What are the Phases of Chiropractic Care?

Phases of Chiropractic Care

How long your decide to benefit from chiropractic care is always up to you.

Decision Point

There are 3 Phases of Chiropractic Care.

Phase 1 – Initial Acute Care

In the first stage of care we aim to relieve pain. Initially your muscles may be in spasm, and your joints may be inflamed. Your chiropractor’s focus is to reduce pain with gentle manipulation, and aftercare home advice (sometimes ice, or rest is needed). Depending on your age, overall health condition, level of  joint degeneration and lifestyle, some return visits may be necessary to reduce or eliminate your initial presenting symptoms.

Phase 2- Subacute Care

In this next phase your chiropractor will focus on rehabilitating and restoring joint function.  Muscle and other soft tissue damage can often persist after your initial symptoms have subsided, so we check to make sure the trigger points are releasing and becoming less active. We also assess your range of motion and give stretching and strengthening exercises to restore the correct function to the areas involved.  We will encourage you to supplement your care with exercises or other self-care procedures you can do at home to try to prevent further relapses. 

Phase 3 – Future Follow-up Care

Sometimes more chronic musculoskeletal conditions will require some longer term care from time to time to help manage the pain and symptoms. For example, chronic low back pain is very common, and whilst we are able to help with some immediate relief, at times we may need to educate you on how to be more aware of your body and the signs that there may be a problem starting. We aim to try to help you manage your condition by looking at lifestyle, posture and other stressors in your life that could possibly be modified. This may involve follow up at the first sign of a symptom you are aware of is a precursor to your condition. Feeling pain, stiffness, or discomfort for example are a good reasons to come back for follow up care. All of this is dependant on each individual case.

Combining Chiropractic with other therapies such as Massage.

Remedial Massage Compliment Chiropractic

Sometimes Massage compliments Chiropractic care really well, along with other musculoskeletal therapies such as Dry needling and Acupuncture. We often recommend patients have a massage first before we adjust, especially if there is a strong muscle component to their condition. Often the combined soft tissue and joint treatments enable an improved outcome to care. Remedial Massage can help reduce tension in the supporting muscles of the spine allowing for increased mobility and range of motion.

Massage helps to prepare the muscles for the joint manipulation or chiropractic adjustment by allowing greater range of motion within the joint, and hopefully less involuntary tightening that can sometimes occur before a chiropractic adjustment (reflex). As a result we feel your adjustment may be enhanced due to the extra relaxation.

Self-manipulating could cause problems

Self-manipulating causes several problems

If you know someone, or you are someone who “cracks” your own neck or back, then this blog is for you!

Chiropractic Adjustments

Adjustments that Chiropractors apply are a very specific and gentle manoeuvre. These adjustments allow the correct amount of force to move only the joint(s) required helping to improve the function of the spine. Only a Chiropractor, or other Physical Therapist that has been trained in these manoeuvres is allowed to perform them by law.

What happens when people crack their own spine, or allow someone who is untrained apply a manipulation to someone else?

Patients often ask if it is harmful to crack their own neck or back. Or to let their spouse or friend do this for them?  It is NOT a good idea to SELF-manipulate your neck or back! Or to attempt to manipulate someone else either! Besides being dangerous, you are placing your own and your friends health at risk. Whilst performing DIY manipulations sometimes provides temporary relief, over time it could lead to new issues with the spine’s stability.

There are a 3 reasons why this should be avoided

1. Self-Manipulation has no control on which areas are moved and mobilised.

Firstly, self-manipulation can very easily move several joints that a re already hyper mobile (moving too much). Secondly, joints that are already moving adequately or maybe too much could possibly become irritated or maybe even inflamed. Consequently if repeated, this could create joint injury or instability, or in some cases hyper-mobility. Additionally, this leads to a great deal of muscular contraction in the area the body is trying to stabilise. Muscles tighten and contract to try to do the job of the already overstretched ligaments. As a result, the patient suffers muscle spasms, and a vicious cycle of pain leading to more pain.

2. Self-Manipulation can be dangerous.

Self-manipulation shouldn’t be applied because it could damage or worsen the unknown underlying condition.  Consequently, a few conditions that would not respond well to self-adjustments are spinal canal stenosis or inflammatory arthritis. Furthermore, only a health care practitioner is able to diagnose these types of condition via a thorough history and physical examination.

3. Self-Manipulation can become addictive!

Cracking their own neck or back may provide some short term relief of pain, but the habit can be difficult to reverse. Rehabilitation on the other hand teaches patients the correct way to stretch and relax tight muscles. Alternative methods can find relief through heat, meditation, mobilisation, and strength-based exercises. The main goal in these cases is to gain stability.

