Chiropractic is a primary health-care profession that specialises in the diagnosis, treatment and overall management of conditions that are due to problems with the joints, ligaments, tendons and nerves of the body, particularly those of the spine.
Chiropractic is the western world’s third largest main stream health care profession after medicine and dentistry, serving the needs of thousands of people in the UK. Health insurers and the medical profession all recognise the positive contribution of chiropractic to healthcare.
Chiropractors provide care for patients of all ages, who present with a range of acute and chronic conditions. As well as advice about self-help, exercise, diet and lifestyle, chiropractors often provide support for pain management, sports injuries and active rehabilitation.
A Medical Research Council clinical trial and its follow-up, reported in the British Medical Journal in 1990 and 1995, found that chiropractic treatment of back pain was more effective than hospital outpatient treatment. The National Institute of Clinical Excellence and the European Commission Acute Low Back Pain Guidelines includes manipulation as an effective treatment for low back pain.
Doctors of chiropractic may assess patients through clinical examination, laboratory testing, diagnostic imaging and other diagnostic interventions to determine when chiropractic treatment is appropriate or when it is not appropriate.
Chiropractors will readily refer patients to the appropriate health care provider when chiropractic care is not suitable for the patient’s condition, or the condition warrants co-management in conjunction with other members of the health care team.
Chiropractic in the UK is a Government registered profession; therefore all chiropractors practising in the UK must undertake five year of training at a recognised university in order to be eligible for registration with the General Chiropractic Council (GCC). In common with medical practitioners and dentists, all chiropractors are registered by law under the Chiropractors Act 1994 and the title ‘Chiropractor’ is protected under this legislation. The profession is statutorily regulated through the GCC. It is illegal to practise as a chiropractor without being registered with the GCC. In order to maintain annual registration chiropractors must continually update their skills through methods of continuing professional development.
“Whilst other professions are concerned with changing the environment to suit the weakened body, Chiropractic is concerned with strengthening the body to suit the environment”
~ B.J. Palmer, the Developer of Chiropractic
Your chiropractor will start with a discussion about you, your health and your reasons for asking for chiropractic care. The consultation usually lasts between three quarters of an hour to an hour.
You will have a thorough case history taken which will not just be about your presenting complaint, but also about your past health history. If chiropractic appears not to be suitable for you, you will be referred to your GP or the appropriate medical specialist.
You will then be asked to undress to your underwear and provided with a patient gown for an appropriate examination of neuromusculoskeletal system (nerves, muscles and joints). It may be necessary to check out other systems such as the heart and lungs to rule out other causes of you problem. If we do not need to take x-rays or do further tests, your chiropractor will then explain your condition.
Report of Findings
A diagnosis will be made and an explanation of your problem will be given to you together with the treatment programme and likely outcome. Here you will have ample opportunity to discuss any questions. At the end you will know what is wrong, what can be done to solve the problem, how many treatments this may take and what possible side effects you may experience and why. See our FAQs for more advice.
Normally treatment will be offered on your first visit providing further investigations are not required. Your chiropractor will also give lifestyle advice, and may recommend specific exercises or nutritional changes in order to help manage the condition and prevent a recurrence of the problems.For more information click the treatment button.
The beginning is the most important part of any work”
Chiropractic treatments are specifically tailored to the patients needs and goals. Once we have discussed all our findings with you and you know what to expect, then treatment can begin!
Chiropractic treatment normally consists of a wide range of manipulative techniques and exercises designed to improve the function of your joints and soft tissues, relieving pain and muscle spasm. Chiropractic does not involve the use of any drugs or surgery. However, please note chiropractic is a profession not a technique and as such the scope of treatments used will vary vastly depending on your clinical need.
How many treatments and what kind of treatments are needed varies from patient to patient. Many factors such as their diagnosis, lifestyle, exercise and commitment levels will dictate the frequency and number of the treatments needed. See our FAQs page for more detail.
Our Chiropractor Robin Marshall is qualified in many forms of differing treatments from spinal and extremity joint manipulation to rehabilitative exercises, intramuscular dry needling and various forms of myoneural modulation (Trigenics) and soft tissue release (Active Release Techniques). Robin is one of a very small group of Chiropractors in the UK to be certified in Active Release Technique – the most precise, comprehensive and effective soft tissue treatment system available and consequently favored by elite athletes the world over.
