Frequently Asked Questions


We have included some of the questions asked by patients and the answers given, however if your questions are not answered here, please contact us and we would be happy to try and help. Please click on each question to show the answer.


Can anyone call themselves a chiropractor?

'Chiropractic' and 'chiropractor' are titles protected by UK law. This means it is illegal for anyone in the UK to use the title 'chiropractor' or to imply that they are a chiropractor unless they are registered with the General Chiropractic Council, the statutory, regulatory body for Chiropractic within the UK.

You just treat backs don't you?

Chiropractors are probably best known for treating back pains or neck pains, however their ultimate aim is helping patients to restore health of their nervous, muscular and skeletal systems (the neuromusculoskeletal system). Although 55% of patients do come with back pain and 25% with neck pain or shoulder pain, patients visit chiropractors to seek help with all sorts of conditions. Approximately 10% come with headaches or migraine and 10% with knee, foot or elbow pain.

It's normal to have backache when you get older isn't it?

Throughout our lives we often experience pain; from falls, playing one sided sports (E.g. golf, tennis), sports injuries, driving or sitting at computers for long periods, having and carrying children, from long periods of inactivity or poor posture, or from illness and stress. Unfortunately it is common for people to ignore these aches and pains, hoping they will go away and often for a while they do. Our bodies compensate for the structural damage incurred which allows the pain to diminish and the injury to be forgotten. As we get older and the number of injuries mount up, our bodies are unable to compensate for structural problems any longer and pain becomes more intense and more frequent. Think of it as a glass slowly filling up with water, unless you turn the water off or empty the glass, at some point the water will flow over the edge. That sequence of short term aches and niggles have become long-term (chronic), nagging, debilitating pains which can restrict the life you lead. This is why long-term back pain most commonly occurs in the age groups over 45 years. Like having regular dental check-ups, regular chiropractic treatment can identify and correct the source of these aches and pains early and keep you more mobile, for longer.

Should I be in pain before I visit my chiropractor?

A healthy body is normally able to compensate for the structural imbalances caused by minor injuries, e.g. stepping awkwardly off a kerb, however pain is a sign that your body is not able to cope any more. Pain is often a late symptom and often by this stage structural imbalances within your musculoskeletal system have been present for some time, often years. Chiropractors aim to restore health, which is so much more than just the absence of pain. With regular chiropractic care (even when you are not in pain!), structural problems can be identified and corrected before they become problematic. Generally, it is much easier to resolve recent issues than those that have been present for long periods. Many patients choose regular chiropractic maintenance care once their initial problems are resolved. The frequency of visits does depend on their lifestyle but is normally every two to six months.

My back always goes a few times a year and there is nothing I can do about it, right?

40% of the UK adult population have back pain at any one time and over half of those have back pains for more than four weeks. However, just because you have a back problem doesn't mean you have to live in pain. With the right care, advice and a willingness to take responsibility for your health, patients with back pains can normally manage their condition well and often avoid regularly recurring problems.

How many appointments will I need?

Everyone is different. Some patients may require only one or two appointments but others will need more. As a general rule, recent problems will resolve more quickly than longer term conditions but other factors are equally important. For example: How old are you as older patients do tend to heal more slowly? How quickly do you normally heal following injury? How well can you follow your chiropractor's home care advice? As a rough guide, we would expect to see someone with a recent condition need 2-4 appointments and a more long-standing complaint perhaps 6-8. Once the initial problem is resolved, we recommend following a course of regular maintenance care to identify and correct any structural imbalances before they become a problem. Think of it as a spinal check-up with your chiropractor in the same way you have regular dental check-ups with your dentist.

Is McTimoney Chiropractic new?

No, not at all. The McTimoney chiropractic technique has been around for over 40 years. McTimoney chiropractors make up about one third of the UK chiropractic population and the McTimoney Chiropractic Association is the 2nd largest chiropractic association in the UK. Further information about McTimoney chiropractic can be found at

Will I hear a cracking or popping noise when I am adjusted?

Due to the gentle nature of the McTimoney chiropractic technique, it is very unusual for patients to experience any cracking or popping noises whilst receiving treatment. Many patients comment on how relaxing the treatment is to receive and some have even been known to fall asleep!

Can you guarantee chiropractic will work for me?

The majority of patients experience relief from their pain quite quickly and then discover obvious improvements in their range of movement and ability to perform specific tasks. However a few patients, fortunately the minority, do not improve as they would wish. Your chiropractor is focussed on restoring the normal function to your body and as this returns, pain often diminishes simultaneously. Whilst many patients experience immediate improvement in their pain levels following treatment, it is important to remember chiropractic is a process of healing, not a quick fix. It may be that you need a course of treatment over a period of time before normal function can be restored however, providing you follow the course of treatment as recommended by your chiropractor, you should see the benefits. Your chiropractor will advise you if chiropractic is not suitable for you and will try to suggest alternative treatments that may be available to you.

Are chiropractors regulated in the UK?

Just like general practitioners (GP's) and dentists, chiropractors are regulated by UK law and have to be registered with their regulating body. GP's are regulated by the General Medical Council, dentists by the General Dentist Council and chiropractors by the General Chiropractic Council. Such legislation ensures your chiropractor is properly trained and qualified. All chiropractors at Coastal Chiropractic are registered with the General Chiropractic Council.

How long does it take to train as a chiropractor?

It takes five years of full-time university study at Masters level. The level of training is equivalent to medical training and includes anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, biochemistry, neuroscience & neurology, pathology, pharmacology, clinical medicine, differential diagnosis and extensive clinical training. Chiropractors are primary care practitioners which mean they are one of the first healthcare professionals visited by patients and are responsible for diagnosing, treating and referring patients for further treatment as necessary.

Are you a back doctor?

Patients often refer to chiropractors as back doctors, chiropractic doctors, chiropractic physicians and many other derivatives. In the USA, all chiropractors refer to themselves as 'Dr' and while UK Chiropractors are also permitted to use the title of 'Dr', many choose not to do so. It is important to note that those who do use the title must make it clear that they are doctors of chiropractic rather than medical doctors.

What does 'chiropractic' mean?

The word 'chiropractic' comes from the Greek words meaning 'done by hand' ('kheir' meaning 'hand' and 'praktikos' meaning 'done by'). It's often misspelt by prospective patients searching for more information online, E.g. chiropratic, chiroprator, kiropractor, or even quiropractor. When searching further information online, do check your spelling!

Are you fully insured and a member of a chiropractic association?

Yes. We are fully insured and members of The Royal College of Chiropractors and the British Pain Society.

Copyright © 2012 Coastal Chiropractic. Sara Glithro Principal Chiropractor. All rights reserved. This work is registered with the UK Copyright Service