Chiropractic is a drug free, surgery free system of healthcare primarily for the musculoskeletal systems (bones, joints, muscles and ligaments) and some of the neurological system (nerves and the spinal cord).
Chiropractors have a minimum of five years university education. In Australia the universities offering degrees in chiropractic are Macquarie (Sydney), Murdoch (Perth), Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (Melbourne) and Central Queensland (MacKay, Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney).
In addition to their academic qualifications, chiropractors who want to work in Australia must be registered with the Chiropractic Board of Australia and fulfil strict requirements as stipulated by National Law administered by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), including annual continuous professional development.
In order to make an accurate diagnosis of your problem your chiropractor needs as much information as possible. This will involve you completing a form when you arrive to describe your current condition and supply details of your medical history. The chiropractor will then perform a physical examination. It is possible that you may require further tests or x-rays, CT scans, MRI or ultrasound. The chiropractor should then have sufficient information to tell you what is wrong and whether they will be able to help you or if you require a referral to your GP or a specialist.
Typical conditions treated by a chiropractor are back and neck pain, sciatica, certain types of headaches, shoulder pain including frozen shoulder, elbow and wrist pain including tennis and golfer’s elbow, hip, knee and ankle/foot pain.
Chiropractors use a variety of techniques to reduce pain and improve mobility and function. The one system that most people associate with chiropractic is hand-delivered manipulation of the spine. Some chiropractors call this an ‘adjustment’. They may also use other techniques and/or modalities like heat, ice, massage, specific exercises, ultrasound and acupuncture. They may also give lifestyle, ergonomic and dietary advice.