How Chiropractic Can Support the NHS and Patients Facing Long Waiting Lists
The team at The Lymington Chiropractic Clinic hope you find it reassuring to know that we are part of a wider collegiate of professionals. Not only do our chiropractors work closely with each other, they each belong to a number of professional bodies, one of which is the British Chiropractic Association (BCA). These professional bodies support our work in clinic through providing evidence-based research, ongoing professional training and support, and therefore maintaining a high standard of care across the profession. We are honoured to share with you this blog from the BCA detailing its research into chiropractic care and how it is supporting the NHS.
British Chiropractic Association Member Blog
This Chiropractic Awareness Week (17-21 April), the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) has undertaken a UK-wide research of 5,000 people to understand the impact NHS waiting lists are having on musculoskeletal (MSK) health. Data from this research shows that over half (56%) of British people feel put off seeing their GP because of NHS waiting lists.
According to the NHS, over 20 million people in the UK have an MSK condition such, as arthritis or back pain, and they account for up to 30% of GP consultations in England.
As a BCA member, we want to show the positive impact Chiropractic can have, supporting those facing long NHS waiting lists, providing patients with more choice, speed of appointments, and treatment plans to help manage pain and discomfort.
Using over the counter medicines
The research, conducted with OnePoll and the BCA, showed that 48% of British people are using over the counter (OTC) medication to treat their MSK issues. Whilst OTC medication has its place in helping patients to resume physical activity, these medications are best used in the short term. Along with side effects, they do little to address the potential functional issues which have led to the MSK condition*.
To support our colleagues in the NHS, chiropractors can provide those suffering with MSK conditions an alternative solution. We offer patients a wide-ranging package of care which is patient-centred, supported by evidence and results in great patient reported outcomes. More people are turning to chiropractors to manage poor mobility, pain and wider health concerns arising from MSK issues before they worsen.
How Chiropractic supports the NHS
Chiropractors are an integral part of UK healthcare, supporting the NHS as part of an integrated system. By giving patients proactive options and choice, chiropractors are well placed to help relieve the strain on the NHS. As a BCA member, we are championing greater patient choice, improving patient experience, and avoiding MSK issues developing into chronic conditions due to a lack of physical activity and further impacting the NHS later down the line.
Busting chiropractic myths
Chiropractic treatment often prompts questions and there are a lot of common misconceptions surrounding Chiropractic care. As a BCA member, we focus on a patient-centred, evidence-informed approach. An important part of care is making sure patients understand what Chiropractic is and addressing any misconceptions head on.
Some of the most common myths we encounter include:
Myth: Chiropractors are massage therapists with a different name
Truth: Chiropractors are extensively trained to diagnose, treat, manage and prevent disorders of the musculoskeletal system (bones, joints, and muscles), as well as the effects these disorders can have on the nervous system and general health. Qualified individuals in this industry are working as fully regulated healthcare professionals with at least four years’, degree level training.
Myth: Painkillers will speed up your recovery
Truth: Most MSK pain is mechanical in nature so, even though painkillers can be helpful to reduce pain in the short term, some sort of hands-on treatment, movement, or exercise is more likely to successfully manage the problem than painkillers in the longer term. We recommend more conservative therapies, such as use of a heat pack, manual therapy (massage, spinal manipulation, or acupuncture), gentle home stretching, short walks within your pain tolerance; activities that help you to relax, pain to reduce and allow you to return to higher levels of activity.
Myth: Chiropractic is just cracking backs
Truth: The crack or popping sound that is produced from a spinal manipulation comes from a change of pressure occurring within joints and is generated by something called a cavitation. In the UK, Chiropractic is a regulated profession and chiropractors provide patients with a wide range of treatment and care options; spinal adjustment being just one. There’s no ‘one size fits all’ approach and each patient’s needs are treated individually; this is reflected in their plan of care – many patients will never hear a crack or popping sounds.
*Buchbinder R, Underwood M, Hartvigsen J, Maher CG. The Lancet Series call to action to reduce low value care for low back pain: an update. Pain. 2020 Sep;161 Suppl 1(1):S57-S64. doi: 10.1097/j.pain.0000000000001869. PMID: 33090740; PMCID: PMC7434211
Like our colleagues across the country we are seeing more and more patients who wish to have an alternative or complementary treatment to the NHS. This may be due to waiting times, difficulties in seeing a GP face-to-face or the distance they may have to travel to access treatment. Some of our patients also have supplementary insurance policies that allow a certain amount toward chiropractic treatments.
We take great pride in upholding our professional values, as do our clinic colleagues in acupuncture, massage therapy and podiatry. And we are also proud to be able to support our NHS colleagues by offering greater patient choice and helping to prevent the development of chronic muscular-skeletal problems.
To find out more about the Chiropractic care and treatment we can offer, see the What We Treat section of our website.
And remember, if pain and discomfort are preventing you from enjoying life, book online or call 01590 679560 for appointments with chiropractors Colin, Charlotte or Fiona, or massage therapist Hannah. For acupuncture appointments, call Amanda directly on 07876 343 821. And for podiatry appointments call Paul directly on 07857 137732.