Frequently Asked Questions
What will happen on my first visit?
Our reception team begin by taking the demographic details necessary to create your individual patient records and ask you to sign a form to say that you are happy for us to store this information on our computer system. Chiropractors are bound by the same rules of confidentiality that apply to all medical records.
We will then check to make sure you are happy to undergo examination and understand the risks and benefits of chiropractic care.
You will then meet your Chiropractor who will take a full history of your condition and details of your and your immediate family's medical background.
This case history is then augmented by a comprehensive orthopaedic and neurological examination. Although this is usually sufficient to establish an accurate and specific diagnosis of the nature and cause of your problem, some patients do require additional tests: Our main Yeovil clinic has a digital x-ray suite and all clinics have urinalysis facilities. We are also able to make fast-track referral for magnetic resonance imaging and blood tests if and when required.
If the Chiropractor decides that yours is a condition amenable to Chiropractic management, treatment will start on your first visit; if we can't help you, we will do our best to find the person who can.
How long does the treatment take?
The first visit usually takes about 45 minutes. Subsequent visits average 10-15 minutes though your chiropractor will always spend as long as is necessary with each and every patient.
Is it safe?
The risks associated with chiropractic treatment are extremely small and complications are rare; however, we take patient safety very seriously and now have a new section on our website dedicated to making our treatment as effective and problem-free as possible.
How long will I need to come?
The frequency and duration of treatment programmes vary according to the amount of damage done; how long the problem has been present; your age, general health, occupation and ability to heal. Your Chiropractor will devise and discuss a treatment plan that is designed specifically for you.
Treatment is typically divided into three phases:
- Symptomatic relief
We want to get you out of pain as quickly as possible; typically this takes between five and eight treatments - if you aren't showing the expected improvement after a handful of sessions, we will review your orthopaedic and neurological status and modify the approach or arrange for additional testing to be done. Most patients report substantial improvement from about the third or fourth treatment.
Once you are comfortable, we usually begin a programme to maximize healing and restore normal function; this typically involves stretching exercises to remove any residual stiffness; strengthening and stabilisation; posture and ergonomic assessment and nutritional support. Most of this work is home-based and involves small changes over a period of months when you will typically only see the chiropractor two or three times. Where a patient's needs are more complicated, we will include other healthcare professionals in your recovery.
Some problems can be recurrent owing to the levels of damage sustained or the daily stresses and strains put on certain areas of your body; if this is likely to be the case, we are highly experienced at gauging the likely rate of return and arranging a programme of occasional, preventional care, typically every 3-12 months. If you have made what we feel to be a full recovery, we will retain your records for a minimum of eight years ... just in case anything else goes wrong.
You always have the right to cancel or suspend treatment at any time - though we do require 24 hours notice for any cancelled appointment.
Will the pain come back?
We are as interested in preventing recurrence as getting rid of your presenting symptoms. Your Chiropractor will discuss with you the strategy to manage your complaint to minimise the incidence of recurrence.
What's the difference between a Chiropractor and an Osteopath?
There is a difference in rationale, techniques and the general approach to a problem. Chiropractic training includes a greater emphasis on neurology and diagnostic imaging; osteopathic training places greater emphasis on soft tissues and blood flows. Chiropractors also have a far greater presence internationally. In the UK, the common ground between the two professions has increased greatly in the last 20 years and both professions are now regulated and practitioners must be registered with either the General Chiropractic Council or the General Osteopathic Council. It is illegal to call yourself a chiropractor or an osteopath unless you are properly registered.
Are there any exercises I can do?
One of the differences in the chiropractic approach is the point at which exercises are introduced. Although we will often encourage mobility at the earliest opportunity, chiropractors will not generally prescribe exercises until they are confident that the neurological control and ligamentous stability of the affected area has been restored and biomechanical integrity re-established; exercise is then used to rehabilitate the area and help prevent recurrence.
Is there anything I can take?
