Why Chiropractic is not just manipulation for back pain. Grantham Chiropractor Mark Jessop explains why

As a Chiropractor I presume that everyone knows what Chiropractic it is and what a Chiropractor does. However I went to a family gathering recently and a distant relative asked what it is Chiropractors actually do? They thought I just did manipulation (cracking backs) to people with back pain. In this blog post I’m going to give three reasons that explain why Chiropractors do so much more than just that.

  1. Chiropractic is a profession and not a treatment. We use a whole host of techniques and different types of treatment that are best suited to the individual in front of us and their particular problem. That problem is most commonly back pain but we also treat other musculoskeletal conditions such as neck pain, shoulder problems, hip issues and also headaches.
  2. I don’t just use manipulation. Although I use it a lot there are some times when it is not appropriate or other techniques such as McKenzie end range loading exercises are better. So I use these instead.
  3. If someone has back pain it is rare that any one singe intervention will help. I provide a package of care to my patients that ALWAYS includes education and some type of home exercises along side any hands on therapy I do. The hands on therapy includes things such as manipulation, massage and acupuncture. They are often done alongside in combination with each other as this has shown to be how they work best in the research.

I hope this helps to clear any confusion as to what Chiropractors do. If you live in or around Grantham and have got back pain, neck pain, shoulder issues or headaches then book an appointment to see Grantham Chiropractor Mark Jessop by calling the clinic on 01476 501301.

Back pain, what is the answer?

Back pain, whats the answer pic

If you have back pain you will want to know what the answer to your problem is. Many people will tell you what they believe is the right way to get to the answer

“I had back pain, you need to sleep on a hard board and that will get rid of it, that’s what got rid of mine”

We see it in adverts for the latest gadgets or gizmo that claim they can cure back pain.

“ Buy this machine and rid yourself of back pain” 

I hate to be the one to break it to you but there is NO magic bullet cure or one size fits all for back pain.

There are many answers and many ways to get to that answer.

5 + 4 = 9.

But so does

3 + 3 + 3

And so does 11 – 2

(you get the idea)

All of these sums will get you to the same answer and it is the same with back pain.

Some people will need to do strengthening exercises, some need to do mobility. And also your answer might be different!! The goals of a 20 yr old female elite athlete might be to play hockey at a high intensity which is different to that of a 75 yr old male who wants to be able to walk around town and cut his own grass.

Both are equally as important to each person and they deserve more than a generic approach to get them to their goals.

If you are fed up of your back pain make an appointment to see us to find out what the answer could be and more importantly how to get you to that answer!

A few things you might be surprised to hear about the discs in your back

  1. They are very strong. In fact if the spine were to be put under large compressive load the bones (vertebra) would buckle before the disc does.
  2. There is no such thing as a “slipped disc.” They can bulge, leak and break up but don’t slip
  3. The pressure in your discs is ten times more when sitting compared to that when standing. That is why it is common for people with back pain due to a disc injury to say it is worse when sitting.
  4. They swell overnight causing you to be taller in the morning. The difference can be as much as 2cm! It is a reason why the pain in your back can be worse in the morning and also a reason why you can be more likely to injure your back in the morning.
  5. Chiropractors can treat pain coming from a disc. Discs have been shown to be one of the most common reasons for back pain and will very often respond well to chiropractic treatment.

If you are suffering from back pain book an appointment with our Chiropractor to find out what is causing the pain and find out if the treatment we give may be able to help.

Back pain from “slipped discs” and treatment

What is a disc and what does it do?

Discs are found between the vertebra throughout the spine, from the neck to low back and act as Shock absorbers. They are bigger in the lower back as they have to absorb more shock and smaller in the neck. Disc problems can cause low back pain and sciatica as well as neck pain and arm pain.

Many people have been told they have a “slipped disc” or that they have a “disc out”. Well strictly speaking this is not true. In actual fact what actually happens is that the middle bit of the disc can leak out into the outer part and this causes the disc to bulge. There are pain receptors in the outer part of the disc and this is a common cause of back pain.  If the bulging disc happens to push on a nerve then this can cause leg pain if it’s in the low back (often referred to as sciatica) and arm pain if it’s in the neck.

