Frequently Asked Questions
What is Chiropractic?
Chiropractic is a profession that specialises in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions which are due to mechanical dysfunction of the joints and their effects on the nervous system.
Suitable for all ages Chiropractors provide health care for patients of all ages, who present with a range of acute and chronic conditions. As part of the care, the patient will receive advice about posture, exercise, self-help, diet and life style.
No referral needed Chiropractic is a primary health care profession, which means that no referral is needed. The chiropractor is able to identify whether a condition is suitable for chiropractic care and/or whether a referral to another practitioner is needed.
Regulated Chiropractic is the largest healthcare profession in the world after medicine and dentistry and is protected by legislation
to safeguard the patients’ rights. All chiropractors in England have to be registered with the General Chiropractic Council (GCC) to
Training Chiropractors must have undergone a minimum of 4 years University study, which includes a Masters level degree. These courses place a great emphasis on teaching the skills to accurately assess each patient's complaint through a directed case history of the condition and an appropriate physical examination. A chiropractic degree involves extensive training in anatomy, physiology, radiography, radiology and biomechanics, with particular emphasis on the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system.
Theory Chiropractic is based of the principle that misaligned spinal segments could cause irritation to the nervous system at that level. This could then result in abnormal impulses being sent to the tissues, and in turn cause problems ranging from pain to dysfunction. Chiropractic adjustments aim to restore normal mobility to the segment and thereby affect the joint surfaces, ligaments and the segmental muscles, as well as the nerves.
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What to expect when you see a Chiropractor?
When you arrive at the clinic we will ask you to fill in a form about your personal information and medical history. This forms part of your confidential records and will not be shown to a third party without your express permission.
The consultation will go into detail about your condition, it’s symptoms, and how it affects you. It is helpful if you have brought with you any existing scans, X-rays or test results.
For the physical examination you will be asked to change and will be given a cubicle for privacy. Women change into a gown worn over underwear and men undress to the waist (except when the lower limbs need attention). Please remove necklaces and earrings if possible.
The physical examination will include chiropractic, orthopaedic and neurological tests along with postural analysis and biomechanical assessment of the spine and peripheral joints. If needed, you may be referred for X-rays to help reveal structural and functional problems, or to rule out other conditions.
We will discuss the findings with you, as your understanding of the problem is the single most important factor in the management of your condition. You will receive recommendations for your care, estimates of how long it will take, how often you will need to come in, your prognosis and how much it will cost.
The course of treatment you will need depends on the specific problem, how long it has been present, what caused it and what age group
Some patients in acute pain may require frequent treatment initially, whereas a chronic, on-going problem may require less frequent treatment over a somewhat longer period. Check-ups are often advised to prevent regression or recurrence.
Before each step is taken, explanations are given about the treatment, what to expect, and what it will feel like. Chiropractic adjustments rarely hurt.
What do Chiropractors treat?
Scientific evidence has so far shown chiropractic to be effective for:
Back pain: General, acute & chronic. Lumbago.
Sciatica: This refers to any sort of pain that is caused by irritation of the sciatic nerve. For patients with sciatica, we use a combination of highly specific manual techniques, followed by a rehabilitation exercise programme.
Neck pain: Mechanical neck pain, neck stiffness and soreness, neck pain caused by poor posture or awkward sitting positions or neck pain caused by tension in the neck or shoulders.
Shoulder complaints: Dysfunction, disorders and pain, including frozen shoulder, rotator cuff injuries, soft tissue and other diseases or disorders of the shoulder.
Tennis/Golfers elbow: It’s not just tennis and golf which can cause these. Other risk factors include prolonged computer use, driving, DIY and sports that require a throwing motion.
Hip osteoarthritis: Joint pains including hip pain from osteoarthritis as an adjunct to core OA treatments and exercise.
Knee osteoarthritis: Joint pains including knee pain from osteoarthritis as an adjunct to core OA treatments and exercise.
Plantar fasciitis: Inflammation of the ligament that connects your heel bone to your toes.*
Joint pains: General aches and pains, including those from joints, muscle spasm and cramp.
