What is a chiropractor?

Chiropractors are highly trained wellness professionals who focus on the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal disorders, with an emphasis on spinal adjustments.

When you think of spinal adjustments, an image that comes to mind is of chiropractors “cracking” their patients’ backs. But that cracking or popping sound is simply air escaping the joints, much less dramatic than people think.

It’s more accurate to say that chiropractors use various techniques to adjust the spine to restore normal function and improve range of motion.


How does chiropractic work?

The nervous system is the master control system for the body. It’s made up of the brain, spinal cord and nerves. The spinal cord runs through the vertebrae of the spine. Nerves branch out from the spinal cord to innervate (supply sensation and function to) every part of the body.

The nervous system is responsible for coordinating all the body’s functions, from something as simple as blinking your eyes to more complex functions like digestion or immunity. A properly functioning nervous system is essential for maintaining optimal health.

When interferences to the nervous system occur at the spinal level, it’s called a vertebral subluxation. Subluxations can be caused by physical, chemical or emotional stressors.

A chiropractor’s role is to detect and correct subluxations in the spine. A chiropractic adjustment optimises nerve function by removing interference from the spine. When the spine is aligned correctly, nerve impulses flow freely from the brain to the body and back again. This allows the body to function at its highest level.


What is the origin of chiropractic care?

The practice of chiropractic can be traced back to ancient Greece. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, wrote about manual spinal manipulation for treating low back pain.

Chiropractic care as we know it today began in the late 1800s. Daniel David Palmer of Iowa theorised that vertebral misalignment was the cause of many diseases. He started treating patients with adjustments, and the profession of chiropractic was born.

The first chiropractic centre in Australia was established in the early 1900s. It wasn’t until the late 1970s and early 1980s that chiropractic began to gain popularity. Today, chiropractic is well accepted in Australia’s health care community. There are currently 4,875 practising chiropractors in the country.


Are chiropractors medical doctors?

No, chiropractors are not doctors. Instead, they’re trained in a branch of health care called chiropractic.

Chiropractors are health care professionals who focus on disorders of the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system, as well as the effects of these disorders on general health. These include but aren’t limited to chronic low back pain, neck pain, joint pain and headaches.

Chiropractors use spinal adjustments and other techniques to treat patients with musculoskeletal problems. Some chiropractors also provide lifestyle advice and exercise programs as part of the treatment plan.

You don’t need a referral from a doctor to see a chiropractor. But it’s always a good idea to check with your primary care physician first to make sure chiropractic is right for you.

Do chiropractors work in hospitals?

Chiropractors are not usually based in hospitals, and they may work in clinics, health centres or their own practices. Some chiropractors work in other settings, such as sports teams or performing arts companies.

While chiropractors are not typically employed by hospitals, they may collaborate with hospital staff on patients’ treatment plans. In some cases, chiropractors may also provide consultations to hospitals or other health care facilities.

Can chiropractors prescribe medication?

Chiropractors are not doctors. They cannot prescribe medication or perform surgery.

That said, chiropractors often work with other health practitioners to provide patients with comprehensive care. If your chiropractor believes you would benefit from medication, they will likely refer you to an appropriate health care provider for further evaluation and treatment. They may also recommend over-the-counter medications or natural supplements that can help alleviate pain and inflammation.


How long does it take to be a chiropractor?

To become a chiropractor in Australia, you must complete a minimum of five years of study at an accredited chiropractic institution.

This may consist of a five-year Bachelor’s degree in chiropractic science. Or it may include a three-year Bachelor’s degree followed by a two-year Master’s degree in chiropractic.

Chiropractors in Australia must be registered with the Chiropractic Board of Australia. To maintain their registration, chiropractors must complete continuing professional development (CPD) every year.


Are chiropractors and osteopaths the same?

Chiropractic and osteopathy are similar in some ways. They are both hands-on therapies that focus on the musculoskeletal system. Both chiropractic and osteopathy aim to diagnose and treat problems with  joints, muscles and bones. However, there are some critical differences between the two:

  • Chiropractors use a range of techniques to facilitate spinal adjustments. Meanwhile, osteopaths primarily use their hands to stretch and massage the muscles and joints.
  • Chiropractic is based on the belief that the nervous system is the body’s control centre and that misalignments in the spine can lead to problems elsewhere in the body. Osteopathy is founded on a different belief — that maintaining health is about having a strong circulatory system and proper blood flow.

