Practical help … Oamaru chiropractor Rob Brydges. PHOTO: ASHLEY SMYTH
When Rob Brydges had an eleven-year-old boy living in England, he remembers his father lying on the floor with a paralyzing back pain, wondering how he would support his family if he couldn’t do his plumbing work.
A month after visiting the chiropractor, I was back at work.
“I was just there in the back of my mind. Because I had seriously considered dedicating myself to medicine, but at the time I was only attracted to becoming a chiropractor. “
Brydges has been working through Oamaru Health 2000’s facilities for the past four years, after moving from Alexandra to wife Sue and children Grace (13) and Mosstyn (11) in 2016.
Promoted by Health 2000’s upcoming relocation, it has recently opened its own chiropractic practice within the new collaborative space The Oamaru Clinic in Wear St.
Originally from London, Mr Brydges earned a chiropractic qualification from Bournemouth Chiropractic School in 1991 and practiced in the UK for the first half of his career.
“There are some interesting contrasts in Otago. Ironically, we are much more integrated or collaborating much more freely in the UK with the mainstream medical profession, so I have slowly experienced this.
He believed that much of the future of health was developing better collaboration between professionals.
“Chiropractic is the third largest healthcare profession in the world … It is considered alternative or complementary, but it really is a widespread practice, especially for the treatment of mechanical disorders such as sore throat or back pain.”
Otago was a rewarding place to be chiropractic “because of the amount of farmers and other people who do very physical work” who have “very real” injuries to their back and neck.
“So I’ve always been one of my special focuses, treating acute and serious painful injuries and helping people rehabilitate.”
Brydges said there was a misconception that chiropractic was about “breaking bones and manipulating,” but there were a variety of techniques.
“Many of the most holistic complementary practices that exist today, including kinesiology and various other forms, had their origins in chiropractic.”
Osteopathy and chiropractic were two forms of treatment derived from cranial therapy. They could be quite similar or very different, depending on the professional.
“It would be like saying the difference between two martial arts that look similar.
Oamaru’s retired osteopath Bob Arnott had referred many of his patients because of their similar treatment styles, he said.
“Some osteopaths are very similar, and some chiropractors are very different.”
Brydges said chiropractic was not the right treatment option for everyone and he was eager to work and refer to other local health care providers.
“There’s a kind, by default, of an integrated approach, and it happens because everyone has their own scope … it really varies, what a patient needs.”
People tend to “select” who they see to treat a health problem and may not want their doctor to know they are going to see someone else.
“We try to encourage more, for patients to tell the GP that they come to the chiropractor and … if they give permission, we tend to go to the GP,” he said.
Q If you could offer people advice on how to improve their lives, what would it be?
It is very difficult for me to give a brief answer. One tip is to really understand how your body works much better. To identify problems, we know that you are very likely to have them in your life. Identify and treat before they are a problem or even if they are a minor problem. Particularly back pain. The stats aren’t very good … if you have an episode of back pain, you’re going to have another episode. Treat it while it’s a smaller problem.
Q What can people not know about what you do?
I can treat people without using manipulation, especially unusual problems like jaw problems. Everyone has a unique nervous system, in a sense. Therefore, you should match the style of treatment that suits the person instead of the other way around.
Q Misconceptions about your industry?
I tend not to pay too much attention to them, but what I feel from people is that chiropractic treatment is overly physical and painful, and really quite the opposite. The treatment adapts to the person, and this is what we spend a lot of time in our continuous professional development to continue learning to do. And respect someone’s autonomy, what their needs are.
Q What do you like about your job?
Talk about real things with people all day long and help them. It sounds cheesy, though, relieving the suffering. And having the skills to do so is very satisfying.
Q How does chiropractic work?
Injuries or problems I treat mainly affect the spine. If you injure, traumatize your spine, much of the pain or symptoms you experience are related to your spine no longer moving normally. My job is to restore normal spine function. And that’s all I do, because the spine is a unique system in the body, as it can only be healed if it moves normally. And my job is to restore normal movement so that the body can heal itself. But, in a licensed healthcare profession, this means identifying and diagnosing what the problem is and applying the right treatment.