Chiropractors are specialists who have undertaken intensive training to be able to work primarily with spinal and musculoskeletal issues, diagnosing and treating a range of issues from a sore back to chronic headaches, osteoarthritis or generalised numbness and tingling – as well as a range of issues in-between.
According to the Chiropractic Board of Australia there are 5,091 registered chiropractors currently practicing in Australia. Australian Chiropractors are well trained, having completed at least five years of tertiary level training, either as a specialist Chiropractic Bachelor degree, or as a post-graduate Master’s degree.
In addition to the initial in-depth training that Chiropractors undergo, in order to maintain their registration (a legal requirement if they wish to practice), all Australian chiropractors must complete a certain amount of continuing professional development each year. This ensures that the practitioner is always up to date with new developments in science, understands new legislation, is able to work with new technology and is in contact with their peers which encourages a high level of professionalism and competence throughout the industry across Australia.
It is this level of commitment to outstand practice that has seen the trust in chiropractic medicine grow in Australia.
In Townsville the ~240,000 people are looked after by over 800 registered chiropractors, and with healthcare being one of the primary employment industries in the area (over 12%), people in Townsville can assume an expectation of having access to knowledgeable practitioners.
Just like seeing any medical professional, when you first visit Townsville chiropractors you will discuss your health history, medical background, current health and the problem that brings you in. Assessment may require x-rays or MRI to detect any underlying issues, particularly with the spine.
Commonly chiropractic care is used to treat neck and back pain. Although medication may have been taken by the patient to mask the symptoms of pain, these can often be addictive, and don’t solve the cause of pain or discomfort.
Your chiropractor is trained to be able to carefully manipulate joints that are stiff or locked, which aids in reliving pressure or pinching. Although this is generally done by your practitioner using their hands to apply force in a precise manner and direction, they may also used specialist equipment. One of the reasons for the requirement that all practitioners spend a certain amount of time undergoing professional development is to ensure that they are able to use the most advanced and specialised techniques and equipment.
Generally, treatment will take more than one visit, even if the problem seems to be immediately fixed, the chiropractor will likely want a follow up visit to ensure that the treatment remains effective. You may have lived with your back ache for quite some time before first seeing a chiropractor and be thrilled with the results, but there may be indications that the pain will come back. Follow up treatments allow your chiropractor to not only assess the effectiveness, but to provide recommendations for exercise that will prevent further injury and lifestyle changes that can dramatically improve your quality of life. These can be simple changes such as suggesting modifications you could make to avoid repetitive activity which is aggravating carpal tunnel syndrome, or to recommend that you change which side you lie on when sleeping to allow a shoulder to recuperate.
Although considered an ‘alternative therapy’, Chiropractic therapy is a growing field in the medical profession, with a focus on evidence-based practice and ongoing research at a very high level. This means that in its 150-year history the specialisation has been responsible for increased understanding of human anatomy, particularly in how the musculoskeletal system works, or doesn’t work, and the treatment for specific pain.
As it is able to aid in the treatment of joint pain in particularly, a chiropractor can be consulted to work in conjunction to a medical doctor to provide complimentary healthcare to a range of issues including reduction of pain caused by cancer. However, although no respectable chiropractor would claim to be able to cure cancer, there is scientific evidence pointing towards the chiropractic manipulation of bones, joints and muscles being linked to the reduction of back and headaches that cancer patients may suffer from.
The majority of chiropractors will refer patients to other healthcare providers if they feel that there is an underlying condition that can not (or should not) be treated by chiropractic therapy. As the practice is more accepted in mainstream healthcare patients are increasingly being referred for chiropractic treatment by their general medical Dr as well.