Who is Dr Peter?

It’s a funny thing. Most chiropractors come to the profession having first experienced chiropractic care as a patient. I’m no exception. I first became a chiropractic patient when I was 14 or 15. Typical stuff – achy back when weeding the garden or mowing the lawn. My mum was the first family member to go to the chiro, then my sister and then me.

Believe it or not, the first time I saw someone’s back get “cracked” was when I started my chiropractic degree. My chiropractor, as far as I can recollect, never cracked anyone. He used a special table with sections that moved up and down.

If you have been to more than one chiropractor, this probably won’t surprise you. You see, we all get the same five-year undergraduate education but then, after we enter the real world, we start to diversify and focus on our special interests. With over 30 years of experience, I’ve seen a lot of trends come and go. In my opinion, there is no perfect chiropractic technique. Each has good bits and bad bits. Over the years I’d like to think I’ve kept all of the good bits for my patients.

So, when you come to see me you’ll experience various techniques. My philosophy is to work with the body at its own pace. Not forcing something that’s not ready to release. Every session will begin with some sort of soft tissue therapy or massage and I may also use heat packs to relax your muscles. Adjustments may be in the form of pelvic wedges (blocks), an activator adjusting instrument or using the special moving sections of the treatment table. Yes, in some very special cases, you may hear a crack, but it isn’t essential.

Many people believe that chiropractic care is only for athletes or people who have been injured at sport. Not true. I believe it should be a part of everybody’s overall health regime. Go to the gym, attend stretching class, drink plenty of water, see the chiro.

I also believe that health care should be demystified. After your initial exam, we’ll have a chat and discuss the results and what they mean for you. I’ll use plain English, no jargon.

Finally, when you join the practice you’ll be joining a healthy environment. There’s enough noise and hustle-bustle out there in the world. You don’t need all that drama when you’re getting treated. Many of my patients say that their time in the treatment room is the first time they’ve had a chance to relax all day.

Do chiropractors treat children?

The short answer is yes.

There have been numerous inquiries into chiropractic care of children and the results always come out in favour of the chiropractic professionals who choose to treat children.

To be honest, I don’t enjoy treating babies. It’s probably because I’ve never had my own children. I’m happy to look at your kids but, if I think they need ongoing care, I’ll probably suggest someone else who likes to see kids all day.

Once they reach 10, and they’re starting to throw themselves around in the playground or they’re slouching and staring at their devices, then I’m happy to take on their care. The teenage years are so important when you’re looking at posture and growth. Some regular realignment can be of great benefit when they’re going through those growth spurts.

What are the benefits of seeing a chiropractor?

Let’s face it, 99.9% of people first go to the chiropractor for pain or symptom relief.

  • Back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Headaches
  • Sciatica
  • Shoulder problems
  • Wrist problems
  • Poor posture
  • Hip problems

The list goes on and on.

Some people come to me as a treatment of last resort. They’ve tried everything else and the chiro is the final stop before considering surgery. Many are surprised that “it actually seems to work” and gets them feeling better than they have in years.

So, I think it’s pretty clear that the chiropractic approach is great when it comes to body aches and pains.

Something you may have noticed, however, is that many people continue to see the chiropractor after their pain or symptom has gone. Why would that be the case?

Well, in addition to experiencing pain relief, many people just feel really good after a visit and they want to keep feeling good. So they’ll talk to the chiropractor about the best timing to return for a check-up. The chiropractor will take into account the age of the patient, their activity level and how well each individual has responded to treatment. Some conditions require ongoing management while others can be resolved in one or two visits. Each case is unique. Sometimes chiropractic treatment isn’t appropriate. In these cases, we’ll seek out the right professional for you.

So, regular chiropractic treatment can help with getting your pain and symptoms under control and you feel good when your body is aligned.

Are chiropractors covered by Medicare?

Yes and no. Who knew health insurance would be a confusing topic?

Let’s start with the easy stuff.