Benefits of Dry Needling

Dry NeedlingWhat is Dry Needling and How does it work?

This is a technique of gently inserting a very fine gauge needle (same as acupuncture needles) into specific trigger points. A trigger point feels just like a tight nodule within the muscle (a knot), and sends pain to another area when pressed. The aim is to release myofascial pain in these muscles that these trigger points cause. Traditionally, massage has been the main method to alleviate these knots, but Dry Needling can effectively do the same thing. It is often quicker and more efficient than Deep Tissue Massage.

How does it work?

Dry Needling has the effect of increasing blood supply to the needled area which causes an influx of oxygen. This removes the toxins that cause pain within the nerve endings in the muscle.

How does Dry Needling differ to Acupuncture?

A lot of people ask if it is the same as Acupuncture. Well, Acupuncture is an Ancient Chinese practice that involves redirecting the flow of energy or Qi in order to relieve muscle pain. In contrast, Dry Needling is based on western medicine using anatomy and physiology to determine trigger point locations. It is not surprisingly, often these trigger points line up with meridians in the body.  Unlike Acupuncture, Dry needling is administered by a range of health professionals (such as us Chiropractors) that are specifically trained in this technique.

What does Dry Needling treat?

Dry needling treats a number of stubborn musculoskeletal disorders.

• Neck, back, hip and arm pain due to myofascial pain syndrome
• Bursitis of the shoulder or supraspinatus tendonitis
• Tennis or Golfer’s elbow
• Headaches & migraines
• Tendinitis
• Jaw pain (TMJ syndrome)
• Leg pain, sciatica, or calf tightness
• Osteoarthritis
• Scar tissue
• Sinusitis

Are there any side effects to Dry Needling?

Initially when applying the needle to an active trigger point, we often elicit a twitch response in the muscle. For instance, if the needle is in the correct part of the muscle, it will have the best therapeutic benefit to the patient. However, the needle can feel weird to some people, and it often makes people jump the first time they experience it. Some patients may experience mild muscle soreness, and slight bruising over the treated area. Additionally, there maybe some activated pain into the zone of referred pain, but this typically only lasts for a day or so. As a result, depending on the amount of soreness, some further treatment may be required such as applying heat or ice to the area, and stretching or gentle massage.

There may be factors that determine if you are likely to respond well to this type of treatment, so  I really hope that you will ask about this form of treatment if you are interested in finding out more.

Do you have a Private Health Fund or Medicare Enhanced Care Plan?

North Brisbane Chiropractor
Private Health Funds & Bulk Billing

Medicare Bulk Billing

We offer No Out Of Pocket BULK BILLING under certain circumstances* for Chiropractic & Clinical Psychology only.

*There is no out of pocket fee for Enhanced Care Plan patients for Chiropractic Care and  Mental Health Care Plan clients for Clinical Psychology. Please note that only your GP can approve these types of bulk billed visits on Medicare, and your referring GP will be in direct collaboration with your allied health provider regarding your condition.

Below is a link to Enhanced Primary Care Plan referral form with our details inserted (PDF) for easy reference.


GP Referral for Enhanced Care Plan
GP Referral for Enhanced Care Plan

Additionally, we treat those holding a Department of Veteran Affairs (DVA) Card with the relevant referral from a GP , and clients that have an approved Work Cover. 

Private Health Funds

We offer rebates on all Chiropractic, Remedial Massage, Psychology, Dry Needling, and Acupuncture appointments using your Private Health Card and our HICAPS machine.

If you expect financial assistance from certain Private Health Fund insurance plans, some policies dictate that you take certain approval steps before commencing care, such as waiting periods. We are a Medibank Private Member’s choice provider.

On the Spot Claims

We are able to use our HICAPS machine to enable fast and easy claiming on the spot. First, remember to bring your private health fund card with you for each appointment. Then, with each visit we swipe your card, and your fund will pay a certain amount of the total consultation fee, leaving a gap fee. Ultimately, the amount of the fee is determined by how much coverage you have for a particular service. Additionally, you can always check this by calling your private health fund and letting them know the service you have booked for.

No Private Health?

You don’t need a Private Health Fund, a Bulk Billing referral, or permission from anyone to see a Chiropractor.  If you don’t have a private health care card, you can check out our fee structure on our website. Be careful that you don’t allow your health to be compromised. It’s your body, your health, and your future. We do offer pensioner/ concession card/ student fees and are happy to discuss your situation.