Frequently Asked Questions


You will find answers to the questions we’re most frequently asked below, but if your question isn’t there or you’d like further information please feel free to call us on (0191) 491 5111 and we’ll be happy to help.


I have a problem, but I’m not sure if you will be able to help me. What should I do?

We’d suggest you call us to arrange a screening call with one of our practitioners. This is a free service that enables you to explain your problem and ask any initial questions you may have. As part of this screening call the practitioner should also be able to let you know if we’re likely to be able to help you with your problem or not.

If so, you can then go ahead and arrange an appointment for a full initial consultation if you wish to. If not, the practitioner will hopefully be able to suggest a more suitable avenue of enquiry for you to pursue.

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Do I need a G.P. referral to come and see you, and does the NHS cover the costs of my treatment in your practice?

No you don’t need a referral from a G.P. in order to come and see us. However, it’s worth mentioning that if you have private health insurance and intend reclaiming any of your treatment fees you may wish to check their particular requirements.

Does the NHS cover the costs of treatment in our practice? Unfortunately not – there have been some pilot studies that have supported that idea, but at the current time the NHS does not fund chiropractic care or the other services available in our practice.

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What types of treatment are available within your practice?

Our practice provides a range of health care services that focus on helping people eat, move and think in ways that help them stay active and well.

The core services available within our practice include chiropractic care, various types of massage and exercise based therapies, and clinical hypnotherapy, but our treatment programs also include advice on exercise, posture, healthy nutrition, sleep and numerous other aspects of a healthy lifestyle in order to help people take greater control of their health and enjoy an improved quality of life.

Our patients come from all walks of life, with some using the care we provide to address specific problems such as back pain, neck pain and the like, and others using it to support their ongoing good health.

If you’d like further information about what we do and who we work with you might like to look at the information available in the ‘Services’ part of our website, or feel free to call and speak to one of our team.

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How does chiropractic care work?

Chiropractic care focuses on the way healthy movement and musculoskeletal function stimulates healthy functioning of the nervous system, and the impact that this has on a person’s overall health and wellbeing.

Chiropractors use various types of treatment techniques (known as adjustments) to restore and maintain healthy neuromusculoskeletal function within the body, which – when provided within the context of other lifestyle considerations such as exercise, nutrition and so on – can contribute significantly to the health and wellbeing of the individual concerned.

Click here if you would like more information.

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Is chiropractic care safe?

Yes. The chiropractic profession was established over one hundred years ago and chiropractic care has an excellent safety record. Chiropractors must complete four or five years of rigorous undergraduate training, they must be registered with the General Chiropractic Council in order to be able to practice in the U.K., and like all other registered health care practitioners they must participate in ongoing clinical professional development programs in order to maintain their registration.

In addition to the high academic and professional standards of the chiropractic profession, the safety record of chiropractic care is also enhanced by the fact that it is an inherently conservative and natural ‘hands on’ treatment approach, which – in a world where people are increasingly aware of the dangers and limitations of many types of medications and surgery – is feature of chiropractic care that appeals to many people.

However, there is no place for complacency in any healthcare profession and chiropractors remain fully aware of their responsibility to provide the safest possible care for their patients.This is reflected in the thoroughness of the assessments we carry out on our patients, in the steps we take to ensure that our patients are fully informed about any treatment that they may undergo, and in our use of treatment methods that are as safe, gentle, and effective as possible.

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Does chiropractic care hurt?

Generally no – chiropractic care is usually a very comfortable experience (much to the relief of many ‘first timers’ who may have initially been a bit nervous about undergoing it).

It’s possible that people who have a long standing or unstable problem that is accompanied by high levels of inflammation, muscle spasm or stress  may occasionally experience a mild level of short term discomfort or stiffness as their body gets used to functioning correctly again, but we’re always mindful of these types of scenarios and use gentle treatment methods that are adapted to the needs of the individual concerned.