This can be very painful especially when coughing or sneezing.

What should you do if you have back pain or sciatica?

The first thing is not to worry- many disc problems will settle down and become pain free without any treatment, the important thing is to keep moving and avoid rest. In fact lots of people who are pain free will actually have a bulging disc that would show up on an MRI scan.

However- if you have worsening leg symtoms with pins and needles into the foot and weakness in the leg you need to get a full proper assessment from a professional. Also if you find you cannot control your bowel and bladder or have pins and needles around the crotch area then seek emergency medical advice.

Can it be fixed? What is the treatment?

Treatment for disc problems can include specific exercises (McKenzie), traction, massage on muscles that may have gone into spasm and sometimes manipulation if it’s appropriate. The main focus will be to decrease pain levels and increase mobility. Not all back pain is the same and not all disc problems are the same! That is why it is important to have a thorough examination to determine the best method of treatment. The majority of cases can be treated using manual therapy however sometimes it is necessary to have further investigations such and an MRI scan and a small number will require surgery.


If you are experiencing any back pain or sciatica then come for an assessment at the Prime Chiropractic clinic and what treatment can help your back!

Don’t let back pain ruin your holiday

What should be a relaxing time people have been looking forward to can often be spoilt by back pain. A combination of travelling, sleeping in a different bed and deviation from your normal routine can all contribute to this.

Here are some handy tips to try and reduce the risks of back pain during your hols.

Suitcase selection

Try to keep your suitcase as light as possible and have one that has wheels. Push, don’t pull. Pulling a wheeled suitcase behind you can cause the back to twist, so if possible push the suitcase in front of you.

Take regular breaks

If you have a long drive to the airport / holiday destination allow plenty of time and take breaks to stretch your legs (and arms!)

Keep hydrated

Dehydration can exacerbate muscle pains/cramps, this is especially important if flying is a pressurised cabin can make you dehydrated.

Careful at the Carousel

Be especially careful when lifting your suitcase off the Carousel. Your risk of injury is increased as you have just had a flight sat down with a limited amount of room. When lifting the suitcase off try to get as close as possible and pull it towards your body. Avoid twisting and lifting whilst bent forward.

Lounging around

Many people like to lounge around whilst on holiday but try not to stay in the same position for long periods of time.

If you are feeling stiff a chiropractic check up before you leave can help ease any tight joints and can be an ideal preventative measure to ensure your holiday is as relaxing as possible.

Happy holidays!!!

Tennis elbow

Have you have been inspired by Andy Murray to dust off your tennis racket and start playing tennis? Tennis is a great way to keep fit but what should you do if you start to suffer from tennis elbow?


Tennis elbow or lateral epicodylitis/opathy is an irritation / pain to the outer part of the elbow (lateral epicodyle) to be precise. It is not just caused by tennis but anything that requires repetitive gripping, lifting or twisting of the forearm.


Treatment will depend on the stage and severity of the condition. It will usually involve


• advice regarding activity modification, elbow supports and ice application


• Exercises. Specifically isometric/eccentric exercises which will allow you to strengthen the muscle/tendon without aggravating the pain. It will also encourage healing and repair.


• Manual therapy to the forearm muscles, elbow joints and also commonly to the shoulder/neck/wrist too.


If you need any advice or treatment please feel free to contact me. Although chiropractors may be considered specialists in dealing with the spine, we are also trained to treat many joint and muscular problems too.

Whats the popping sound?

Ever wondered what that popping sound is when a Chiropractor performs a manipulation? Is it the sound of the bones popping back into place? It is the bones cracking? ……… Well actually it is neither of these.

You may be surprised to find it is just AIR!

We are not pushing things back into place and the bones are not cracking. It is simply gasses within the joint forming a bubble and popping, it does this due to the change in pressure within the joint capsule.

If I’m not pushing anything back in what is it that I am doing?

By performing the manipulation we get two main effects. These are an analgesic effect (pain relief) and increased movement, which both come in handy in the treatment of back pain.

