ChirosClinic - Chiropractic, sports-massage, nutrition and more | FAQ
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If your query isn’t answered below, please call us on 01264 324924

What is the difference between Osteopathy, Chiropractic and Physiotherapy?

Therapists have been treating muscular aches and pains for thousands of years. Long before the Roman Empire, there is evidence of massage techniques being used in India and of acupuncture in China. Greek athletes were massaged with aromatic oils, Roman soldiers and gladiators had their joints and muscles manipulated to improve flexibility and speed of movement as well as recovery from injuries sustained in combat. In terms of physical therapy, for many years in the British Isles, and Europe we had ‘bone setters’ who treated muscular conditions with which we are all familiar, such as neck ache and sciatica. These individuals normally had these skills passed down from one generation to the next, unfortunately with little or no medical knowledge. Undoubtedly, this would have been of great concern to the medical authorities of the age.

Up until the 1870s there were no formal medical treatments for muscular conditions other than opiates (morphine), cocaine, and in some cases surgery. However, 1872 saw the emergence of the first science-based, medically-trained physical therapy.

Osteopathy was devised by a Canadian army surgeon, Andrew Taylor Still in 1872. His principals were based on the idea that correct mechanical structure would lead to improved bodily function, with an emphasis on maximizing the blood flow around the body. The principals were achieved with techniques (some old, and some new) such as massage, stretching, and manipulation of the joints of the body.

Chiropractic was devised by a Canadian (living in the USA) called Daniel Palmer in 1895. His principals and techniques were similar to osteopathy but focused on maximising the functioning and efficiency of the nervous system, as opposed to the blood system.

About the same time, in the UK, four nurses established the Chartered Society of Physiotherapists. They used massage and rehabilitation techniques such as those devised by the Swede Pehr-Henrik Ling, with the focus being on improving the functioning of the muscular system.

At Chiros Health Clinic we believe that the principals of all three professions are correct. To improve the body’s physical functioning, and ability to recover from injury therapists should use appropriate techniques to maximise the health and efficiency of the nervous system, the vascular system, and the musculo-skeletal system.

Who should I see, or what sort of treatment should I receive?

This is a very difficult question to answer, but as a general rule if you have pulled a muscle then physiotherapy, massage, sports therapy or acupuncture would be appropriate.

If you had one sided neck, mid back, low back pain, migraines, pins and needles or tingling sensations in the arms, buttocks or legs then chiropractic could be appropriate. In some cases a particular injury could be treated by either of the above therapies.

If there is any doubt as who you should see then Nick Richmond (our Head of Practice) is available for a free, brief check-up to determine the nature of the problem and refer you to the most appropriate therapist.

How does McTimoney Chiropractic work?

The gentle and non-invasive McTimoney technique is applied to the spine and other joints of the body to relieve pain and restore normal joint mobility.

Chiropractors look for areas of your spine where the joints may be fixated and ‘pressing’ or ‘pinching’ on nerves. The application of the technique to a specific area is called an ‘adjustment’, a very high speed but light impulse movement of the hand.

By re-aligning the spine and relieving irritation of the neighbouring nerves, the nervous system is allowed to function at its optimal level, thus helping to restore the body’s musculo-skeletal health.

What is an adjustment?

Chiropractic adjustments can vary greatly, but generally they involve a quick impulse in a specific direction to restore proper movement to a joint. Some methods are done using the chiropractor’s hands or a hand-held instrument.

There are many ways to adjust the spine and the most appropriate method will be chosen for each patient. There are some very gentle techniques that can be used to treat infants and the elderly.

Will my treatment hurt?

Chiropractic treatment is usually painless unless an area is inflamed, in which case treatment will be modified. Very occasionally you may hear a clicking or popping sound when one of your joints is being adjusted – this is perfectly normal.

Can I have treatment or care while pregnant?

Yes. Many pregnant women benefit from chiropractic and physical therapy care. Your body is changing rapidly, altering your centre of gravity and your gait. This, in turn, can put stresses on your spine and other joints.

With treatment these areas can be balanced, decreasing the levels of discomfort. However, due to legal requirements we may abstain from treatment between weeks 10 and 14  of the pregnancy.