Pregnancy: A woman’s body changes during pregnancy. Those changes include the softening of ligaments, weight increase and changes to
posture. These can lead to additional pressure on joints in various parts of the body, including the spine or pelvis.
Sports injuries: We treat some sports injuries, depending on diagnosis. Helle Henriksen holds a specialist post-graduate qualification in sports chiropractic. We can help with the following conditions arising from sports injuries: Joint pains, muscle spasm and cramp, ankle sprains* and plantar fasciitis*, shoulder dysfunction, rotator cuff and soft tissue injuries, elbow pain and tennis elbow arising from associated musculoskeletal conditions of the back and neck.
Chiropractic research is costly and complex as it is difficult to “weigh and measure” both pain and manual treatment. More research is appearing all the time to widen the range of proven conditions and to underpin what has for over 100 years been found helpful by so many patients.
Who can Chiropractors treat?
There is no upper age limit or lower age limit to have chiropractic treatment. The youngest patients we have seen have been two days and the oldest 100 years old.
We see people with postural problems
Aches, pains, tension, inability to relax
Feet, legs, hips, shoulders and arms, as well as spinal problems
Problems ranging from acute to chronic
What does it cost?
After assessment we will be able to tell you the cause of the problem, if we can help, how long it will take and the likely cost of the treatment.
The course of treatment you will need depends on the specific problem, the duration and cause of the complaint and your age group.
Spinal health check (optional)* free
Consultation and examination £48
Treatment session £35
X-rays (off premises), 2 areas - From £80
(new complaint or after interval of 2 or more years)
(after interval of 8 or more years)
*If you are unsure whether chiropractic is suitable for you we can offer you a free spinal health check. This is a 15 minute appointment in which to discuss the problem with the chiropractor.
Home visits can be arranged on request, please telephone 01273 483327 for more information and cost.
Is Chiropractic suitable during pregnancy and for babies?
Chiropractors are trained to work with pregnant women, babies and children.
Pregnancy can cause general aches and pains including joint and back pain and chiropractic could help.
Chiropractic care in pregnancy is a safe and gentle way to promote comfort and minimise back pain during your pregnancy and after birth.
Your chiropractor is trained in a wide variety of techniques to help you deal with the stresses arising from the softening of ligaments, weight increase and changes to posture.
Chiropractors sometimes work with midwives, health visitors and lactation consultants.
Chiropractic is a gentle treatment suitable for children and babies, at all stages of development; We will assess your child to see what might help.
We have completed extra training in paediatric care and are experienced in treating children of all ages.
Babies’ skeletons are softer than an adult’s and chiropractors will therefore use gentler techniques when treating babies. We are proficient in these gentle techniques.
Gentle manipulation could help soothe and relax your baby.
Is a referral needed?
You do not need a referral from your GP to attend a registered chiropractor.
Most of our patients are referred by word of mouth, as a result of satisfaction with our service and good treatment outcomes.
The clinic is covered by BUPA, PPP, HSA, Norwich Union and many other UK health insurance policies. Some of these schemes may require a GP referral and/or a claim reference/authorisation code. Please check with your insurance provider.
Is my privacy respected?
This clinic believes in preserving the privacy of the patient by having only one-to-one consultations and treatments, in a room with closed doors. The patient is welcome to have a friend or family member present, but no procedure will be performed in a space shared with other patients. Cubicles are provided for patients to change into gowns or loose clothing.
Confidentiality is of the utmost importance to us and will be fully preserved according to professional standards.
Is it safe?
Research shows that chiropractic is one of the safest and most effective forms of treatment available. Serious side effects are extremely uncommon. Your chiropractor will, of course, be happy to discuss any concerns you may have regarding treatment.
Chiropractic is extremely safe when compared with other treatments such as anti-inflammatory medication (risk of haemorrhage) or surgical intervention.
Generally, a chiropractic manipulation does not hurt – although there may be some short-term discomfort, which soon passes for most patients. Some patients may experience temporary symptoms such as pain or soreness around the areas being treated.
What if the joints or spine are not the reason for my pain?
Chiropractors are trained in general diagnosis. If the problem does not appear to be mechanical in origin you will be referred to your GP with a letter advising further investigation. This will only be done with your consent.
