Can chiropractic help me?

Chiropractic will benefit individuals who are suffering symptoms caused by subluxations. The most common cause of sustaining a subluxation is through physical trauma, however, emotional and chemical influences can also cause subluxations to occur. Physical trauma such as whiplash, falls and incorrect lifting techniques can upset the normal biomechanics of your spine resulting in abnormal nerve function and pain. When these subluxations are detected in your spine and are the cause of your problem, a chiropractic adjustment will benefit your symptoms. However, not all subluxations will cause symptoms and or pain, which is why many of our patients will have periodic appointments to assess the health of their spine, similar to dental check ups.

What is an adjustment and does it hurt?

The adjustment is a quick shallow thrust into the spine or extremity joint which generally does not hurt. It is similar to cracking your own knuckles, except the chiropractic adjustment specifically returns the joint to neutral to restore normal biomechanics or movement to the joint.

When you crack your knuckles this is a manipulation, the adjustment is a very specific form of manipulation that is done for the benefit of the one being adjusted. Just as you would never have the tyre alignment on your car manipulated you would have it adjusted into better alignment.

A great deal of care goes into identifying which segment needs to be adjusted and which direction it needs to be adjustment in. Often there is swelling associated with a subluxation, we recommend people apply ice post adjustment to reduce this swelling and therefore reduce any discomfort that may be experienced following the adjustment.

What should I expect after an adjustment?

The normal response to an adjustment is an improvement in spinal or joint motion. Once the ‘sticky’ joint is working again, there is usually an associated reduction in muscle spasm, swelling and associated symptoms. Initial improvement may only be temporary until the body has had sufficient time to heal. More chronic cases may require several adjustments before improvements are noted. Once sustained improvement is achieved, the frequency of treatment is gradually reduced until the joint has stabilized. A small percentage of patients do experience some post-treatment soreness that will usually resolve within 24-48 hours. Some patients also report feeling worse before improvements become obvious, particularly when the problem has been long standing. If your Chiropractor is not achieving the improvements they expect, they may refer you for a medical opinion or to a more suitable specialist.

How many adjustments will I need?

It is impossible to predict the number of visits any one will need. There are many factors that contribute to how rapidly someone heals: length of time of injury, previous damage, degree of damage, general health, lifestyle choices, whether they continue to aggravate the damaged area. At The Chiropractor at North Sydney and with all Gonstead Chiropractors, the emphasis on treatment is to return the maximum amount of function and symptomatic relief to the patient in the shortest time their bodies healing capacity will allow.

Who should be checked for subluxations?

In short – anyone with a spine! We provide treatment for all ages, from infants to the elderly.

Children’s spines, like adults, are subjected to trauma, in fact children are continually subjected to traumas right from the birth process – going through the birth canal, unsupported head and neck movements, frequent falls, learning to walk. This trauma is transmitted as force to the children’s spines causing subluxations. All children are advised to have a spinal assessment, but healthy spines will not require any adjustments or treatment. Early detection of problems leads to a much better prognosis. We do not x-ray children unless indicated.

Throughout life we sustain injuries causing subluxations from playing sport, car accidents and falls which need to be corrected. Early detection and correction can prevent years of future problems. As people get older they have normally sustained injuries to their spines or extremities from the many physical, chemical or emotional stresses they have sustained. Chiropractic is safe and effective for older people, the adjustment acting to re-lubricate the joints, similar to a grease and oil change for your car.

Therefore everyone and anyone should have their spine checked to assess for subluxations from birth right up until old age. The Gonstead technique is adapted to suit the age and health concerns of all types of patients.

Do I need a referral from my medical doctor to see a chiropractor?

No. You do not need a referral from your GP because Chiropractors are considered primary health care practitioners. However, we do accept Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) and Enhanced Primary Care (EPC) Program patients who have a Referral from their GP for Allied Health Services under Medicare.

Can I adjust myself?

Unfortunately, we are not able to adjust ourselves. An adjustment is a specific thrust delivered to a joint that has been prepositioned from the subluxated position, back to neutral, which repositions the vertebra back on top of the disc. The adjustment is not just the popping noise you hear when you pull on your fingers, these noises as we discussed earlier relate to the release of gas from the synovial fluid.

Andrew has his spine regularly checked and adjusted by other Gonstead Chiropractors.

Chiropractic Care - Risks and Benefits

Chiropractic adjustment of the spine has stood the test of time as one of the most effective and safe treatments for neuro-musculoskeletal conditions. Research shows that Chiropractic care is more effective and economical and also gives longer lasting results than other forms of health care. However, as with all health care procedures there is a risk of injury or complication. In nearly all cases of injury, the patient had a pre-existing condition. That is, the patient had a pre-existing pathology, such as bone cancer or osteoporosis or a disc prolapse, and the condition was not correctly diagnosed and an inappropriate technique was performed, putting the patient at risk.
A thorough examination and x-ray series, and a very controlled and specific adjustment are necessary to prevent such injuries.

A specific list of the risks involved:

  1. 1 in 3 patients experience temporary soreness. This is normal, since the body has to become accustomed to the changes occurring in the spine.
  2. Strains and sprains to the soft tissues such as ligaments, muscles or tendons are uncommon.
  3. Injury to the disc between each vertebra is very uncommon. 1:62,000 in low back cases and 1:139,000 in neck cases. In some of these cases nerve compression by the disc can occur, resulting in pain, numbness and muscle weakness.
  4. Bone fracture is rare and has occurred only in cases where the patient has had osteoporosis or bone cancer, and the adjustive technique was inappropriate.
  5. Stroke due to neck adjustment is exceedingly rare, the most recent estimate being between 1:2,000,000 and 1:5,850,000 (To put it into perspective, the risk of getting struck by lightning in Australia is 1:1,500,000). In fact, it is so rare that the latest studies indicate it is most likely coincidence. The force of a neck adjustment upon the arteries supplying the head is about nine times less than the force needed to damage an artery. Furthermore, the forces involved in merely turning your head to check your blind-spot when driving can exceed those of a neck adjustment. However, a rare number of people may have a connective-tissue disorder that can weaken the arteries. Such persons may be at greater risk of injury even when checking blind-spot whilst driving or washing their hair in a basin, than the normal population.

CHIROPRACTIC CARE is considerably safer than usual medical and surgical treatments for benign spinal conditions.

  1. Drugs and surgery are the third biggest cause of death second only to cancer and heart disease.
  2. Neck surgery has a risk of complication in 3-4/100 cases, which leads to death in 4-10/1000.
  3. The risk of complication from using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs is 1:25. The risk of death from their use is 1:250 (360 Australians and 3200 Americans die each year due to their use). Chiropractic care has been shown to be 250 times safer than the use of anti-inflammatory drugs for the same conditions.


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