Ultimately, the ‘hands on’ treatment techniques chiropractors use are based on patience and skill rather than force, and if a person happens to experience discomfort as a result of any aspect of the treatment they are receiving then we modify their treatment plan accordingly in order to help them move through the unstable phase of their problem as quickly and comfortably as possible.

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Will you be ‘cracking’ my back?

Manipulative adjustments usually involve the use of a light, quick, movement being applied to a joint of the body. As this movement takes place the joint surfaces are separated slightly and a tiny gas bubble sometimes forms in the lubricating fluid of that joint, and a cracking noise similar to that heard when a knuckle cracks sometimes occurs.

This cracking noise gets far more attention that it really deserves. Some patients feel a bit nervous about it because they think that it must imply that joint tissues must be undergoing a lot of stress in order for it to be produced, whilst others get quite excited by it because they think it’s a sign that something has ‘moved back in’ if they happen to hear it whilst being adjusted.

In reality, the fears or excitement of both camps is largely misplaced, and in many ways the noise is largely irrelevant as it is the movement created by the adjustment that has therapeutic value, not the noise that may or may not occur when this movement is taking place.

So, the answer to this question is that it depends on what treatment techniques are used. If a manipulative technique of joint adjustment is used a person may hear the cracking noise, but if a ‘non manipulative’ technique is used they won’t.

But – irrespective of the issues around the cracking noise – the most important thing to understand about treatment methods is this:

We have a range of treatment techniques we can use when adjusting any given part of the body, so if you would prefer that we use – or avoid using – any particular type of treatment technique when we are working with you please feel free to tell us!

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What is an ‘adjustment’ and how is it different to a ‘manipulation’?

Chiropractors use the word ‘adjustment’ to describe the gentle types of carefully controlled movements they apply to the different parts of the body (especially the vertebral column) to restore proper movement and function to the spine, nervous system and musculoskeletal framework of the body.

A ‘manipulation’ (or manipulative adjustment) is just one type of movement or adjustment that chiropractors are very skilled at using.

Interestingly, there is a common misconception that everybody who visits a chiropractor is undergoing joint manipulation. This is not the case: some types of adjustments involve the use of joint manipulation, but there is also a whole range of light and passive non manipulative adjusting techniques (such as the cranial work that is often used with young babies, or the passive blocking techniques that we commonly use to support the pelvis).

Ultimately, our expert team of practitioners have many different adjustive techniques at their disposal and always use techniques that are safe, comfortable and consistent with the preferences of the individual they are working with, irrespective of whether this happens to be a newborn baby, an elderly person with osteoporosis, or a twenty five year old front row rugby forward.

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Are all people adjusted the same way?

No. We work with people from all ages and backgrounds – including active young children, office bound adults, sporty weekend warriors, and elderly folks struggling with the difficulties of arthritis, osteoporosis or other health issues – so we use a wide variety of treatment methods to ensure that the care we provide is safe, comfortable and individually tailored according to the particular needs and goals of each person we work with.

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Will I need to have x-rays?

Not necessarily. X-rays, MRI scans and other diagnostic imaging can be helpful in certain situations, but they are not always required. We will let you know if we think you need any of these procedures once we have had a chance to assess you, and – if so – we’ll help you make appropriate arrangements, but we generally suggest that people start with an initial consultation first and go from there.

Of course, if you already have the results of x-rays, mri scans or other diagnostic procedures please feel free to bring these with you to your initial consultation.

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Am I too old to benefit from care in your practice?

Age is rarely a barrier to being able to benefit from the care we provide – in fact, the situation is usually the exact opposite, as we work with plenty of people in their 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s who find that the gentle, hands on care we provide helps them to enjoy a better quality of life and to “age well” in the face of the various physical changes associated with the ageing process.

As an example of this, our oldest client – who is currently 94 – finds that her periodic visits to our practice play an invaluable role in helping her stay active, mobile and independent.

