Q & A

Dr Peter Westergaard

Founder of BritChiro Clinics - Peter Westergaard DC answers your Chiropractic questions.

  • What happens during the first visit?
    • When you meet your BritChiro Doctor of Chiropractic for the first time, he/she will start with a discussion about you, your health and your reasons for asking for chiropractic care. You will be asked for detailed information, not just about the pain or complaint that may have brought you to the clinic, but also about your past health history. Some of the questions may appear irrelevant, but they are extremely important to your chiropractor. To ensure that chiropractic care is appropriate for your condition he/she will need to establish an overall health picture. If chiropractic appears not to be suitable for you, you will be told and may be referred to your GP or relevant specialist.

      Examination
      Once your case history is complete, your BritChiro Doctor of Chiropractic will examine you to confirm any early ideas about your problem. The examination will concentrate on your neuro-musculo-skeletal system (nerves, muscles and joints), but it may also be necessary to check other things such as your heart, lungs and abdomen to rule out other causes; this thorough check up is a normal procedure in a chiropractor’s clinic. You will be referred to your GP if your chiropractor feels that this is appropriate. Gowns are made available for you to wear for the examination, as well as any following treatments.

      After the initial consultation and examination, your chiropractor may offer you treatment almost immediately. However, it may be delayed for a day or two if he/she needs to take or view X-rays or obtain further information from your GP (for example blood test results) and, where appropriate, refer you for an MRI / CT scan. Any imaging will only be requested where clinically indicated, in line with current legislation and guidelines. For your convenience, every clinic has the benefit of its own X-ray department.

