Frequently Asked Questions

Chiropractic FAQ

Seen as though we have been doing this for quite some time, there are some common questions that we are asked from time to time.

We have tried to provide a list below of some of the more common questions that we get asked with regards to chiropractic and our clinic. If there is something that you would like to ask that we have not covered here in the FAQ section, then please go to our Contact Us page where you can submit a custom question directly to us.


How old is chiropractic?
The original chiropractic philosophy was founded by DD Palmer in 1895 and was subsequently expanded into the early 20th century by his son BJ Palmer. Modern Chiropractic has since grown and is widely practised and accepted in, amongst many others, Australia, South Africa, the USA and the UK and is regarded as the third largest primary health care profession behind medicine and dentistry.
How are chiropractors educated?
A chiropractic qualification is obtained through a 5 year university degree, or Master's degree at some international universities, after extensive education and training in clinical, diagnostic and treatment protocols and procedures. In order to practise chiropractic in Australia, chiropractors need to be registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency that is a government organization which regulates the strict guidelines and requirements including ongoing professional education, that need to be fulfilled each year before registration is granted. It is only through meeting and maintaining these high standards that chiropractors are able to obtain insurance, register with health insurance companies and practise each year. Overseas qualified chiropractors need to sit and pass board entrance exams before being allowed to practise in Australia.
Is chiropractic care safe?
Chiropractic is safe for the whole family from the young all the way through to the elderly and at Hornsby Spine Centre we have two main caveats being that there must be something that we are able to treat and that treatment is not contraindicated.
Chiropractic is recognized worldwide and supported by the World Health Organization. Chiropractic is also recognized as one of the safest types of health care in the world. Numerous studies, including those funded by governments, universities and nonprofit research institutions, have proven it to be a successful primary therapy for neuromusculoskeletal conditions - a therapy that is safer, in fact, than most medical procedures used to treat the same conditions. This research is widely available on the internet, however it must be remembered that any medical procedure carries a level of risk, including risks associated with medication use and in some situations chiropractic care is contraindicated. Chiropractors are trained to identify and mitigate these risks such as those associated with osteoporosis or bone cancer.
Please go to our Chiropractic page for more detailed information.
What is a chiropractic adjustment?
A chiropractic adjustment is the skill of using a specific force in a precise direction, applied to a joint that is fixated, locked up, or not moving properly. This adds motion to the joint, helping the joints to gradually regain more normal motion and function. The purpose of this safe and natural procedure is to permit improved spinal function, improved nervous system function, and improved health. There are many ways to adjust the spine. Usually the chiropractor's hands or a specially designed instrument delivers a brief and highly-accurate thrust. Some adjusting methods are quick, whereas others require a slow, constant or indirect pressure. After years of university training and clinical experience, each chiropractor becomes highly skilled in the delivery of a variety of adjusting approaches.
The pop or cavitation that is associated with an adjustment is simply nitrogen bubbles coalescing out of the synovial fluid due to the negative pressures.
How does chiropractic work?
Modern Chiropractic is evidence based and uses a variety of tested diagnostic and treatment methods on a wide range of disorders of the neuromusculoskeletal system including those of the extremities (knees, shoulders, elbows, feet). Proactively aiming for the cause of the problem, rather than just treating the symptoms, modern Chiropractic looks at dysfunction in the neuromuscularskeletal system, how this affects the overall health of the body, and how this dysfunction can be addressed to restore optimal function.
We do this by employing a wide range of modalities designed to reduce the dysfunction, improve functional integrity and thereby restore a level of optimal health to the body.
I don't like the clicking sound or feeling, do chiropractors offer any other forms of treatment?
Modern Chiropractic involves a lot more than just cracking the spine. We have many modalities at our disposal that do not involve clicking that can be effectively employed to help with soft tissue or joint related disorders. In fact our focus at Hornsby Spine Centre is not on clicking the joint, but rather applying the appropriate specific force necessary to reduce the dysfunction of the affected part of the musculoskeletal system. If it is your preference not to be adjusted or have the audible clicking sound, then please let us know, at the very least we can always use mobilization techniques to increase joint range of motion or muscle movement. Please see our modalities page for more information about some of the techniques we use.
How safe are neck adjustments?