If you’re unsure which one is right for you, it’s best to speak to a qualified practitioner who can advise you on the best course of treatment.


What is the difference between a chiropractor and a physiotherapist?

There is confusion about the differences between chiropractors and physiotherapists. Both healthcare professionals assess, diagnose and treat musculoskeletal conditions, and both use a variety of techniques. However, there are some major differences between chiropractic and physiotherapy.

The most notable difference is that chiropractors focus on treating musculoskeletal disorders. Meanwhile, physiotherapists focus on treating physical impairments.

Chiropractors use spinal adjustments to treat disorders such as back pain, headaches and neck pain. Physiotherapy focuses on exercises and stretching to help improve range of motion and reduce pain.


Is chiropractic a science?

One of the foundation principles of chiropractic is that the nervous system controls all body functions. The spinal cord and brain comprise the central nervous system, and they are protected by the bones of the spine (vertebrae).

The vertebrae interlock via small articulations called facet joints. Tiny muscles around these joints play a significant role in supporting and moving the spine. They also send constant feedback to the brain on the spine’s health.

However, when the joints are damaged and unable to move properly, these little muscles sleep. They also stop sending information to the brain. That means other larger muscle groups have to start doing work they’re not designed to do to compensate for the lack of signals. Meanwhile, the brain is unaware there is damage in the area, so the body doesn’t heal.

A chiropractor adjusts the joints, allowing them to move correctly again and reawakening the little muscles.


How do chiropractors know where to adjust?

Palpation, which is using one’s finger tips to feel, is a staple diagnostic tool in chiropractic care. It’s a non-invasive method often used by chiropractors to determine structural or functional issues in patients.

Chiropractors will use palpation to feel for areas of the spine that are not moving correctly. When they find these areas, they will apply a sudden and controlled force to the joint to restore proper movement. This is often accompanied by the typical “cracking” or “popping” sound as gas bubbles escape from the joint.


What can a chiropractor fix?

Chiropractors are commonly associated with treating back pain. But they also treat other conditions for which chiropractic is not as well-known. Here are some of the conditions that a chiropractor can help with…

Joint pain

Joint pain, such as knee or hip pain, can be caused by alignment issues in the spine and pelvis. Chiropractors use various techniques to help alleviate joint pain, primarily through spinal or pelvic adjustments.


Arthritis is a common condition that causes inflammation in the joints. There is no cure for arthritis yet. However, chiropractic can help to minimise pain and improve joint function.


Migraine sufferers may find relief with chiropractic care, as it can help reduce head and neck tension.

Pregnancy-related pain

Many pregnant women experience back pain and other discomforts due to the changes in their bodies. Chiropractic treatment can help to alleviate this pain and make pregnancy more comfortable.

Infant colic

Colic is a condition that is caused by gas or intestinal discomfort. Chiropractic care may effectively treat infant colic by helping relieve any abdominal or intestinal pain.


Is going to the chiropractor painful?

Going to the chiropractor causes little to no pain. You may feel sore after your adjustment as your body adjusts to the new alignment. But the discomfort should subside quickly. Many people find that getting a chiropractic adjustment relieves pain and helps them feel better overall.


What’s the difference between a chiropractor and self-cracking?

“Self-cracking” refers to the popping noise that often accompanies the release of built-up gas or fluid in your joints. The reason why it provides temporary relief is due to the release of endorphins. Endorphins are the body’s natural painkillers and deliver a sense of euphoria to your brain.

Cracking your back may feel good at the moment. However, it’s a non-specific movement that does nothing to fix the underlying problem. In fact, habitual self-cracking can cause further damage to the joints of your spine.

Only chiropractors can perform a spinal “adjustment.” This is where a chiropractor uses their hands to apply sudden, controlled force to a specific joint to get it moving properly again and help relieve pain.


Are chiropractors safe?

Chiropractic adjustments are safe when performed by a registered chiropractor. All chiropractors must complete an accredited chiropractic program before they can practice.

Chiropractors are regulated by state boards. They must continue education courses every year to stay up-to-date on the latest developments in the field.

