After his cancer radiation sessions, Nirmal Bhartiya began to experience severe back pain in 2014-15. After many visits to several doctors, someone referred him to a chiropractor 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 problems that require adjustment of the spine to Dr.
“Ninety percent of orthopedic diseases should be treated conservatively; seldom do you need operations. Operations should only be limited to tumors, fractures and the like. It shouldn’t happen because of back and neck pain, ”said Dr. Bajaj. While surgery has become commonplace in today’s medicine, chiropractic treatment, performed at the right time by a licensed and trained chiropractor, can prevent medication and surgery and is the “missing link” between physical therapy and orthopedics in India, said Dr. Bajaj who has been practicing for 11 years.
Rita Gupta, a 66-year-old housewife who had severe sciatic pain – with numbness in her left leg – agreed. “I couldn’t stand right. Surgeons suggested spinal surgery, but I didn’t want that, so I took chiropractic treatment. While I had a treatment window of six months, I was able to walk again in two months, which was nothing short of a miracle. “
What is Chiropractic Treatment?
As a licensed health professional related to understanding the nerves, chiropractic treatment includes manual therapy – with the hands – and includes manipulation of the spine. According to the U.S. Department of Health, chiropractors make adjustments to the spine or other parts of the body. This simply means that by correcting alignment problems, the patient’s pain will be reduced, which will improve the body’s natural ability to heal itself.
“When there is back pain, we treat the imbalances in the joints or muscles instead of looking at exercises or spending an expensive amount on machines or drugs to relieve the pain. A modern chiropractor doesn’t just treat with his hands. We also use certain advanced technologies, ”said Dr. Bajaj, who specializes in CT herniated discs. He added that spinal manipulation, manual techniques, and therapeutic tools are some of the chiropractic approaches used by practitioners.
“We are similar to orthopedic surgeons. Our diagnosis, MRI, X-ray, radiology background are similar. The only difference is that if it was a pharmaceutical surgical procedure, they would do the surgery. If it’s not entirely surgical, like with disc problems or nerve compression, we can come beforehand. Orthopedic doctors or physical therapists can perform spinal manipulations, but chiropractors have experience with specific spinal adjustments, ”Dr in India, which is self-regulating at the moment – said.
“The doctor first scans all of your reports to understand the root cause of the problem and then examines the elbow, spine, neck, etc with an accident that left him with a spinal injury 18 years ago. Through his wife Simrit, a Canadian citizen, he was informed about the chiropractic treatment, which is considered the “first line of treatment abroad”, and then he came with Dr. Nanda in contact. “I was treated in Canada for the first 6-8 months, where I initially had to sit three times. It’s better than popping pills. I was able to move my body within the first 6-8 months without any invasive measures. If I have any pain now, I can see the chiropractor in Gurgaon’s South Point Mall, ”said Singh.
How does the treatment work?
Chiropractic treatment includes muscles, bones, joints, and connective tissues such as cartilage, tendons, and ligaments. In layman’s terms, imagine it was a cracking of your ankles and back, “if in a much more professional way,” world numbered tennis player Yuki Bhambri, who swears by the treatment, told indianexpress.com.
During your first visit, the chiropractor will go through the medical history and then perform a physical exam to check for tenderness and tension, as well as the mobility of the spine. “This includes extensive radiology, MRIs, x-rays and CT scan reports to understand the root cause of the problem, which can be mechanical (how the spine moves) or neurological (nerve-related),” explained chiropractor Dr from Canada. He added, “The treatment only targets the specific area of the nerve or muscle – where it’s fitted and the patient feels the difference 99 percent of the time.”
When you see a chiropractor complaining of lower back pain, they will examine your entire spine – your neck (cervical spine), mid back (thoracic spine), and lower back (lumbar spine). “It is important to examine the entire spine because while only the lower back hurts, other areas of the spine can be affected,” said Dr. Nanda.
For example, chiropractors in the US are available in delivery rooms to examine the newborn’s spine in order to treat the disorders “right from the start”. Dr. Nanda explained how a trial visit works for some patients with symptomatic causes; some chronic cases can show results in a few months. Early diagnosis and timely treatment will help you return to everyday life faster and more organically.
It is known to help with neck and lumbar spine pain, back sprains, sciatica, inflammation, chronic headaches, neurological disorders, and blood pressure. Dr. Nanda cited a research article published in the National Chiropractic Journal by Mahatma Gandhi’s Health Restored by Chiropractic, which documented how Mahatma Gandhi was unable to attend rallies in 1942 because of high blood pressure. “So he had a British chiropractor from Calcutta (now Kolkata) who moved in with him for three months; and that was the cure. Then he could go to rallies. Chiropractic treatment has an amazing history. Unfortunately, when the British left the country, the education system also disappeared, ”he said.
Challenges in the field
While the fields of physiotherapy and orthopedics are well known, chiropractic treatment is little known. “There is no school in India that teaches chiropractic. Now many people claim to be chiropractors, but very few, in fact only 14 chiropractors in India are registered with the association, are licensed practitioners, ”said Dr. Nanda.
Dr. Bajaj said that the number of actual practitioners in the country “varies between 7 and 10” at any given time. “Most of the time there are expats or visits to the doctor. The lack of awareness is due to regulatory issues, as a certain number of doctors must be on-site before state regulation comes into effect. “That makes it difficult. We are currently self-regulating as an association. Without regulation, it is difficult to start a college for a proper doctorate. One has to understand that chiropractic is not a certification; it is not a technology, it is a profession, ”explained Dr. Bajaj, differentiating that chiropractic studies take eight long years, as opposed to physiotherapy, which takes four years.
In particular, chiropractic schools are only available in the US, Australia, France, UK, and Canada, while physical therapy institutes are available across India.
“From an international perspective, chiropractors are doctors. So we have the right to diagnose and treat. We are not therapists. It is a whole new domain for India and a huge opportunity. Almost 400-500 physical therapists call themselves chiropractors and there are no regulations. You can’t take any action against them. The general public is suffering, ”he regretted.
Dr. Alison Bale, 54, a British chiropractor who practiced in Goa said the practice was “great” for her until COVID-19 emerged. “I came to India in 2007 because I wanted the adventure of working in a new country. It was a fulfilling experience. I have closed my practice because of COVID-19 since January 2020 and for other urgent personal reasons. As a foreigner, working in a service-oriented industry has its own challenges, because it takes at least 3-4 years to get to know one, ”says Dr. Bale, who studied chiropractic in the UK and is currently studying online courses as a mindfulness teacher, explains.
There are 70,000 chiropractors in the US as they are the third largest health care profession in the world after general medicine 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 easy to come by in the US. You really have to look here. I think people didn’t really pick it up in India because it only takes five minutes of your time and so it is not appreciated. Taking more time for treatment means better recovery, is a misnomer, ”said Bhambri, adding that he and many other tennis professionals vouch for it treatment for its ability to improve the body’s range of motion (which is necessary because limited movement of the spine or when the spine does not move as well as it should can cause back pain).
What does the future of practice in India look like?
“There are currently plans to open three schools – including one in Gujarat and Haryana – and begin a full doctoral program. We are currently working through the laws. We could possibly have the first batch by the end of 2021, ”said Dr. Nanda and stated that the schools are operated in collaboration with the American chiropractic school Life Chiropractic College West, San Francisco.
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