spine, but overall health.
Migraines and headaches
Chiropractic treatment can be effective in treating migraines and headaches. It is becoming increasingly popular among chiropractic professionals as a way of helping patients to reduce the frequency of migraines and headaches, while reducing both their severity and duration. Chiropractic treatment is able to reduce irritation in the nerves which send the brain pain signals, while helping to reduce muscle tension and restore normal blood flow. It can also help to identify the triggers of migraines so that they can be avoided.
Chiropractors are able to help in the case of injuries and accidents. From sports injuries to mishaps, chiropractic treatment can be an effective conservative option in a number of ways. Injuries which occur along the spine can sometimes be alleviated with chiropractic treatment through spinal manipulation, improving the alignment of the body, and potentially being beneficial in other body parts such as the abdomen and limbs.
Chiropractic treatment can certainly be an excellent posture corrector. A chiropractor can check for a postural imbalance - such as a tilted pelvis or one shoulder being higher than the other - before correcting them. After removing joint dysfunctions and restrictions, you can start to work on postural improvement and other lifestyle aspects. Postural problems which can be treated include an uneven pelvis, uneven shoulders, hunchback, forward head posture and scoliosis.
Chiropractic therapy can be an option for those with arthritis, especially osteoarthritis, which is causing back or musculoskeletal neck pain. It is able to help relieve and manage pain in a non-invasive, safe manner, which can be used as an alternative to prescription drugs. Treatment can be successful in reducing joint restrictions, leading to improved function of the affected joint and reducing inflammation. The improvement to nervous system function which chiropractic treatment enables can mean your body is able to cope better with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.
Back and neck pain
Back or neck pain is the most common reason for people to have chiropractic treatment in Australia. Treatment is usually centred on spinal manipulation involving pulling and pushing, as well as the methodical repositioning of body parts such as the back, neck, shoulders, hips, head, and hips, in order to alleviate back or neck pain. Chiropractic treatment for back and neck pain is generally best combined with other therapies such as massage, hot or cold treatment, electrical stimulation, and stretching.
Chiropractic treatment can improve spinal alignment, addressing back pain, as well as other ailments such as neck pain and headache. Adjustment techniques can involve your chiropractor placing you in certain positions, allowing the chiropractor to apply a controlled force to certain areas or joints. This can result in cracking or popping sounds when the chiropractor moves joints beyond their normal range of motion.
Slipped discs refers to when a disc which has herniated or bulged out between the bones, causing pain when nearby nerves are touched or compressed. Slipped discs typically occur in the lumbar spine or lower back, and one way of treating them is chiropractic care. After the evaluation of your condition, a chiropractor can put together an individual treatment plan to help relieve your spinal pain via manual adjustment, while also recommending ways in which you can strengthen your back.
There are plenty of ways in which you can self-manage back or neck pain - let's run through some of them.
Use proper lifting techniques
When you lift up objects which are awkward to hold or heavy, do you use the correct technique? Failure to do so could exacerbate your back or neck pain, or worse still, lead to an injury. In general, you should keep a wide support base with your feet at least shoulder width apart. Only bend at the knees and hips, and keep good posture by looking straight ahead. Don't try to lift by bending forward, but rather squat down to the load. And lastly, you shouldn't lift a heavy object above the level of your shoulders.
There are many exercises which you can use to strengthen your back muscles and neck muscles, potentially improving your range if you have a stiff neck or back, and reducing pain. In general, these exercises will strengthen the core muscles without exerting unnecessary pressure on the joints. An exercise programme can be created by a physical therapist, and there are back pain exercises which you can perform at home such as single leg raises, front planks, heel raises, and standing side leg lifts. There are also many stretches for back pain which take only a few seconds and be performed at home or at work.
Use correct posture
Using incorrect posture may lead to back and neck pain. You should avoid slouching when sitting in a chair, as this can increase muscle tension and cause pain. Try sitting up straight, with your lower back supported. This may be easier when you use exercises to strengthen your core muscles, including your buttocks. When standing, an ideal posture is with your feet roughly shoulder distance apart, your shoulders back and relaxed, and your weight balanced on both feet evenly. Your legs should be straight, but your knees should be relaxed.
Avoid sitting for long periods of time
Do you have a desk job which involves you sitting for long periods of time at the computer? If so, it is absolutely vital that you break up these long periods of sitting, for a stretch, walk, or more strenuous exercise. Whether it is a walk around the block, a trip to the coffee machine, or a mid-day gym session, ensure that you are not sitting for long stretches. Desk workers can even switch to a standing desk in order to reduce their sitting time.
