Tuesday 16 May 2017

Skeleton investigated in Brampton

Bone under the microscope using polarised light. photo chris thomas
David responded with professional aplomb after seeing my primary reason for a first consultation in the New Heights Wellness Family Chiropractic Centre.

"And what reasons other than Curiosity might you have for seeing a chiropractor?"

Well, my curiosity had been aroused by our HBN Out and About visit to the practice last week. It was a fantastic location and airy building for the practice and we had an open, welcoming and informative talk and tour by two professionals, owners and Doctors David Coombs and Lianna Saltys. It was this that led me to take up their offer of an initial consultation for a variety of other reasons.

Ever since early humans came out of the trees and adapted from walking on four limbs to bipedalism, the human skeleton has had to adapt dramatically. Initially a body slung under a suspension bridge of a spine supported by four pillars/legs, the whole emphasis changed to maintaining a centre of gravity in a straight line through the body from the top of the skull down to the hips or feet. The last sentences on Wikipedia dryly summarise the current status of human bipedal evolution:

"Even with much modification, some features of the human skeleton remain poorly adapted to bipedalism, leading to negative implications prevalent in humans today. The lower back and knee joints are plagued by osteological malfunction, lower back pain being a leading cause of lost working days, because the joints support more weight. Arthritis has been a problem since hominids became bipedal: scientists have discovered its traces in the vertebrae of prehistoric hunter-gatherers. Physical constraints have made it difficult to modify the joints for further stability while maintaining efficiency of locomotion."

One can therefore imagine that some of the very first common phrases used by early humans after a hard day's work gathering or hunting food was "Ooh! My back hurts". Shoulder and neck ache were probably second on the list as the human brain and skull grew to their current enormous size over the last half a million years. (Unless of course, you were a woman giving birth, where there was an even more painful consequence).

Therefore, when I answered David's question, being male, the first and second options were obviously affecting me in my approaching dotage, as well as chronic migraine for the past 45 years that had defeated all previous attempts to prevent it.

What followed was an hours intensive investigation. starting with questions relating to lifestyle and general health. It continued with looking at posture, balance and muscle strength as well as reflexes in places I hadn't been previously aware I had them. The session finished with a series of X-rays of pelvic, spine and neck areas. Always curious, I'd checked online, before the session, about potential radiation dosages and found that this was probably equivalent to several weeks of natural background radiation in the UK, or a week's holiday in Cornwall, so was comfortable with that.

Chiropractic has received a mixed response, with a very critical opinion from parts of the mainstream medical profession. However, it is accepted in the UK as a treatment option, certainly for back and neck pain, with positive results. It is one of the only two alternative medical practices that comes under statutory regulation in the UK (osteopathy is the other), and practitioners have to be registered with the General Chiropractic Council (GCC), which has a code of practice that requires them to:

  • respect patients' dignity, individuality and privacy
  • respect patients' rights to be involved in decisions about their treatment and healthcare
  • justify public trust and confidence by being honest and trustworthy
  • provide a good standard of practice and care
  • protect patients and colleagues from risk of harm
  • cooperate with colleagues from their own and other professions

More information regulation and safety can be found here: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/chiropractic/Pages/Safetyandregulation.aspx

I left David and Lianna's practice feeling that I had been in the hands of a professional interested in my health and care. I look forward with interest to see what the report will raise in the coming weeks when I return for the results!

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