This is a question that we get asked very often as it seems that almost everybody knows someone who knows someone who has had some sort of bad experience with a chiropractor relating to neck adjustments.
Chiropractors are highly trained in the art of spinal manipulative therapy (SMT). We mention the word art because it requires many hours of practising and studying to be able to determine which joint needs to be moved, which direction the joint needs to be moved in and exactly how much force needs to be applied. Chiropractors are also highly trained in using orthopaedic and neurological tests to determine when SMT should not be used.
The safety and effectiveness of chiropractic spinal adjustment has undergone considerable scrutiny from individuals and organizations within the health care and scientific communities, as well as from chiropractors themselves. Few health-care interventions can claim to have been as closely and as extensively assessed.
We listen closely to the concerns of everyone who comes through our practice and as a central tenement to our treatment protocols never apply any more force than is absolutely necessary to achieve the desired motion of a joint, never forcing the joint simply to achieve the clicking sound. If patients prefer not to have adjustments to their necks, we will always find another more amicable way to achieve the desired results.
To read more about the safety of SMT, please see our Chiropractic page for more detailed information.
How do I know if I should see a chiropractor?
If you have an injury related to a joint, the spine, muscle, tendon, ligament, suffer from headaches, joint pain or back pain, chances are that you would probably get some benefit from seeing a chiropractor. This is obviously within reason as there are a few instances with injuries of these types where Chiropractic care would not be of benefit. During your first visit, we will take a full case history and then conduct the necessary orthopaedic and neurological examinations to determine if we can help with your complaint, and if not, we will endeavor to steer you in the right direction to address your complaint.
Sometimes there may not necessarily be an underlying recent injury for Chiropractic to be of benefit, some people seek Chiropractic care to address flexibility, proprioception, for rehabilitation or to address residual symptomology from old injuries.
What is the difference between chiropractic and physiotherapy?
Very simply, the main differences between Chiropractic and Physiotherapy in private practice comes from each profession's origins. While Chiropractic has evolved from the use of spinal manipulations to treat pain and dysfunction, Physiotherapy has evolved out of a combination of massage, manual therapy and rehabilitative exercises. As such, chiropractors tend to utilize more manipulative modalities during treatments, while physiotherapists tend to use more massage, manual therapy and exercises.
As our professions mature and more evidence based treatment approaches are added to the field of musculoskeletal medicine, the lines that differentiate the different professions are starting to blur. It is not uncommon, as is the case at out clinic at Hornsby Spine Centre, for members from either profession to use modalities and techniques from the others profession. Modern chiropractors focusing more on functional impairment and dysfunction have started adding more and more soft tissue modalities to their treatment plans as well as using more home exercise and strengthening plans, just as some physiotherapists have started to incorporate more manipulative or adjustive techniques into their treatment plans.
It therefore tends to come down to the individual practitioner and finding one that employs treatment techniques that suit your specific needs.
How are chiropractors regulated?
In order to be able to practise every year, be registered for health insurance claiming, be insured and be registered with Medicare, chiropractors must be registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) which is a government regulatory body overseeing all health practitioners in Australia. In order to register every year chiropractors must meet strict criteria and requirements relating to being fit and able to practise, ongoing professional education and other aspects which ensure that only the highest standards are maintained by those who are registered. This includes qualifications from recognized institutions locally and internationally as well as the accreditation of practitioners qualified by institutions not recognized in Australia.
Do chiropractors only treat back pain?
Chiropractors treat much more than just back pain and headaches.
Chiropractors focus on addressing disorders involving dysfunction of the musculoskeletal system, which includes disorders involving joints, muscles, ligaments and tendons throughout the body. In fact, applying the underlying Chiropractic philosophy of trying to address the root cause rather than just the symptoms of an injury during treatment proves to be effective in treating a wide variety of joint and soft tissue related injuries.
For more information about some of the more common injuries we see at Hornsby Spine Centre, please have a look at our Common Conditions page.
Do all chiropractors practise the same?
It is fair to say that professionals in any profession may have similar education and instruction, and may be given the same tools to complete their functions, but how they employ those tools and education may differ greatly.
Chiropractic is no different, and while the end goal may be the same, different chiropractors may use different modalities, or in fact apply the same modalities differently to achieve the desired goal.

