Chiropractors in Australia receive their title of ‘Dr’ through national registration with their professional body, similar to other health care professionals. Just like medical doctors, chiropractors are professionals that are subject to the same type of testing procedures, licensing and monitoring by national peer-reviewed boards.
Chiropractors receive their registration through The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). This is the same body that registers other mainstream health care providers such asGPs, physiotherapists, dentists, podiatrists and psychologists.
Chiropractors undergo five years of university-based education, and have treated several hundred patients in their final year of studies under the supervision of registered chiropractic doctors before they graduate. Their studies are very similar to those of medical schools, with rigorous curricula including anatomy, physiology, cell biology, pathophysiology, chemistry and biochemistry, immunology, physical examination, diagnostic skills, physical therapies and rehabilitation.
Myth 2: Chiropractic is the same as Physiotherapy
Most of us may believe that when we have neck and low back pain, visiting either a physiotherapy or a chiropractor will provide us with the same result/outcome. While both professional bodies treat patients, chiropractors focus on spinal alignment, whereas physiotherapists use exercise programs and assistive devices to improve a patient’s mobility and reduce pain levels.
A chiropractor view spinal related misalignment as the root cause of the problems, whereas, a physiotherapy believes muscles related weakness/incoordination as the root cause of the problems.Therefore, if you happened to visit both professional bodies, you will realized upon seeing a chiropractor, they will mostly address the postural aberration, and subsequently deliver chiropractic adjustment to the spine or any joints that causes your neck and back pain, whereas for physiotherapy, they will target muscles related issues to restore your mobility and uses rehabilitative exercises to assist in your muscles weaknesses and muscle recovery.
Myth 3: We only need to see a chiropractor when we experience pain or discomfort.
While pain and/or discomfort is undeniably the main factors patients seek for treatments, we do not need to wait until the intensity increase, or wait for the issues to get worsen before we should go and seek care for our musculoskeletal problem. The very straightforward reason being is, when we already have felt the pain and discomfort to begin with, it may means that, the conditions have already been exacerbated/worsen as time pass by, to the point that, its severe enough to trigger a response/an action for us to look into the matter.
“There is one 24-year-old patient who walked into the clinic with both legs numbness after an episode of sneezing. From her x rays, it doesn’t show any sign related to her complaints but from her MRI, we confirmed a disc bulge, or what we commonly called disc slipped at L5/S1 segment. So if we look into this case, we can deduce that the sneezing is only the catalyst to the problem, the bulk of the problem has been related to her prolonged bad sitting posture and long hours of desk bound job.” said Dr Seow.
“Very much like our car alignment, we do not wait until the whole steering wheels divert to one side before we go for an alignment check, or we do not wait for our car to make a noise or the “check engine” light is on before we go to service our car. Likewise for our spine, when is the last time we assess our spinal alignment before it actually nudges us with pain or symptoms or affect our daily life?” implies Dr. Seow.
Myth 4: Chiropractors are not “real”doctors
Chiropractors are regulated in all 10 Canadian provinces, and are designated to use the title “doctor” similar to general practitioner (GP), optometrists and dentists after completing their chiropractic degree program. Those professions who are recognized to use the“doctor” title have extensive training in their area of expertise that allows them to be diagnosticians – to provide a diagnosis.
Likewise for Dr. Seow, he is an AHPRA(Australian Health Practitioner Regulatory Agency) registered chiropractor and it took him 3 years of Bachelor of Chiropractic Science, and 2 years of Master of Chiropractic at Macquarie University, Sydney, before he can be registered as a legislated AHPRA practitioner.
“MOH required the company to submit legal documents when I hire my associate, Dr. Nathan Le, such that to show he is a registered practitioner in Australia, before he can have his Employment Pass approve.” Said Dr. Seow.
Myth 5: Adjustments are painful
Chiropractic adjustments have never been painful to receive, unless you are experiencing sharp pain, torticollis or condition as such where the pain intensity is already high. In fact, most patients report immediate pain relieves and better mobility after the very first adjustment. The clicking and the popping sound immediately after the adjustments are pressure being release, mostly from our spinal facets joint, that direct movement within our spine, and not the breaking of our bone that creates the clicking sound!
One study involving chiropractic patients with neck pain found that 96 percent of respondents indicated that they were either “Very satisfied” or “Satisfied”with the chiropractic care they received, and that 98 percent said that they“Definitely would” or were “Very likely” to choose chiropractic care again if they experienced a similar problem.
Myth 6: Chiropractors just crack backs
While chiropractic science is focused on spinal manipulation (also known as adjustment) chiropractors also have an in-depth understanding of how the spine and related structures, including soft tissue, are intrinsically connected to the body's function.
In addition to spinal manipulation or adjustment, chiropractors also treat patients through:
mobilisation, which is the gentle movement of the joint to increase its range of motion,
strengthening and conditioning exercises,
application of therapeutic modalities including heat/ice, electrotherapies, and various taping techniques as required by patients,
therapeutic stretching and massage,
activity and lifestyle modification advice, and
adjustment of other joints around the body, including ankles, shoulders, wrists, elbows.
Myth 7: There is no proof of evidence for chiropractic care
Interestingly, for those who experience neck and low back pain and seek other type of alternative treatment instead of chiropractic perceive that, chiropractors just crack backs (Myth 5 debunked) and there is no evidence on what a chiropractic doctors does on a daily basis, despite the fact that there are 1 million adjustments being delivered on normal working days in the United States.
A 2018 review published in The Spine Journal references numerous studies spanning 17 years which involved spinal manipulation and mobilisation. The review found chiropractic methods were viable options for pain management for those suffering from chronic lower back pain.
In great news for those suffering from chronic headaches, a 2010 study published by NCBI concluded spinal manipulation is effective in treating both headaches and migraines.
Myth 8:The only way to fix disc problem is via surgery
Many may believes that the only quick fix for disc related problems, such as disc herniation, disc bulge, and disc complication that leads to sciatica, or tingling, numbing sensation down the arms or legs are only via surgical intervention. This is far from being true because chiropractor is trained to intervene this issue first hand and have been through proper, certified training (refer to myth 3).
Chiropractic has long been recognised as the organic health care providers that utilises natural method to prevent back surgery. In fact, the Journal of theAmerican Medical Association just recently published its low back pain guidelines and suggested that people suffering from back pain first try chiropractic before resorting to surgery.
Macquarie Chiropractic is the first and only, as of this date, to utilise HILL decompression table, Flexion DistractionTable, and shockwave therapy for patient’s chiropractic treatment program. What pertains to patients who visit Macquarie Chiropractic clinic is that they are assured of the highest quality of a chiropractic care, with the technological advancement that the clinic has to offer.