We’re just like orthopedic surgeons, however there’s a lack of expertise: medical doctors burden chiropractic in India

After his cancer radiation sessions, Nirmal Bhartiya developed severe back pain in 2014-15. After many visits to several doctors, someone referred him to a chiropractor in Delhi’s Nizamuddin East. “Within two weeks my back pain was almost gone,” said Bhartiya, 65, a businessman. The first session lasted about 10-15 minutes and he could feel the difference. He has now made it his mission to refer patients with chronic problems that require adjustment of the spine to Dr. Transfer to Shiv Bajaj.

“Ninety percent of orthopedic diseases should be treated conservatively. seldom do you need operations. Operations should only be limited to tumors, fractures, and the like. It shouldn’t be because of back and neck pain, ”said Dr. Bajaj. While surgery has become commonplace in today’s medical field, chiropractic treatment, performed at the right time by a licensed and trained chiropractor, can prevent medication and surgery and is the “missing link” between them physical therapy and orthopedics in India, said Dr. Bajaj who has been practicing for 11 years.

Rita Gupta, a 66-year-old housewife who had severe sciatica pain – her left leg was numb – agreed. “I couldn’t stand correctly. Surgeons suggested spinal surgery, but I didn’t want that, so I took chiropractic treatment. While I received a six month window of treatment, after two months I was able to walk, which was nothing short of a miracle. “

What is chiropractic?

As a licensed health profession that deals with understanding the nerves, Chiropractic treatment includes manual therapy – with the hands – and involves manipulation of the spine. According to the U.S. Department of Health, chiropractors make adjustments to the spine or other parts of the body. This simply means that by correcting alignment problems, the patient’s pain will be reduced, which will improve the body’s natural ability to heal itself.

“When there is back pain, we treat the imbalances in the joint or muscle instead of looking at exercises or spending an expensive amount on machines or drugs to relieve the pain. A modern chiropractor doesn’t just treat with his hands. We also use certain advanced technologies, ”said Dr. Bajaj, who specializes in CT herniated discs. He added that spinal manipulation, manual techniques, and therapeutic tools are some of the chiropractic approaches followed by practitioners.

“We are similar to orthopedic surgeons. Our diagnosis, MRI, X-ray, radiology background are similar. The only difference is that they would perform the operation if there was a pharma-surgical procedure. We can step in before it if it’s not entirely surgical, like with disc problems or nerve compression. Orthopedists or physical therapists may manipulate the spine, but chiropractors have expertise in making specific adjustments to the spine, ”explains Dr. Amit Jimmy Nanda, who represents India at the World Association of Chiropractors and is chairman of the Indian Association of Chiropractors – the only registered association in India that is self-regulating at the moment – said.

Dr. Shiv Bajaj in this clinic in Delhi. (Source: Dr. Shiv Bajaj)

“The doctor will first scan all of your reports to understand the root cause of the problem and then examine your elbows, spine, neck, etc. for spine manipulation,” said Madhav Inder Singh, 45, a Gurgaon-based businessman who met with an accident that caused him a spine injury 18 years ago. Through his wife, Simrit, a Canadian citizen, he was briefed on chiropractic, which is considered the “first line of treatment abroad,” and it was at this point that he met Dr. Nanda in contact. “I was treated in Canada for the first 6 to 8 months, where I initially had to sit three times. It’s better than popping pills. I was able to move my body within the first 6-8 months without any invasive measures. If there is even slight pain now, I can visit the chiropractor at Gurgaon’s South Point Mall, ”said Singh.

How is the treatment carried out?

Chiropractic treatment includes muscles, bones, joints, and connective tissues such as cartilage, tendons, and ligaments. “Imagine a cracking of the ankles and back, for lay people,” world-famous tennis player Yuki Bhambri, who swears by the treatment, told indianexpress.com, “albeit in a much more professional manner.”

On your first visit, the chiropractor will go over your medical history and then do a physical exam to check for tenderness and tension, as well as spinal joint movement. “This includes extensive radiological, MRI, X-ray and CT scan reports to understand the root cause of the problem, which can be mechanical (how the spine moves) or neurological (nerve-related),” explained chiropractor Dr. Nanda, 43, based in Canada. He added, “The treatment only targets the specific area of ​​the nerve or muscle – where it will be adjusted and 99 percent of the time the patient will feel the difference.”

