What is chiropractic?
The word “chiropractic” comes from ancient Greek and means “done by hand”.
Adjustment of the joints of the body has been used in health care for many centuries and is at the heart of modern chiropractic care.
Chiropractors are specialists in manual adjustment of the vertebrae of the spine and other joints. Adjustment helps relieve pain and restore normal functioning to the spine, joints and supporting structures of the body – so you can enjoy your everyday activities again as quickly as possible.
Chiropractors are also trained to prescribe therapeutic exercise, provide nutritional counseling, and recommend rehabilitation.
When should I see a chiropractor?
Eight out of ten Canadians will experience back pain at some point in their life, and at least one third of people in Ontario will have back pain at any given time. For many people, the pain can keep them away from work, school or even their day-to-day activities. If pain causes interruptions and restrictions in the activities of your daily life then you should consult a health care provider.
Chiropractors are highly educated and extensively trained to assess, diagnosis, treat and prevent conditions disorders of the spine, joints, muscle and nervous systems. These disorders may include back pain, neck pain, headaches, referring pain in your arms and legs, etc.
Many patients seek chiropractic treatment for wellness care. Others, like seniors, find that treatment helps them to maintain mobility and good range of motion. Pain should never become a way of life, especially when there is qualified help available.
There are many reasons to seek chiropractic care: Work, accidents, sports injuries, household chores, even the stress of daily living can cause painful joint and spinal problems. Even if you do not have painful symptoms, chiropractic care can help you maintain healthy spine and joint function.
What is an adjustment?
An adjustment is a highly skilled and precise movement usually applied by hand to a joint of the body. An adjustment safely reduces the stiffness associated with an injured joint and thereby restores proper movement to optimize function. When a joint is adjusted, a gas bubble escapes causing the popping noise you may have heard about.
Chiropractic adjustment techniques have been researched extensively. Complications are rare and side-effects, such as temporary soreness, are usually minor. Your chiropractor is well-trained to determine if your problem will respond to chiropractic care or if you require referral to another health care provider.
Is chiropractic adjustment safe?
Chiropractic is widely recognized as one of the safest, drug-free, non-invasive therapies available for the treatment of headache, and neck and back pain. It has an excellent safety record. However, no health treatment is completely free of potential adverse effects. Even common over-the-counter medicines carry a risk.
Most patients experience immediate relief following an adjustment, however, some may experience temporary soreness or tenderness. However, adverse effects associated with spinal adjustment are typically minor and short-lived.
Does chiropractic care require a referral from an MD?
Chiropractors are legislated as primary contact health professionals in every province in Canada. This means that patients can consult them directly. However, chiropractors often work closely with medical doctors, many of whom refer to chiropractors when they believe chiropractic treatment will help alleviate a patient’s condition. Similarly, chiropractors frequently refer to medical doctors when necessary.
Does chiropractic care require x-rays?
X-rays can play an important role in diagnosis and are taken when a need has been determined after taking a patient case history and conducting a physical examination. Chiropractors receive 360 hours of education in radiology covering a full range of topics from protection to X-ray interpretation and diagnosis. Governments in every province have recognized the training and competence of chiropractors to take and interpret X-rays and have granted them this right.
Can chiropractic care cure other ailments besides back pain?
Chiropractic care cannot “cure” every ailment, but there is some evidence to indicate that adjustments may have a beneficial effect on a variety of conditions. Adjustment may alleviate some of the secondary or referred pain, arising from the response of the musculoskeletal structures to the primary cause.
What are some of the most commoner easons why people visit a chiropractic each year?
- Back pain
- Strains and sprains from daily activities
- Repetitive strain injuries
- Work and sports-related injuries
- Restricted movement in the back, shoulders, neck or limbs
- General health and well-being
Should I get checked by a chiropractic after a motor vehicle accident even if I have no pain?
After your accident, you may have experienced severe or moderate pain, or no pain at all. Surprisingly, most auto injuries are hidden and seldom detected for months, or even years. Often, the initial pain subsides, only to return full blown later. Soft tissue injuries (injuries to muscles, ligaments, and discs) caused by auto accidents can be very deceiving. Soft tissue injuries heal with scar tissue and don’t always cause pain immediately, but the damage done to your spine can lead to the following problems:
- Recurring headaches
- Neck pain and stiffness
- Numbness, tingling, or pain in the arms or hands
- Chronic muscle tension and spasm
- Low back pain
- Spinal disc degeneration
- Painful, inflamed arthritis
- Sore, tight, inflexible muscles
- Decreased athletic ability
- Greater chance of re-injury
- Poor posture
Can physiotherapy help me?
Physiotherapists manage and prevent many physical problems caused by illness, disability and disease, sport and work related injuries, aging, and long periods of inactivity.
Physiotherapists are skilled in the assessment and hands-on management of a broad range of conditions that affect the musculoskeletal, circulatory, respiratory and nervous systems. Some ways physiotherapy can help:
- Address physical challenges associated with pain, arthritis, repetitive strain injury etc.
- Assist in the management of incontinence.
- Attend to sports injuries and provide advice on prevention and recurrence.
- Help manage the physical complications of cancer and its treatment.
- Manage and treat neck and back pain and other joint injuries.
- Maximize mobility for clients with neurological disorders such as stroke, spinal cord injury or Parkinson’s disease.
- Oversee rehabilitation in the home after injury or illness.
- Pre and post natal care and other women’s health conditions.
- Provide care for children with paediatric conditions, such as developmental delay, fractures and cardiorespiratory conditions.
- Recovery after surgery.
- Treat and manage respiratory and cardiac conditions.
How will I know if it’s working?
The goals you establish with your Physiotherapist are used to measure your progress.
Your Physiotherapist will be able to explain what aspect of your condition will be addressed first and how your treatment will progress. Throughout treatment, the Physiotherapist will pay close attention to improvements in your symptoms and functionality, and remain attentive to your assessment of progress.
Some of the milestones you can use to evaluate your progress include:
- Ability to return to work, sports and other daily activities.
- Distance you are able to walk, run, swim, etc.
- How much you can lift or carry, e.g. groceries, baby, weights.
- Increased motion and/or strength.
- Improved endurance.
- Length of time you are pain free and decreased pain intensity.
- Overall improvement in quality of life.
Do I need a referral from a doctor?
No. Physiotherapists are primary health care professionals (just like doctors and dentists) meaning you can go directly to a Physiotherapist. You do not require a doctor’s referral to see a Physiotherapist. Insurance companies, however, sometimes require a doctor’s referral before they will reimburse cost. Check with your Extended Health Care Plan for details regarding your coverage.