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Can you work with people who have had spinal surgery?

Yes, we are quite experienced at working with people who have had previous spinal surgery.

Some of the ’post surgical’ patients we see seek our help as part of their efforts to ensure that optimal healing and function is restored to the spine after their surgery has taken place.

Others are often people who – having experienced problems in the past that ultimately required surgery – now wish to be much more proactive in their efforts to look after their spine as they move on with their life, and visit us as part of their efforts to do exactly that.

Either way, the gentle treatment methods we use are specifically adapted to the needs of our clients who have undergone surgical procedures, and the fact that someone has had surgery to their spine in the past is not a contraindication to the care we provide.

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Can you work with people who have osteoporosis, arthritis or other co-existing medical conditions?

In general, yes. Many of the people we work with have co-existing medical problems, but these conditions are rarely a complete contra-indication to the care we provide in our practice, and – if anything – it can actually help people manage many of these other conditions more effectively.

That said, our clients’ safety and wellbeing is obviously of paramount importance to us so any care we provide is always structured in a way that takes their general health status into account, and we will always liaise with a patients G.P. if we have any doubts or concerns.

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Do you work with children, babies and pregnant women?

Yes to all three. Childhood is a time of rapid growth and development, and a child’s body is subjected to a host of ongoing stresses and strains that start with the demands of the birth process and then continue as the child adapts to everyday events such as playground knocks and bumps, carrying heavy schoolbags, sporting (mis)adventures, the ever increasing hours spent hunched over computers, and so on.

The care we provide helps children grow and develop with ideally coordinated posture, movement patterns and health in the face of these differing stress and strains, and for many of the families we see periodic visits to our practice are an integral part of a healthy lifestyle and as commonplace as periodic trips to their dentist

With respect to pregnant women, a woman’s body changes remarkably during her pregnancy, and we work with women throughout each stage of their pregnancy to help them maintain optimal health and spinal function as they prepare for the demands of the birth process, and to facilitate to their recovery after the birth of their baby.

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Do I have a ‘trapped nerve’ , a ‘muscular’ problem or ‘slipped disc’?

We know that these terms are commonly used to try and explain the cause of symptoms such as back pain, neck pain, sciatica and many other symptoms, but sometimes they can be misleading or incomplete.

When we are working with someone who has these types of problems we try to explain things in such a way that gives the person a slightly more complete understanding of their problem, whilst at the same time not over complicating things.

In doing so, we usually find that people get a much better idea about the nature of their problem, and on the basis of this understanding they usually start to feel much more confident about the steps they need to take to overcome their problem and keep their body working well in the future.

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How long will it take to get better?

It’s difficult to answer that question in a forum like this because everyone is different and there is no ‘one size fits all’ type of answer.

There are a number of factors that influence recovery times, including the type of problem you may have, your age, your general health status, and the types of day to day stresses your body is exposed to.

Nonetheless, we appreciate the importance of this question, and it is one of the first questions we try to address when we’ve had a chance to assess and start working with anyone who seeks our help.

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I don’t know whether I need to see a chiropractor or a massage therapist. What do you suggest?

We’d probably suggest you arrange a screening call with one of our practitioners as they should be able to suggest the best way forward for you.

That said, chiropractic care and massage therapy can complement each other very well so many of our patients find that it’s not so much a question of having chiropractic care or massage, but an appropriate combination of the two (although we do also see plenty of people who attend our practice for one or the other of these two forms of treatment).

At the end of the day there are a few factors that influence the answer to this question but a screening call with one of our practitioners is a great place to start.

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What is the difference between a chiropractor and an osteopath?

This is one of the most common questions we encounter because the two professions are very similar in their approach to health.

Historically speaking the philosophy of the chiropractic profession has always placed great emphasis on the role that the nervous system plays in regulating the function and health of the body, whereas the philosophy of osteopathy was particularly focused on the role of circulation. However, in the modern era we understand that these two things are interrelated, and the philosophical viewpoints of the professions are nowhere as distinct as they once were.

