What is Chiropractic?

Chiropractic is a primary healthcare profession that specialises in the diagnosis, treatment and overall management of conditions that are due to problems with the joints, ligaments, tendons and nerves, especially related to the spine.

Chiropractors use a range of techniques to reduce pain, improve function and increase mobility, including hands-on manipulation of the spine. As well as manual treatment, chiropractors are able to offer a package of care which includes advice on self-help, therapeutic exercises and lifestyle changes.

Chiropractic treatment involves safe, often gentle, specific spinal manipulation to free joints in the spine or other areas of the body that are not moving properly. Apart from manipulation, chiropractors may use a variety of treatment methods, including soft tissue techniques, ultrasound and electrical stimulation modalities, exercise and rehabilitation, Western acupuncture (myofascial dry needling), Kinesiology Taping, as well as advice about posture and lifestyle.

Chiropractic focuses on the cause of your problem – not just your symptoms. It is therefore suitable for both acute (recent) and chronic (long term) conditions and is helpful in maintaining a healthy spine. 

We provide an individual ‘package of care’ whereby we support your treatment with individual counselling and advice about your lifestyle, work and exercise, in order to help manage your condition and prevent a recurrence of your problem.

Both of our chiropractors trained at the Anglo-European College of Chiropractic on a 5 year full time BSc (Hons) MSc degree course and they both qualified with first class honours.  They are also trained to interpret x-rays and MRI scans and are qualified to assess your general health.

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Your initial consultation

This typically last approximately 45 minutes and the main objective is to arrive at a diagnosis of your problem, in order to determine whether chiropractic treatment is likely to help you. 

A full case history will be taken, and you will be asked questions not only about your particular problem but also about your medical history which may have a bearing on your condition. 

Your chiropractor will then give you a thorough examination of the spine and any other area related to your symptoms.  This will include a number of orthopaedic and neurological tests aimed at confirming the source of the problem. 

Few other orthodox clinicians give as much importance to the “feel” of joints and tissues, nor the strength and function of your muscles, to arrive at a precise diagnosis.

If we feel we cannot help you, or if further tests are required, you will be referred to your own GP or specialist for further investigation.

Before starting treatment your chiropractor will tell you in clear, simple language, what is wrong with you and what can be done about it. 

You will also be advised of any likelihood of recurrence of your problem and the possible need for any ongoing supportive care.

Subsequent Treatment Sessions

These usually last approximately 15-20mins and are designed around individual requirements. If more time is needed, a longer appointment of 30 minutes will be recommended. We don’t offer ‘conveyor belt’ treatments lasting less than 10 minutes.

Chiropractic treatment typically involves manipulation or mobilisation to the joints of the spine or other areas of the body. Most often, this involves a short impulse to the joint, often resulting in an audible “pop” as the joint is released. Chiropractors call this an “adjustment”. 

Generally a chiropractic adjustment does not hurt – although there may be some minor short-term discomfort which passes quickly for most patients.

Apart from the adjustment, your chiropractor may use a variety of treatment modalities, including soft tissue techniques (massage, IASTM, trigger point therapy), stretching, ultrasound, electrical stimulation modalities, acupuncture/dry needling and exercises as well as postural, ergonomic and lifestyle advice on the ways to reduce stress on the body during everyday activities.

When the “hands on” side of the treatment is drawing to a conclusion, care is taken to ascertain whether an ongoing rehabilitation programme of exercises is needed – either at home or in our own rehabilitation gym and Pilates studio.

The number of visits necessary varies considerably. Generally a longer period of treatment is needed for longstanding problems than for more recent ones. The rate of improvement will also depend on your particular problem. Some patients feel immediate improvement whilst others will need several treatments before they start to feel better.

We are happy to provide periodic check ups and supportive care to help keep your spine healthy.

Frequently Asked Questions

How does chiropractic work?

Chiropractic care involves treatment by manipulation to the joints of the spine or other areas of the body.

These are known as ‘adjustments’ and aim to restore normal joint movement and alignment and thereby relieve pain and/or muscle spasm. These adjustments promote optimal function of the spine and spinal nerves restoring health

What is an adjustment?

A Chiropractic adjustment usually involves a short impulse to a specific joint and often results in an audible ‘pop’ as the joint is released. The ‘pop’ is simply the sound of bubbles of gas popping in the fluid of the joint as pressure is released.

The adjustment is either done with the hands or a specially designed hand-held instrument, known as an Activator. There are various ways to adjust the spine and the technique used will be specific to each patient (these include very gentle procedures for the elderly and children).

Is Chiropractic treatment effective?

The National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines recommend early referral for manipulative treatment, such as that performed by a chiropractor, for the management of acute and chronic lower back pain, with or without sciatica.

Scientific evidence from a wide range of randomised clinical trials support the effectiveness of chiropractic treatment for a variety of conditions including lower back pain, neck pain, headaches, dizziness, leg pain, and arm pain.

