Chiropractor sector trends

Woman lying on her side being moved into position by male chiropractor

(last updated July 2019)

What has been happening in the chiropractic sector

Chiropractic is the treatment of problems with the joints, bones and muscles and the effects that these problems have on the nervous system. The treatment involves the use of the hands to make specific adjustments to the musculo-skeletal system, in particular the spine. Since June 2001, the use of the title 'chiropractor' has been protected by law and it is an offence to practice without first being registered with the General Chiropractic Council (GCC). In September 2004 the GCC put in place a mandatory continuing professional development requirement that has to be satisfied annually.

According to the NHS, chiropractic is one of the most popular complementary and alternative medicines. Many GPs endorse its use and recommend that patients seek chiropractic treatment. However NHS funding is not widely available and most people pay for chiropractic treatment privately.

Demand for chiropractic treatment in the UK has grown over the past few years as patients have become better informed and more willing to try alternative therapies and GP referrals have increased. (According to the GCC there are over 3,200 registered chiropractors in the UK and numbers have steadily increased in the 2010s.)

From October 2015, chiropractors in England and Wales - along with other health professionals - are required to report cases of female genital mutilation.

Keeping up to date with developments

The General Chiropractic Council is the UK-wide statutory body that has regulatory powers. Its main aims are protecting the public, setting the standards of education in the sector, ensuring the development of the profession and promoting the profession.

Joining a professional body is an excellent way of staying up to date with developments. The main bodies are:

  • the British Chiropractic Association, which represents over 50% of UK registered chiropractors and aims to promote and maintain high standards of conduct and education in the sector
  • the McTimoney Chiropractic Association, which is the professional association for McTimoney chiropractors

Visit their websites for more information about their roles and their work.

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