Peter Coote, our principle chiropractor, is celebrating ten years in practice in July. Here are his answers to common questions about chiropractic practice.
Why did you decide to become a chiropractor?
I had a bad back! When I was younger, about 11 years old, I fell off a horse – nothing dramatic with a long and interesting story, just fell off onto some very hard and very uneven ground. So that was when my spinal story started. To cut a long story short, I had to stop the sports I enjoyed and tried many different treatments, all with minimal benefit. When I was 18, a chiropractor (Roger) opened a practice in my local town. He was promoting his clinic in town one day, and after walking past him several times I plucked up the courage to talk with him about my ongoing back, neck and head pain. Three months later, after a course of treatment, I felt great and was slowly returning to sport, eventually playing 1st team hockey for Bournemouth amongst other things.
Having spent my early life knowing I wanted to help people, I looked into how to become a chiropractor. With the help of Roger, I enrolled at university in 2000. My thoughts were: if it can make such a difference to my life, then it must be able to do the same for other people. I always tell patients when they ask about this – that I was a patient before becoming practitioner (chiropractor) and that is how I came to become a chiropractor.
How long did you train in order to qualify?
I trained at the Anglo-European College of Chiropractic for four years, and this year will be celebrating ten years of successful practice since graduating.
How many patients have you treated since the beginning of your career?
It’s difficult to say, we have a great team of three chiropractors at the clinic in Cosham and over 10,000 registered patients, so between us, it’s a fair few!!!
Is chiropractic treatment a one-off, or does it require ongoing appointments?
This really depends on the condition. Most problems have taken time to develop and in many cases, we are a patient’s last hope. The short answer is: the longer a problem has been there or been developing, the longer the time it will take, and the more treatments it will take, for us to help you make as full a recovery as your body will allow. We also have to take into consideration the severity of the problem when looking at treatment.
Initially we carry out a thorough consultation, taking digital X-rays if required in order to find out the exact nature of the injury or condition in order to work out a treatment plan that is best for that individual.
We also discuss a maintenance programme of care, which is more long-term for those people that have suffered with longstanding problems. Once people are feeling fitter and as well as we can get them, we like to maintain them at this point of health – with check ups every 1-3 months depending on the individual. The way I describe this type of care to people is that in many cases ‘life’ causes the problem to start and develop, so the maintenance check ups will help your spine keep ‘life’ at bay. When I say ‘life’ I mean poor posture, stress etc. The list is endless!
What is the most interesting condition you have treated?
About 7 years ago, a young girl came to the clinic complaining of a relatively severe bowel issue, she either couldn’t go or couldn’t stop herself, this had led to her not wanting to leave the house as she was never sure how her stomach would be. She and her family had tried everything, without getting complete relief. Her mum had read somewhere on the internet that a chiropractor had helped with some other peoples’ bowel problems, so they contacted us and she came in to see me. I found some problems in the girl’s spine and explained to the parents and the girl that I had found some issues in her back – some of which may link in with the bowel and abdomen area. I expressed that these problems are complex, and by no means is chiropractic a miracle cure for all bowel or organ problems, but there are some schools of thought that if you can make the nerves going from the spine to the organs work better, then the organ attached may start to work better. I have to be honest – I wasn’t confident, as she had so many issues and I discussed this with her and her family, but if they wanted me to try I would happily do my best for them.
Within 8 treatments her symptoms had gone. We were all elated. I haven’t seen her since, but I did treat her grandma a couple of years later and she was still doing great 🙂 there are many other interesting cases but this one has always stuck with me.
What are the most common conditions that you treat?
Generally back pain and neck pain with or without nerve entrapment, but headaches are common as well
Is chiropractic treatment available for children?
Treatment is suitable from birth. The youngest patient I treated was my little girl when she was about 6 hours old! She is two and a half now and loves her treatment.
When parents are worried about a crying baby, we can offer an alternative treatment to medicine. Before a baby is born and during the labour and birth, the spine can easily become misaligned and stiff, which leads to all kinds of symptoms presenting themselves. As chiropractors, we can release tension in the spine and cranium, which can ease many symptoms.
What does the future hold for chiropractic?
We’re working on educating more people about the benefits of chiropractic, in order that they can make more healthy choices, avoid or reduce the need for painkillers, and continue to enjoy life to the full. I believe that chiropractic has a long and healthy future ahead, helping more and more people fulfil their spinal health potential, as it has done for over a hundred years.