When he moved to Sant Cugat in 2008, UK trained chiropractor Russell Dean founded Quiropractic Remedy – a principled chiropractic clinic. “We do not look to ‘cure’ people, or even to ‘treat’ a specific injury or disease. We understand that the body has an innate ability to heal and correct itself, through the ultimate control of the brain and nervous system, if it is without interference. My responsibility as a chiropractor is to help promote this state by locating and correcting points of interference and postural distortions.”
My wife is Catalan, and the grand plan was always to move to the Barcelona area at some point. Sant Cugat is a town similar to Windsor in its size and proximity to a large city, so moving here made sense. Nine years later we are happy to say that we have been able to reproduce our success here in Catalunya.
A fairly large one in that at least in the UK they know who we are and what we do! In fact in my clinic I employed a medical doctor and two physios, as well as three chiropractors; all working together for the patient.
Here the medical doctors that I know are politely interested, but (generally) don’t have any idea of what we can offer or of the training necessary to qualify (minimum 5 years degree). Worldwide, as the public demands safe, effective alternatives to drugs and surgery, more and more medical practitioners are referring their patients to chiropractors.
In the UK we received regular referrals from GPs and consultants. Most of them were patients too! That is now beginning to happen here in Catalunya too. I am the chiropractor for Club Rugby Sant Cugat – and that sees me working alongside physiotherapists and other health professionals.
Pretty much the same as the doctors. Their first thought tends to be that we are some sort of massage therapists, which of course is not the case at all. When they learn what we can help them with they are pretty excited to find an alternative to pills and being told to “live with it”. People are more aware in the Barcelona area, as there is a high concentration of chiropractors in comparison to other areas of Spain. The Barcelona Chiropractic College has been established in the Pompeu Fabrau University, where Spanish and international students complete a 5-year degree course.
The most common, of course, is back and neck pain, headaches and trapped nerves from disc or joint injuries. This is what chiropractic is renowned for as being the treatment of choice in most cases. However, as we are relieving stress on the nervous system rather than just the back, it is really more about Brain Health. If your brain is free to function properly, in better balance and stress-free, then patients of all ages can recover better from a variety of health issues; colic, recurrent ear and chest infections, asthma, concentration issues in children, simply because that is what the body is designed to do! Frequently we see clinic members with sports injuries, digestive problems and sleep disturbances. Most “problems” are the consequences of physical, emotional or chemical stress on our bodies.
Our aim is to remove physical stress and help the brain to direct the body’s healing and repair, NOT to “treat” or “cure” a specific diagnosis. The healing is a natural process of the body.
We start with a Registration Visit, where we explain what we do (and what we don’t do), and why we do it. How the clinic runs, and how to get the best results. This is probably the most important visit! After that, we carry out a thorough case history and exam of the spine and neurological system to see if we can accept you as a clinic member. If that is the case, and it normally is, then we develop a care plan for each individual case. After the time spent on the first few visits, regular visits are specific and brief, allowing you to get on with your life. You are checked each time before and after treatment, which is usually gentle specific manipulation (“chiropractic adjustments”) to correct the restriction of normal movement within the spine or other joints. Advice and exercises are also given.
Pregnancy may be one of the best times to receive chiropractic care! While it’s always good to have an optimally functioning nervous system, it’s especially helpful now – as it is controlling the development of another human. Both mother and baby can benefit. Adjusting methods are adapted to a mother’s size, weight and condition. During this period of weight gain and hormonal changes, many mothers seek chiropractic care, mostly for back pain or the potentially excruciating Pubic Symphysis Disorder (PSD) as well as general health and well-being.
Certainly, some mums report shorter and easier births, which makes sense if the spine and pelvis are properly aligned and functioning, and their nervous system is as stress-free as possible.
Absolutely not, other than ensuring that they are in the healthiest possible environment, and as comfortable as they should be.
There are great strains placed on a baby’s head and spine even in a straight forward healthy birth. Once medical intervention takes place, forceps, vontoose and caesarean section, then these forces are massively increased.
Clearly, after a physical strain such as birth, both mum and baby should be checked to ensure that their spines are working freely and balanced. The baby should have as stress-free a brain and nervous system as possible so that they can develop healthily and get on with fulfilling their potential.
Many! In 26 years of practice (and counting!) I have lost count of the number of children that I have treated. I remember just before I came over to Sant Cugat I saw a four-week-old baby in Windsor who had not slept more than a few hours at a time at night, since birth. Both Mum and baby were pretty exhausted and distressed! We found a restriction in the upper neck of the baby. Treatment, which in newborns is just gentle finger pressure, allowed the spine to free itself and work correctly. After one visit there was a slight change, after three visits the baby was sleeping five to six hours at a time through the night and clearly not in distress. We saw her once more and then discharged her.
Think of the number of bumps and collisions that a child has in a normal healthy life. It’s no wonder that injuries to the spine occur and stress builds up. We have had a number of parents report a reduction in the number of visits to the hospital with chest infections, less medication such as Ventolin needed, better concentration at school, and of course the reassurance that their child’s spine is being checked for healthy growth and development just like we do for their teeth.
I am currently working with Club Rugby Sant Cugat and other local sports teams to help improve safety with regard to brain concussions and spinal injuries. Did you know that this is twice as prevalent in children than adult athletes? The key is to test the children for brain function BEFORE the injury so that we have an individual baseline to refer back to should there be any subsequent injury. I am passionate about this topic, having witnessed my son spend three hours in the hospital when he was 8, with a concussion injury from rugby. Very alarming, and to be honest I felt inadequate to deal with the aftermath. That led me to study more on this topic and raise awareness! But it is not just rugby; football, skiing, hockey, basketball etc…please: make your child is safe. I am happy to talk to sports clubs and schools about this, free of charge.
Bedwetting before five years old isn’t considered a problem medically but can be tiring and distressing for all involved. A six-year-old who was regularly bed-wetting was treated over a couple of months, and happily, the frequency of wet nights dropped to the point that he could begin to sleepover at friends’ houses. With another patient, who was four, regular life-long and unexplained nose bleeds stopped altogether when we corrected the restrictions in her upper spine. Similarly, many children that have difficulty with regular bowel movements find great relief.
Posture!! Without wanting to encourage nagging – a child with poor slumped posture will have more strain on their spine, setting themselves up for more serious problems later in life. Also, listen to the child if they say that they have pain – it is a sign of damage and the cause should be investigated. Look for restriction of movement of the neck and check that their spine does not seem to curve to one side when they are standing. School bags; make sure that they are not too heavy and that they are carried backpack style over both shoulders.
The only reason normally is ignorance of our training and misconceptions of how we treat. Once we have met them and explained to them how we can help their patients and take the burden off of them and reduce the medication that the patient has to take, they are often keen to begin referring to us straight away! Certainly, there is no medical reason why they should object. In the UK chiropractors are qualified to diagnose, treat and refer as they see fit, without the need of a medical doctor’s approval.
Spain is now almost unique in Western Europe in that the title “chiropractor” is not legally protected. This means that in Spain you must ensure that a chiropractor is qualified to international standards. The easiest way to do this is to go to a chiropractor who is a member of the Asociacion Espanola de Quiropractica (AEQ). Then, ask friends for any referrals to someone they may know of. Meet the chiropractor and make sure that you feel comfortable with their approach and clinic. We are used to answering questions and encouraging it!