Chiropractic is a health care profession focusing on disorders of both the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system and the effects of these disorders on general health. Chiropractic care is used most often to treat neuromusculoskeletal complaints, including but not limited to:
- back pain;
- neck pain;
- pain in the joints of the arms or legs; and
Chiropractors are also trained to recommend therapeutic and rehabilitative exercises.
The purpose of a “spinal manipulation” or “chiropractic adjustment” is to restore joint mobility by manually applying a controlled force into joints that have become restricted in their movement. Manipulation or adjustment of the affected joint and tissues restores mobility, thereby alleviating pain and muscle tightness allowing tissues to heal.
Chiropractors use the honorary title of Doctor; when using the title practitioners are required to ensure it is clear to the public that they are Chiropractors.
Every competent person has the right to agree or refuse (or withdraw consent) to have a proposed treatment, procedure, or intervention. Providing an intervention or treatment without consent may be unlawful and/or a breach of professional obligations.
To give informed consent a patient must be accurately and adequately informed about their condition, the proposed treatment, procedure, or intervention, and be provided with information in a language, style and form that can be easily understood.
Patients also have a right to an environment that enables both the patient and chiropractor to communicate openly, honestly, and effectively. This includes a right to physical privacy and to have another person or persons present to provide support during discussions.
Informed consent must be obtained for each proposed treatment, procedure, or intervention. In situations where the agreed treatment plan involves a series of procedures or interventions, consent for the plan of treatment must be obtained prior to the treatment starting but it is usually not necessary to obtain new consent at each treatment visit.
Updated or new consent should be obtained if:
- the treatment plan is varied from that originally consented to,
- there is a change in the costs of the treatment,
- or where there is any change in the patient’s condition or risk profile.
Should the agreed plan change, the proposed change, the reason for the change, any change to the cost of the treatment and any other information the patient would expect to receive to make an informed decision whether to proceed with the proposed change should be discussed with the patient and new or updated consent obtained.
A typical initial chiropractic consultation will include a thorough medical history and detailed examination to determine the need and appropriateness of chiropractic care. You will be advised if further tests are required, or if referral to another health care provider would be best in your case.
There are many different approaches and techniques used by chiropractors, because of this the treatment approach taken by one chiropractor might be significantly different from that of another. However, all chiropractors will need to take a patient history and receive your informed consent before treatment.
If your chiropractor believes you will benefit from receiving chiropractic care they will outline a plan of care tailored to your needs. This will sometimes involve a series of adjustments over a period of time, each building on the ones before.