Manipulation is a very effective tool in the treatment of many conditions and is in the NICE guidelines for the treatment of chronic low back pain.

At this clinic we conduct a thorough examination to find out if manipulation may be suitable for you and your condition and will utilise manipulation along with other techniques to give you the best treatment possible.

Choosing the right mattress

As a Chiropractor I see many people seeking relief from their back/ neck pain and a common query people have is regarding their mattress. Do I need a new one? Is a hard mattress better than a soft one? Would I benefit from memory foam?

This is hardly surprising as in some research done by the BCA 8% of Brits questioned claim that the act of sleeping or their mattress itself is a trigger for back or neck pain. The research also found that about one in ten (11%, in fact) claim that their neck or back pain actually prevents them from sleeping

Here are some tips that you should think about when considering your mattress.

  • You should change your mattress at least every 8 years
  • Your mattress needs to be supportive and comfortable. When lying on your side your spine should be parallel to the mattress.
  • Your mattress should not be too soft- or your spine will sag, neither should it be too hard or your spine will bow.
  • Different body shapes have different requirements from a mattress. Broad shoulders or curvy hips will need a softer mattress to allow the spine to sit in a neutral position whereas a straighter figure needs a slightly firmer mattress to achieve this.
  • When choosing a mattress it is important to get one which is good quality.  Try and go for one with a high spring count, as this will provide more even support.
  • Memory foam mattresses can be great and many people get a lot of benefit from this type of mattress. However they can be very expensive and not everyone finds them comfortable. See if you can try one first if you are considering this as an option.


If you are waking up in pain or pain is interfering with your sleep you should consult a professional such as a Chiropractor who will assess your back and neck to try and establish the cause.


Sleep well!

Kinesio tape – The magic of the colored tape

[testimonial client=”Lance Armstrong from his book – Every Second Counts”]The team chiropractor had something that was better than any laser, wrap, or electric massager. He had The Tape. It was a special hot pink athletic tape that came from Japan and seemed to have special powers…It could seriously fix things.[/testimonial]


You may have seen some sportsmen and women on the telly wearing some funky looking tape that comes in all sorts of bright fancy colours. If not look out for it at the Olympics and I’m sure you will spot it.  It’s not some fashion accessory for cool kids and sport stars but a therapeutic tape known as Kinesio tape. The good news is it’s not just the preserve of athletes and can be used to help you too! It is a tape with elastic properties that are utilised to:

  •  Help relax tight muscles
  •  Encourage weak muscles to work
  •  Reduce swelling
  •  Provide pain relief
  • Help reduce joint instability

It is an excellent form of therapy and can be used to help a variety of conditions including back pain, neck pain, shoulder and knee problems and not forgetting of course… sporting injuries.

The tape is a great compliment to chiropractic care enhancing and increasing the therapeutic benefits seen during your treatment.

Congratulations to team GB

I was amazed at some of the performances at the Olympics this year. It was a great spectacle and has been an inspiration to many. It seems incredible that human beings are capable of such remarkable feats.

But what goes into making these super human athletes? Strict diets, arduous training regimes and a team of other dedicated professionals to help keep them in top condition. For many of the teams this includes a Chiropractor. Chiropractic has helped Usain Bolt be the fastest man in the world and assisted Bradley Wiggins win the tour de France.

Chiropractic is a growing profession and as more research is done into its effectiveness it is becoming more accepted and more widely used. Sports teams and athletes have realised the benefits of chiropractic for many years but this Olympics was the first to have Chiropractors included in the Polyclinic.  Here they worked as part of a multidisciplinary team to ensure that the Olympic athletes got the best available treatment.


You don’t have to be an Olympian to receive Chiropractic care, benefits include:


  • Getting rid of pain such as Back Pain, Neck Pain and Joint Pain
  • Improved Posture
  • Increased Range of Motion
  • Reduced Risk of Injury
  • Reduced Migraines and Headaches
  • Improved Recovery after Sports Injuries


So whether you are a top athlete, recreational athlete or getting a bit of pain from spending too much time enjoying watching the Olympics on the TV give Prime Chiropractic a call today to see how we can help you too.