Chiropractors in Australia are nationally registered and regulated healthcare professionals. Chiropractic is a drug and surgery free modality of treatment concerned with the diagnosis, management and prevention of mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system; this includes the effects of these disorders on the function of the nervous system and general health. In summary, chiropractors focus on the detection and correction of aberrant spinal function and its subsequent effect on how the nervous system controls and coordinates the body.
Australian chiropractors are highly qualified healthcare professionals who study at university for a minimum of five years, and there is growing research and evidence base not only in Australia but through international federations. As with other healthcare professions, there are internationally and nationally recognised standards of qualification to enable practice in Australia and this is part of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme. (Chiropractors Association of Australia)
Chiropractors provide patient-centred care and use shared decision making through good communication strategies which are tailored to the needs and preferences of the patient.
Chiropractors are educated to modify spinal manual therapy to suit the age and presenting condition of a patient.
- Ankylosing Spondylitis
- Pinched Nerves
- Slipped Disc
Your Jaw can become injured and cause discomfort. Many of us grind our teeth, clench our jaw unconsciously when feeling anxious or distressed. Stress is one of the major causes for TMJ problems.
After awhile the disc in the joint can start to weaken and cause the jaw to not function normally and the alignment can become awkward.
Symptoms may include:
- Popping of the
- Pain in the jaw
- Ear aches
- Neck pain
Chiropractors know how to assess the TMJ and encourage normal function. IF we cannot help then we will refer to other health professionals that specialise in this area.
There are many forms of arthritis. Arthritis can become so debilitating that simple tasks such as brushing your teeth or opening a jar can become very difficult.
The most common is OSTEOARTHRITIS (this is ‘wear and tear’ of the joints). Our joints will begin to wear and cause restriction, which comes with ageing, but it also can occur prematurely after trauma to particular areas. EG whiplash, fall onto buttocks etc The body begins to make extra bone to protect joints but these deposits become bone spurs/osteophytes which can interfere with the space where a nerve root is exiting from the spinal canal.
RHEUMATOID arthritis is an inflammatory condition often affecting hands, feet, knees and shoulders.
There is no cure for Arthritis but there are many alternatives to long-term medication.
This is a condition where one of your vertebra slides forward over the vertebra below. It is often in around L4/5 or L5/S1 (lower back).
Symptoms may include:
- Lower back or buttock pain
- Pain into the back of one or both legs
- Pain in back/legs if standing for long periods
- Numbness/weakness in one or both legs
- RARE cases may have loss of bowel or bladder control (go to specialist if this happens)
Many people with Spondylolisthesis don’t even know they have one. It is identified on a lateral x-ray of the spine.
Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) is a type of inflammatory arthritis that effects more men than women and is commonly diagnosed between the ages of 15-45 years of age. The inflammation of AS commonly occurs in the spine, especially the SI joints (where the spine attaches to the pelvis). Commonly people will present with pain due to the inflammation and loss of movement in the spine. Later stages of AS can commonly develop in a way that the joints start to fuse together.
Although there is no cure for AS, due to the possible fusion of the joints it is important to keep up the mobility of spine in order to maintain quality of life.
Diffuse Idiopathic Skeletal hyperstosis (DISH) is a condition that more commonly effects men over the age of 50 years. It is characterised by the calcification of the ligaments around the spine commonly in the upper back, however it can occur in other parts of the body. This calcification of spinal ligaments causes the back to become very stiff. Due to this it can cause pain, postural changes, loss of motion of the spine and in extreme cases it can affect the ability to swallow.
The best way to diagnose and assess the severity of DISH is through an x-ray.
Osteoporosis is characterised by the decreased bone density of the spine, this is usually diagnosed through a bone density scan. Due to decreased density in bones, people with osteoporosis are at higher risk of fractures after minor falls. Unfortunately women are more commonly effected by osteoporosis after menopause due to the decreased oestrogen levels in the body causing the increased break down of bones. However there are other factors that can affect the progression of osteoporosis such as family history, smoking, excessive alcohol, low levels of physical activity and certain chronic deceases.
Whiplash can occur as a result of a car accident. It is an injury to the ligaments and muscles of the cervical spine/neck region. They are hyper-stretched by some external force. Mostly from being hit from behind in a car or in sports injury.
Symptoms may include:
- General stiffness
- Neck soreness
- Ringing in the ear
- Numbness/pain in the neck or into the arms
Your body tries to immobilise these areas to prevent further injury and as a result there are strong muscle spasms after whiplash. If function is not restored after 4-8 weeks then scar tissue may build up at the site of injury.
A person in a car accident is nearly 7 times more likely to suffer neck degeneration within 7 years of the accident (journal of Bone and Joint Surgery).
Chiropractors are well placed to assess whiplash and encourage recovery.
Headaches may be common but they are not normal. It is surprising how many patients present with persistent daily headaches. Often explaining that this is not their main concern as they take pain relief!! If you experience headaches there is often an underlying reason. These include: Nerve interference, muscle referral, altered blood supply to the head and of course dehydration. There can be more serious but rare causes for headaches, which may indicate further tests. No matter what the cause of the headache, ignoring it will not make it go away. In fact, often ignoring it and numbing the pain can lead to more persistent problems later.