However, as with any type of healthcare treatment, chiropractic adjustments have associated risks. The most common side effects are mild soreness or stiffness in the treated areas.

Severe complications from chiropractors are rare, but may include strokes, herniated discs, joint damage, and nerve damage. That’s why it’s essential to see a licensed chiropractor who has experience treating your condition.


When should I see a chiropractor?

If you’ve been experiencing neck pain, backaches or headaches with no obvious medical explanation, you may want to consult with a chiropractor.

Many people visit chiropractors for help with chronic pain management and relief from various aches and disorders. Some see chiropractors regularly to maintain their health and wellbeing. Meanwhile, others only visit when they’re experiencing an acute problem. Patients suffering from tiredness, indigestion, muscle pain, numbness and tingling have also found relief from chiropractic.


Does Medicare cover chiropractors?

People who seek chiropractic care may be wondering whether or not their Medicare benefits will cover the cost. The good news is that it can.

If you have a referral from your GP, you can claim a rebate for up to five visits to a chiropractor per year. This means that you will only need to pay a gap fee (the difference between the rebate and the full cost of the consultation).

If you’re not covered by Medicare, you may still be able to claim benefits through your private health insurance. Many private health insurers cover chiropractic services. So it’s worth checking with your provider to see if you’re covered.


How do you choose chiropractic care that’s right for you?

There are many different types of chiropractic treatment available. So it can be challenging to figure out which is right for you.

Here are a few things to consider when choosing a treatment:

  • Your overall health and wellness goals
  • The specific condition or injury you’re treating
  • Your personal preferences

The best way to choose a treatment is to consult with a chiropractor. They can assess your specific needs and recommend the best course of action.


What should I keep in mind when selecting a chiropractor?

When looking for a chiropractor, it’s crucial to find one that best suits your needs. There are many different types of chiropractic, and not all chiropractors are created equal. Here are some things to consider when choosing a chiropractor:

1. What type of chiropractic care do you need?

There are many different adjusting techniques available for a chiropractor to use. So it’s improbable that two chiropractors will adjust your spine the same way. If you have a specific condition that needs to be treated, you’ll want to find a chiropractor who offers the type of care you need.

2. What are the chiropractor’s qualifications?

The best way to determine if a chiropractor is qualified to treat your condition is to ask about their education and experience. All chiropractors will have completed an accredited chiropractic university course.

3. Does the chiropractor have a good bedside manner?

It’s important to find a chiropractor that you feel comfortable with. During your first visit, pay attention to how the chiropractor interacts with you. Do they take the time to answer your questions? Do they seem rushed or impatient? Are they willing to listen to your concerns? The way a chiropractor treats you will give you a good idea of how they’ll treat your condition.

4. What are the chiropractor’s office hours and location?

Make sure the chiropractor’s office hours and location are convenient for you. You’ll want to find a chiropractor with flexible office hours if you have a busy schedule. You may have to travel further to see a qualified chiropractor if you live in a rural area.

5. What is the cost of treatment?

The cost of chiropractic care is comparable to other similar health care treatments. Many insurance plans cover chiropractic care, which can be claimed at the chiropractor’s office.

Choosing the right chiropractor is an important decision. Take your time to research and find a qualified practitioner who meets your needs.


What do you wear to a chiropractor?

There’s no need to dress up for a chiropractor’s appointment. A good approach would be to wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothes. You should avoid layering your clothes too much. Too many layers make it difficult for your chiropractor to adjust or examine your back. You will also probably be asked to remove your shoes and jewellery that could get in the way of the treatment.


How often should you see a chiropractor?

It depends on your individual needs.

If you’re in pain or feel like your alignment is off, then it’s probably a good idea to make an appointment. The sooner you receive treatment, the sooner you will find relief from your symptoms.

If you are not in pain but would like to prevent pain or improve your overall health and wellbeing, regular chiropractic adjustments can help. After an initial program of care, many people choose to see their chiropractor once or twice a month to maintain their health and wellbeing.

Your chiropractor will be able to advise you on how often you should get treated based on your needs and health history.


Do ordinary people need chiropractic care?

