is the Art and Science of detecting vertebral subluxations in the spine that result in symptoms such as pain, numbness, tingling, headaches etc. Vertebral subluxations are defined as sub (less than) luxation (dislocation) of a vertebrae (spinal bone). In simple terms when a vertebrae becomes misaligned and places undue stress on the disc it sits on and the two facet joints, it results in a lack of movement in that specific area of the spine but also pressure on the outgoing spinal nerve and changes in the muscle tone around the joints and vertebrae.

Chiropractic also applies the same philosophy to joint in the extremities that may commonly become subluxated ie. elbow, ankle, knee etc. These subluxations are commonly seen in people that are constantly in front of a computer i.e. wrist and elbow problems and athletes ie. soccer players that are constantly utilising their hip, knee and ankle joints.

Chiropractic primarily focuses on restoring normality to the nervous system and entrusts in the innate ability of the body to correct itself from a state of dis-ease. This is accomplished by adjusting the area of the spine or extremity joint that is subluxated. The adjustment is a quick, highly specific movement with a low amplitude (shallow depth) applied to a specific landmark on the bone. This will usually result in a “pop” sound which is basically the release of gas from the joint. The adjustment aims to restore mobility to the spinal vertebrae or extremity joint and most importantly reduce nerve pressure that maybe present.

History of Chiropractic

The founder of chiropractic DD Palmer historically performed the first recorded adjustment to a janitor that was deaf and restored his hearing with only one adjustment. This was the beginning of chiropractic as it is known in modern times. This is also an example of many cases seen daily in chiropractic clinics and a testament to the ability of the body to self repair when the appropriate correction is made and nerve pressure is alleviated. Palmer provided the intervention with the adjustment but most importantly the janitor’s body actually restored normality to his hearing not the chiropractor.

What Does Chiropractic Treatment Involve?

Chiropractic treatment primarily involves the use of specific spinal adjustments, a gentle push to an area of the spine where spinal joint dysfunction has occurred. Using their hands, chiropractors are highly trained to accurately identify the location and direction of joint dysfunction in the spine.

In conjunction with the spinal adjustments other therapies may be performed to surrounding muscle dysfunction such as muscle pressure point techniques, ultrasound, TENS, heat/ice therapy, and exercise programs. Your chiropractor can also give you information and advice on how to achieve your optimal health through nutrition, exercise, workplace ergonomic modifications and lifestyle changes.

The Adjustment

Chiropractic treatment primarily involves the use of specific spinal adjustments (chiropractic spinal manipulation), a gentle push to an area of the spine where spinal joint dysfunction has occurred. Using their hands, chiropractors are highly trained to accurately identify the location and direction of joint dysfunction in the spine.

In conjunction with the spinal adjustments other therapies may be performed to surrounding muscle dysfunction such as muscle pressure point techniques, ultrasound, TENS, heat/ice therapy, and exercise programs. Your chiropractor can also give you information and advice on how to achieve your optimal health through nutrition, exercise, workplace ergonomic modifications and lifestyle changes.

Very few health care professions have been under such intense research as chiropractic spinal adjustments for safety and effectiveness. Many of the findings of these reports conclude that chiropractic care is both safe and effective; as such, a multitude of reports and research are available to support the effectiveness, efficiency and safety of chiropractic care.

What happens when I visit a Chiropractor?

Initial Consultation

Your initial visit the chiropractor will be aimed at gaining an insight into your current situation by gathering information from you about your symptoms, general health history, home life, work life and any physical activities you participate in such as sports and exercise.

This will be followed by a comprehensive neuromusculoskeletal examination that includes postural analysis, diagnostic tests, chiropractic assessment, and x-rays to enable the doctor to gain a clear understanding of the cause of your problem.

After the examination, your chiropractor will identify what the source of your problem and will clearly explain this to you, as well as outlining the treatment that is required to assist with your problem. Chiropractors are trained to determine if a problem is likely to respond to chiropractic treatment, and if not, will refer you to another more appropriate health care practitioner for treatment.

