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Chiropractic doctors or practitioners specialise in treating disorders of the muscoskeletal system. Our site is a resource for information on chiropractic care. It also helps you find a chiropractor in your area. Chiropractic care has developed to extend the range of services beyond traditional vertebral subluxation. When you find a chiropractor you will notice they take a more holistic approach to your ailment.


In This Article
History of Chiropractic How does it work?
A typical appointment What to expect
Timings/ Costs/ Sessions Is it for you?

Before you find a chiropractor it would be useful to known a little about the background of this well known modality. The chiropractic profession began at the end of the 19th century but the benefits of chiropractic therapy were recognised by the ancient Greek healers of around 400BC. One such healer was Hippocrates (said to be the father of medicine) who proposed that the spine was the cause of many diseases.

However, a Canadian practising magnetic healing in the US became the first chiropractor after treating a man suffering with hearing problems. After discovering a lump on the man's spine, Daniel Palmer suspected a displaced vertebra was pinching a nerve leading to the ear. Palmer corrected the position of the vertebra and with spinal adjustment therapy found the man's hearing soon returned. After the success of this treatment, Palmer's chiropractic therapy was soon treating other disorders of the heart, head and stomach. He created the term 'chiropractic' from two words in the Greek language - Cheiros and Praktos meaning 'done by hand'.

Chiropractic gained recognition throughout the 20th century through the shared research and development of its governing bodies as well as from outside sources. Chiropractic is now used worldwide in primary healthcare and there are over 2,000 chiropractors working in the UK.


Chiropractic works on the theory that the nervous system is involved with all of the body's functions including our defence against any disease. Electrical impulses travel around the body through nerve fibres, but these suffer interference when bones that have come out of alignment then rub against the nerve. This causes pain and possible long term disease.

A chiropractor aims to treat those affected bones, muscles and joints of the body (particularly in the spinal region) against their effects on the nervous system. A properly functioning system then leads to good health.

A chiropractor will manipulate joints and the spine using their hands, making specific adjustments to realign bones and joints, this then aids the nervous system and allows our natural healing process to take place. Chiropractic therapy does not use surgery or drugs alongside the treatment but does promote good nutrition and exercise to aid recovery.


Be prepared.

Chiropractors are required by law to be registered and the profession is regulated by the General Chiropractic Council (GCC). It is illegal to use the title 'Chiropractor' without being registered with the GCC. If you wish to clarify a practitioner’s membership or qualifications we suggest you visit the GCC website for confirmation.

Registration with the GCC is dependent upon completing a recognised UK qualification. Graduates of overseas chiropractic colleges must take and pass a test of competence in the UK before being allowed to register with the GCC.

Many UK Chiropractors also belong to one of the Professional Associations listed at the foot of this page.

The majority of chiropractors work in private health care and a few may have NHS funding. Ask your GP if your Primary Care Trust offer funded therapy. You do not have to be referred by your GP but many private chiropractors will work with your local doctor should you ask.

For your treatment, you may be expected to remove some or all of your clothing so men should wear underpants or shorts while women will be provided with a surgical gown to go over their underwear. If you are unsure about undressing you can wear loose jogging bottoms and a t-shirt to your appointment. Consult with the practice before attending.

At your first appointment your chiropractor will take time to find the cause of your problem. They will ask about your medical history, lifestyle, diet and working environment. The chiropractor may also take your blood pressure.

The chiropractor will then perform a physical examination, assessing your posture whilst standing, sitting and lying down. They will assess range of movement in your spine, joints and muscles and check for any misalignment of your bones. These initial chiropractic checks are light but you may feel some discomfort.

Chiropractic assessment can also employ other investigations such as X-ray, blood tests and even MRI scans. These are sometimes needed to help your chiropractor make an accurate diagnosis but they will discuss these with you should they be required. When the chiropractor has diagnosed your condition, they will explain what your problems are and how they will be treated using chiropractic therapy. If you have any questions ask your chiropractor before the treatment begins.

Once treatment starts, your chiropractor will make various adjustments to your spine, joints and muscles. They will apply direct and controlled pressure to a joint either as a quick movement or a slower consistent pressure. Sometimes this can be a combination of both. It is perfectly normal to hear a crack or pop in the spine or joint as these manipulations take place. Gas bubbles in the fluid of our joints pop with certain movement and this is perfectly normal.

Patients experience different sensations during and after treatment. These range from pain relief as the body is straightened into its correct position, to muscle soreness as you adjust to new alignment. People have also felt a tiredness or relaxation from chiropractic therapy with others experiencing headaches or emotional changes. These effects, however disruptive to your usual state, are a sign of the body responding to the new adjustments. 

Once chiropractic treatment is finished, your chiropractor will advise you of any stretches or exercises they want you to do at home and any activities that should be avoided. They may also recommend heat or ice applications that are beneficial.  


Your initial chiropractic appointment will involve diagnosis of your problem and therefore you should expect to be at your chiropractor for about an hour. An average follow-up appointment could last anywhere from 15 - 30 minutes.

Cost, as with many private treatments, can vary so be sure to check with your local practice before making an appointment. Broadly speaking you should expect your first appointment to cost around £55 - £70 with follow-ups costing an average of £30.

The number of sessions required involves many factors including the time you've suffered with the problem, its severity and its nature. Your chiropractor will discuss this during your first appointment and then treatment will be tailored to your needs. Expect to attend up to six appointments with possible check-ups at bi-monthly or six-month intervals.     


Chiropractic is an extremely safe therapy and is commonly used among the young and old. Successful treatment of back and neck pain, arthritic pain, migraines and repetitive strain injuries is well-known but it can also help many other problems. Consult your GP if you feel your condition might benefit from the therapy.

Pregnant women have found chiropractic treatment very beneficial as it can relieve the pain your body undergoes during pregnancy while also helping to enhance the health of the mother and baby.

Most chiropractors will not recommend treatment to those people with bone marrow disease (leukaemia or myeloma), spinal cord disease or any type of bone cancer. Chiropractic therapy can also have effects for people with osteoporosis, circulatory problems and other types of cancer. It is important to check that your chiropractor is qualified and registered should you have any of these conditions d inform them about your condition before treatment begins. 


This therapy or modality may help with:

Arthritis Asthma Back Pain
Breathing disorders Chronic Fatigue Disc Problems
Frozen Shoulder Headaches Infant colic
Joint Pain Ligament Sprain Lumbago
Migraines Muscle Cramps Neck pain
Neck stiffness Osteoporosis Post operative pain
Postural problems Repetitive strain injury Rheumatism
Sciatica Shoulder pain Spinal Injury
Sports injuries Sprain (Ankle, Knee) Tennis Elbow

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Featured Chiropractic Practitioners

Sample Of Practitioners By Location
London Chiropractor

About Therapist Qualifications

British Chiropractic Association (BCA) British Chiropractic Association (BCA) More Info McTimoney Chiropractic Association (MCA) McTimoney Chiropractic Association (MCA) More Info
Scottish Chiropractic Association (SCA) Scottish Chiropractic Association (SCA) More Info The General Chiropractic Council (GCC) The General Chiropractic Council (GCC) More Info
United Chiropractic Association United Chiropractic Association More Info


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