The Visit

Do I need a referral to see a chiropractor?
You do not need a referral to see a chiropractor. Chiropractors are recognized as primary health care practitioners and therefore do not need a referral for a visit.
What should I wear to the visit?
Most of the time it is sufficient to wear loose fitting clothing or clothing that would allow us to access the affected area easily. Obviously heavy thick jackets, tight jeans or thick jumpers are not optimal. Bear in mind that we may need to stretch you and move your upper or lower limbs through their ranges of motion and so therefore clothing that allows movement such as gym clothing would be preferred.
If on the odd occasion we need to expose an area for treatment, your comfort is always important to us.
What should I expect during the visit?
Typically every visit starts off with us asking a few questions regarding your injury or complaint. If you have had prior treatment we will enquire about the results and any concerns you may have as this will shape how we proceed in care. We will usually conduct screening and orthopaedic tests as a means of comparison to see how things have changed, if there is anything new and formulate a plan on how we will proceed. Specialized visits such as your first visit or a reassessment will differ slightly from the standard visit in terms of duration and more comprehensive history taking, neurological and orthopaedic examinations. We always give feedback and advice after listening to your input before we continue. We then proceed with treatment. To get a better idea of the first visit, please have a look at our Your Visit page for more information.
Do I need to have X- Rays taken before care?
At Hornsby Spine Centre we do not believe in mandatory taking of X- Rays before beginning treatment as thorough neurological and orthopaedic testing can usually highlight any areas of major concern. It is our policy to only refer you for specialist radiological examinations if:
1) Your progress is not proceeding as anticipated relating to your type of injury;
2) To rule out something more serious going on;
3) To change our diagnosis because of different signs or symptoms; or
4) If the neurological testing is producing signs that are fluctuating and varying without cause.
What should I expect after the first visit?
Responses to treatment can vary from person to person and from area being treated as well as the condition being treated. At Hornsby Spine Centre we try to make sure that we give you as much information as to what to expect in the 24 to 48 hours after a visit. It is normal to feel some level of discomfort, especially when some soft tissue modalities have been used during the visit, although this level of discomfort is usually not very significant especially when compared to some of the pain symptoms experienced before treatment. We try to listen carefully to the responses that are reported to us and consequently adjust our treatment plans to maintain any discomfort experienced at your acceptable levels.
For more information, please download our Patient Orientation Information sheet which can be found on our Contact Us page.
What results should I expect?
We often get asked about the results of Chiropractic care and the duration it will take to see those results, if you are new to Chiropractic care, you will want to know what type of result you can expect. It is difficult to answer these questions accurately as individual experience varies from person to person, but most people can expect some benefits soon after beginning care and for these to consolidate further as therapy continues. The difficulty often comes as the patients we see have usually had these injuries for quite some time and tried many other treatment options. In our experience though, it is not true to say that once you start Chiropractic care it is ongoing forever, at Hornsby Spine Centre our focus is results oriented, but we sometimes battle with significant levels of dysfunction that often times surpass the pain symptoms.
Statistically, research shows that Chiropractic care is more effective and economical and also gives longer lasting results for disorders of the spine than other forms of health care.
How long do visits last?
Our appointment time differ for the different visit types. The first visit, reassessment and extended visits take a little longer than the standard visit which is usually between 15 and 30 minutes depending on how much work we have to get through.
For a thorough breakdown of our visits and their durations, please have a look at our Fee Schedule page.
Do I need to book for a visit in advance?
Our appointment schedule is operated on pre booked visit slots. The initial visit or reassessment visits typically take a bit longer and therefore need to be planned for. Some times of the day are more popular than other times, especially at the beginning and end of the day and are often booked out weeks in advance. With that in mind though, we do have some magicians who know how to work the appointment schedule, as well as some very understanding patients who don't mind being moved a little, so we can usually try and find appointments at short notice.
Can I still exercise during care?
Unfortunately there is no catch all answer for this question and it will depend heavily on the type of injury you have, its nature, location and severity. Everything will be considered during your visit with us as we are firm believers in trying to minimize training or activity schedules unless absolutely necessary. We will always provide recommendations on how to modify your exercise if necessary as well as how to build back up to full strength.


How much do the appointments cost?
There are different fees for the different visits at our clinic depending on whether you are new to the clinic or an existing patient. Our visit fees include all the consumables that we may need to effectively deliver care. For a breakdown of the visit fees, please follow the link to our Fee Schedule page.
How do I pay for my visit?
Payment is processed at the end of the visit and at the Hornsby Spine Centre clinic we provide convenient forms of payment. We have HICAPS EFTPos facilities that accept debit, cash or credit cards as well as health insurance fund cards which can be processed on the spot for an immediate health fund rebate. If the health fund card is not present at the time of the visit, the invoice for the visit can be manually submitted to your health insurance fund for a rebate. We also accept cash payments.
Does my health insurance company cover chiropractic treatment?
Chiropractic care is covered by most health insurance companies under an extras option. The level of rebate or cover is determined by the level of health insurance cover that you have. Please check with your health insurance company to see the level of cover that they provide.
How much will my health insurance contribute to the fee?
The level of cover that you have taken out with your health insurance company will determine the rebate that you receive for each visit. Please check with your health insurance company or consult the policy documents for your health insurance cover as these rebates are different for the different insurance companies and policies.
Can I pay for someone else's visit as a gift?
You can pay on behalf of someone else who is receiving care, however you are not able to claim back from your health insurance fund for any care that you did not directly receive. Please contact us to arrange for payment on behalf of someone else.
Is chiropractic care covered under a motor vehicle insurance claim?
Chiropractic care if delivered by a registered chiropractor is covered under insurance claims. Insurance companies usually have specific billing and other document requirements and we require claim numbers and case officer names so it is a good idea to contact your case officer at the insurance company handling your claim to obtain this information and notify them of your intention to undertake chiropractic care. We will then liaise with them directly to organize payment on your behalf.
Does WorkCover NSW cover chiropractic care?
We have chiropractors that are WorkCover accredited at Hornsby Spine Centre and have experience in being part of these cases. WorkCover cases require different billing and supporting document procedures which we handle through liaising with your case officer at the insurance company covering your WorkCover claim. Please contact your WorkCover case officer to obtain their details and claim numbers as well as to notify them of your intention to undertake chiropractic care before your first visit with us.
Does Medicare cover chiropractic care?
Medicare does cover a portion of up to 5 allied health treatments per year as part of an EPC (Enhanced Care Plan) if the care is deemed appropriate and necessary by a medical doctor. If you think that this may be of benefit to you, please consult with your medical doctor who will need to fill out an Enhanced Care Plan form which you will need to bring with you to your initial visit.

Do you have any other questions that we have not addressed here?

You can always ask us something that is not on this page from the Contact Us page.