Essential Chiropractic, Hurstpierpoint, West Sussex

At Essential Chiropractic we treat a number of neuro musculoskeletal disorders with a range of techniques. Read more about the various various conditions we treat below (click on the therapy name to expand the information):

Back Pain & Sciatic Type Pain

Direct costs associated with back pain were estimated to be around £1.6bn in the United Kingdom in 1981. In 1955 there were 8 million working days lost to back pain. By 1991 this figure had risen to 81 million!In 1998 back pain was estimated to be responsible for close to 120 million UK work days lost per year.

So, if you suffer from back pain, you are not alone. You will be reassured to read the following about low back pain:

Back pain can be generally divided into:

  • Simple back pain – which includes facet joint (small joints that connect spinal vertebrae) pain, muscle sprain/strain and ligament strain.

  • Nerve root pain – usually caused by disc damage or acute facet pain. (rare)

Less than 5% is due to true nerve root pain

15 – 40% of low back pain is caused by facet joint pain

Over 90% of back pain is mechanical in origin and can be treated by a chiropractor. Your chiropractor will use various treatment protocols to treat your back pain. These include manipulation/adjustment, myofascial (muscles) therapies and medical acupuncture.

How many treatments will I need?

Depending on the nature of the problem, the number of treatments varies. Most mechanical back problems respond favourably in 9-12 treatments. Some patients take more and some take less. This is often dependent on patient compliance with home exercises and ergonomic advice.

Headaches & Migraines

Headaches vary widely in terms of severity, frequency and disability. They range from occasional rare episodes of minor discomfort, to daily, incapacitating headaches. Many headaches are mechanically orientated headaches and can be due to posture, breast feeding and stress. These can be successfully treated with chiropractic care.

Migraine headaches also affect many individuals and can be very severe and disabling. These too, can be treated with chiropractic care.

People who have suffered trauma in the neck region (including whiplash) who suffer from subsequent headache also benefit from chiropractic treatment.

Quite frequently people suffer from headaches for years and have numerous visits to General Practitioners and can have MRI and CT scans without any definitive diagnosis. As a last resort these patients come to see a chiropractor and often report great benefit after a course of treatment when all they had to do was come to a chiropractor in the first place!

In a study published in the Journal of manipulative physiological therapy, researchers looked at the efficacy of spinal manipulation in the treatment of cervicogenic headaches. Fifty three patients were placed into one of two groups which received either:

  • Chiropractic spinal manipulation 2X/week for 3 weeks, or,

  • Deep friction massage and low-level laser treatments in the upper back and neck region 2X/week for 3 weeks.

After the 6 weeks researchers found that those receiving the chiropractic spinal manipulation:

  • Decreased their use of analgesics by 36%, compared with 0% in the no spinal manipulation group

  • Decreased their number of hours they experienced headaches during the day by 69%, compared with 37% in the no-spinal manipulation group

  • Decreased their headache intensity per episode by 36%, compared with 17% in the no-spinal manipulation group

Nilsson, DC, MD et al. JMPT 1997;20(5): 326-33O.

The study concluded that manipulation/adjustment appears to have a better effect than massage for cervicogenic headache. The study also concluded that chiropractic treatment has an effect equal to pharmaceutical therapies for tension type headaches.

Frozen Shoulder

Your shoulder joint is a shallow ball and socket joint. It has a greater range of movement than its associated joint in the lower limb, the hip joint. Due to the increased movement of the shoulder, it is especially reliant on stability from its surrounding ligaments and muscles. As the shoulder provides a wide range of motion, it is more prone to injury. There are four joints which have to function properly for good shoulder mobility.

Shoulder pain is often caused by sport or work related injuries when the joint, muscles or ligaments become inflamed from undertaking repetitive actions. Direct trauma such as a fall or tug of the arm as well as bad posture can all cause shoulder problems. These can be helped with chiropractic treatment.

A condition commonly known as “frozen shoulder” (Adhesive Capsulitis, to give it a medical name!) occurs when chronic inflammation of the shoulder joint leads to the build up of scar tissue within and around the joint capsule. If left untreated, the shoulder can become severely limited in motion not to mention the pain associated with any movements of the involved shoulder joint. Frozen shoulder is a condition that normally responds very positively to chiropractic treatment but is a condition that takes longer than other conditions to recover from, so early treatment is vital.

