As a chiropractor who has been practicing in the Sydney CBD for over 15 years, it has to be the most common question I hear.
“I don’t know who I am meant to see for this type of problem! Should I see you??”
So let’s break it down.
Each profession has their area of expertise, what they do best but unfortunately we are all taught “what the other guy does” for some reason. Back when I was in Uni, we were taught heaps and heaps of rehab –which is really the domain of physiotherapy. I still to this day refer patients on to a physio if they are post-surgery and need to rehab a joint. I still continue with their adjustments and could technically do the rehab myself but I acknowledge and understand that a physio will do it better.
Likewise when people have injured their back or neck, I’m amazed that anyone would choose to see anyone else other than a chiropractor! I mean all we studied for 5 painful years at university was the spine. We dream about spines; every chiropractor’s clinic logo is some version of a spine! It should kinda give it away I would have thought. But to this day, I have patients that show up after having spent time having physio or massage and it not getting better and then finally TRYING chiropractic. And what happens, one simple adjustment and they get relief; they feel things change, they get better!
I wonder why this happens; why do people not know what to do or who to see? It is just a lack of information out there about what to do? Is it misinformation?
So below is my simple way how to decide. It’s in bullet points so it’s nice and simple. I’ll deal with the misinformation in a moment.
Physiotherapy or physical therapy is basically muscular rehabilitation
So if you have had surgery, or badly injured a knee (meniscus tear), shoulder (eg. Rotator cuff tendonitis) or ankle (torn ligaments) then see a physio.
If your back hurts or your neck hurts don’t waste your time. As much as you may think it’s muscular, it’s not. The underlying cause is an incorrect functioning joint.
Great to relieve muscular tension and remove adhesions within muscles, aids healing etc
Does it correct anything? No. How often have you had a massage for tight shoulders only to notice your traps are sore and tight two days later?
Works great when combined with chiro in certain cases. I work together with many of my patient’s massage therapists to get a better result.
I’m hoping here we can clear up a few things about what it is a chiropractor actually does. Even in 2015 with Google people still tell me some interesting things about what they think I do.
Chiropractors look after the most fundamental structures in your body; Your skeleton and your nervous system. Or put differently – the thing that everything hangs off and the thing that tells everything else what to do. If those two systems are working correctly, you feel awesome and you function as nature intended. If they aren’t, you will injure yourself, develop imbalances that cause certain muscles to work too hard and feel sore and joints become prone to degenerative changes over time.
How do we do this? I’m always amazed at what people think I do. New patients that have never seen a chiro think I’m going to crunch them and end up equally amazed at how small the changes I make are. Simply put, my job is to restore normal correct function to a joint that isn’t moving correctly. There is a number of ways a chiro can do this but the most fundamental is what is called a chiropractic adjustment. We introduce a small movement to the joint to get it going again. And what happens next? You feel awesome! Literally AWESOME!!! That small, simple change a chiropractic adjustment makes to a joint has such profound effects on how the joint moves, how the muscles that guide that joint work, how the nervous system in the area functions all the way up to the brain and its function. It’s truly amazing.
So my advice to anyone stuck about who to go see for their injured back or neck (or shoulder/knee/hamstring/wrist/anything for that matter) is go see your local chiropractor, or at the very least ring them and ask them if they can help you and how.
As always, if any of you have a question, please feel free to ask by emailing me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.