What is a Chiropractor?

Chiropractic is an independent branch of medicine, which specialises in the diagnosis and treatment of mechanical disorders of the joints, particularly those of the spine and their effects on the nervous system. A chiropractor carries out treatment by specific manipulation. X-rays may be used to aid diagnosis. Chiropractic is a non-invasive form of health care. Drugs and surgery are not used.

How do I know if a chiropractor is properly qualified?

Chiropractic is independently regulated by the General Chiropractic Council (GCC). By law every chiropractor must be a member of the GCC, have  insurance, adhere to the strict standards of the GCC and complete a minimum amount of training to keep them up to date with the latest research and techniques to keep them safe and highly educated practitioners.

Since 1925 the British Chiropractors’ Association has maintained a register of members, all of whom have graduated from recognised chiropractic colleges. These members must subscribe to the code of ethics and rules and bylaws laid down by the association to regulate relationships between a chiropractor and his patients.

In 1984 the Association became a company limited by guarantee and its name was changed to ‘The British Chiropractic Association’ (BCA).

Members of the public are recommended to consult chiropractors who have been approved by The British Chiropractic Association as only then can training and code of conduct, be relied upon.

What are the differences between chiropractic and osteopathy?

manipulationIn most other countries chiropractors are better known than osteopaths, their forms of treatment have similarities but there are important differences. Chiropractors make use of direct adjustment of a specific vertebra in a given direction, whereas osteopaths often use more massage or soft tissue techniques during the treatment of patients. Chiropractors use X-rays about five times more frequently than osteopaths and also make fuller use of other diagnostic tests. Differences in theory are mostly historical. The early osteopaths believed that the effect of their treatment was on the blood circulation whereas chiropractors emphasised, and still do, the role of the nervous system. It is probably true to say that the practical differences have become fewer over the years, and both professions suffer from misconceptions about the other’s work as there has been inadequate contact between the two.

What about my general practitioner?

Most patients consult a chiropractor directly, usually after personal recommendation. However, general practitioners are allowed by the General Medical Council to refer patients to chiropractors, provided that they maintain responsibility for the patient and are sure that the chiropractor is a proper person to deal with the patient’s condition. The NICE guidelines now recommend Chiropractic as part of the treatment for low back pain. In some area’s chiropractic can be paid for by the NHS, unfortunately this is not yet available in South Gloucestershire or Bristol.

In recent years general practitioners have increasingly been referring patients for chiropractic treatment.

Difficulties in the past may have been caused because chiropractic has developed outside the medical profession, but nowadays chiropractors see themselves as an essential complement to existing medical services. There is no doubt that a close working relationship between chiropractors and medical practitioners is in the best interest of the patient.