Frequently Asked Questions
Chiropractic is named from the Greek roots “Ki-ro and “prak-tik”, meaning to do by hand.
Chiropractic is the manual correction of the vertebral subluxation to reduce irritation to the nervous system so that your bodies own innate, intelligent healing system can work to its full potential.
Chiropractic is putting things right!
Chiropractic is about correction so that your body can function optimally.
Chiropractic is not medicine, drugs nor surgery and it is different to physiotherapy and osteopathy, even though we realise these professions have an important role in society.
Chiropractic is a science, art and philosophy.
Chiropractic is the philosophy of cause.
Chiropractic is something we are passionate about.
There is a difference between manipulation and a specific adjustment.
A “manipulator” delivers a force to multiple levels of the spine with the sole intent of “mobilising” the area. The manipulator generally contact’s the spine and no care is taken to isolate the specific joint or vertebrae. Whatever “cracks” during manipulation does so without a specific goal in mind other than global movement. A manipulator gives every one the same “asprin” approach no matter what the presenting conditions are. Often they manipulate the spine in many areas often on both sides.
An adjustment implies that a detailed examination is performed at every visit via a functional assessment by the doctor’s “hands on” palpation of each joint to determine “if” there is a subluxation and exactly “where” it is located and that information is then applied to the x-rays to determine the best way to reduce the condition. The Chiropractor contacts the subluxated vertebrae on a specific part of the segment. They then position the patient with an exact placement of the appropriate spinal components and introduces the force with a specific “line of drive” and a calculated amplitude (depth or distance) to produce a cavitation (noise like cracking one’s knuckles). These factors are case specific for each patient. The adjustment is accomplished by specific isolation of adjusted segments and occur within the normal range of vertebral movement.
Yes, Chiropractic is extremely safe.
In the scientific literature, there have not ever been any significant complications reported as a consequence from receiving a Gonstead Chiropractic adjustment. This is quite impressive considering that Dr. Gonstead first introduced his system to Chiropractors in 1951 and that it is also widely used around the world.
In comparison, 16,000 – 20,000 people in the USA die each year from complications as a result of over-the-counter pain relievers (eg. bleeding ulcers and heart attacks). Roughly 7 out of 1000 people will die from “routine” neck or back surgery. Many others suffer long lasting side effects such as scar tissue build up and structural instability caused by surgery.
In extremely rare circumstances, rotational manipulation of the neck may damage a blood vessel and give rise to stroke or stroke-like symptoms (approx 1 in 5.85 million neck manipulations, Haldeman, et al. Spine vol 24-8 1999). We have never utilised these rotational manipulations in our practice nor do we have any intention of doing so.
Chiropractic spinal adjustments are far safer in dealing with back pain compared to medication and other alternatives. (A Risk Assessment of Cervical Manipulation, JMPT, 1995. Manga Report, Ontario Ministry of Health, 1993).
Not everyone needs Chiropractic care, although many can potentially benefit from Chiropractic at some point in their lives.
While some people may not need Chiropractic treatment, periodical assessment of our spine and nervous system can determine if a problem (Chiropractic subluxation) does or doesn’t exist. This process is similar to having our teeth checked by a Dentist.
The Chiropractors at Ballarat Spinal Health have experience in treating all ages from infants to the elderly. The age range of our patients is from several days of age to over 90 years. Even if you do not have pain, subtle signs of subluxation may be present before pain begins.
It is not always possible to predict how many visits a new patient will need to resolve their initial condition. This is because no two injuries are the same and healing responses differ from one person to the next.
Based on our clinical experience, we can often give patients an estimate on how long their recovery may take. After 2-3 visits and once we have seen the initial response to adjustments we can give a more accurate estimate of how long resolution will take.
We aim to “custom build” a schedule of treatment that suits you and your problem. Too many or too few adjustments will have a negative impact on your progress. The more you improve, the less often we need to see you. If your condition responds quickly, you might need less visits that what you initially thought.
We object to contract care – where practitioners pre-sell you a pre-determined number of visits. You might be paying for visits you don’t need and have you feel obliged to attend even though you may not need to. Over treatment can be harmful and actually prolong your problem, leading to a vicious cycle of more visits and more cost to you.
In the long term, we want to teach you when adjustments are required and when it is best left alone. This way you can self manage your condition into the future. Many patients require very few adjustments for periods of resolution that can last months or years. Most of our long term- patients recognise the signs of when they need an adjustment. By scheduling appointments in advance they can reduce the intensity and duration of their pain episodes. Many of our patients decide to come in for regular checkups which vary in frequency from one per month to once per year.
No. Chiropractors also address / treat other moveable joints in the body.
The same principles of trauma causing misalignment, subluxation and pain apply to all of the moveable joints in the body.
Pain in the extremity joints (such as the shoulder) can originate from the spine, so it is important to consider the spine first. If the cause cannot be traced there, then it is necessary to look at that extremity joint.
