Who and What Are Chiropractors?

Chiropractors in Australia are a nationally registered and a regulated health care profession. Chiropractic is a drug and surgery free modality of treatment concerned with the diagnosis, management and prevention of mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system; this includes the effects of these disorders on the function of the nervous system and general health. It is based on the teachings of Galen and Hippocrates and the premise that the body can respond appropriately to its environment provided that the nervous system is free of interference. This was further developed by Palmer which lead to a focus on the spinal column and its functioning. In summary, chiropractors focus on the detection and correction of aberrant spinal function and its subsequent effect on how the nervous system controls and coordinates the body in response to its environment.

In Australia, chiropractors are educated in the University sector at an under-graduate and post-graduate level and there is a growing research and evidence base not only in Australia but through international federations. As with other healthcare professions, there are internationally and nationally recognised standards of qualification to enable practice in Australia and this is part of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme.

What do Chiropractors do and how do they treat children?

Chiropractors provide patient-centred care and work in partnership with the consumers of chiropractic services. This includes using shared decision making through the informed consent process and using communication strategies that are tailored to the needs and preferences of the patient. Good clinical decision making takes account of patients’ preferences and values, clinicians values and experiences to provide treatment that maximises benefit with minimum risk of harm. This includes referral to other healthcare providers when indicated to ensure the best and most appropriate treatment and health outcome.

The typical chiropractic care of infants and young children involves the use of low-force low-amplitude techniques in contrast to those used on the adult population that typically involve more high velocity, low-amplitude thrust in combination with a variety of low-force low-amplitude treatment procedures.

Published studies and reports through the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme show that chiropractic is a low risk health modality. While chiropractic treatment is generally considered safe, occasionally it may cause adverse reactions in some people. Similar techniques by other practitioner groups who have the ability to practise restricted acts as defined by law, also demonstrate low risk and harm.

Chiropractors are educated to modify spinal manual therapy to suit the age and presenting condition of a patient.

Can I have confidence in what Chiropractors do?

Chiropractors are registered by the Chiropractic Board of Australia and like all other registered health care providers, must adhere to National Law and profession specific codes of conduct and guidelines. An October 2015 Position Statement by the Board acknowledged that chiropractic paediatric management education is provided by all accredited Australian Universities, this incorporated an understanding of risks where identified and emphasised established clinical best practice guidelines for the treatment of children. There are gaps in the knowledge base in relation to the chiropractic care of children and more research is needed. What remains unchanged is that chiropractic care is delivered by university educated, regulated healthcare professionals. There is high expressed satisfaction by parents/guardians seeking care of their children. The profession is committed to ensuring evidence informed care is provided to patients.

Where do Chiropractors fit in the Australian Healthcare system?

All healthcare interventions carry a level of risk and treatment will be informed by evidence, clinician experience and patient participation. There is significant review and reform occurring in Australia to ensure that patients receive appropriate care, utilising effective treatments and underpinned by exemplary conduct. There are examples in all healthcare modalities where treatment choice, effectiveness and conduct are not optimal, it is not just about chiropractors and chiropractic, and all professions are experiencing change.

What is Chiropractic?

Chiropractic is not only a science but also an art and a philosophy for health. The Chiropractor doesn't actually cure but helps the body to heal itself.

The primary aim of chiropractic care is to restore and maintain the health of your nervous system thereby building your energy levels to maintain good overall health.

Are Chiropractors registered or licensed practitioners?

Chiropractors are most definitely registered and licensed practitioners. With a Bachelor of Science degree majoring in Anatomy from N.S.W. University, Athina Borg has completed five years of Chiropractic studies, including a two year masters degree in Chiropractic, and has been successfully treating patients for more than ten years.

To ensure that we offer up to date treatment using the latest research and technology, all practitioners are required to take part in ongoing studies and education.

What is an adjustment?

When an adjustment is given, the chiropractor uses a carefully directed and controlled pressure in a precise direction to a joint that is fixated, 'locked up' or not moving properly. The chiropractor locates the vertebral subluxation by using their hands or special instruments and applies a specific force. This allows the body to correct the subluxation and restore nervous system function and normal vertebral motion, thus correcting the position and motion of spinal bones.

Will it hurt when I get an adjustment?

The spine becomes accustomed to its incorrect position over time, so the first time you get adjusted and the spine is moved back to its correct position, it will stretch certain ligaments and muscles and alter the function of spinal joints. Most commonly people experience immediate relief following an adjustment. Occasionally they may feel minor discomfort as the body adapts to its altered position, however this is normal and only temporary.

Why do my bones making a cracking noise when I get an adjustment?

Lubricating fluids separate the bones of each spinal joint. Some adjusting methods can produce a sound when the gas and fluid in the joint shift. It is much like opening a bottle of champagne or removing a sunction cap. The sound is interesting, but is not a guide to the quality or value of the adjustment.

Can i adjust myself?

No. Some people make their joints 'pop', but that is not an adjustment!  Worse, damage can occur by mobilizing a joint with weakened muscles and ligaments. Adjustments are specific and take years to master. Even your chiropractor must consult another chiropractor to have his/her spine adjusted.

Can the bones move too much?

This is highly unlikely. A chiropractic adjustment is special. It has the right amount of energy, delivered to an exact spot, at a precise angle, at just the right time. The intent is to get a 'stuck' spinal joint moving again, helping to reduce nervous interference. Years of training, practice and experience make chiropractic adjustments specific and safe.

My chiropractor put me on a treatment plan. Can you explain why I need to follow this schedule?

This treatment schedule is what it will take in order to correct your condition so that your spine will sit straight and function correctly.

Can I just come when I am sore?

Yes, you can, however pain is the first thing to disappear and if the cause of your problem is not corrected, your pain will return and become more frequent. Your spine will also continue to degenerate over time if it is not corrected.

How long will it take for me to get well?

To relieve you of your pain it should only take a few visits, although in order to correct your problem it will take the duration of the treatment schedule prescribed by your chiropractor.

How is my treatment schedule worked out?

Elective or Wellness Care - This stage is not unlike maintenance care. This stage consists of periodical inspections to detect problems before they occur and become serious. This is like servicing your car - you get mechanical assessments to detect breakdowns before they occur.

Treatment schedules are tailored specifically to your individual condition and the time needed to correct your condition.

I have finished my corrective treatment plan, what now?

Now that you have finished your corrective treatment schedule your chiropractor will recommend a maintenance treatment schedule based on your individual needs. This is to ensure that you do not have a relapse and you experience the full wellness benefits of chiropractic care.