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Of all the therapies I have tried in my quest for pain relief to an upper spine injury chiropractic is probably the one that people are most familiar with. It is now a recognised alternative therapy that conventional medicine seems happy to work with.
What is Chiropractic? ===============
Chiropractors manipulate joints, muscles and the spine to relieve pain. As I suffer from a spine injury this was one of the most obvious treatments to try. Chiropractors use x-rays to examine areas and take your medical history before performing pulls and stretches on the body which aims to realign the injured part. Some of the movements are very sudden and thrusting and the patient will often be standing or positioned on a special chiropractor's couch which can be angled as necessary.
How do you find a chiropractor? =======================
I was referred to the chiropractor by my GP. This meant the chiropractor had access to my full medical history including scans and x-rays I had at the hospital, this is one advantage of being referred by your doctor.
Otherwise it is an idea to consult the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) which was set up in 1925. The Association has worked with the Medical Research Council and helped form the Anglo-European Chiropractic College which oversees training. Chiropractors can now study for a BSc in Chiropractic which my chiropractor had achieved and he had gone on to study and specialize further.
Or visit the website at www.chiropractic-uk.co.uk which I found easy to use and it has a list of practitioners in your area to search.
How much does it cost? ==================
Although I was referred by my GP the treatment was not available on the NHS. I paid £20 for each half hour session and had 8 sessions visiting once a week.
Where do you go and how long are the sessions? ===================================
My chiropractor was based at a chiropractic clinic which had five practitioners in all. This seems to be the usual format for the majority of chiropractors though some have treatment rooms in their own homes or at holistic and alternative clinics.
The clinic was in a large converted town house with waiting room, individual treatment rooms, patient toilets, changing cubicles and an x-ray room.
My first session was about three quarters of an hour long as the chiropractor went through my medical history. The treatment sessions lasted half an hour.
What happens and does it hurt? =======================
After my initial consultation the chiropractor began a course of treatment. To be treated I first stripped to my underwear and put on one of those attractive hospital robes! In the treatment room I laid on a chiropractic couch which looked like an instrument of torture which was quite comfortable.
The chiropractor then began manipulating my back and shoulder. This involved placing a lot of pressure around my spine, pulling and rotating my arm quite forcibly. I found this very painful, indeed on one occasion I felt decidedly faint. After treatment my back felt worse and sore for about five days. I mentioned this on several occasions to the chiropractor but he said some level of discomfort was to be expected given my chronic condition. Discomfort I can deal with but this was down right painful. I felt this was bordering on brutal.
I knew I felt uncomfortable physically and mentally as I asked my daughter (BizzyBek on Ciao!) to accompany me to all my appointments as I would often feel quite woozy afterwards and didn't want to be on my own.
What was the outcome? =================
After eight appointments my condition was not improving, in fact it hurt all the more and I did not look forward to appointments which only made me tense my back up further. As it was obvious I was getting no relief I lost my confidence further when the chiropractor starting saying he wanted to 'move on' and perform food allergy tests. I decided not to attend again.
I was very disappointed with my chiropractic experience and know many people have had successful treatment. I was put off trying chiropractic again as a friend of mine also received chiropractic therapy from a different chiropractor for whiplash and she too found it made her pain worse too.
Given the number of success stories you here can understand that people will still try chiropractic and I am glad I tried. It didn't work for me but it may work for you and I hope it does. As a word of caution I would just say make sure your chiropractor is fully qualified, has your full medical history and if you find it is painful do not feel pressurised to continue with treatment.
dear bobbin- sorry to hear about your bad experience with a chiropractor. you should find a good osteopath if you are still suffering. have a look in the yellow pages. i've written an op on osteopathy if you're interested. if you have any questions, do write to me, nat
BJEEE 22.08.2001 01:45
Excellent op!! I've been in and out of one quite a lot recently after hurting my back at work - not that I need it though. I'm fine but he insisted on having me back again and again, paying £20 for a 5 minute check up. Such a rip-off!! Take care.....Ben
digitalburn 18.08.2001 17:02
Good op, although this sounds very different from my own chiropractic experience - I was saved from being perhaps crippled in later life in about ten minutes by a skilled chiropractor. True, it was very painful, and continued to hurt for several weeks afterwards, but it sorted me out perfectly. Also, it's worth mentioning that chiropractors really only do spines and the surroundings - it's osteopaths that do joints and muscles.