All the aforementioned conditions more often than not respond well to chiropractic care. Restoringan injured shoulder's proper function requires a multi-faceted approach that addresses both the joint mechanics and the muscles that support joint function. We will use chiropractic adjustments to the involved joints and soft tissue muscle therapy, sometimes including medical acupuncture.

Hip / Knee / Ankle Pain

Hip pain can be caused by muscle strain around the hip, direct trauma (injury) to the hip joint or may be referred pain from joints or muscles of the spine. Chronic (long standing) hip pain may be due to “wear and tear” of the joint (osteoarthritis) or in some rare cases, a progressive inflammatory disorder. If you do have hip pain, it may be something as simple as a muscle strain or a joint with restricted movement.

Knee pain may be caused by leg muscle strain or injury to the hip, knee or ankle joints. Injuries to the knee are very common in spor. The knee is under constant use and suffers from muscle strains and ligament sprains. The knee is prone to wear and tear and problems with the knee cap often occur due to muscular imbalances, posture and the biomechanics in the feet. However knee pain may be caused by “referred pain” from the back, pelvis, hip and ankle.

Foot and ankle pain may result from a direct foot trauma to the joints, ligaments or muscles. Foot pain is often caused by fallen arches (flat feet), which place the feet under abnormal strain. However foot and ankle pain can also be caused by injury to the sciatic nerve.

Just about all musculoskeletal (joints and muscles) ailments of the hips, knees and ankles can be helped by us here at the Essential Chiropractic clinic. We aim to restore normal function to your joints and muscles as well as your nervous system using gentle specific adjustments to free stiff joints and remove spinal irritation. In the unlikely event that we cannot help you, we will be sure to refer you on to an appropriate medical professional.

Arm / Elbow / Wrist Pain

There are many causes of shoulder, arm, elbow and wrist pain. Sometimes it will only take one particular movement and you will instantly feel the pain. Other conditions such as frozen shoulder are slower to present themselves. Sometimes ligaments or muscles in your arm are overworked over a period of time by activities like sport, work or DIY. Conditions such as tennis elbow and golfers elbow are fairly common but treatable with chiropractic treatment.

Wrist pain can be caused by direct trauma or strain due to repetitive action, leading to muscle tightness or restriction in joint movement in or around your wrist or hand. A very common condition is “Carpal Tunnel Syndrome” causing numbness and decreased strength mainly in the first and second finger. This is common during pregnancy.

The pain you feel may range from an annoying ache to acute pain that makes it hard for you to use the injured arm.

There are however other, less obvious causes of pain in your shoulder and along your arm. This pain is often caused by “referred pain” from the neck or shoulder. A prolapsed (slipped) disc can cause shooting pain down your arm as well as pins and needles. Whiplash injuries from motor vehicle accidents are a common cause of shoulder and arm pain. The pain may also be referred from nerves associated with the joints in the upper spine or muscle irritation (trigger points) on your back, which are particularly responsive to chiropractic spinal adjustments designed to treat such problems.

What can chiropractic do?

Your chiropractor will examine you and conduct diagnostic tests to determine exactly what is causing your shoulder or arm pain. Because the causes and the seriousness of different conditions are so varied, it is important to pinpoint the cause and begin the most appropriate treatment. He or she will discover if your problem is mild and transitory or serious and likely to trouble you for a long time. A broken bone cannot be treated in the same manner as bursitis or tendonitis. Arthritis and gout call for different care than pain originating in nerves supplying the shoulder and arm. Your chiropractor will decide which treatment will be best for you and if referral to a specialist will be necessary.

Chiropractic can be successfully employed to deal with so-called frozen shoulder, a severe inflammation technically known as adhesive capsulitis. Chiropractors are accustomed to relieving painful trigger points in the spine and shoulder region which are very common areas to find them. Chiropractors can help you modify your habits and lifestyle to protect yourself from arm and shoulder injuries and ailments.

