As a non-invasive treatment option, virtually anyone can benefit from chiropractic care, including babies, children, pregnant women, office workers, factory workers, professional musicians, athletes, accident victims and the elderly.
Dr Elga Drews said any condition that is nerve, muscle or joint-related may be helped by chiropractic treatment and with few practitioners available, she said it is an option to tap into that.
“Neck pain, headaches, migraines, shoulder pain, arm pain, elbow pain, tingling in arms and hands, back pain, hip pain, leg pain, sciatica, knee pain and even foot pain have been reported to be helped by chiropractic,” she detailed.
Drews, who is also the president of the Namibian Chiropractic Association, said today, chiropractic is an evidence-based, people-centred, interprofessional and collaborative health care profession.
For a few years, the Namibian Chiropractic Association has been organising outreach programmes in the Kavango, assisted by chiropractors from overseas.
“We are hoping to continue these efforts as soon as international travel allows. The Association also contributes to the global drive of World Spine Day, where we have run many varied projects to create awareness about spinal health,” said Drews.
One of these projects is the Straighten-Up exercise programme, which we have presented in schools, sports clubs, old age homes and other public platforms.
“A chiropractor’s main concern is the spine and the nervous system, as well as all other joints of the body and how these are functioning,” shared Drews.
Chiropractic is derived from the two Greek words “cheir”- meaning hand and “praktikas”- meaning work or practice. Therefore, chiropractic implies “done by hand”! Bone manipulation has been practised for thousands of years.
“A chiropractor is a primary contact physician who will take a full medical case history, perform a physical examination and refer for special investigations if indicated. Once the chiropractor has made a diagnosis and determines that the case can be treated chiropractically, the treatment primarily consists of highly specialised manipulative techniques, referred to as adjustments,” she commented.
Drews added: “Adjustments are safe and some patients can experience immediate relief as the normal joint motion and function is restored. A chiropractor will employ different soft tissue/massage therapies, prescribe rehabilitative exercises, give postural advice, suggest orthotic devices and educate regarding necessary lifestyle changes.”
Through chiropractic care, patients are shown to take fewer days of sick leave, spend less time incapacitated, use less medication for pain relief, have less chance of needing back surgery and have less chance of the problem becoming a chronic condition.
She stated that there are varied reasons and causes for neuro-musculoskeletal conditions and pain syndromes, which includes daily poor postural habits, a fall, an accident, lifting heavy objects, any sports injuries or even high-stress levels can result in pain from joint irritation, inflammation, nerve irritation, and muscle
Drews said when it comes to career choices, there are many options to deepen one’s studies in different areas, like sports chiropractic, paediatric care, neurology, radiology, chiropractic education and research.
“There are many chiropractic educational institutions around the world, most of which are accredited by specific education accreditation boards. South Africa has two chiropractic schools, one at the Durban University of Technology and another at the University of Johannesburg. Both courses offer a master’s degree in chiropractic, which is internationally accredited,” shared Drews.