The nerves that extend between your brain and spinal cord are essential for sending critical messages throughout your entire body.
When these nerves are compressed or pressured by the surrounding tissues, the body sends a sharp shooting ‘pinching’ feeling as a warning. Please don’t ignore this! This is a warning of a damaged and / or injured nerve. This nerve pressure may come from either the repetition of a certain body motion, or holding the body’s position for a long period of time.
Other causes of pinched nerves may be:
- Herniated discs
- Degeneration of disc
- Bony growths
If a nerve gets “pinched”, the entire flow of the nerve stops and eventually may cause that nerve fiber to die. When enough fibers stop working, the skin may feel perpetually numb and muscles may stop contracting. This can be indicated on deep tendon reflex tests and muscle strength testing during our Chiropractic neurological examination. One of the most common pinched nerves is the sciatic nerve in your leg/lower back.
People often say ‘I have a slipped disc. Can chiropractic help?’, or ‘I have a slipped disc, so chiropractic can’t help me. I need surgery’.
A slipped disc is caused when the soft part of the disc bulges through the circle of connective tissue. The disc does not actually slip out of place, but rather it bulges, causing a push on the spinal cord/nerve. A disc is a small cartilaginous sac between the bones of your spine that acts much like a shock absorber in your car. It is designed to reduce the impact on your spine and also create separation between your vertebrae in order for the nerves to exit unimpeded. People often assume that a disc injury can only be caused by a sudden traumatic event. Whilst this can often be the case, more often than not it is due to years of built-up stressors from small knocks and falls, to maintained postures, to poor diet and smoking and even emotional stress. The discs in your spine don’t have their own blood supply. They rely on movement to get nutrients in and waste out. Without movement your discs will wear and tear at a much higher rate than is normal and will not be able to heal properly. A chiropractic adjustment helps to increase movement.
This increase in slipped disc injuries go hand in hand with increases in the amount of time people sit (at home and the office), weak abdominal strength and poor low back stability. Slipped disc injuries are more common when performing bending & rotating movements, especially when lifting heavy loads. Further, the increased flexion of our low back that results from sitting compromises disc tissue and leaves us more susceptible to a slipped disc injury. Treatments are safe, effective and based on the most up to date research. Surgery should only be considered for a slipped disc after a trial of conservative care. Further to your acute treatment, we focus on the long-term prevention of repeated slipped disc injuries and treatments to minimise the degenerative cascade that is linked to an initial slipped disc injury. Protocols by our chiropractors aim to enhance stability, strength and posture, ensuring your injury doesn’t turn chronic. So is there ever a case for spinal surgery on a disc? In some cases there will be too much damage or too much instability in your spine and surgery is the only option. A chiropractor studies for five years at university to ensure that they know exactly when and when not to adjust. If you are one of those very rare cases where surgery is the only option, our chiropractors at Park Road Chiropractic will let you know. We have specific orthopaedic surgeons that we utilise and communicate closely with if the time comes.. So if you have a ‘slipped disc’, try chiropractic first.
Pregnancy can be an exciting, yet challenging time for mothers. Throughout pregnancy a woman’s body will undergo many changes as her baby grows and develops. There is probably no more important time to look after your body than when you are pregnant. Not only are you looking after yourself, you are ensuring the best possible development for your unborn baby as well. So during pregnancy having a properly aligned spine and pelvis and a properly functioning nervous system becomes even more important.
In particular, the pelvis and lower back are really important areas for a pregnant woman or one who is trying to get pregnant. There is additional stress placed on a pregnant woman’s body, especially the joints, muscles and ligaments of the spine and pelvis. This is also an area of the spine that comes under increasing pressure as your belly starts to grow. The increased weight at the front leads to an increased curve in the lower back which can further exacerbate any pre-existing spinal problems. Coupled with the relaxation of protective ligaments due to hormonal changes (Relaxin), mean that women suffer from high rates of back pain during pregnancy.
Birth can be a stressful time for your baby too; in fact these stressors are so strong that research has suggested that for many people the first problems in their spine started when they were born.
- 50% of all pregnant women experience significant levels of back or pelvic pain.
- Research shows that Chiropractic care helps to relieve back pain for up to 85% of pregnant women.
- 77% of women who had pregnancy back pain during pregnancy have persistent complaints after birth.
- Researchers in Sweden identified the sacroiliac joints of the pelvis as being the most common reason for severe low back pain. They also reported significant reduction in pain from spinal manipulation (adjustments).
Berg, G., Hammar, M., Moller-Nielsen, J., Linden, U. & Thorblad, J. (1988). Low back pain during pregnancy. Obstet Gynecol. Jan; 71 (1): 71-75.
Biedermann H. Kinematic imbalances due to sub-occipital strain in newborn infants. Journal Man Med (1992): 151-156.
This usually occurs first in the teenage years. It is most common in boys/men. Scheurmanns is where the endplate of the vertebra is slightly softer and the disc is forced into these endplates during certain movements (usually torsion such as bowling in cricket). The vertebra then takes on a more wedge shaped appearance. Its active phase is during these growth years but then settles down in adult life. Symptoms as an adult may be a feeling of restriction/tightness across the middle of the back and perhaps an increased rounded shoulder posture.