Who visits the Park Clinic?
You are joining many of your family and friends who have chosen a drugless, safe, spinal approach to good health. The nervous system controls all bodily functions. The brain comunicates with the rest of the body along the spinal cord and nerves which pass through openings in the spine to organs and muscles. If the spinal joints are not working properly the nerves are not working properly and this can can contribute to a number of health problems. You dont wait until your car has broken down to have it serviced. Likewise it is a good idea to have your spine checked if you have a sedentary lifestyle even if you have no symptoms.
Humans have evolved from hunter gatherers, however since the 1950s our livestyle has become increasingly sedentary particularly since computers became an obligatory part of the workstation in the 90s. Up until 1985 the UK had 500,000 coal miners in work now there are only 5,000. The mining jobs have been replaced by sedentary office work, back and neck pain (fig1.1). Trauma injury is very rarely the reason people visit the Park Clinic, usually its they wake up feeling stiff bend to pick up something and feel pain.
A survey by the World Federation of Chiropractic (WFC) in 2005 found that 83% of chiropractors saw themselves as health care practitioners dealing with the wellbeing of their clients. Unfortunately this is how chiropratic is perceived by the public. The medical research councils Meade study, showed chiropractic to be more effective for back pain than the NHS, as a result back pain and "spinal manipulation" has been very saleable to the medical profession and the public. As a result lttle research has been done on the physiological chages after a sppinal adjustment, due to a relationship between spinal joint nerve receptors and the central nervous system. However as you can see from the list below people visited the Park clinic with all sorts of problems. Spinal manipulation is not a cure all however improving spinal joint function may help conditions that have a spinal nerve element.
People who attended Park Clinic in 2008 reported the following conditions in their history.
There is no suggestion that spinal care can cure any of these conditions however for a variety of reasons we find improving spinal joint function does improve the quality of life of the vast majority of our clients. If you click the links there is plausable anecdotal evidence of people being helped. Many people continue to visit the clinic even when treatment has not achieved everything that they had hoped for, because they grow to understand how a healthy spine contributes to better health: better sports performance; an easier pregnancy. A spinal maintanenace visit only cost £25 which is very good value.
We see many children from infants who may have experienced neck trauma at birth, colic, children with growing pains and other childhood disorders and those developing postural problems carrying school bags. In the UK Cranial Osteopathy has been seen as the alternative treatment of choice for children, in Scandinavia it is chiropractic and where most research has been done looking at the effect of chiropractic on colic.
Richard Lanigan the clinic director has four children none of whom has ever had so much as a spoonfull of Calpol they do get spinal checked every month as a matter of course and if they need a adjustment it is performed with skill and without pain.
A Surrey GPs own personal experience at the Park Clinic;
(Published in the summer 2007 issue of Back Chat;
The Newsletter of the Chiropractic Patients Association )
It all began last spring – the excruciating pain, the inability to move and the impact that suddenly had on my life. I’d had intermittent back pain before, a lower back spasm-type of ache. I had seen a physiotherapist to try and identify the problem and get it better. After 8 sessions it improved and I forgot about it. (I was pregnant at the time, so whether the pregnancy hormones had a part to play in its improvement I’m not sure). Over the next few months I kept getting reminders, the odd ache or pull in my lower back with movement and lifting my son. Then one day, all of a sudden it got markedly worse. I could hardly walk; I had to pull myself up the stairs on all fours. I was crying out in pain every time I had to lift my young sonand as he wasn't walking at this stage, it was most of the time.
My husband a surgeon, came home from work and suggested I should see his chiropractor, Richard Lanigan. I initially dismissed the idea thinking that if the physiotherapist hadn’t cured it, what good could the chiropractor do? In the end, desperation led me to succumb, and ultimately make the best decision I’ve made in years!
Back pain is a strange thing – when you have it, it seems to affect everything you do in your every day life – and you feel like you will always be in pain. A couple of weeks of intensive treatment and regular application of a cold pack to my back and I was beginning to feel like I was getting back to normal. There was a light at the end of the tunnel and I would not have to spend my days trying to organise friends and family to lift my son out of his cot for me! Was it all in my mind? Would I have got better by doing nothing? Well who knows – the only other advice I was offered by an orthopaedic surgeon was to rest and take painkillers. Not the most helpful comment to make – I have a job and a family to look after, rest was totally out of the question. Richard’s advice was not to take any painkillers at all, and I found regular coldpack was far better.
I can’t admit to fully understand how chiropractic “adjustments” work, although the basic “subluxation” theory seems logical. If there is a degree of dysfunction in the spinal joints, this can affect nerves and the soft tissues running along their course resulting in spasm, pain, more nerve irritation, and a vicious cycle. Improving spinal function would seem an obvious way to solve the problem. In general in the West, our posture is appalling. Many of us have sedentary lifestyles, spending hours each day hunched over computer screens, carrying children/shopping, and taking little or no exercise. It’s hardly surprising then that we develop back and neck problems, which the conventional medical profession has little to offer us in terms of treatment.
Like everything in life, there is no quick easy solution to problems. Certainly as far as back pain is concerned there has to be a multifaceted approach. We, as patients, need to take more responsibility for our health and be proactive about trying to prevent problems arising in the first place. We should take better care of our posture, weight, and eat healthily. Treatments like chiropractic should be used to maintain our health rather than waiting for specific problems to arise. I do my exercises and visit Richard on a regular basis to have my spine checked for areas of dysfunction.
I was initially very sceptical about chiropractic treatment, but now feel convinced of its usefulness and place alongside more mainstream medical treatment in the provision of healthcare.