When you see a chiropractor complaining of lower back pain, they will check your entire back and neck (cervical spine), middle back (thoracic spine), and lower back (lumbar spine). “It is important to examine your entire spine because while only your lower back hurts, other areas of the spine can be affected,” said Dr. Nanda.


Take the example of how chiropractors are readily available in workrooms in the United States to examine the newborn’s spine and treat the “disorders right from the start”. Dr. Nanda explained how a rehearsal visit works for some patients with symptomatic causes. Some chronic cases can produce results in a few months. Early diagnosis and timely treatment help you return to everyday life faster and more organically.

It is known to help with neck and back pain, sprain injuries, sciatica, inflammation, chronic headaches, neurological conditions, as well as blood pressure. Dr. Nanda cited a research article by Mahatma Gandhi Health Restored by Chiropractic published in the National Chiropractic Journal that documented that Mahatma Gandhi was unable to attend rallies in 1942 because of high blood pressure. “So he had a British chiropractor from Calcutta (now Kolkata) who moved in with him for three months; and that was the cure. Then he could go to rallies. Chiropractic has an amazing history. But unfortunately when the British left the education system went too, ”he said.

Challenges in the field

Although physiotherapy and orthopedic areas are known, there is not much awareness of chiropractic treatment. “India does not have a school that teaches chiropractic. Now many people claim to be chiropractors, but very few, in fact only 14 chiropractors in India are registered with the association, are licensed practitioners, “said Dr. Nanda.

Dr. Bajaj said that the number of actual practitioners in the country “varies between 7 and 10” at any given time. “Usually there are expats or doctors. The lack of awareness is due to regulatory issues as a certain number of doctors are required to be on site before state regulation begins. “This makes it difficult. We are currently self-regulating as an association. Without regulation, it is difficult to start a college for a proper doctorate. One has to understand that chiropractic is not a certification; It’s not a technology, it’s a job, ”explained Dr. Bajaj, while he distinguished how chiropractic studies take eight long years versus physiotherapy, which takes four years.

In particular, chiropractic schools are only available in the US, Australia, France, UK, and Canada, while physical therapy institutes are available across India.

“Chiropractors are doctors for international reasons. So we have the right to diagnose and treat. We are not therapists. It is a whole new domain for India and a great opportunity. Nearly 400-500 physical therapists call themselves chiropractors and there are no regulations. There is nothing you can do about them. The public is suffering overall, ”he said.

Dr.  Shiv Bajaj, Dr.  Nanda, chiropractic Dr. Nanda has been practicing for 17 years. (Source: Dr. Nanda)

Dr. Alison Bale, 54, a British chiropractor who practiced in Goa, shared how great the practice was for her until COVID-19 struck. “I came to India in 2007 because I wanted the adventure of working in a new country. It was a fulfilling experience. I have closed my practice because of COVID-19 since January 2020 and for other urgent personal reasons. As a foreigner, working in a service-oriented sector has its own challenges, as it takes at least three to four years for people to get to know you, ”said Dr. Bale, who graduated from the UK with a degree in chiropractic and currently works online teaching as a mindfulness teacher, explains.

There are 70,000 chiropractors in the United States as it is the third largest healthcare profession in the world after general medicine and dentistry. Canada, with a population of around 33 million, has over 7,000 doctors, while India, with 7 to 10 licensed chiropractors, is a “stark contrast”. “Licensed chiropractors are easily available in the US. You really have to look for one here. I think people didn’t really pick it up in India because it only takes five minutes of your time and so it is not appreciated. Taking more time for treatment means better recovery, it is a misperception, ”said Bhambri, adding how he and many other tennis professionals vouch for it treatment Due to its ability to improve the body’s range of motion (which is required as limited spinal movement, or if the spine is not moving as well as it should, it can lead to back pain).

What does the future hold for practice in India?

“There are currently plans to open three schools – including in Gujarat and Haryana – and begin a full doctoral program. We are currently working on the legalities. We could possibly have the first batch by the end of 2021, ”said Dr. Nanda and explained that the schools are operated in cooperation with the American chiropractic school Life Chiropractic College West in San Francisco.

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