Chiropractors receive training in pharmacology and nutrition and can advise you on the best over the counter medication for your health needs or liaise with your general practitioner to modify your prescribed medication if this is required. We can also advise on any metabolic or dietary support required.
Am I too old?
No. We regularly treat patients in their eighties and nineties, modifying the techniques that we use as appropriate. The one phrase you will never hear us use is "It's you age, learn to live with it"... the right to good health and optimal neurological and biomechanical dysfunction doesn't end with retirement!
Do you treat children?
Children are not just small versions of adults, they require a very different skill set and technique range, which all of our chiropractors have acquired.
Does it hurt?
Treating an area that is inflamed and tender can sometimes involve some discomfort but we will always attempt to work within a patient's individual pain tolerance. All our chiropractors are trained in a variety of techniques that are suitable for a wide range of patients, from 20 stone rugby players to premature babies. We do not use "No pain, No gain" as our treatment approach nor does something usually have to "Get worse before it gets better". If there's a particular approach you like or dislike, your chiropractor will be happy to discuss this with you and modify their approach accordingly.
What's the clicking sound?
Some chiropractic techniques use high velocity, low amplitude manipulation, which is often associated with a clicking or popping sound from the joint being adjusted. The sound is called 'cavitation' and results from bubbles of atmospheric gas dissolved in the lubricating fluid of the joint popping when the pressure inside the joint capsule is suddenly changed.
Can I cancel an appointment once it's been made?
We are always happy to reschedule your appointments and you have the right to cancel or suspend treatment at any time, although we do not recommend discontinuing any prescribed course of care without first discussing the consequences with your treating healthcare professional. If you do wish to cancel an appointment, please give us 24 hours notice so that we can contact other patients, waiting for treatment - if the cancellation is short notice, we still appreciate knowing: even 15 minutes notice is sometimes enough to reschedule another patient, who will be grateful for being able to receive emergency care. If we can fill the cancellation, then we will always waive our late cancellation fee - missed appointments may be charged in full.
What happens if my Chiropractor is away?
We always encourage continuity of care but during annual leave and in emergency situations, we are all used to covering each other's patients and all have a common set of core techniques and skills.
What about my General Practitioner?
When you give consent to examination, you will be asked to sign a form. This also gives you the chance to tell us whether you are happy for us to contact your family doctor. We usually write to general practitioners a few weeks into treatment outlining your diagnosis, treatment and response together with any investigative findings. This allows important medical information about you to be held in your central records, which may be of use to others in the future. We will always respect any request for privacy in this regard.
Is Chiropractic available of the NHS?
It could be, it should be but, generally, it isn't, despite much campaigning on the issue.
Will my health insurance cover me?
Most health insurance companies now cover the cost of Chiropractic care and various of our practitioners are listed with almost all the major provider; the exception is BUPA from whom we de-registered in 2013 owing to their decision to enforce a new contract on all chiropractors and osteopaths, which was, for us, unviable.
Do I need a referral from my GP?
Some Private Health Insurance policies require a general practitioner referral (this can usually be arranged by phone as most surgeries have an automated standard letter they use); otherwise you do not need to involve your GP and can simply self-refer by picking up the phone.
With your (optional) consent, we will write to you GP with a synopsis of your presentation, treatment and response and the results of any testing; we will also involve them should you require any further referral.
What conditions do we treat?
Many musculoskeletal 'conditions' are not diseases but rather symptoms; as such, it is inappropriate to be able to claim to 'cure' back pain or neck pain, which can be caused by many dozens of different - and sometimes overlapping - things.
There is also a difference between conditions that have been robustly researched (such as low back pain) and shown to effective respond to chiropractic care, and those that have not yet been researched but which our own clinical experience tells us often respond very well with our clinical protocols.
All of our chiropractors hold the firm belief that effective treatment starts with an accurate diagnosis and that any good healthcare professional should know when they can help a patient and when that patient needs referring … which is why we spend so much time on your first visit achieving precisely that.
If you are interested in learning more about the evidence base for chiropractic, you can search for information on any topic here.