Even the jaw can become misaligned or subluxated, causing tempro-mandibular pain and an uneven bite. Often a dental issue can cause issues with your jaw. If your dentist has cleared you, or no dental problem exists, Chiropractic may help correct this problem.
No. Chiropractors are primary health care physicians so a referral is not necessary.
Generally we work well alongside the medical doctors in the community. We do accept GP referrals for the Medicare Enhanced Primary Care Program and Department of Veterans Affairs patients.
If a Chiropractic problem doesn’t exist and you don’t need an adjustment, then we can refer you to another provider. Chiropractors are trained primary health care practitioners. Where it is clear that your problem is best treated elsewhere, we will refer you accordingly.
Many conditions can respond to Chiropractic adjustments, but that does not mean that all conditions always do respond.
A subluxation can not only cause pain but in some cases can also cause digestive, respiratory and other seemingly unrelated symptoms. While we do not treat these disorders or symptoms directly, many of these can show improvement or even resolve within a few adjustments. The body’s own healing ability starts to work. Should this not happen in your case, we would guide you as to your choices for other treatment. In conjunction with this advice we also suggest you consult your medical doctor.
Pain of any kind, at any age, is a sign that something isn’t right. Pain signals to us that we have reached a limit or we have sustained an injury.
Our bodies sustain injuries daily and the innate healing ability can repair the damage quite quickly, often within 24 hours. We often talk to people who perform physical activities they are not accustomed to and they can ache for a day or so afterwards. If pain does not resolve in the first day or if pain episodes re-occur, then it is possible that there is enough damage to the ligamentous support of the joint, resulting in subluxation or misalignment. Prompt correction of the joint misalignment usually results in quicker recover times.
Whereas, a subluxated joint can increase pain episodes over times with reference to intensity, duration and frequency. A delay in treatment for such conditions could mean that it is more difficult and expensive to resolve.
This is a question we hear every day and our answer in most cases, is No.
For example, simply changing worn tyres on a car without understanding the problem will not solve the issue. Understanding how and why the tyres wore out is fundamental. Knowing what needs to be done is crucial to correct the problem.
Muscle tension and spasm is the body’s natural response to injury and an attempt to stabilise a problem. Every muscle has a nerve supply and requires a signal from its nerve supply in order to contract. Muscular problems indicate nervous system irritation and it is the job of a Chiropractor to correct the cause of that.
Health care practitioners are too quick to provide a diagnosis of soft tissue injury (such as muscle tears) to explain episodes of pain. It is too easy to see and feel significant muscle spasm under the skin and attribute this as the cause of a problem. Even assumed microscopic, invisible tears still indicate some nervous involvement or an attempt by the body to stabilise injured joints.
To see is to know, to not see is to guess.
We do not get an XRay and only look at it on the one occasion. The Chiropractor will refer to your XRay at each and every visit.
We do this because we can have a better understanding of your individual features and your condition with an x-ray as compared to without. The XRay also gives us information about your individual spinal structure, so that we can determine the best adjustment for you. From the XRay we can also learn about condition of the disc and other joints, the relationship from one bone to another and about other areas that might need attention later. Understanding these factors is what reduces the need for unnecessary visits and costs to you in the long term.
We do not often recommend XRay of children and adolescents. Their spines are underdeveloped. However, if we cannot accurately identify the problem, we may need to take a limited XRay to assist us further.
Since there is uncertainty about the effects of XRays during pregnancy, we would not knowingly XRay a pregnant patient.
Should you have access to previous XRays, we are happy to consider if they are suitable to work with. If they are not suitable, we would explain why and advise you if you require further XRay examination.
Massage therapy and specific manual Chiropractic adjustments do not compliment each other when done on the same day. We recognise that soft tissue therapies can and do benefit some people.
Our Chiropractors are particularly interested in specific hands-on Gonstead Chiropractic. It has taken many years for us to gain the experience and learn our skill. We take pride in our expertise and we believe that if our patients require soft tissue therapies, then they deserve to see someone with a special interest and expertise in that field. We would happily recommend someone like that, whom we know and trust.
Some muscular tension actually helps to get a good quality adjustment without putting too much force into the patient. It can be more difficult to get a good adjustment on a patient who has just had massage or soft tissue treatment.
We work in partnership with Ballarat Myotherapy Clinic. We have no objection to our patients seeking soft tissue treatment, whether with Ballarat Myotherapy or outside of our office. Often it is possible to get a good result without having to combine adjustments with massage.
As part of your recovery, the Chiropractor will suggest an exercise regime to suit you, your age and your condition. We do not normally recommend exercise until the motion of the spine reaches at least 50% of its normal movement. Prior to that the muscle will not receive the exercise well and may aggravate the presenting problem. We also find that too much or inappropriate exercise is unnecessarily aggravating some people’s problems.
Sometimes we recommend a period of rest so that your body can recover with less risk of re-injury. After you have been able to rest, we can guide you in your resumption of exercise. Additionally, we can consult with your personal trainer so that you can achieve your physical goals without continually aggravating your problem. This gives the best results for you and your trainer without needing additional or otherwise unnecessary visits to us.
