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We’re similar to orthopaedic surgeons, but there is lack of awareness: Doctors weigh in on chiropractic treatment in India

February 23, 2021 12:30:44 pm

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After his cancer radiation sessions, Nirmal Bhartiya started experiencing severe back pain in 2014-15. That is when, after many visits to several doctors, someone referred him to a chiropractor based in Delhi’s Nizamuddin East. “Within two weeks, my back pain was almost gone,” said Bhartiya, 65, a businessman. The first session lasted about 10-15 minutes, and he could feel the difference. He has now taken it upon himself to refer patients with chronic issues that need spinal adjustments to Dr. Shiv Bajaj.

“Ninety percent of orthopedic condition should be treated conservatively; rarely you need surgeries. Surgeries should only be restricted to tumors, fractures, and the like. It should not happen on the basis of back and neck pain,” said Dr. Bajaj. While surgery has become commonplace in today’s medical field, chiropractic treatment administered at the right time by licensed and trained chiropractic professional can prevent medications and surgical interventions, and is the “missing link” between physiotherapy and orthopedics in India, Dr. Bajaj, who has been practicing for 11 years, said.

Rita Gupta, a 66-year-old housewife, who had severe sciatica pain — with her left leg experiencing numbness — agreed. “I was not able to stand properly. Surgeons suggested spine operation but I didn’t want that, so I took chiropractic treatment. While I was given a treatment window of six months, I was able to walk after two months, which was no less than a miracle.”

What is chiropractic treatment?

As a licensed healthcare professional related to understanding the nerves, chiropractic treatment involves manual therapy–using hands–and includes spinal manipulation. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, chiropractors perform adjustments to the spine or other parts of the body. This simply means by correcting alignment problems, the patient’s pain is eased, which improves the body’s natural ability to heal itself.

“If there is spinal pain, we treat the imbalances in the joint or muscle rather than looking at exercises or spending an expensive amount on machines or medicines to kill the pain. A modern-day chiropractor does not only treat with hands. We use certain advanced technologies also,” said Dr. Bajaj, who specializes in CT disc herniation. He added that spinal manipulation, manual techniques, and therapy instruments are some of the chiropractic approaches taken by practitioners.

“We are similar to orthopedic surgeons. Our diagnosis, MRI, X-ray, radiology background is similar. The only difference is they would do the surgery when there is a pharma-surgical intervention. We can come in prior to that if it is not quite surgical such as in cases of disc problems or nerve compressions. Orthopedic doctors or physiotherapists might do spinal manipulation, but chiropractors have expertise in specific spinal adjustments,” Dr. Amit Jimmy Nanda, who represents India at the World Federation of Chiropractors, and is the chairman of the Indian Association of Chiropractic Doctors — the only registered association in India that is self-regulating at the moment — said.

dr shiv bajaj, dr nanda, chiropractic treatment Dr. Shiv Bajaj at this clinic in Delhi. (Source: Dr. Shiv Bajaj)“The doctor first scans all your reports to understand the root cause of the issue, and then they examine the elbow, spine, neck, etc., for spinal manipulation,” said Madhav Inder Singh, 45, a Gurgaon-based business professional who met with an accident that caused him a spinal injury 18 years ago. Through his wife Simrit, a Canadian citizen, he was apprised about chiropractic treatment which is considered the “first line of treatment abroad”, and that is when he came in touch with Dr. Nanda. “I underwent treatment for the first 6-8 months in Canada where I was required to go for the sitting thrice initially. It is better than popping pills. I could move my body within the first 6-8 months and that too without any invasive measures. Now, whenever there is even slight pain, I can visit the chiropractor at Gurgaon’s South Point Mall,” said Singh.

How is the treatment done?

Chiropractic treatment involves muscles, bones, joints, and connective tissues such as cartilage, tendons, and ligaments. In layman’s terms, imagine it to be cracking of the knuckles and back, world-ranked tennis player Yuki Bhambri who swears by the treatment, told, “albeit in a much more professional way”.

During your first visit, the chiropractor will go through the medical history, and then follow it up with a physical examination where they will check for tenderness and tightness, as well as how well the spinal joint moves. “This involves extensive radiology, MRIs, X-rays, CT Scan reports to understand the root cause of the issue which can be mechanical (how the spine moves) or neurological (nerve-related),” explained chiropractor Dr. Nanda, 43, based out of Canada. He added, “The treatment only targets the specific area of the nerve or muscle – where it is adjusted, and 99 percent of the time, the patient feels the difference.”

If you go to a chiropractor complaining of lower back pain, they check the entire spine–neck (cervical spine), mid-back (thoracic spine), and low back (lumbar spine). “It’s important to examine the entire spine because even though it’s just your lower back that hurts, other regions of the spine may be affected,” explained Dr. Nanda.