2nd Visit – Report Of Findings

The second consultation involves a follow up from the first visit in regard to patient history, examination of the spine – nervouscope, motion palpation, static palpation and range of motion to evaluate changes after first adjustment. Treatment is then provided and finally the doctor will take the patient through a report of findings highlighting problems areas in the spine, scheduling, active patient management such as exercises and explaining chiropractic philosophy.

3rd Consultation – Ongoing Treatment

A thorough examination is conducted in the seated position and treatment continued. The consult is approximately 15 minutes duration.

How Often Do I Have To Visit?

One of the most common reasons people seek chiropractic care is that it often provides fast relief and quick results. However, cases are varied and depend on the individual condition. The acute phase of care is important to bring about change and repeated visits over a short period may be required initially to reduce underlying dysfunction. The rehabilitative and preventative phase of care involves lengthened periodic check ups to help maintain your spinal function, mobility and somatic health.

Many patients prefer to avoid relapse and chose to detect small imbalances before they become serious, as subluxation can be present without symptoms. Just like you see your dentist for periodic checkups, we encourage everyone to have their spine checked.

Today, there are people of all ages and walks of life seeking chiropractic care. Whether you are suffering from the natural “wear and tear” of ageing, or if you are an office worker or a professional sports player, chiropractic care can be beneficial to you.

Is Chiropractic Safe?

Chiropractic is a holistic natural, drug free approach to health care that has extensive scientific literature to validate its safety.

To give you an idea of just how safe, in a recent study (Colas et al: Neurology, April 2004:62:1338-1342) Chiropractic was found to be 250 times safer for a headache than taking anti-inflammatory drugs.

In regard to neck adjustments and their supposed risk to stroke a very recent article was published in a most reputable journal “Spine”; it stated “we found no evidence of excess risk of VBA stroke associated chiropractic care compared to primary care (medical physician).” Cassidy et al: SPINE, 2008, Vol 33: ppS176-S183.

Chiropractic is an extremely safe practice the research is proof in the pudding!!

Conditions Chiropractic Treats

The most common problem treated by chiropractors is spinal pain. It is a very common condition in western societies and has been described by some as an epidemic. The cost of time lost at work and the inability to carry out every day tasks is enormous and continues to grow each year.

ustralian chiropractic research results indicate that 80% of chiropractic patients have spinal pain (neck, back, referred pain to arms and legs), 10% have headache or migraine and 10% have a wide variety of other conditions. These other conditions may be caused, intensified or imitated by neuromusculoskeletal disorders (for example chest pain, dysmenorrhoea, respiratory or digestive dysfunctions).

Chiropractors also treat other areas of the body including conditions related to the upper limb (shoulder, arm, wrist and hand problems) and lower limb (leg, knee, ankle and foot problems). Significant amounts of research now exist to support the use of chiropractic for a broad range of conditions and symptoms. Some of these include:

Back Pain

Is the commonest cause of a patient visit to a chiropractor. The spine is a resilient and flexible structure that can withstand increased pressure being placed on it. It is only when a region of the spine is subluxated that injury can occur. A common example is someone who is combing their hair and all of a sudden they encounter muscle spasm and seizing of their entire mid back. What has actually happen in this situation is that the patient has lifted their arm to comb their hair and it has caused a specific joint in the mid back region to be sprained. A subluxation presence in the mid back region will cause a facet joint to be dysfunctional (lack in movement). As the joint is stressed (as the arm is raised) it can potentially press on nerve endings and create an inflammatory reaction. This will further cause muscles in the area to spasm in a means to protect the region (like an ankle sprain). This exact situation can also occur in the neck (wry neck – torticllis) and in the low back area. Chiropractic is a preventative and corrective means of ensuring subluxations are not present to create such problems.

Dizziness and Vertigo

Chiropractic has profound effects on dizziness and vertigo and the problem is most commonly found in the upper cervical region. Subluxations in this region will alter the neural input from the spinal joints of C1-C3 and commonly affect the vestibule pathways leading to perceived vertigo (the entire room is revolving around them).