Prolapsed (Slipped) Disc

Inter Vertebral Discs (IVDs) are the cartilage pads that separate the vertebrae in your spinal column. Inter vertebral discs are made of outer fibrous rings (annulus fibrosus) attached to the vertebrae, with a softer gel like ball in the middle of the disc (nucleus pulposus).

The discs act as shock absorbers and help to spread load within your spine. They also help with freedom of movement.

Some people talk about the discs in your spine “slipping”. The discs in your back cannot actually slip out. It is better to classify them as bulging or herniated. A chiropractor can help assess if you have true lower back disc trouble.

When you suffer from a disc injury, as is the case with other injuries you suffer, an inflammatory reaction around the area of damage takes place, resulting in radiating pain down the arm or leg or across the chest depending on where the injury site is. You can also suffer muscle weakness and pins and needles.

If you come to Essential chiropractic clinic with a suspected disc problem, your chiropractor will perform various neurological and orthopaedic tests to arrive at a diagnosis.

Your chiropractor may arrange for you to get an X-ray of your spine. X-rays will assess your bone and joint quality only, whilst an MRI is needed to see the quality of your discs and nerves. If there is a disc problem, your chiropractor will tell you and depending on their findings recommend a multi-modal approach to treatment.

Neck Pain

Consulting a chiropractor for neck pain might seem obvious to a patient who has experienced previous chiropractic care and who associates a chiropractic adjustment with the release of tension, increased motion, and pain relief.

For others who have not previously had chiropractic treatment of their neck, people seem to visualise an abrupt twisting motion of their neck. This is simply not the case. Chiropractic adjustments are gentle high velocity and low amplitude and almost always pain free.

Peoples’ lifestyles and working result in us spending too much time sitting at a desk or leaning forward to work on a computer or to perform repetitive tasks. These repeated actions can result in muscle tension from poor posture which applies extra pressure on the neck, back and shoulders, causing headaches and other neck pain.

Tension caused by stress at work, home and socially can increase muscle tension which creates pressure on the joints in the neck which, sometimes lead to “referred pain” in other parts of the body such as the head, shoulder, arm and hands.

Chiropractic treatment including adjustments, soft tissue therapy and ergonomic advice will help you restore normal function and movement to the joints in your spine, providing great relief from the dysfunction and pain.


Definition: Hyperextension (head bending backwards) and hyperflexion (head bending forwards) injury to the neck, often the result of being struck from behind by a fast-moving vehicle, in a motor vehicle accident.

Have you ever been in a motor vehicle crash and experienced pain in your neck? Like most people, you have most likely had a whiplash injury. Whiplash is an injury to the soft tissues of your neck. It is usually caused by sudden extension (backward movement of the neck) accompanied by sudden flexion (forward movement of the neck). This type of injury is often the result of rear-end vehicle crashes. Severe whiplash can also include injury to the intervertebral joints (joints within the spine), discs (soft tissue between the vertebrae), ligaments, neck, upper back and shoulder muscles & nerve roots.

Symptoms of Whiplash

Most people experience neck pain either immediately after the injury but some do not feel a great deal of pain or movement restriction until several days later. Other symptoms of whiplash may include the following:

  • Neck stiffness

  • Injuries to the muscles and ligaments (myofascial injuries)

  • Headache or/and dizziness

  • Sensations such as pins and needles (called paresthesias)

  • Shoulder pain

  • Back pain

Diagnosis of Whiplash

Firstly, your chiropractor will also ask detailed questions about the history and how you got the whiplash injury.

The chiropractor will examine the patient to assess, in the immediate stage, whether serious whiplash injury is present that may require hospital and/or surgical referral, and to identify specific tissues that have been injured.

Your chiropractor will conduct a thorough physical examination which will include testing muscles and the movement of the joints in and around your neck.

Based on this diagnosis of the whiplash injury, your chiropractor will then determine whether any additional tests (such as x-rays or MRI) are required. Once all the necessary information has been gathered, the chiropractor will make a determination as to the best course of action required. This could probably be a chiropractic treatment plan but could be onward referral to another specialist.

Chiropractic treatment of whiplash

Muscle relaxation & trigger point therapy: Chiropractic treatments for muscle dysfunction related for a whiplash injury consist of gentle stretches to the muscle that has excessive tension. If the muscle is very tight, a more vigorous stretch may be applied by the chiropractor. Gentle finger pressure techniques may be applied to trigger points to relieve the pain associated with the tight muscles.