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Taking the instance of how chiropractors are readily available in labor rooms in the USA for checking the newborn’s spine to treat the “dis-functions right at the start”. Dr. Nanda explained how for some patients with symptomatic causes, a sample visit works; some chronic cases may see results in a few months’ time. Early diagnosis and timely treatment help one to get back to their daily life more quickly and organically.

It is known to help with neck and lower back pain, back sprain injuries, sciatica, inflammation, chronic headaches, neurological conditions as well as blood pressure. Dr. Nanda quoted a research article Mahatma Gandhi’s Health Restored by Chiropractic published in The National Chiropractic Journal that documented how in 1942, Mahatma Gandhi could not attend rallies because of high blood pressure. “So, he had a British chiropractor from Calcutta (present-day Kolkata) who moved in with him for three months; and that was the remedy. Then, he was able to go to rallies. Chiropractic treatment has an amazing history. But unfortunately, when the British left so did the educational system,” he mentioned.

Challenges in the field

While physiotherapy and orthopedic fields are known, there is not much awareness about chiropractic treatment. “India has no school teaching chiropractic. Now, a lot of people claim to be chiropractic but very few, in fact, only 14 chiropractors in India are registered with the association are licensed practitioners,” mentioned Dr. Nanda.

Dr. Bajaj said the number of actual practitioners, at any given time in the country, “fluctuates between 7-10”. “Mostly ex-pats or visiting doctors are there. The lack of awareness is because of regulatory issues as a certain number of doctors need to be there before government regulation kicks in. “This makes it challenging. We are right now, self-regulatory as an association. Without regulation, it is difficult to start a college for a proper doctorate. One needs to understand chiropractic is not a certification; it is not a technique, it is a profession,” explained Dr. Bajaj, while differentiating how the study of doctors of chiropractic takes eight long years, unlike physiotherapy that takes four.

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Notably, chiropractic schools are only available in the USA, Australia, France, UK, and Canada, whereas physiotherapy institutes are available across India.

“On international grounds, chiropractors are doctors. So, we have the right to diagnose and treat. We are not therapists. It is completely a new domain for India and a huge opportunity. Close to 400-500 physiotherapists label themselves as chiropractors and there are no regulations. You can’t take any action against them. The public suffers at large,” he rued.

dr shiv bajaj, dr nanda, chiropractic treatment Dr. Nanda has been practicing for 17 years. (Source: Dr. Nanda)Dr. Alison Bale, 54, a British chiropractor who was practicing in Goa shared how the practice was “great” for her until COVID-19 struck. “I came to India in 2007 because I wanted the adventure of working in a new country. It has been a fulfilling experience. I have ceased my practice because of COVID-19 since January 2020, as well as some other pressing personal reasons. As a foreign national, working in a service-oriented sector has its own challenges because it takes at least 3-4 years for people to get to know you,” Dr. Bale, who graduated in chiropractic from the United Kingdom, and is currently taking online classes as a mindfulness teacher, explained.

There are 70,000 chiropractic doctors in the US, as it is the third-largest health profession in the world after general practice and dentistry; Canada with a population of about 33 million people has over 7,000 doctors, while India — with 7-10 licensed chiropractors — is a “stark contrast”. “Licensed chiropractors are easily accessible in the US. You have to really search for one here. I think people have not really picked it up in India because it requires just five minutes of your time and, therefore, is not appreciated. Taking more time for treatment equals better recovery is a wrong perception,” explained Bhambri, adding how he and a lot of other tennis professionals vouch for this treatment for its ability to improve the body’s range of motion (which is necessary as restricted spinal motion or when the spine doesn’t move as well as it should, can cause back pain).

What does the future hold for the practice in India?

“Right now, the plan is to open up three schools — including in Gujarat and Haryana — and start with a full-doctorate program. We are right now working through the legalities. End of 2021, we could possibly have the first batch,” said Dr. Nanda, stating the schools will be operated in association with the American chiropractic school Life Chiropractic College West, San Francisco.

When Should You See a Chiropractor

The common misconception surrounding chiropractic care is that chiropractors specialize in back pain treatments and nothing else. Although they are more popularly known for their approach in treating back pain, a chiropractor also helps heal and correct neck, shoulder, foot, and elbow injuries.

If you’re experiencing pain and discomfort, a certified and licensed Charlotte chiropractor can help treat your ailments. So, when should you see a chiropractor? Below are some of the signs that tell you it’s time to get chiropractic care.

When You Prefer a Conservative Approach – Most people who choose a chiropractor over other medical professionals are those who prefer a conservative approach over surgery and injections. If you want to try an alternative approach to treating your pain, chiropractic care is a treatment you might want to consider.