Contact a chiropractor
Chiropractic treatment can prove very effective in treating back and neck pain, through adjustments which are made via spinal manipulation. After evaluating your condition, a chiropractor is able to methodically reposition areas of the back and neck. Chiropractic treatment can supplement other treatments - including massage, stretches and electrical stimulation.
We've covered some of the important information on chiropractors and chiropractic treatment in Australia, so now let's look at common queries which can arise:
What is a chiropractic adjustment?
A chiropractic adjustment - sometimes referred to as spinal manipulation - is a treatment which is carried out by chiropractors. The procedure involves a trained specialist using hands, or alternatively a small instrument, to apply sudden force to the spinal joint in a controlled manner. Chiropractic adjustments are able to improve spinal motion, while offering a raft of other potential benefits to the physical function of the body.
When should I visit a chiropractor?
Are you asking yourself the question, "when should I visit a chiropractor near me?" Back and neck pain are generally the most common reasons why people try chiropractic treatment. You might choose to visit a chiropractor for other reasons, however, including; headaches, muscle tension due to sitting for long periods, certain types of injury, joint pain, signs your body is misaligned, shooting pains in the legs, or a limited range of motion.
How often should I visit a chiropractor?
How many times you should visit a chiropractor will come down to your individual situation. Most chiropractic care programmes can be completed over a few sessions, although sometimes you might need to visit your chiropractor twice a month or more. People with back or neck problems can see a substantial improvement in three to five visits, but there can be other influential underlying factors. If you have an injury or condition which is causing you intense pain, sometimes a more intensive chiropractic care programme can be suitable - even two to three times a week, in some cases. This frequency can decrease as your condition improves.
How long do chiropractor sessions last for?
How long your chiropractor sessions last will depend on your condition, how long you have had it, and what needs to be achieved during the appointment. Your first visits, including your evaluation, could last between 30 minutes and one hour. Subsequent visits could be much shorter; as little as ten minutes is needed in some cases. This makes chiropractor appointments convenient to fit into your working day.
How much does chiropractic care cost in Australia?
You should be aware that the cost of an initial appointment which includes a consultation is likely to be higher, and can depend on the way in which an evaluation is conducted. For example, the cost of imaging tests such as an x-ray may need to be factored in. Fees in Australia will vary according to the particular chiropractic practice. The price for an initial consultation and first session can range from $70 to $140. A standard visit usually costs in the region of $40 to $60.
What qualifications do chiropractors need in Australia?
Becoming a chiropractor in Australia requires at least five years study. A Bachelor's degree in health science must be followed by a two-year Master’s degree, before Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA)
registration is achieved. To drill down a little further - to become a chiropractor in Australia you need to achieve a Bachelor of Chiropractic Science, a Master of Clinical Chiropractic, and then get AHPRA registered, which includes Continued Professional Development (CPD). It should be noted that your AHPRA registration needs to be renwewed every year to demonstrate that you have progressed with CPD, including seminars and training courses which will both develop and update your knowledge.
What should I wear to a chiropractic session?
The key thing to remember when choosing your attire for a chiropractic appointment is that your clothes should not restrict your movement. That's because you need to move in them with no obstruction, lie down, and move into positions which you may not be accustomed to. Think loose and comfortable. If you are visiting your chiropractor in the middle of the working day, note that it is not suitable to turn up in a shirt and tie, and so have your change of clothes prepared in advance. Women should avoid wearing skirts or dresses, and instead opt for tracksuit bottoms or shorts which are easier to manoeuvre in. Steer clear of many layers. In the winter time you may want to remove extra clothes when you arrive at the chiropractor's. Multiple layers or very thick clothes can make moving your arms and legs harder.
Do chiropractors accept Medicare?
Chiropractic treatment is not covered by Medicare in Australia, unless it is part of an enhanced care plan. If you are pondering seeing a chiropractor, you should consider private insurance options. This is typically the case for most forms of ancillary care, such as dentists and podiatrists. Whether your insurance policy will cover chiropractic care, and to what degree, will depend on its particular terms. If chiropractic care is included there would typically be an annual limit applied to it by your policy. For more information, ask your health insurance consultant.
Do I need a doctor’s referral to see a chiropractor?
You do not require a medical referral to see a chiropractor in Australia under most circumstances. Any time you wish to make an appointment with the chiropractor of your choice, you can do so. It should be noted that if you qualify for chiropractic treatment under Medicare's enhanced primary care program, you would need a GP referral, and this would typically cover you for up to five visits to the chiropractor. Similarly, if your treatment is being covered by the Department of Veterans' Affairs - which supports those who have served in the Australian armed forces - you would also normally need a medical referral.