What is a Chiropractor?

This is a common question asked by the population of Bangor, Caernarfon, Menai Bridge, Llanfairfechan, Penmaenmawr, Llandudno, Conwy and Colwyn Bay at The North Wales Spine Clinic.

Derived from Greek, chiropractic means ‘to perform with hands’, which suggests that the manual treatment of the joints and muscles of the body is the most important part of the chiropractic treatment.

has been used for thousands of years, with evidence of the ancient Egyptians and Greeks using it, although modern chiropractic treatments, as we know them today, were not founded until 1895 when American doctor Daniel David Palmer took to practicing chiropractics.

Chiropractic Conwy Gwynedd Anglesey
These days, chiropractors must be specially educated in treating the joints and muscles with their hands, and will have to undertake and pass a course accredited by the General Chiropractic Council. Subjects studied on this course include, anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, biomechanics, behavioural science, nutrition and infectious diseases. Students are then taught how to integrate this knowledge into the chiropractic treatment.

In June 2001 the term ‘chiropractor’ became protected by law so that, like a medical doctor or dentist, anyone calling themselves a chiropractor must be registered with the professional council, the General Chiropractic Council (GCC).

In general terms chiropractic is a holistic form of healthcare that treats problems and disorders of the spine, skull, joints and muscles to improve overall health and relieve pain. The focus of this kind of treatment is on strain, damage or distortion to the spine and the way this affects the rest of the body.

What does a Chiropractor treat in North Wales?

Although most people who consult a chiropractor have pain in their back or neck, chiropractic treatment can actually help with pain relief for a wide range of physical problems, ranging from headaches, repetitive strain injuries, shoulder pain and whiplash, to sports injuries.

Chiropractic Clinic
The North Wales Spine Clinic

Here is the low down on the main problems treated by chiropractors and how the treatment helps:

Back pain

Back Pain

Just about everyone suffers from back pain at some time in their life, and a recent survey carried out by the British Chiropractic Association found that one in three people in the UK are currently suffering from back pain.

A staggering 36% of back pain sufferers have been in pain for more than ten years and a further 12% for ‘as long as they can remember’. Back pain can prevent individuals carrying out daily activities which we can take for granted, such as sleep, exercise or even lifting children.

As well as treatment using specific adjustments done by hand to free stiff joints and reduce spinal problems including nerve irritation, a chiropractor may also use ice, heat or massage treatment to relieve back pain. They will also offer advice tackling everyday movements, such as bending, lifting and twisting, which can cause back pain.


Headaches are so common that most people just take a couple of pain relief tablets and put up with them. However, if you suffer from headaches regularly you may find that a chiropractor can treat the cause of your headaches.

The use of special procedures to relieve the tightness in your neck muscles, which is caused by stress and tension, can also be an effective treatment for headaches that arise from an injury or repetitive strain to your neck. Chiropractors can also help relieve the cause of migraines, as problems in the bones of your neck often trigger migraines.

A chiropractor will be able to identify any stiffness in the joints of the neck and then treat them to improve their movement and relieve the muscle spasm and nerve irritation that may be causing your headaches.

Neck pain

As the neck supports the weight and movement of your head, it is not surprising that it sometimes becomes stiff or painful, particularly among people who spend much of their day driving, doing computer work, repetitive lifting and bending.

A chiropractor can treat your neck to free stiff joints and reduce neck pain. Chiropractors may also treat your neck to ease problems with your head, shoulders and arms, which are often caused by stiff neck joints.

Joint Pain

From general pain in the joints to arthritis, spondylitis or rheumatics, chiropractic treatment can often relieve the pain of many kinds of joint problems. Some types of arthritis – such as rheumatoid arthritis – also have periods of inflammation and destruction of the joints causing severe pain, and although chiropractors cannot treat the cause of this kind of arthritis, they can help to relieve the disability that results from it once the inflammatory phase is over.

Other joint problems that chiropractors treat on a regular basis include, shoulder pain, tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, knee pain, and repetitive strain injury (RSI).


Whiplash – not always short term

Whiplash injuries are not always caused by car accidents; a slip or fall can give you a whiplash-type injury and sudden movement, especially if repetitive, may cause a whiplash injury as well.

Chiropractic treatment for whiplash involves gentle, specific adjustments to your neck to relieve pain and restore normal movement to the neck area.

Sports injuries

Sports Injury

Whether you are an amateur sports player or a top professional, your body is prone to the same types of injuries. Chiropractors deal with a wide range of sports injuries on a daily basis, including hamstring and calf strains, Achilles tendon injuries, groin and thigh strains, lower back pain, neck pain and shoulder sprains.

Many chiropractors have areas of special interest in sport related injuries, and can help relieve pain and improve movement by using specific treatments to free stiff joints and reduce spinal nerve irritation.

Spine Injuries

Loss of joint movement in the spine can be caused by a number of different things, such as sporting injuries, workplace discomfort, stress, poor posture, accident, pregnancy or just the general wear and tear of life.

A chiropractor can use gentle manual movements to reduce the pain you feel and improve movement in the spine, so you can comfortably go about your daily routine. The chiropractor may also advise you on posture, bending and lifting to reduce the risk of spinal problems reoccurring.