Back Pain – As mentioned above, chiropractors are known for their expertise in relieving back pains. Therefore, it’s a smart thing to do to visit a chiropractor right away on the onset of your back pain. While most people wait until something terrible happens, or the pain becomes intolerable, a scheduled visit to the chiropractor has several health benefits.

Limited Range of Motion – Individuals with mobility issues should consider visiting a chiropractor before other medical professionals. If you are having a hard time moving your arms and legs, as well as your neck, then this is a clear sign that you need chiropractic care. With chiropractic adjustments, chiropractors can help improve the range of motion.

Poor Posture Due to Long Periods of Sitting – Whether your job requires you to sit for long hours or you prefer sitting over anything else, chiropractic manipulation of the spine will help improve your posture. It is not uncommon for individuals who sit for a long period to experience back pain and poor posture. If you have pain and discomfort due to poor posture, a chiropractor will correct the alignment of your spine to improve your condition.

Headaches – a simple headache can be caused by spinal or neck misalignment. If you prefer conservative treatment, chiropractic care can help relieve pain and improve blood flow through the manipulation of the spine.

Greater Life Chiropractor is a leading provider of Charlotte NC chiropractic solution. If you’re experiencing any of the signs mentioned above, then it’s time to contact and assist you through your recovery. Call now, and get the best chiropractic care in Charlotte NC.

Understanding Chiropractic Care

Due to a lot of uncertainties and unexpected mishaps, a lot of people are going for regular visits to the chiropractic center to seek help in managing pain in different parts of the body. The huge question people ask is what is chiropractic care? This is a health care procedure that involves an intervention from a chiropractor who helps victims who are suffering from disorders mainly affecting the spine, nervous system, joints, and the pelvis. The technique involved is non-invasive, and they are done as a preventative and treatment measure to help out a lot of accident victims.

What is the role of a chiropractor?

These professionals are well trained and are capable of dealing with all sorts of neuro musculoskeletal issues. These areas encompass the neck, back, and joint pains. They are considered as care practitioners who are well conversant with any disorders that could be affecting your nervous and musculoskeletal systems. These health practitioners are well endowed with the right training and skills to perform therapeutic and rehabilitative exercises to any patient that approaches them. In addition to the health care they provide, they also provide nutritional, dietary, lifestyle counseling to any affected persons according to our friend over at Greater Life Chiropractic.

They use hands-on procedures to help out their clients get better without involving any invasive procedures. These practitioners usually use their hands to apply a decent and controlled amount of force to the affected areas, which are mostly the joints. Joints that are damaged to the extent that there is tissue injury these practitioners do something that is called chiropractic adjustment. This procedure, which is also known as spinal manipulation, is done to rectify the structural alignment in the bid to improve on the body function.

People may suffer tissue injuries due to traumatic events that could provide consistent stress on the affected tissue. This could be as a result of the repeated lifting of heavy objects especially for casual workers which means more pressure is directed o the already injured tissue which is dangerous since it might render you incapable of performing some actions due to the aggravated pain. What happens when the fabric gets damaged is that there is reduced performance and inflammation in the affected area. Whenever a victim is affected by such a scenario visiting a chiropractor is considered crucial to eliminate any pain and muscle stiffness to enhance improved mobility.

The ability of the body to function correctly is based on the belief that we need a well connected physical body structure. The area that needs proper functioning to facilitate this are the joints, muscles, and nerves. What people should understand is that chiropractic care doesn’t only provide a solution for the neck or back pain but also brings in the balance between the body structure and its way of functioning. It is also a belief that the human body knows how to take care of itself, which means that it can heal itself naturally. Chiropractic care has minimal side effects, which are temporal, and they may include muscle soreness, discomfort, and headaches. Any patient is qualified to see a Charlotte chiropractor, which also means the geriatrics and infants qualify to get assistance from these well-trained practitioners.

Chiropractors also do intensive work by conducting a thorough clinical examination, which may include diagnostic imaging, laboratory testing, and laboratory testing to uncover the actual cause to help them identify the right diagnosis for you. Chiropractic care might be the only solution you are left with, especially for people who experience a lot of lumbar or chronic neck pain. A chiropractor also advises their patients otherwise, whenever chiropractic care is inappropriate for their conditions. They refer them to the appropriate health specialists for further and effective treatment options.

The reason why most people prefer chiropractic care is that its a non-invasive procedure. The other purpose is people who acquire this kind of care end up with positive results which mean the acute pain or discomfort that is there initially disappears even though a patient may have mild soreness after the treatment. Chiropractic care is highly recommended since it is a safe way to treat any aches you might be having in your back or neck.