What is Chiropractic?
Chiropractic is a health care discipline based on the scientific premise that the body is a self-regulating, self-healing organism. These important functions are controlled by the brain, spinal cord, and all the nerves of the body. “Chiropractic” comes from the Greek word Chiropraktikos, meaning “done by hand.”
The practice of chiropractic focuses on the relationship between structure (primarily the spine, and pelvis) and function (as coordinated by the nervous system) and how that relationship affects the preservation and restoration of health. The skull protects the delicate tissues of the brain. The moving bones of the spine protect the intricate communication pathways of the spinal cord and nerve roots.
If these nervous system pathways are impaired, malfunction of the tissue and organ function throughout the body can result. Chiropractic also places an emphasis on nutrition and exercise, wellness* and healthy lifestyle modifications.
How does Chiropractic work?
Chiropractic is based upon the understanding that good health depends, in part, upon a normally functioning nervous system.
Chiropractic works by helping to restore your own inborn ability to be healthy. When under the proper control of your nervous system, all the cells, tissue, and organs of your body are designed to function well and resist disease and ill health. The chiropractic approach to better health is to locate and help reduce interferences to your natural state of being healthy.
A common interference to the nervous system is the twenty four moving bones of the spinal column. A loss of normal motion or position of these bones can irritate or impair the function of the nervous system. This can disrupt the transmission of controlling nerve impulses.
Chiropractors aim to improve nervous system function primarily through chiropractic adjustments (with particular attention to the spine, skull and pelvis), to help remove any interference that may be impairing normal health.
What do Chiropractors Do?
Chiropractors are the spinal health experts. Helping to restore proper spinal biomechanics and improved nervous system function begins with a patient’s case history. This gives the chiropractor a background about your health, such as surgeries, accidents, the onset of your condition, and other details affecting your current health.
After reviewing your history and discussing your specific problem, a thorough orthopaedic, neurological, and chiropractic examination is performed. X-rays may be taken to uncover structural and functioning problems associated with the spinal column. These examinations help identify areas of spinal malfunction and resulting nervous system deficit. The findings of these examinations are explained and a plan of chiropractic adjustments may be recommended. Progress is monitored with periodical examinations and follow-up reports.
What type of education do Chiropractors receive?
Chiropractors are required to adhere to strict and extensive educational requirements and standards to become registered health professionals in Australia. Australian chiropractors are five year university trained, and are government registered and government regulated health professionals.
To become a registered chiropractor in Australia you must have studied an accredited 5-year chiropractic program conducted at a University within Australia, or have completed an accredited program overseas that satisfies the requirements set by the Australian Chiropractic Regulating authority.
Currently there are four universities in Australia that have chiropractic degree programs:
RMIT University in Melbourne (VIC) offers a Bachelor of Health Science (Chiropractic)– 3 year undergraduate program, followed by a Master of Clinical Chiropractic – 2 year post-graduate program.
Macquarie University in Sydney (NSW) has a three year Bachelor of Chiropractic Science which provides the basis for entry into a two year Master of Chiropractic.
Murdoch University in Perth (WA) offers a five year Bachelor of Chiropractic.
Central Queensland University (Mackay) which offers a 3 year Bachelor of Science (Chiropractic) and a 2 year Master of Chiropractic Science.
Successful completion of the whole program of study is required for professional registration as a chiropractor. The Chiropractors’ Association of Australia maintains an open line of communication with the three educational institutions running chiropractic degree programs. Members of the profession and the Association’s chief executive attend course advisory committee meetings and regular discussions are held between the universities’ academic staff and the CAA National Board.
A chiropractor’s education never ends. After entering practice, all CAA chiropractors must complete continuing professional development courses and seminars to upgrade and improve their skills and to stay current on the latest scientific research.