      Report of Findings (ROF)
      Before starting treatment, your BritChiro Doctor of Chiropractic will tell you, in clear, simple language, what is wrong, what can be done about it and what you can expect. For the ROF visit it is beneficial if at all possible, you bring your husband/wife/fiancé/partner, both because there will be a lot of information to take in, and because having treatment is often a commitment in terms of both time and money, which is best made together with whomever it may also influence.
      Your treatment will in most cases consist of a course of treatment visits over a number of weeks, specified to your particular problems. At first most patients need frequent treatment sessions; the frequency gradually decreases in accordance with the objective improvement of your function, which is often not synchronized with your symptoms.
  • How much does it cost?
    • The charge for the physical examination is £46 and each treatment session is £38. Your personal treatment requirements will be explained to you at your Report of Findings, following your examination.
  • How does Chiropractic work?
    • The joints between bones can become restricted or misaligned - this is what is called a subluxation - which can be responsible for causing pressure or irritation to nerves leading to tingling, numbness or pain but could be so subtle that it causes no symptoms at all. Chiropractors are specifically trained to detect and correct subluxations. Although it takes years to develop the sensitive touch (palpation) to locate subluxations, you are likely to recognise them if they are pointed out to you.
    • The treatment carried out by your chiropractor is aimed at reducing the pressure and irritation to your nerves, taking away the interference so your body can do what it needs to do, namely heal and repair itself - It’s as simple as that!
  • What conditions can be treated at BritChiro Clinics?
    • Although chiropractors are best known for treating back and neck pain, which they do very well, patients also consult chiropractors regarding a wide range of other conditions. For more information on some of the conditions we treat, please have a look on our Conditions Treated page.
    • On many occasions, people consult us for Spinal Pain but, following treatment, also report improvement in a wide range of other conditions, as you may have heard yourself through friends and family. This is thought to be because the nervous system controls most functions in our body and if a nerve going to an internal organ gets compromised, that organ is likely to be affected. The reason we don't advertise treatment for these conditions, although there is much research in support, is that the Advertising Standards Authority in the UK does not, at the time of going to press, recognise the specific research and/or methods as meeting their specific standards. We expect this to change in future, allowing greater awareness of the wide-ranging potential benefits of Chiropractic care.
  • What happens during a treatment and will it hurt?
    • Treatment consists of very precise 'adjustments' of specific joints. The adjustments are done by skilled hands and are usually not painful. Some of the treatment techniques produce a ‘click’ or ‘pop’ from the joint, which may be a new experience for the patient, yet pain free. Treatment aims to restore normal function of the joints, whereby irritation to the nervous system is alleviated. The aim of treatment is not only to relieve symptoms but to restore and maintain optimal health and well being.
  • How will I feel afterwards?
    • When nerves are no longer pinched they are better able to send ‘life’s messages’, and the healing process may begin on many levels. Many patients report that they feel more relaxed, more peaceful and aware that old tensions or stress they’ve been carrying for many years begin to dissolve.
    • Whilst generally getting better is a gradual step by step process, many report an immediate change in symptoms – less or no pain, better movement, more upright posture and more energy.
  • What ages can be treated with Chiropractic?
    • All ages can benefit from Chiropractic care - from infants just a couple of weeks old to people well into their nineties. In most cases the pain and disability people present with is caused by the same mechanism regardless of age. We all sustain injuries through life – many of which cause subluxations that are correctable by specific Chiropractic treatment. Arthritis may render joints more likely to dysfunction but in most cases these problems can still be optimised by specific chiropractic adjustments so that people feel better because their function actually is better.
  • Do I need a referral from my GP?
    • No, as Chiropractors are primary healthcare practitioners, you do not require a referral from a GP to consult BritChiro Clinics. Many GPs refer patients to BritChiro Clinics as they have come into contact with many people whom we have helped. Unfortunately, Chiropractic treatment is generally not yet available under the NHS. Most Health Insurance providers cover all or part of the cost of treatment.
  • Are there any risks?
    • Chiropractic has fewer risks than many other treatments for your problem. Serious side effects are extremely uncommon. Chiropractors at BritChiro Clincis give thousands of treatments every month without encountering any serious side effects. Your BritChiro Doctor of Chiropractic will of course be happy to discuss any concerns regarding treatment.
  • Why are Chiropractors often given credit for treating such a wide range of conditions?
    • Whilst most of us know it’s already well documented that Chiropractic may help headaches, neck pain and low back pain, it is less well known and not documented with the same methods why many people through the years are convinced it has helped a wide range of other conditions. The reason we don't advertise treatment for those conditions, although there is much research in support, is that the Advertising Standards Authority in the UK does not, at the time of going to press, recognise the specific research and/or methods as meeting their specific standards. We expect this to change in future, allowing greater awareness of the wide-ranging potential benefits of Chiropractic care.
    • Chiropractors specialise in detecting and correcting subluxations, which are joints in the spine, arms or legs that are not moving correctly and consequently causing irritation to the nerves. Depending on where those irritated nerves go to and come from, different symptoms may be felt. For example if we look at our spine, a joint restriction in the lower part of the neck is likely to cause pain or tingling in one or both arms because that is where the nerves are going to, whereas joint restrictions in our lower back are completely unlikely to cause symptoms in the arms but highly likely to cause pain, tingling or numbness in one or both legs – simply because that’s where the nerves are going to. The nervous system controls most functions in our body, including our internal organs. It does seem quite logical that if a nerve going to an internal organ gets compromised, then that organ is likely to be affected. So it’s not that we specialise in hundreds of different conditions but rather that we are trained to detect and correct subluxations wherever they may be, and because so many different conditions often have the same basic cause – that’s why Chiropractic so often is the answer.
  • How effective is Chiropractic?
    • A recent study conducted by the Medical Research Council showed that patients who received chiropractic treatment for low back pain experienced a greater reduction in disability than those who attended hospital out-patient departments. The benefits of chiropractic care were also longer lasting. The study recommended that Chiropractic treatment should be available on the NHS in Britain as is the case in Scandinavia, Switzerland and New Zealand. In Britain, some insurance companies cover the cost or part of the cost, of treatment. Many of BritChiro Clinics’ happy patients have shared their positive experiences in the Press and we have included some of our patients’ experiences on our testimonials page.
  • How do your prices compare with other Chiropractic clinics?
    • The BritChiro price of £38 per treatment is around the average price per treatment in the UK. In and around London one can expect to pay £45 and above per treatment and in other parts of the country, the treatment price can be somewhat lower. Despite offering a first class service in terms of the expertise and calibre of our Doctors of Chiropractic, our modern town centre premises and equipment of the highest standards, we keep our prices as competitive as possible so as many as possible can benefit from our Chiropractic services.
  • Will I have to undress for my first visit?
    • For your first Chiropractic examination both male and female patients are required, in the privacy of your own cubicle, to undress down to your underwear and change into a gown. Should you require X-rays, female patients will be asked to remove their bra (but keep their pants and their gown on) as well as removing any jewellery, which can be placed in your hand-bag and taken with you to the X-ray Department.
  • Will I have to pay up-front for a lot of treatment?
    • No - Your Doctor of Chiropractic will be able to indicate approximately how much treatment you will need at your Report of Findings, following your examination, if he or she expects to be able to help you and offers you treatment. You will be asked to settle the cost of treatment following each visit and will not need to pay in advance for your treatment unless you prefer to. Some patients require concentrated treatment to begin with and once you are at a stable phase you may be given the option of check-up/maintenance visits.
  • What if I have the Chiropractic Examination but am told that Chiropractic treatment is not likely to help me?
    • On some occasions people come to BritChiro for their first visit/Examination and instead of being offered Chiropractic treatment, are referred to an appropriate specialist or GP; in some cases we may offer to write a short report, which can help get the right care elsewhere. These patients are usually very grateful for the service they have received as their Chiropractor can give them direction to navigate their way through the often confusing NHS; in our experience our referral reports usually have the effect of ensuring people receive the appropriate care within the NHS.
    • Your first Chiropractic consultation will be a very comprehensive and unique health assessment, which in many ways is as significant in relation to your overall health as conventional medical examinations but with the crucial difference that we are looking at completely different parameters. For instance we diagnosed an old severe fracture of the neck in an elderly patient and were therefore not able to offer her treatment, but because she had gone years without being diagnosed in the NHS, she was so grateful and relieved to finally have the correct diagnosis, that she referred many of her friends to our clinic for our opinion on their various health problems, many of which could be helped through Chiropractic care.
  • Which Health Insurance Providers cover treatment at BritChiro Clinics?
    • Most Health Insurance providers cover some or all of Chiropractic treatment at BritChiro Clinics. Many Insurers have a specific set of requirements for registration and our Chiropractors are registered providers with most of them but, to be sure, please mention your Insurance cover at the time of booking your first appointment.