Chiropractors will also support these treatment tools with lifestyle advice, ranging from uncovering hidden nutritional needs, to mastering ergonomics at work, often suggesting small but significant changes to the habits or choices we make that are stopping our bodies from recovering to the best of their abilities. Many are shocked to learn what they thought was wisdom, passed down through the years, turns out under scientific scrutiny to be a hindrance rather than a help!
At Active Health we can draw on our inter-professional skills to tailor your treatment to your needs. We also have experts in the fields of Physiotherapy, Pilates and Personal Training, so as your recovery progresses you may be referred to another part of the team to maximise your potential using our broad and in depth knowledgeable practitioners.
Research and Chiropractic
Research supports chiropractic – numerous studies throughout the world have shown that chiropractic treatment, including manipulative therapy and spinal adjustment, is both safe and effective. Most recently the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has published new guidelines to improve the early management of persistent non-specific low back pain.
The guidelines recommend what care and advice the NHS should offer to people affected by low back pain. NICE assessed the effectiveness, safety and cost-effectiveness of available treatments and one recommendation is to offer a course of manual therapy, including spinal manipulation, spinal mobilisation and massage. This treatment may be provided by a range of health professionals, including chiropractors. In addition, NICE also recommended a course of acupuncture needling:
“Consider offering a course of acupuncture needling comprising up to a maximum of 10 sessions over a period of up to 12 weeks. Do not offer injections of therapeutic substances into the back for non-specific low back pain.”
Spinal manipulation is part of the package of care that chiropractors offer and, by including this within the guidelines, it will hopefully increase accessibility to these beneficial treatments.
Here at Active Health our Chiropractor Robin Marshall is licensed and qualified in both spinal manipulation and the invasive use of acupuncture needling we call “dry needling“. So be assured that these pillars of our care are in the most recent NICE guidelines.
Below is a selection of other research papers and reports of relevance and interest.
UK Beam Trial; Back pain, exercise and manipulation (UK BEAM) randomised trial: effectiveness of physical treatments for back pain in primary care. British Medical Journal Nov 2004; 329; 1377 (doi: 10.1136 /bmj. 38282. 669225.AE)
Medical Research Council; ‘Low Back pain of mechanical origin: randomised comparison of Chiropractic from hospital outpatient treatment’; Meade et al.
Medical Research Council (Follow-up-study; Trial ‘Randomised comparison of Chiropractic and hospital outpatient management for low back pain; results from extended follow up’; Meade et al.
RCGP – Clinical Guidelines for the Management of Acute Low Back Pain 1996, 1999, 2001.
Clinical Standards Advisory Group; Back pain Report 1994.
Acute Back Pain – Primary Care Project; The Wiltshire and Bath Health Commission.
Carter JT, Birrell LN (Editors) 2000. Occupational health guidelines for the management of low back pain at work – principal recommendations. Faculty of Occupational Medicine. London. Occupational health guidelines for the management of low back pain at work – leaflet for practitioners. Faculty of Occupational Medicine. London. 2000. Waddell G, Burton AK 2000. Occupational health guidelines for the management of low back pain at work – evidence review. Faculty of Occupational Medicine. London.
Chiropractic Treatment in Workers with Musculoskeletal Complaints; Mark P Blokland DC et al;Journal of the Neuromusculoskeletal System vol 8 No 1, Spring 2000
Musculoskeletal Services Framework – Department of Health. July 2006 The main treatment interventions, as recommended by the current evidence review and that of clinical guidelines is a biopsychosocial approach: a) Guidance on activity, lifestyle, prognosis and prevention. b) Physical treatments drawn from all types of manual therapy, spinal manipulation and rehabilitation exercise. c) Advice about pain control, including non-prescription medication. d) Psychosocial interventions aimed at resolving cognitive barriers to recovery. Non-rigid stabilisation procedures for the treatment of low back pain – National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. June 2006 States that chiropractic intervention can be used in the treatment of acute low back pain. European guidelines for the management of acute nonspecific low back pain in primary care. 2005
Recommends the consideration of spinal manipulation for patients failing to return to normal activities.