Chiropractic is a healthcare profession that focuses on the diagnosis, treatment and management of neuro muscular skeletal conditions that are due to mechanical dysfunction of the joints, the associated muscles and the effect this has on nerve function, general health and well being.
As a natural and complementary healthcare solution, chiropractic works first to understand the cause and source of your complaint. Chiropractic treatment involves gentle and specific manipulation/adjustments of the spine and other areas of your body to realign vertebra that are subluxated (out of align) or unlock joints that are fixated (jammed) and not moving correctly, to ensure greater, improved movement helping to manage the pain and nerve irritation. Allowing your body to use its own healing ability to attain optimal health.
A visit to your Doctor of Chiropractic is a similar experience to visiting your GP or other medical specialists. Remember that he or she is a primary health care professional and as such you do not need to be referred by a GP or specialist.
For your chiropractor to understand your complaint and treat it, it is important that he or she conducts a full physical examination. This includes appropriate orthopaedic and neurological tests whereby joint function, muscle strength, and nerve function, as well as body balance and alignment are determined. Your chiropractor will then be in a position to establish the problem area and identify the source of the complaint.
Once he has diagnosed the problem he or she will discuss the findings with you and recommend different treatment options or treatment plans. At this stage he or she will answer any questions or concerns you may have. Treatment may be in the form of only a single visit offering fairly rapid relief or the condition may require further continued care necessitating several treatments to stabilize the problem. Treatment will most likely include manipulation/adjustments, soft tissue therapies and other techniques such as heat, ice, ultrasound, electrotherapy, massage, nutritional advice and exercise to enhance results.
Chiropractic is a non-invasive therapy, however, patients are often required to remove certain items of clothing to enable the chiropractor to examine and treat the condition appropriately. Gowns are made available for you to wear for this purpose.
Chiropractors are Doctors of Chiropractic having trained for 6 years. They are required to continue to update their knowledge and attend vital chiropractic seminars. To practice legally as a chiropractor in New Zealand chiropractors must be registered with the New Zealand Chiropractic Board and have an annual practising certificate issued by this board. The New Zealand Chiropractic Association (NZCA) is the professional body representing most of the registered chiropractors in New Zealand.
While chiropractic is a drug-free healing alternative for neuro- muscular-skeletal complaints your doctor of chiropractic will accept referrals from other medical specialists and will refer you to the appropriate specialist if he considers it necessary and in the best interest of the patient.
Chiropractors are are trained to treat all muscular and skeletal problems within the body. Such as hips, knees, shoulder and foot problems. This also includes any sports related injuries. Some chiropractors have done postgraduate studies in extremity and sporting injuries. In New Zealand ACC requires chiropractors treating extremity and sports related extremity injuries to be registered as such. At Chirohealth your principle chiropractor has completed a postgraduate certification in sports related injuries and is registered with ACC to treat extremity problems.
Chiropractors are registered as ACC providers and as such, chiropractic treatment is covered by ACC. As with most medical professions that contract to ACC, you are required to pay a surcharge for your treatment. Your chiropractor can lodge an ACC claim on your behalf and provide the relevant documentation.
Your initial consultation and treatment is usually 45 min to an hour, during which time your chiropractor will do a thorough history, examination, report of findings and treatment if indicated. Follow-up visits and treatments are usually approximately 20 min but can extend longer with difficult cases.
The number of treatments you will require depends on many factors such as whether your condition is an acute (recent) or chronic (older than three months), traumatic or non-traumatic and the nature of the injury such as a disc prolapse or muscular strain. There are generally three levels or stages of care:
- The acute inflammatory/pain phase: This initial phase often requires approximately 3 weeks of treatment. The number of treatments can range from 1 to 3 treatments per week depending on factors such as severty and nature of injury.
- The healing phase/stabilisation phase: This is the phase where the body will heal the injured tissue and the phase where treatments focus on stabilising the injury to avoid re-occurrence or a relapse into phase 1. In this phase treatment frequency reduces to 1-2 treatment per week or fortnight and my extend over a period of 1-3 months, again depending on many factors. We strongly recommend patients follow through with this level of care as this will often help to strengthen and stabalise their injury helping to prevent reoccurrence.
- Maintenace Phase : This level of care is recommended for patients with chronic re-occurring back complaint which are often related to pathology of the spine such as degenerative spines, prolapsed discs and old traumatic injuries. These spines often need ongoing treatment to maintain and improve function and manage their pain. This can range from 1 treatment fortnightly to monthly or every few months depending on what is required.
REMEMBER YOU ARE IN CHARGE OF YOUR OWN HEALTH. We will guide you and recommend the level of care you require but you can decide on the level of care you want whether that is just to get rid of the pain or make long-term changes to improve and stabilise your injury and improve your health.