Check list for choosing the best chiropractor in Brighton

Choosing a chiropractor is easy, choosing a good chiropractor takes a bit more thought. Here are a few tips to make the process more straightforward.

As with choosing any professional service, recommendation by someone who has been is best. Ask around amongst friends and family. There are a million visits a year to chiropractors in the UK and several in Brighton so chances are someone you know has been to one. It is worth asking them why they went to see a chiropractor in the first place and how they got on.

All chiropractors in the UK have to be registered with the General Chiropractic Council by law. You can check the register here to make sure they are on it. If they aren’t – don’t go.

You might also like to check if they are members of the British Chiropractic Association. The BCA is the oldest, largest and most reputable association in the UK and its members adhere to the highest standards of care and professionalism. You can check their register here (chiropractic-uk.co.uk). Their website also has lots of useful tips and advice about what to expect when you visit a chiropractor.

All the Brighton chiropractors at Sundial are GCC and BCA registered.

Most chiropractors stick to treating muscle and joint problems for which there is good evidence for effectiveness. If a chiropractors website makes bold claims to treat all sorts of other conditions without good evidence then best choose someone else. If you want to know what chiropractors can treat effectively then this recent research may help by Bronfort.

If a chiropractor recommends that everyone have an x-ray then this is not considered good practice. X-rays can be very helpful in certain circumstances but useless in others. Good clinical decision making is more important than universally x-raying all new patients.

Most chiropractors will treat you in a private room. We think this is necessary for confidentiality and a more personal approach. Some chiropractors will use an open plan room with several treatment tables and patients in there at once. This may be down to your personal preference. Treatment fees should be lower for this sort of care but often they are the same as for clinics using only private rooms. Be sure to check.

A range of treatments should be available and you should be given a choice. Sometimes there are good reasons to recommend one form of treatment over another, but this should be clearly explained. We have physio’s, massage therapists and podiatrists as well as chiropractors here at Sundial.

You should not be required to attend health education classes. Here at Sundial, we feel that if anything needs explaining, it is best done on a one-to-one basis to make sure that you get the advice that is specific to you and that you have the opportunity to ask questions.

The number of sessions you need should be made clear at the start and you should start to feel an improvement within the first few sessions. If you are not improving as we both would expect them a full reassessment will be carried out and another approach to treatment will be recommended.

Fees should be clearly laid out in advance and you should not be required to pay large up-front fees. Here at Sundial you will have the option to pay in advance and receive a discount and be refunded any fees you do not use.

We hope this has been helpful. If you have any questions then feel free to email us or call for an appointment for a free check-up, no strings attached.

X-rays reduce cancer risk says latest research

Arthritis x-ray explainedUsing x-rays to see inside the body has been around since 1895 and chiropractors were amongst the first to use this wonderful new technology. The first x-ray machine to be installed in a chiropractic college was in 1910 in Davenport, Iowa. Since then x-ray use fallen in and out of favour in both medical and chiropractic circles. Everyone assumes that all x-rays pose a risk to health but latest research puts this to the test.

Recently NICE recommended against the routine use of x-rays for simple low back pain. As far back as 1976 studies(1) showed that ordinary x-ray films don’t show the cause of the pain. Further arguments showed that in most cases and doesn’t improve care or the clinical outcome.  Whilst that may be true for medicine where the first treatment is medication and then, after a while, physiotherapy exercises, chiropractors use x-rays differently.

The 1976 study was limited to the 18-50 age group so the same conclusion cannot be drawn for older back sufferers. Chiropractors take films standing up which shows such things as leg length differences far more accurately than measuring the legs or eyeballing differences at the feet or ankles. Hospitals take back x-rays lying down which show disease but mask postural changes like spinal curvature (scoliosis)  and disc compression with instability.

Chiropractors main form of treatment is manipulation or adjustment of the spine. Whilst this is a safe procedure in most people, if you have a hidden spinal birth defect, x-ray can show if it safe to adjust. Chiropractors feel for individual spinal bone movement and it is the loss of this movement which is thought to cause many forms of back pain. If there is a spinal defect where 2 vertebra have not  grown properly and have fused, which is not uncommon, then that segment will move abnormaly. Without an x-ray a chiropractor might conclude that this was 2 bones locked together causing the pain and start treatment to unlock them. In a review of 847 x-rays form new borns to 85 year olds, 68 % had observable anomalies (2).  These ranged from common wear-and-tear arthritis to tumours and fractures. It is good to know so that the right treatment can be applied.

Are X-rays Safe?

We are exposed to x-rays every day, about 2.4 mSv a year. In Cornwall the rock emits more radiation so it is bit higher here ( no Cornish jokes please). When we fly the exposure is higher still. It has been assumed that any exposure is harmful. This has not been based on research but an assumption that the effects are linear down to zero. This theory means that even small doses have a small adverse effect.

But is this true. In 2008 Rodgers and Holmes (3) went to Chernobyl to find out. Astonishingly they found that at small doses of up to 15 mSv, x-rays were actually beneficial! Up to this level people had lower levels of cancer than a normal un-exposed population. So x-rays are good for you, within reason. A set of 2 low back x-rays is about 1 mSv (4) and the maximum safe dose is 20 mSv a year (5).

The British Chiropractic Association insists on a strict code of practice to ensure even higher safety standards. Regular site inspections and equipment maintenance is carried out to make the best use of a valuable resource in the chiropractors diagnostic options.

References

1. Nachemson, A. L. (1976). The lumbar spine an orthopaedic challenge. Spine,1, 59-71.

2. Beck, R. W., Holt, K. R., Fox, M. A., &  Hurtgen-Grace, K. L. (2004). Radiographic anomalies that may alter chiropractic intervention strategies found in a New Zealand population. Journal Manipulative Physiological Therapeutics, 27, 554-9.

3. Rodgers, B. E., &  Holmes, K. M. (2008). Radio-adaptive response to environmental exposures at Chernobyl. Dose Response, 6, 209-21.

4. Wall, B. F., &  Hart, D. (1997). Revised radiation doses for typical X-ray examinations. Report on a recent review of doses to patients from medical X-ray examinations in the UK by NRPB. National Radiological Protection Board. Br J Radiol, 70, 437-9.

5. World Nuclear Association (2009). Radiation and Nuclear Energy. Dec 2009 from  http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf05.html

Acupuncture & Chiropractic recommended on the NHS

NICE, an advisory body to the NHS, are actively recommending alternative therapies for the treatment of ongoing back pain:

Patients whose back pain has continued for more than six weeks but less than a year should be offered a choice of 12-weeks of complementary therapy on the NHS, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has concluded.

Patients should be able to choose between eight exercise classes over 12 weeks in a class or individually, nine sessions of manipulation which could be performed by a chiropractor, osteopath, or specially trained physiotherapists and doctors, or ten sessions of acupuncture over 12 weeks. Continue reading “Acupuncture & Chiropractic recommended on the NHS”