Chiropractic (Greek: done by hand) is a health care profession concerned with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disorders of the neuromusculoskeletal (nerve, muscle and joint) system and the effects of these disorders on pain, function and general health. There is an emphasis on manual techniques, including joint adjustment and/or manipulation, with a particular focus on joint dysfunction, or what chiropractors commonly refer to as subluxations.
Chiropractic practice emphasizes the conservative management of disorders of the neuromusculoskeletal system without the use of medicines and surgery. Since inception, chiropractic has involved the use of a variety of other modalities aimed at improving health and function. Management options includes joint and soft-tissue manual treatments, rehabilitation exercises, patient education and lifestyle modification, and the use of physical therapy modalities and orthotics and other supports.
Surveys demonstrate that the primary reasons patients consult chiropractors are back pain (approximately 60%), other musculoskeletal pain such as pain in the neck, shoulder, extremities, and arthritic pain (20%) and headaches including migraine (10%). About 5-10% of people present with a wide variety of conditions possibly aggravated by, mimicking or caused by neuromusculoskeletal disorders.
All Latrobe Health Centre Chiropractors have been trained in Australian Universities. The Chiropractic degree spans 5yrs and is one of the most comprehensive and up to date courses in the world. In addition to the mandatory undergraduate training, registration standards require Chiropractors to achieve ongoing continuing educations hours each year. Keeping up to date with the latest research and techniques is essential and chiropractors at Latrobe Health Centre are expected to exceed the minimum continuing professional development requirements each year.
Whereas most chiropractic schools in the US are in private colleges, most of the newer schools internationally are within the national university system (e.g. Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, and the UK).
In some of these programs, for example, at the University of Southern Denmark in Odense and the University of Zurich in Switzerland, chiropractic and medical students take the same basic science courses together for three years before entering separate programs for clinical training.
For a number of reasons, which include the popularity of chiropractic health care with patients and much new research on safety and cost-effectiveness, the past generation has seen significant international growth of the profession and chiropractic education. In 1990 there were only four recognized programs outside the USA, one each in Australia, Canada, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. There are now 41 programs in 16 countries around the world, including 4 chiropractic courses in the Australian university system.
Working in the Health System
Chiropractors now form an important part of the mainstream health system. Rebates for Chiropractic care are now available through Medicare, Department of Veterans Affairs, WorkSafe and Private Health Insurers. Within Australia chiropractors are now working in the same clinics as medical doctors and other allied health professionals. Internationally, chiropractors work in major public hospitals and community health clinics.
Governments are becoming increasingly aware that when health practitioners work together, patients experience higher satisfaction and better access to care. Many medical doctors and spine specialists are becoming increasingly aware of the high level of training and education that chiropractors undergo and the importance of chiropractors and medical doctors working together to achieve the best outcomes for patients.