Read more on our Chiropractic research page.

Is treatment painful?

No, chiropractic treatment is generally painless, but occasionally there is slight discomfort if there is inflammation of the tissues around the joint. Your chiropractor will advise you how to manage any discomfort.

What is the difference between Chiropractic, Osteopathy and Physiotherapy?

Some of the techniques differ in that Chiropractic manipulation is more specific to individual joints, whereas Osteopathy tends to focus on groups of joints.

Chiropractors are trained to take and read x-rays, whereas Osteopaths and Physiotherapists are not trained in radiography or radiology.

Physiotherapy training is broader based and covers a diverse spectrum of conditions, from heart conditions to post-operative rehabilitation. Traditionally Physiotherapists are less ‘hands on‘ in their treatment of back pain, tending to use a more exercise-based approach.

How many treatment sessions will I require?

It is not possible to determine how many visits a person will need without a consultation. The number of visits necessary varies considerably.

Generally a longer period of treatment is needed for longstanding problems than for more recent ones. The rate of improvement will also depend on your particular problem. Some patients feel immediate improvement, whilst others will need several treatments before they start to feel better.

We are happy to provide periodic check ups to help keep your spine healthy and to help prevent recurrences.

Why do I need chiropractic care?

Whether at home, at work or at play, you put your body through a lot each and every day. Pain linked to the spine may be caused by factors including your everyday lifestyle, posture, prolonged sitting and bending, or just simple wear and tear.

People of all ages and from all walks of life may benefit from seeing a chiropractor.

We treat a variety of musculoskeletal complaints (problems with bones, joints and muscles) but the majority of our patients present with a problem relating to the spine. The spine is made up of moving parts, and as with anything mechanical such as your car, will benefit from maintenance to keep it working efficiently.

Are there any risks?

We all know there are risks when attending any healthcare professional, but generally these risks and reactions are much less than with many other options for your problem.

Some patients may experience temporary soreness over the areas being treated – with redness or even bruising of the skin if deep massage has been administered. Spinal disc problems may appear to flare up in the early stages of treatment and, where an underlying inflammation is already present, your condition may initially seem to worsen.

Treatment to the neck may give a distinct light headedness – infrequently a short-lived headache may appear.

Serious side effects are extremely uncommon. Research shows that chiropractic is one of the safest and most effective forms of treatment available, for a wide array of nerve, spine and muscle associated problems throughout the body.

Your chiropractor will be more than happy to fully discuss all concerns you may have regarding your treatment, giving an honest appraisal of your particular case.

Will I need to remove clothing?

It may be necessary to remove some clothing in order to examine or treat the area of concern. However, your chiropractor will endeavour to maintain your modesty at all times. We will only ask you to remove clothing where necessary and we provide gowns for patients to wear as required.

Does my private health insurance cover Chiropractic treatment?

Chiropractic is covered by most private health insurers, check with your provider to see if you will be covered. Read more >

I’m not in pain but worried about my posture?

Poor posture is one of the main causes of back and neck pain. Our chiropractors will assess your posture and will advise you on some relatively simple modifications and exercises that will improve your posture and help prevent problems in the future.

Can Chiropractic help with old age or arthritis?

Osteoarthritis is a progressive disease, generally associated with the normal ageing process and with wear and tear of the joints. It causes painful inflammation and stiffness of joints.

Arthritis itself cannot be cured but, with gentle treatment, joints can be made more mobile and therefore reduce the symptoms associated with the condition.

Is the clinic accessible to those with limited mobility?

Yes, the clinic is on the ground floor and fully accessible to those with limited mobility and to wheelchair users.

Can I see a chiropractor whilst pregnant?

Yes. Some of the techniques we use will be modified to be more gentle during pregnancy, but Chiropractic can be used safely and is very beneficial for many pregnant women.

During pregnancy, a woman’s body undergoes a number of changes to accommodate the growing baby, altering your centre of gravity and posture. This in turn stresses the lower back and pelvic joints. Chiropractic care can help restore alignment and function of these areas and therefore greatly reduce pain during pregnancy and beyond.

Do I need a GP referral?

As we are primary care practitioners, you can call our clinic and make an appointment direct – you do not need to be referred. Over the years, many GP’s have recommended our clinic and indeed have attended as patients themselves.

Chiropractors are also trained in general medical diagnosis to rule out underlying medical problems – which means you do not need to visit your GP prior to seeing us.

If you are claiming through your health insurance then a GP referral may be necessary but it is always best to check with your health insurer first.

Are the chiropractors at Highfield Chiropractic Clinic registered?

Yes. All our chiropractors are registered with the General Chiropractic Council and are members of the British Chiropractic Association and the Royal College of Chiropractors.

They have completed a 5 year Masters degree in Chiropractic at the Anglo-European College of Chiropractic and qualified with First Class Honours.