What is important is that the education and training of both chiropractors and osteopaths is quite rigorous, and that both professions are fully regulated health care professions.

Our practice has been fortunate to have both osteopaths and chiropractors as part of our clinical team at various stages in the past, and in our experience for most of our patients it hasn’t really mattered whether they were seeing an osteopath or a chiropractor so long as that practitioner has been able to adapt to the individual needs and treatment goals of the patient they are working with, and that continues to be the case today.

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Can I fix my problem with exercise?

We love exercise, and the right kinds of exercise done in the right way and at the right time can be invaluable in helping to restore normal function to the body.

However, spinal and musculoskeletal problems are often characterised by biomechanical changes in joint function that are more completely addressed by adjustments or other manual treatment methods rather than by exercise alone.

Exercise can certainly contribute to improvements in the strength and flexibility of the body, but it is the adjustments that target these underlying changes in joint function, and in explaining this question to our clients we often borrow an analogy from dentistry:

Everybody knows that brushing and flossing your teeth is a good idea, but we also understand these actions won’t fix a cavity in a tooth.

Similarly, exercising and stretching is a good idea, but these actions do not influence the biomechanics of the body in the same way that adjustments or other manual treatment methods can, and this is why the treatment programs we provide for our clients will generally involve the use of gentle “hands on” treatment used in combination with appropriate forms of exercise, rather than the use of exercise alone.

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I’ve heard that chiropractic care might aid my sports performance?

It can do, and there are plenty of people – ranging from elite athletes like Usain Bolt and Andy Murray all the way through to more ‘normal’ people engaging in their weekend activities – who find that chiropractic care helps them perform at their best.

There are two key elements to this aspect of chiropractic care – the first being injury prevention, and the second being optimal biomechanical and neuromuscular function – both of which are important to anyone who wants to stay healthy and perform at their best.

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Do I need to be in pain in order to benefit from chiropractic care or massage?

No. When it comes to problems with the spine and musculoskeletal framework of the body it’s important to understand that pain is a symptom that is usually caused by changes in the function of the joints, nerves, muscles, discs and other tissues of the body.

These changes are often present for quite some time (years in some cases) before any pain starts to arise, but – just as you don’t have to wait until the engine of your car is blowing blue smoke before you take it to the garage – you don’t have to wait until you are in pain before you start to address them and prevent things from reaching that stage.

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Can I adjust myself?

No. When a chiropractor adjusts the spine they’re using carefully controlled treatment techniques that are very specific in targeting the joint that needs to be moved, and the degree and direction it needs to be moved in.

No one (chiropractors included) can do this to themselves, but most chiropractors have probably met people who – eager to show us how they ‘adjust’ themselves – proceed to grab their neck, lower back or some other body part and give it a good wrench in the hope of hearing something go crack.

This is often a scary thing to behold, so once we have regained our composure we try to explain that there is a world of difference (and risk of harm) between what a chiropractor is doing when they use manipulative adjustments on a patient and what that person has just done to themselves.

We emphasise the fact that when someone just wrenches their body about in the hope that something goes click so they can feel a bit ‘looser’ for 30 minutes or so they are putting an uncontrolled and random movement into their body.

At best, this counter productive because these uncontrolled movements just create unnecessary stress and irritation in joints that are otherwise working perfectly well, but – at worst – it can be downright dangerous (especially in the region of the neck where there are very important arteries and other structures that could be injured with potentially drastic consequences).

So please – by all means  – stretch and move regularly if you want to help your body get rid of the physical tension that builds up as a result of the various stresses of life, but please don’t try to ‘manipulate’ yourself – it’s dangerous, it is not the same thing as an adjustment, and you are probably only causing more problems for yourself.

But whilst we’re on the topic, click here if you’d like to read our ‘Bruce Springsteen’ story…

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