I was recently lucky enough to be asked to join into the morning chat on Melanie Cheesemans Vitality Show on my local radio station, Radio Winchcombe! Also in the studio was Clare Rigby, the focussed and talented owner of Zigs Exercise in Cheltenham. I thought, for those of you who weren`t listening in, I would share the answers to some of the questions which were put to me that morning....
Q. What IS Chiropractic?
A. Chiropractic literally means `done by hand`. It is a manual therapy, a method of adjusting the bones and joints of the body in order to improve skeletal alignment and restore joint function. We are primary health care providers which means that you do not have to be referred by your GP in order to see us.
Q. How is McTimoney different to mainstream chiropractic?
A. Developed by John McTimoney over 30 years ago, the McTimoney technique is recognised for being a gentle, whole-body approach to chiropractic care. The adjustments which are unique to McTimoney are low-force, swift and precise, making it a pleasant treatment to receive whilst being very safe and effective.
Q. Can I see a chiropractor through the NHS?
A. Not yet...Unless you live in one of the few areas of the UK where chiropractic is available under the `Any Qualified Practitioner` scheme. (Gloucestershire is not currently included in this scheme).
Q. What do/can chiropractors treat?
A. Normally, pain will be the reason that a patient visits me and some of the common problems I see in clinic are:
Lower back pain (disc injuries, ligament sprains, poor posture leading to joint malfunctions to name a few); Neck and shoulder pain (postural problems causing tensile load on neck and shoulder muscles, road traffic accidents causing whiplash-type injuries, frozen shoulder, rotator cuff muscle injuries); Sciatic-type pain; Migraine headaches and Cervicogenic headaches (relating to the neck); Pain associated with osteoarthritis (we obviously cannot change the arthritis itself, but we can help to minimise the pain and help to increase and maintain mobility. Several of my arthritis patients have found relief when I`ve used a combination of gentle mobilisations, McTimoney adjustments and Western Medical acupuncture); Repetitive strain injuries (RSI) like Tennis or Golfers elbow; Sports Injuries (Ultrasound is a great help when it comes to sprains and strains of soft tissue. Alignment checks are also so important if you`ve had a riding or skiing accident, a rough tackle on the rugby pitch (ouch!) or forgotten to warm up before the round of golf (tut-tut!)
However, pain is often the last symptom of dysfunction...in other words, you don`t have to be in pain to see a chiropractor! The rough and tumble of childhood, all those heavy books you carried as a teenager, the naughty postural habits you`ve developed over the years, the hours spent driving and on the computer, the children you`ve given birth to and/or carried on your hip all put stresses and strains on your body which can eventually lead to pain when you least expect it. Regular chiropractic checks can pick up on these problem areas and deal with them safely, gently and effectively before they become big issues.
Lots of my patients use chiropractic as a prevention tool to minimise the risk of pain or recurrences of old injuries.
Q. Who sets the standards for chiropractic practice?
A. The General Chiropractic Council (GCC). We must follow their code of practice and standards of proficiency. Anyone wishing to call themselves a chiropractor in the UK must be registered with this governing body.
Q. What is a good form of exercise for your back?
A. Pilates is top of my list for effective exercise for back pain sufferers. I refer patients to local trusted pilates teachers once I help them through the acute stage of pain. Research has shown that exercise and manual therapy combined has better results for back pain patients than exercise alone.
Thank you for taking the time to read this Blog post, I hope it has been of interest to you. Please refer to my FAQ`s page for other questions you may have, or contact me directly.