How many sessions will I need?

Generally, two to four sessions are sufficient to notice if there are going to be any significant improvements in your condition.

This will vary depending on the severity of the injury and how long you have had the injury. Your age, general fitness and health may also have an influence on how quickly you recover.

A course of treatment may also be prescribed for you, which may be two to four additionally sessions spread over several months.

I have a medical condition. Is it safe for me to have treatment?

There are numerous common medical conditions that exist and are perfectly safe to have treatment at the same time. These need to be checked with your practitioner who can then determine whether it is safe to proceed or that you need a referral to a GP or similar healthcare professional.

How can I prevent my condition/injury from returning?

After your initial course of treatment, your practitioner may suggest some rehabilitative exercises or refer you to another practitioner qualified to offer these exercises. Once your condition has stabilised you can use these exercises on a regular basis or enrol in one of our many exercise classes (pilates and yoga).

Additionally, following a routine of general exercise (gym, walking and cycling) as well as having a good, balanced diet will also help prevent your injury from returning and promote a healthy lifestyle.

It may also help the body to have a regular check up, the frequency of which will depend on individual needs, some patients like to be treated every few months, whereas others are happy to be checked once a year.

How will I feel after treatment?

In addition to feeling less pain from your injuries or condition, occasionally you may have a post treatment reaction phase, usually lasting up to two days: The most common reactions being slightly stiff, sore, achy, tired and, occasionally, headaches.

Should I work after treatment?

This would depend on the nature of your work. If you are office based you may want to rest for an hour before resuming work. However, if you work involves vigorous or strenuous activity it may be better to plan your treatment for the end of the day in order to give the body time to recuperate.

Which treatment should I see for headaches / neck aches?

We are frequently asked whether Physiotherapy, Osteopathy, and Chiropractic would be the best practitioner for a specific condition.

Chiros Health Clinic is very fortunate to have practitioners qualified in all three disciplines. We have discussed the issue and have agreed a general format to help people make the right decision.

  • If you have neck ache on both sides of the neck (with or without headaches), and if it is a dull, continuous ache with no sharp pain on neck rotation, then it is likely to be a muscular condition and you should see Eric Burns the Chiros Health clinic’s sports therapist.
  • If you have one-sided neck pain (with or without pins & needles in your arm/hands), and the pain becomes sharper on rotating your neck to the opposite side to the pain, then this also is likely to be muscular and you should see Nick Richmond or Eric Burns.
  • If you have one-sided neck pain(with or without headaches) which becomes sharper on neck rotation, or you have a reduced range of movement to the side of pain, particularly if you have pins needles in fingers and hands on either side – then this is likely to be skeletal e.g. the joints in the neck, and you should see Nick Richmond, our Chiropractor, who is also trained in osteopathic techniques.

Which treatment is best for lower backache?

Backache is the hardest condition to define, as Osteopaths, Physiotherapists, and Chiropractors are all very capable at treating the lower back. However, a few tips:

  • Sit on a dining room chair and extend one leg out in front of you, keeping the leg up, lean forward towards the toes. Then do the same with the other leg. If this causes more pain then you need to see Nick Richmond, the Chiropractor.
  • If this does not cause pain then side bend and reach behind you at the same time. If this hurts on the opposite side of the bend then you need to see Eric Burns, the Sports therapist.
  • If it hurts on the same side then see Nick Richmond, our Chiropractor.
  • Low back pain between the rib cage and pelvis or in the buttocks is likely to be muscular so should be treated by Jane Lavers, the Physiotherapist.
  • Finally, any other low back pain, particularly involving pain, pins, and needles going down one or both legs could be a sign of disc problems and can be assessed for free by Nick Richmond, the Chiropractor.

Which treatment is best for mid-back pain?

This type of condition is characterised by sharp, stabbing pain in the mid-back area. It can also be difficult to take a deep breath and become more painful when you touch your chin to your chest. It may also be accompanied with pins and needles in one or both arms.

The most efficient way to treat this condition is to have a couple of sessions with chiropractor, Nick Richmond to treat the jammed spinal and rib joints, followed by a couple of sessions to treat the pulled muscles between the ribs.