With Chiropractic correction, your body will adapt to a level of work or exercise that is appropriate for you. As a result, we aim to have reach your full potential.
No. Even Chiropractors need Chiropractic care. With our training and experience we recognise that it is not possible to adjust ourselves to achieve a meaningful and lasting result.
Some people can make their joints “pop” but that’s not an adjustment! You may experience relief after this as well. However your discomfort will return and you will search of further relief by doing the same thing. An adjustment is a precise, controlled force delivered to a bone at the right place, in the right direction and the right time.
Damage can occur by mobilising or manipulating an incorrect joint with weakened muscles and ligaments. This can happen with self-manipulation or manipulation by another well-meaning person, such as a spouse! Adjustments are specific and must only be applied to the joint that is restricted. The adjustment takes years to master and even your Chiropractor must themselves consult a colleague to benefit from Chiropractic care.
If you have had back surgery, Yes you can have Chiropractic care.
If you have had a joint fusion, we can avoid the surgically modified areas of your spine. Surgery often causes instability and dysfunction above or below the level of fusion. We may need to consider these areas for your Chiropractic when we examine your condition.
If you have had a minor laminectomy or microdiscectomy, we can often adjust these areas. That is, assuming that your body has healed from these procedures. In this case, there is little risk associated with an adjustment. It is possible to achieve good results in these circumstances.
In either situation, your individual case deserves a proper examination to determine the suitability for Chiropractic care and what type of results you can expect.
Yes. Many of our patients are over fifty years of age and subsequently have some degree of osteoporosis or osteopenia. Your Chiropractor considers the unique circumstances of each patient and will modify adjustments accordingly.
Osteoporosis is not usually a painful condition. It features a demineralisation of bone and consequently increases the risk of a pathological fracture. Pain is however a significant feature of osteoporotic pathological fracture.
Most of the patients who report to us that they have osteoporosis and assume that this is the cause of their pain, get results from Chiropractic adjustments.
Even normal “natural” childbirth without intervention can affect an infant’s spine.
Contractions during labour and delivery result in compression of the baby’s head against the cervix at forces of up to 100 kilograms, for the duration of delivery. Most mothers who have had a normal delivery would recall this. In utero, constraint can affect a baby’s spine or extremities and is a very common cause of subluxation.
Many babies have no birth trauma and as a result do not require any treatment or adjustment.
Rather, parents with babies experiencing colic, unusual crying, poor appetite, difficulty breast feeding or erratic sleeping patterns, often choose Chiropractic. Many of these have had a traumatic birth and may benefit from a Chiropractic adjustment.
Chiropractic is a conservative choice for new parents seeking to have their baby checked, similarly with their medical doctor or even a paediatrician. We are more than happy to check a child at any time. At the conclusion of any examination, we provide advice regarding the suitability of treatment. Where a child without obvious problems is checked out, our position remains not to treat.
We often work in conjunction with lactation consultants and would choose to refer to a medical doctor or paediatrician for any cases that that prove to be difficult or not possible to manage with Chiropractic treatment alone.
An adjustment requires minimal pressure. Modifications ensure each adjustment suits the patient.
Chiropractic care is for the whole family.
Inflammation is the body’s natural response to an injury. This is characterised by pain, swelling and HEAT. When injured, the body part is already hot and is trying to get heat out. This is why the application of ice can be beneficial to help the inflammation resolve quicker and naturally.
We find that people who have been using heat for low back or neck pain have perpetuated their problem. Often the painful episode would have resolved quicker if they had done nothing as compared to heating it up each day.
When indicated, an appropriate adjustment with the application of ice will result in a quick resolution to the problem.
If you MUST use heat, apply it to an area as far as possible from the inflamed joint, such as in the case of radiating leg pain. Place the heat pack down in the leg NOT over the inflamed spinal joint.
Yes. We have a HICAPS terminal on site where you can claim your private health insurance rebate. Rebates differ between funds and each policy, as a result, our reception team can assist you with questions you may have.
We also have EFTPOS facilities so that you can pay with your credit card or debit card.
No. We expect that you will get a good result from Chiropractic care. Therefore, you should be able to continue your daily activities without the need for anti-inflammatory or pain relief medication.
Our experience is that anti-inflammatory medication will often prolong the pain episode. Anti-inflammatories may actually stop the chemical interactions involved in normal inflammatory processes necessary for adequate tissue healing. As a result, find our patients usually respond to our treatment quicker without any anti-inflammatory medication.
Professor Peter Gotzsche of the Cochrane Institute says with regard to anti-inflammatory drugs, that there is “no proof that they reduce inflammation”, (Google “Prof Peter Gotzsche anti-inflammatory”). http://www.smh.com.au/national/health/peter-gotzsche-founder-of-the-cochrane-collaboration-visits-australia-to-talk-about-dangers-of-prescription-drugs-20150204-136nqc.html
Similarly, this is consistent with what we hear in our office almost daily, patient’s indicating that they have tried these drugs unsuccessfully.