Extremity pain/injury ie. shoulder pain, RSI

Extremity joint injuries ie. elbow, wrist, shoulder, knee pain etc are extremely common problems seen by our doctors on a daily basis. Many conditions that affect extremities such as joint dysfunction, tendonitis, repetitive strain injuries are all assessed and treated with adjustments, soft tissue and exercises. Impact injuries are very common due to the high number of athletes attending the clinic and our onsite xrays provides immediate diagnostic images to eliminate possible fractures.

Whiplash Accidents

Motor vehicle accidents have a severe and direct impact on the spine and associated supportive connective tissue structures. In particular ligaments, discs, joints and muscles can be inflamed and damaged through the impact absorbed by such an accident. Xray imaging is important to eliminate the possibility of a fracture. Once this has been diagnostically achieved treatment can be administered directed initially at decreasing inflammation. Once inflammation is overcome and this may take a week or two, treatment is directed towards adjusting subluxations and correcting muscular tightness that has resulted due to the accident. Restoring range of motion is extremely important to ensure future spinal degenerative changes do not occur.


There are different types of classification for headaches but there are all most commonly caused by vertebral subluxation. Whether it is a tension type, cervicogenic or migraine, more often than not the referred pain is a phenomenon that has extensive scientific evidence that its origin is from the neck. Headaches and migraines are the most common ailments that patients present to the clinic after low back pain.

Jaw Problems (TMJ)

A forward head posture which is commonly seen in desk sitting jobs and dental problems can have a significant impact on the temporomandibular joint (jaw). Chiropractic assessment involves assessing the movement of each side of the jaw and for muscular imbalances. Pain in the joint, clicking upon opening of the mouth and restricted movement are common symptoms experienced.

Menstrual Issues

Painful menses is much easier to resolve than irregular menses. Most subluxations exist in the lumbar region and sacrum or pelvis. I may take upto 3 cycles to begin to resolve irregular menses. Direct supply from the autonomic nervous system to the ovary and most specifically the sympathetic nervous system affects smooth muscle tone in the wall of the ovary and uterus, but also hormonal secretion of estrogen and progesterone.

Numbness & Pain

Numbness and pain is directly associated with nerve pressure and more often that not at a spinal level the nerve interference is been caused. Depending on where the numbness or pain is located will also determine the area of the spine that is commonly affected. Numbness in the extremities is commonly seen in the fingers or toes and the origins of these symptoms from the neck and low back regions respectively.


Commonly females complain of low back pain during their pregnancy due to the increased weight placed on the spine during this period. Most problems indicate sacral and pelvic subluxations (low back region) are the cause and chiropractic offers the natural and practical solution for pain especially when medication is not an option.


Depending on where the patient describes the pain, this can provide the doctor an understanding of where the problem is coming from ie. front of thigh pain is usually upper lumbar region where as groin pain is commonly a pelvic problem. Chiropractic is extremely successful with sciatica cases as the underlying cause is nerve pressure creating a radiating pain.


There are many forms of scoliosis and chiropractic is most helpful with functional cases, where subluxation is the most common cause. It is most important for children to be checked prior to puberty to prevent or dramatically improve the incidence of adolescent onset scoliosis.

Sports & Chiropractic

The importance of chiropractic in the sporting arena as a means of preventing and correcting injuries is well received in all sports and supported by coaches of soccer, football teams and many other sports.Somatic Healthcare applies the same emphasis to its patients and athletes that attend the clinic. The core model is subluxation based to provide the very best results the athletes body can deliver by correcting the spinal dysfunction.

Sporting injuries are very commonly presenting complaints at the clinic, with ankle, knee and hip problems most prevalent. A thorough chiropractic assessment is preformed. Conditions that are seen include; knee meniscal injuries, ankle ligament sprains, hip/knee/ankle joint dysfunctions and tendonitis. Specific adjustments to the extremety joints coupled with soft tissue techniques, nutritional medicine and exercises provide very positive outcomes for such problems.