Yes, chiropractic treatments are beneficial for everyone. Just as we see a dentist to keep our teeth and gums healthy, a chiropractor can help keep our spine and nervous system healthy.

Chiropractors in Australia receive over 12 million visits each year. Over one million (approximately 8.6%) of these consults involve children.

Technology has become a fixture in our everyday lives. But it comes at a cost. The widespread use of smart devices has led to a surge in chronic back pain and neck problems. Prolonged sitting and slouching in front of your computer or smartphone can create immense pressure on the neck and lower back. This may result in low back pain, sciatica, neck pain or headaches.

Chiropractors help ordinary people manage their daily grind while also providing relief so they don’t continue the injury cycle.


How often should I see a chiropractor when I’m healthy?

You may only need to see a chiropractor for maintenance or preventative care when you’re in good health. This means visiting the chiropractor routinely to keep your spine aligned and prevent future problems.

For people dealing with pain or other health issues, more frequent visits may be necessary at first. It’s not unusual to visit a chiropractor twice a week when patients are starting out. Once your condition has improved, you can reduce the frequency of your appointments.

It’s generally recommended that healthy adults receive chiropractic treatments once every four to six weeks. Infants and children typically need care less frequently.


Why does a chiropractic adjustment feel good?

A chiropractic adjustment is a high-velocity, low-amplitude thrust applied to the vertebrae. This type of adjustment releases endorphins, which are the body’s natural pain killers.

In addition, when the joints of your spine aren’t moving correctly, it affects the function of your nervous system. It also creates muscle tightness, which can cause pain in the area. A chiropractic adjustment relaxes the muscles and improves the nervous system, allowing your body to heal.

Think of your spine as the electrical wiring in your house. The electricity will not flow properly if there are any kinks or breaks in the wiring.

The same is true for your nervous system. Subluxations (misalignments) in your spine can interfere with the proper transmission of nerve impulses. This can lead to pain, discomfort and a host of other problems. A chiropractic adjustment can fix this by restoring normal function to the spine and nervous system.


When is it time to stop seeing a chiropractor?

The answer to this question is not always straightforward, as it depends on the individual case. Ultimately, it is up to the patient to decide when they feel they no longer need chiropractic treatments. However, there are a few general guidelines that can be followed.

If pain or other symptoms have notably improved and are manageable without regular chiropractic adjustments, then it may be time to stop seeing a chiropractor. Or if the underlying cause of the problem has been addressed and resolved (such as through lifestyle changes), there may be no need to continue with treatment. Finally, if the patient feels confident and comfortable managing their condition independently, they may decide to stop treatment.

Of course, it is always best to consult your chiropractor before making any treatment decisions. They’ll be able to provide guidance and advice based on the individual case.

It is important to remember that a chiropractic adjustment is not meant to be a short-term fix for pain or other symptoms. Instead, it addresses the underlying causes of these issues and promotes long-term health and wellbeing. For this reason, it is often recommended that people continue with regular chiropractic adjustments even after their symptoms have resolved to maintain optimal health.


What are the disadvantages of chiropractic care?

A chiropractic adjustment’s most common side effects are mild soreness in the affected area, headaches and fatigue. More severe but extremely rare side effects may include nerve compression, herniated discs, and strokes.

Chiropractic care is generally considered safe when performed by a trained and licensed professional. However, as with any healthcare treatment, some risks are involved. Discuss any concerns you have with your chiropractor before beginning treatment.


What are the benefits of seeing a chiropractor?

One of the main benefits of chiropractic is that it is a natural and non-invasive way to treat many common ailments. In addition to relieving pain, chiropractic can help improve mobility and range of motion in the affected area.

Another benefit of a chiropractic adjustment is that it is a drug-free approach to reducing pain. Many people who suffer from chronic pain conditions such as arthritis or low back pain may be hesitant to take pain medication. A chiropractic adjustment offers a safe and effective alternative to pain medication.

Chiropractic is also beneficial for overall health and wellbeing. Regular chiropractic adjustments can help improve nervous system function and boost the immune system. Chiropractic has also been shown to improve mood and reduce stress levels.


Say goodbye to living in pain.

Chiropractic care can be a great way to manage your pain and get your life back on track. If you’re looking for an expert with over three decades of chiropractic experience, give us a call today.