Think of your chiropractor as an allied health practitioner. Not a GP and not a hospital worker. Therefore, chiropractic treatment comes under private health cover. It generally comes under extras and your fund may have a fixed rebate per visit, say $25 regardless of the fee, or a percentage of fees charged, say 70%. Like all extras, there is an annual limit per person or family.

Private health insurance is necessary for many people, especially those with kids who may be looking at getting braces at the dentist. I wouldn’t recommend taking out private health cover specifically for covering chiropractic treatment. Once you take into consideration wait times, premiums, annual limits and, let’s face it, miserly rebates, it isn’t worth it. However, if you already have private cover for other reasons, then why not use your annual benefits. You’ve already paid for it.

So, chiropractic treatment IS covered by private health insurance and NOT by Medicare.

Here’s the exception.

If you have a chronic condition that requires professionals other than your GP to treat, then you may qualify for up to 5 visits paid for by Medicare every 12 months.

You may have noticed a lot of “ifs”, “buts” and “maybes”.

Let’s say your GP is treating you for chronic back pain and I’m treating you for chronic back pain. You could let your GP know and he or she could set up a Team Care Plan. A team care plan brings in the expertise of 13 different allied health professionals ( chiropractors, dieticians, psychologists, podiatrists etc.) to work collaboratively with your GP. Your 5 visits could be with just one professional or could be spread across a number of professionals. You only get a total of 5 visits every 12 months.

Currently, the Medicare chiropractic rebate sits at around $55. I’ve decided to only charge that amount for these special Medicare visits. So, you won’t have any gap to pay. On the day you pay your $55, you present your Medicare Card, we process it on the spot and then the $55 is paid back to your savings or cheque account on your debit card. Payments can’t be made to a credit card.

What is "the crack"?
I smile when I see this question. People either love the sound or hate the sound. Some people love the sound of knuckles cracking in the hands and some people hate that sound. At the end of the day, it’s an insignificant noise that sometimes accompanies joint manipulation. That’s it.

As I’ve said elsewhere, manual adjusting is only one form of chiropractic treatment. I use pelvic blocks, the activator adjusting instrument and the moving sections of the treatment table. All of these assist the chiropractor in treating their patient and NONE of these have a cracking sound.

So, if the sound is what’s stopping you from seeing a chiropractor, then rest assured you can still be treated by these methods.

So, what is the crack? It’s the sound of a small gas bubble popping. If you’re interested in how we know this, watch this short video which explains how we discovered and measured the cause of this sound.

What are the myths about chiropractors?
  1. Chiropractors aren’t real doctors.

I should say upfront, I don’t use the title “doctor” when I go about my daily life being a chiropractor. I don’t insist on being called “Dr Richardson” or “Dr Peter”.

It’s true, chiropractors are not G.P.’s. If I wanted to be a G.P. I would have studied medicine.

If I wanted to be a vet, I would have studied veterinary science. If I wanted to be a dentist, I would have gone to dental school.

ALL of these professionals are permitted to use the honorary title “Dr”. 

To make it clear that we’re NOT G.P.’s, you’ve probably noticed that chiropractors identify themselves in the following way: Dr Fred Blogs (Chiropractor)

  1. Too much cracking will give you arthritis.

Firstly, just because you’re receiving chiropractic treatment doesn’t mean you’re going to get “cracked”. Chiropractic, as a health discipline, has been around for over 125 years. In that time a lot has changed. In the 21st Century, many chiropractors don’t crack their patients at all.

This myth probably is an extension of the old wives’ tale about cracking your knuckles: “Don’t crack your knuckles or you’ll get arthritis”.

Studies have shown that it just isn’t true.

  1. Once you start chiropractic care, you need to keep going forever.

For some people, this may be partly true. Forever is a long, long time, however.

As I’ve said before, some people start chiropractic care for pain relief and continue afterwards because it makes them feel better and healthier. It’s not a requirement, it’s a choice.

Unfortunately, for some people, their condition can never be completely fixed and they will need to manage their condition for the rest of their lives. Most of the time this is achieved through lifestyle change, home exercise and occasional visits to the chiropractor for re-assessment.

Remember, helping you get better is a collaborative effort. We’re both working together to help you get better. You can stop at any time.