McKenzie exercises: These exercises specifically designed to treat intervertebral disc injury related to a whiplash. These exercises consist of simple movements done initially in the chiropractic clinic which, after a while can be done by the patient at home. These exercises help the patient to take an active role in his or her own recovery.

Ergonomic and lifestyle advice for a whiplash injury: Your chiropractor will suggest improvements for everyday activities such as how to sit at a desk or how to improve your posture. The advice addresses factors in an individual’s work, home or recreational activities that perpetuate the dysfunctions that result from the accident. Your chiropractor may teach the patient some home exercises to do. Most people do not realise they have ergonomic issues until they are pointed out to them, but they can be helped.

Sports Injuries

If you are a sportsman or sportswoman, it is highly likely that you have suffered from at least one, if not more of the following conditions at one time or another:

Muscle strains, ligament sprains, tendinitis, bursitis, tennis elbow, golfer's elbow, frozen shoulder, back pain, neck pain.....etc.

Whether you are an amateur or professional sportsman, you put your body through the same rigors which leave you prone to injury. As a result of injuring yourself, your body will have to compensate for the injury and put more stress on another part of your body in order for you to function. This is often why you can feel pain in other areas of your body after an injury.

At our clinic we can offer you a treatment and rehabilitation program that will get you back on track after your injury. These programs obviously differ in length depending on the nature of your injury.

Chiropractic can be of enormous benefit in treating and preventing further sports associated injuries, thus improving athletic performance.

Repetitive Strain Injury

The term “repetitive strain injury” (RSI) is used to describe a group of musculoskeletal problems involving tendons, muscles, nerves and joints commonly occurring in office and manual workers. It is frequently caused by continuous overuse of certain muscles or tendons.

Office workers who use computers frequently are at risk from this type of condition, which often causes stiffness in the spinal joints of the neck and upper back.

This can aggravate or even cause RSI in the hands and arms. Common symptoms of RSI are stiffness or pain in the hands, wrists, fingers, forearms or elbows. Other sensations may include pins and needles in the hands. You may wake up at night and feel the need to shake your hands to get rid of the pins and needles in your hands. You may also feel the need to massage your hands, wrists or arms to relieve these symptoms.

Chiropractic care can successfully be used in the treatment and management of RSI as it aims to restore normal function to your joints and muscles, as well as your nervous system using gentle, specific adjustments to free stiff joints and relieve tension in your muscles.

Osteoarthritis & Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain

Osteoarthritis (“osteo” meaning bone "arth" meaning joint, "itis" meaning inflammation)

Osteoarthritis (OA) is also known as degenerative joint disease (DJD). Most of the OA sufferers are over 40. OA is a major cause of chronic, worldwide disability leading to poor quality of life, loss of wages, sick days, and significant health care expenses. Weight bearing joints like the spine; hips; knees; ankles; and the joints of the hands are commonly affected.

Chiropractic has long given relief from symptoms of arthritis. There is a vicious cycle of pain and loss of mobility that comes with arthritis. If you have arthritis, the joint pain causes you to move less freely. Because you move less there is loss of mobility. As you lose mobility your arthritis worsens, you have more pain and the joint pain causes you to move less. Chiropractic works against arthritis to improve mobility and lessen pain. The chiropractic treatment (which includes various treatment modalities to joints and muscles) increases the range of motion in the arthritic joint. This increased movement without pain means you will move more freely.

Chiropractic care can also help people with rheumatoid arthritis. In a study published in 1999, patients with rheumatoid arthritis found, seventy-three percent (73%) of patients who had tried chiropractic care (33 of 45) found it to be helpful to them.

Booking Your Treatment

The easiest way to book your treatment is to call us on 01273 831476. If we can't take your call please leave us a message on our answerphone and we will call you back at the earliest convenience to arrange your appointment. You can also submit our provisional booking enquiry form online. Just let us know which ailment is troubling you and the day and time you would like to come in. We will get in touch with you to confirm the booking or to arrange an alternative slot if your chosen appointment time is unavailable.