Let’s take a closer look at Chiropractic services

Surprisingly in Australia there are over 215,000 consultations to chiropractors each week*. But what do chiropractors really do? And why are they so popular? Is a visit to the chiropractor covered by Medicare or by private health insurance? Let’s take a look.

Chiropractors are the spinal health experts of the medical world and concentrate on the important functions controlled by the brain, spinal cord, and all the nerves of the body. “Chiropractic” comes from the Greek word “Chiropraktikos”, meaning “done by hand,” as therapy involves manual adjustment and treatment of the spine and other joints.**

So, how does chiropractic work?
Chiropractic is based upon the understanding that good health depends significantly upon a normally functioning nervous system. The premise is that when your nervous system is functioning optimally all the cells, tissues and organs of your body are designed to function well and resist disease and ill health. The chiropractic approach to better health is to locate and help reduce interferences to your natural state of being healthy.

A common interference to the nervous system is the twenty four moving bones of the spinal column. A loss of normal motion or position of any of these bones can irritate or impair the function of the nervous system. This can disrupt the transmission of controlling nerve impulses.

Chiropractors aim to improve nervous system function primarily through manual adjustments (with particular attention to the spine, skull and pelvis) and soft tissue therapies, to help remove any interference that may be impairing normal health.

What happens when I visit a chiropractor?
Chiropractors will begin by gathering a background history of your spinal and general health: such as surgeries, accidents, the onset of your condition and other details affecting your current health. After reviewing your history and discussing your specific problem, a thorough orthopaedic, neurological, and chiropractic examination is performed. X-rays may be taken to uncover structural and functioning problems associated with the spinal column. These examinations help identify areas of spinal malfunction and resulting nervous system deficits. Then your chiropractor will put together a recommended plan of chiropractic adjustments to meet your needs. Your progress is monitored with periodical examinations and follow-up reports.

Is chiropractics expensive and does Medicare cover any fees?
In 2010 the average charge to nib customers for an initial consultation with a chiropractor was $55.50 and subsequent consultations cost $48.30. In some very specific circumstances you can qualify for a Medicare rebate on chiropractic treatments. But to qualify you’ll probably need to be suffering from a chronic condition. In this instance, you can be registered for an Enhanced Primary Care (EPC) program which is a plan put together by your GP#. This entitles you to attend up to five chiropractic visits per calendar year covered by Medicare.

So how can nib help?
Extras cover can really help with the associated costs of visiting the chiropractor for most Australians. Depending upon your level of cover you can find that you’re entitled to an initial - and a series of subsequent - chiropractic treatments throughout the course of a calendar year. Of course, how much you can claim back each time you visit a chiropractor, and the maximum amount you can claim per year, will vary depending on the health cover you choose.

Remember, you can’t put a price on your health. Choosing the right private health insurance gives you great peace of mind. And it can also save you lots of money. Consider it today.

* Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2004-2005). National Health Survey: Summary of Results. (No. 4364.0). Canberra, Australian Capital Territory.

** http://chiropractors.asn.au/AM/Template.cfm?Section=What_is_Chiropractic
# http://www.health.gov.au/epc