Chiropractic is a primary contact health care profession that is non-invasive and hands-on, focusing on the neuromusculoskeletal system.

The Australian Chiropractors Association (ACA) describe chiropractors as providing diagnosis, treatment and preventative care for disorders related to the spine, pelvis, nervous system and joints.

Chiropractors use a combination of treatments, all of which are decided based on the specific needs of the individual patient.

After taking a complete history, orthopaedic, spinal and neurological exam, a chiropractor can develop and carry out a comprehensive treatment plan, usually involving highly specialised manipulative techniques referred to as adjustments.

A chiro may recommend therapeutic exercise and also provide nutritional, ergonomic and lifestyle advice.

Chiropractic care may be used to provide symptomatic relief for patients with acute and chronic conditions.

What to expect during a chiropractic visit?

The first stage is to usually take a complete history, followed by a spinal and physical examination which will include all the necessary orthopaedic and neurological tests in order to diagnose each patient.

The chiro will then develop and carry out a comprehensive treatment plan, usually involving adjustments and soft tissue care.

The practioner will likely advise on exercises to bring relief, lifestyle changes and ergonomic improvements. Don’t be surprised to find your diet probed and opportunities for healthier alternatives suggested.

All advice is tailored to the individual patient’s needs, particular complaints and circumstances; the best chiropractors are also great listeners.

If you have any previous imaging results or other relevant health information, please take these with you.

If your chiro feels the need to have further testing done, appropriate referrals are generally made immediately.

A female chiropractor giving chiropractic treatment to a male patient. She is working on stretching his neck.

What exactly is a chiropractic adjustment?

An adjustment is a highly skilled and precise movement usually applied by hand to a joint of the body.

Adjustments are high-velocity but low-force and are therefore quite gentle.

An adjustment aims to restore normal movement to a fixated joint in order to optimize function of the joint which then may remove any irritation to spinal nerves.

When some joints are adjusted, a gas bubble escapes causing the popping noise you may have heard about. This is the same principle applied as when opening a can of soft drink.

Some techniques, however, do not cause any popping noises and the sound has nothing to do with the quality of the adjustment.

Adjustments performed with an instrument known as an activator may also be used in your treatment plan.

Chiropractic adjustment techniques have been researched extensively, and there are many techniques for a chiropractor to choose depending on the requirements of the individual patient.

Complications are rare and side effects, such as temporary soreness, are usually minor.

How many times will you have to attend?

How long is a piece of string? 😉

Each and every patient will have a different program of care as each person is unique in their circumstances. As such, it is only once a full assessment is undertaken, that there will be an accurate prognosis and a schedule of attendance suggested.

There are three phases of care:

  • Phase One focuses primarily on symptomatic relief (decreased pain, improved mobility, reduced inflammation)
  • Phase Two corrects long-term causes of your condition
  • Phase Three maintains the benefits achieved and prevents recurring problems

The chiropractor will discuss your health goals and work with you to achieve them.

Remember – you are not alone: nearly 80 per cent of Australians will experience back pain in their lifetimes.

It is also estimated that a third of Australians will be suffering from back pain at the time of my writing (and you reading) this post.

If you are one of those unlucky people who suffer from back pain, perhaps you should look at investing in a massage gun. Please see our comprehensive guide for more information.