I am often asked what made me decide to become a chiropractor as I was already a physiotherapist living and working in my native France.
As usual, there are several reasons.
In France, 50 years ago, physiotherapists were seen as medical auxiliaries. The training was short, 2 years, and the medical profession made sure that your general medical knowledge was weak enough to prevent you from becoming a serious competitor in the field of musculo-skeletal medicine. In those days, being a physiotherapist meant following to the letter the treatment plan established by a medical doctor with few possibilities to take initiatives My frustration grew until one day friends of my parents introduced me to their chiropractor.
I remember to this day, my meeting with that inspiring man who galvanised me and motivated me to investigate chiropractic. Soon, I realised that the training was rigorous and long enough to equip me to become exactly what I wanted to be: an independent practitioner able to make a diagnosis and decide if I could treat or if I should refer.
In those days, being a physiotherapist meant following to the letter the treatment plan established by a medical doctor….
Nevertheless, there were a lot of obstacles to overcome. The length of the training, at that time 4 years; the fact that in those days the only training institutions were either in the US, Canada or the UK and assuming that I would graduate, I would come back to practise in a country where chiropractic was considered as the illegal practice of medicine.
I was still young and I must admit that the prospect of becoming a pioneer in my native country fired me up rather than frightened me. After a few years, however, I decided to leave France and settle in the UK where chiropractic enjoyed a more positive status.
Things have changed a lot since, and both France and the UK have given chiropractic a legal status. In the UK, since 1994 the Chiropractor Act regulates the profession and it is illegal for anyone who is not registered to describe themselves as a chiropractor. The same legislation was passed for physiotherapists a few years later. Regulation comes with regulatory bodies, professional associations and colleges.
Physiotherapists and chiropractors need by law to be registered, to hold professional indemnity insurance, and to comply with continuing professional development.
Regulation has positive implications for our profession and our patients. An example of this is the Royal College of Chiropractors’ Patient Partnership Quality Mark (PPQM), an award obtained after a rigorous audit showing that a chiropractic clinic can demonstrate excellence in meeting patients’ expectations in cleanliness, safety and patient expectations.
I am proud to announce that the Guildford Chiropractic Centre has just received this prestigious award for the 4th time running. For me, personally, this is just further confirmation that it was worth making that career change all those years ago and coming to practise in the UK.
Have you ever seen sports people wearing brightly coloured tape and wonderered whether it was simply a fashion statement or if it served a particular purpose? Taping is prescribed by chiropractors, physiotherapists and other manual therapists – but what’s it all about?
This type of tape is called Kinesio Tape, and was originally developed by a Japanese chiropractor, Dr Kenzo Kase, in 1973. (You read it correctly, Kinesiotape was developed by a chiropractor!) He found that although standard taping techniques like athletic taping gave excellent support to muscles and joints, they significantly reduced the range of motion in the joints. He therefore wanted to create a therapeutic tape that could support injured joints and muscles but without compromising their range of motion, and after two years of research he developed Kinesio Tex® tape.
This type of tape is called Kinesio Tape, and was originally developed by a Japanese chiropractor, Dr Kenzo Kase, in 1973.
Kinesio tape first gained worldwide exposure during the Beijing Olympics in 2008, and, at the 2012 London Olympics, athletes from more than 80 countries wore the tape whilst competing. It is now commonly worn by athletes competing in top level sporting events in a wide variety of sports including football, rugby, tennis, cycling, swimming and athletics.
Kinesio tape a hypoallergenic latex-free elastic cotton tape, with a heat activated acrylic backing and is designed to have a similar weight and thickness to human skin. It allows the skin to breathe more easily, is water resistant, allowing wearers to bathe normally, and removes the moisture quickly, so the tape can be comfortably worn for 4-5 days at a time without causing skin irritation. The tape can be stretched along its length by up to 140%, which allows for a greater range of motion in joints than traditional athletic tape.
Many chiropractors and physiotherapists have had great success in using kinesio tape as an adjunct to treating a variety of conditions in their patients, such as lower back pain, knee pain, shin splints, rotator cuff injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome, and tennis elbow.
Our practice uses Kinesio-tape on a variety of complaints, and the majority of those patients have report that using Kinesio- tape was very effective for them.
The use of Kinesio-tape is designed to facilitate the body’s natural healing process whilst giving support and stability to injured muscles and joints, but without limiting the range of motion in the joints. When applied to the skin, Kinesio-tape lifts the skin from the underlying muscle, creating more space and thereby increasing the flow of blood and lymphatic fluid. This reduces inflammation and swelling, which in turn reduces pain by decreasing pressure on the body’s pain receptors. Kinesio-tape can also improve the contraction of a weak muscle, relax muscles that are too tight, and reduce muscle fatigue.
You can get tape now with slightly different properties, and it is now available in a multitude of colours and patterns, ranging from the standard beige, black, blue and pink, to patterns such as Union Jack, tattoo, cow, tiger and camouflage!
If you would like to know more on how taping can help, please contact clinic reception for more details.
In this month’s article I would like to focus on rib pain.
This is a common cause of pain that presents in our practice.
Ribs can be the source of all sorts of problems, ranging from post-traumatic sprains to postural related rib misalignments, all of which can cause significant pain.
Let me explain how we look at these problems, and why chiropractic can be an effective solution to them.
There are 12 pairs of ribs in your body each attaching at the back to the vertebrae in the middle your spine – the thoracic vertebrae. 10 of these pairs come to the middle to attach onto the breast bone (or sternum) at the front via costal cartilages.
The final 2 pairs are what we call “floating ribs” as they don’t actually attach to anything at the front.
The main function of rib cage is to protect your giblets (in this case the heart and lungs) from trauma from the outside world by shock absorbance.
In addition to protection it serves to assist you in the breathing mechanism.
As you breathe in your rib cage should expand to allow your lungs to inflate as much as possible.
Guess what symptoms are commonly reported by those folks who adopt that unattractive, slumped, rolled shoulder inward posture, particularly at their desks?
You guessed it!
Rib pain or (more specifically costo-transverse joint pain).
Why should this be so?
In this position the diaphragm (the main muscle responsible for inflating your lungs) cannot work as effectively, so the nervous system recruits more muscles in the mid back and shoulders to open up the rib cage.
Over time this, in turn, causes ribs to be pulled in all sorts of directions, causing them to misalign or sprain often resulting in significant pain.
Our Guildford Chiropractors can improve the function of the spine and ribs via specific adjustments to the joints, which will improve mobility and reduce tension, often providing significant relief to the sufferer.
Following treatment, if you undertake a tailored exercise programme, rib pain can often be relegated to the past!
Individuals who suffer with post-traumatic rib injuries or bruised ribs can also benefit from chiropractic treatment. Using gentle procedures the chiropractor can dramatically lessen the pain, speed up the healing process and make the patient more comfortable during their recovery.
And the answer to the question: do men have one less rib than women?
A resounding NO! Men and women have the same number of ribs as each other. 12 pairs each.
At that’s put that myth to bed.
P.S Watch this great TED video and see what other things poor posture can do to your body!