An Interview with a Chiropractor and Nutritionist
In my activities of distributing the Back App ergonomic chair I come across a lot of different people which is part of the reason I enjoy doing it. Chris Pickard is a practising Doctor of Chiropractic who has also studied aspects of nutrition and he agreed to answer a few of my questions on health, back pain and life in general.
This is probably an unfair question but one I seem to get asked so I will defer to you! What is the difference between a chiropractor, an osteopath and a physiotherapist?
The objective of all three is to make their patients better. Chiropractors and osteopaths see the spine as vital to health and so both are very much concerned with your overall health, not just the problem you came in with. Physiotherapists may concentrate more on specific parts of the body that have been damaged by injury. I have a physiotherapist working in my clinic so I don’t want to undermine their role by saying that.
What is the most common complaint that your patients have?
I would estimate that 60% of my patients come to me complaining of lower back pain. Of those 60% half of them have the pain as the result of a specific injury and for the rest it is probably the result of years of bad habits slowly building up into a problem that they can then feel.
Have you noticed the type of problems your patients have changing over the last few years?
There seems to be an increase in chronic fatigue and general undiagnosed pain syndromes.
Talking to other therapists they often say that their patients are not good at doing the exercises they are given to do between visits. Do you find this?
I do but I try to concentrate on getting patients to change habits which will include specific exercises as well as a healthier lifestyle. They need to be given enough reasons to change unless, of course, they are in a lot of pain as then they are more likely to change out of necessity.
At a recent exhibition I found a lot of young people (under thirty) were asking me about back trouble. Do you see a particular age demographic worried about back pain?
People of all adult ages suffer almost equally in my experience. What I see as on the increase in the younger population are more general injuries, ’growing pains, immune system problems, and symptoms similar to chronic fatigue.
What sparked your interest and knowledge in nutrition?
Seeing the increase in symptoms such as chronic fatigue that I have mentioned already was one factor. There are others, such as finding that the population generally seems to abdicate responsibility for its health to the NHS and as such does not always think properly about diet and other health issues.
These concerns along with other serious issues such as the number of toxins that surround us in everyday life led me to become concerned about broader health issues including nutrition.
Does giving nutrition advice work well alongside chiropractic?
Patients come to me with pain for which the ultimate cause may be poor diet so they work well together
Could a poor diet be partly responsible for a bad back?
Certainly it could be. For example magnesium is required for strong bones and also is required for the contraction and relaxing of muscles. If the large muscles in the back are not working properly due to a lack of magnesium then back pain is quite possible.
You seem pretty healthy – do you take nutritional supplements and what are they for?
I currently take fish oils, vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, enzymes and glyconutrients, but also eat well and exercise which is the most important thing. You will be much healthier if you spend your money on vegetables first and then on supplements. I believe that it is just as important to vary your nutritional supplements as it is to have a varied diet so I change what I take.
I eat healthily – is it possible that supplements could help me?
I think many people are likely to be deficient in some aspects of their diet so supplements will most likely help you.
What qualifications do you hold in nutrition?
My degree covered nutrition in some detail and as part of my professional membership I attend continuing professional development events. In addition I study peer reviewed medical journals as part of my professional interest.
Would you encourage young people to study for a career as a chiropractor?
If someone would like a career that can really help people they should consider chiropractic and osteopathy and if people would like to talk about career choice do contact me.
Dr Chris Pickard has his clinic at:
Pain Relief Centres
9 Bradmore Green
Herts, L9 7QW
01707 662 704
He can be contacted via email at DrChris@ThePainReliefCentres.co.uk
He has a lot more to say on many topics and his website shown below covers some of them.