X-rays taken to investigate a mechanical problem will not infrequently reveal other asymptomatic findings, which need medical assessment. Examples are osteoporosis, gall stones, abdominal aneurysms, rheumatic conditions or tumours.
When should I seek treatment?
In many cases the onset of pain represents the final straw for a problem, which could have been there for a while e.g. after a fall. Many of us will have minor pain on a regular basis.
If a problem is allowed to progress beyond 6 weeks the prognosis may be affected, as the condition becomes established and other parts of the body start to compensate. Treatment may then need to address secondary problems as well, which could take longer. The sooner treatment starts after a problem appears, the quicker it will be resolved. Correct advice in the early stages with regard to do’s and don’ts can help avoid aggravating the problem.
Chiropractic checks may catch mechanical restrictions before they cause symptoms, and can be used to prevent further aggravation.
What treatment techniques do Chiropractors use?
Your chiropractor will use safe, gentle techniques that are suitable for your condition.
Techniques used on babies and children are delicate, careful and always tailored for the individual.
Chiropractors are known primarily for their expertise in joint manipulation skills, which as our main tool sets us apart from other professions. There are, however, many other techniques Chiropractors are skilled in, which can be used alongside, or as an alternative to, manipulation. These include mobilisation, soft tissue massage, ultrasound, stretching and exercise therapy.
Diversified and Gonstead: After identifying which vertebrae have lost their normal motion or position, a specific manual thrust is applied by hand to free up “stuck” spinal joints. Often a click is heard with these techniques.
Activator: This is a hand-held adjustment instrument that the chiropractor uses to deliver a specific, consistent, low-force thrust.
Thompson: Thompson technique uses a special table that reduces the amount of energy needed to adjust your spine and is a chiropractic technique popular with patients who prefer or need a more gentle approach. The contact is a fast, light impulse. The table gives way a little distance and creates a mobilising vibration.
Toggle recoil technique: The practitioner places their hands lightly on the area of joint restriction and then performs an extremely fast, though very light, thrust, quickly removing their hands from the contact point.
Most chiropractic techniques are characterised by the high speed of thrust, required to help reset the sensors between the joints and surrounding muscles and restore movement. The aim with chiropractic treatment is to try and restore normal joint and neurological function.
Sacro-occipital technique: We utilise some aspects of SOT, in cases where the patient prefers or requires a very gentle approach. Wedge shaped blocks are placed beneath the pelvis, using the weight of the body and breathing, to improve the balance and position of the pelvic bones, which in turn affects the spine all the way up to the occiput. Reflex points are treated and used as indicators.
Soft tissue techniques:
Soft tissue release: A massage technique widely used in stretching soft tissues, muscles, fascia, tendons and ligaments.
Trigger point therapy: Most of us will suffer from stiff, achy muscles, and numerous musculoskeletal pain conditions that are caused by "knots".
Trigger point therapy uses a variety of techniques to treat these painful knots and make them release.
Ultrasound therapy: Commonly used for soft tissue injuries such as sprains, strains and some sports injuries. Ultrasound is easily and safely applied directly to the affected area. It can reduce pain and accelerate healing by increasing blood flow and cell activity in deep tissues.
Your chiropractor will choose an Ultrasound application setting appropriate to the tissues involved and the therapeutic aim.]
The application of therapeutic Ultrasound is pain fee. A cool gel will be applied to your skin, which transmits the sound waves into your tissues during the treatment. After the Ultrasound treatment, you may feel some warmth in the involved area. Post-treatment soreness the same or next day might occur and is usually mild.
Does Chiropractic work?
Consecutive studies by the British Medical Research Council have found that back pain sufferers are more satisfied with chiropractic care, even years after treatment.
A Canadian government (Ontario Ministry of Health) study to examine the “effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of chiropractic management of low-back pain” concluded that “there would be a highly significant cost saving if more management of low-back pain was transferred from physicians to chiropractors” and that sufferers tended to return to work sooner after chiropractic care.
What is the popping sound?
During the chiropractic adjustment the two surfaces of the joint are separated rapidly. This leads to a change of pressure within the joint space, and some of the joint fluid changes to a gas state. This is heard as a popping sound, does not hurt and is normal.
What should you bring?
It would be very helpful if you bring along any existing X-rays, scans, reports or letters regarding your condition. A list of current medication, if any, would be useful.
If it makes you feel more at ease during your first consultation, you are welcome to bring along a friend or relative.
Will I be able to help myself?
The role of the chiropractor is to restore the movement to the spine and joints. In addition the patient will be given advice on posture and ergonomics specific to their case including do’s and don’ts. Home exercises and recommendations on e.g. ice or heat treatment are part of the care.
Manipulation and rehabilitation exercises are more effective in combination than either on their own. It is therefore important to follow the chiropractor’s advice on home care in order for the best possible result to be obtained.
What can I do for acute pain?
ADVICE FOR ACUTE PAIN:
USE ICE: Inflammation is often present in an acute condition. Try using ice to minimise the inflammatory response of an injury. Place a cold gel pack (if you have one) or a packet of frozen peas, wrapped in a tea towel, over the painful area. Apply it for 5-15 minutes at a time with 1 hour between. Do not use without proper medical advice if you have diabetes, poor circulation or are otherwise in doubt.
KEEP MOBILE: At least, as mobile as you can. If you can, you should get up and move around at regular intervals. Space
REST AS COMFORTABLY AS YOU CAN: Find the position that is most comfortable for you. There is no right or wrong – just do whatever feels best. For most people lying on your back with your knees bent up and supported is fairly comfortable.
ACCEPT HELP: Let family or friends look after you – you can always return the compliment later.
LISTEN TO YOUR BACK: Pain is a warning sign. Your body is telling you that you have already or are about to cause damage. If what you are doing hurts then STOP. Do not try to push through the pain.
USE MEDICATION WISELY: All drugs have side effects so they should be used wisely. The use of pain killers, for example paracetamol, cocodomol etc. and non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, for example diclofenac and ibuprofen (Nurofen, Brufen), help to relieve the symptoms, but can make it easier to overload injured tissues.
CONSULT YOUR CHIROPRACTOR: By seeking advice early on, any possible underlying mechanical problem can be identified, the injury can be addressed and the healing processes started. An acute injury may be the result of a chronic underlying dysfunction that may not have been obvious. The acute pain comes on when over-loading the structures, which are pre-weakened, that one time too many. If identified and corrected, it may help prevent any future recurrences.
How are patients' rights protected?
The title of Chiropractor is protected by law and as a result only practitioners who are registered by the General Chiropractic Council can call themselves Chiropractors. All Chiropractors must undergo continuing professional development in order to remain on the register. The GCC sets stringent standards for the profession and can strike off those who do not comply with good practice.
What qualifications do Doctors of Chiropractic have?
Members of the British Chiropractic Association are required to have undergone a minimum of four years full time university accredited degree course.
The course comprises in-depth training in a variety of subjects including Anatomy, Physiology, Biochemistry, Radiology and Radiography, Orthopaedics, Neurology, Biomechanics, Pathology, Pharmacology, Clinical medicine and Differential diagnosis. Chiropractic undergraduates are trained to diagnose pathology and identify contra-indications for treatment.
Helle Henriksen is a full member of the British Chiropractic Association.
The ECCE is a body which internationally sets the standard of education for chiropractic. The longest established courses in the Uk to have achieved these standards are the Anglo-European College of Chiropractic in Bournemouth and the Welsh Institute of Chiropractic at the University of Glamorgan. The chiropractors at Lewes Chiropractic Clinic have trained at these institutions.
Some patients will be recommended having X-rays following careful consideration of the case history and examination findings. Any decision will be taken in consultation with the patient.
Typical circumstances where an X-ray may be necessary are recent injuries, older patients whose bone structure may have altered over time, unusual examination findings or a history or suspicion of serious diseases.
X-rays provide a structural record of the spine, rule out cancer, disease and pathologies, locate fractures or other sites of trauma and identify evidence of various types of arthritis or wear.
Only the most necessary views are taken, using modern low-radiation equipment, short exposure times, collimation narrowing the energy beam and shielding protecting sensitive parts of the body. The equipment is regularly serviced and independently inspected.