Here are some of the most common questions we are asked. If you would like more information please ask!
Q: What is chiropractic and how does it work?
A: The word “chiropractic” comes from ancient Greek and means “done by hand.”
Chiropractors are specialists in manual adjustment of the vertebrae of the spine and other joints of the body. Adjustment helps relieve pain and restore normal functioning to the joints and supporting muscles and ligaments – so you can enjoy your everyday activities again as quickly as possible.
The body’s information highway – your nervous system – is protected by the spine. The nervous system travels out between the vertebrae or joints of the spine to carry messages from the brain to every corner of your body. Stress and strain on the vertebrae can put pressure on the nerves in the affected area. That is why a problem with your spine can have far-reaching effects causing symptoms such as arm or leg pain. A chiropractor helps to restore balance within neuromusculoskeletal system,allowing your body to function better overall.
Q: What to expect from your initial visit?
A: In your first appointment you will receive a thorough health history and examination. This process is critical in determining the underlying causes of your health concern and giving you a diagnosis. A treatment plan specific to you will then be outlined. Most often a treatment will be provided on the first visit, though occasionally we request a patient get x-rays or other diagnostic service before we proceed.
Q: How many visits does it take?
A: Each person is unique with a different capacity to heal based on the nature of the health concern, lifestyle factors, ability to perform therapeutic exercises, etc. At the beginning of treatment people usually come more frequently as function within the neuromusculoskeletal system is restored. A typical first treatment plan may recommend anywhere from 2 to 8 visits. If your progress isn't what we would expect we will often suggest alternate health specialists.
Q: Are adjustments safe?
A: Yes they are. The most recent research into the safety of adjustment confirms the safety of this procedure. Neck adjustment in particular is performed well within the normal turning range of the head. There is less movement than it takes to look over your shoulder. It is skill – not strength – that is needed to perform a safe, effective adjustment. The most common complaint is a temporary soreness following a treatment session that typically subsides within 24 hours. If you experience anything other than relief following an adjustment it is important to tell your chiropractor who can help you manage any effects of treatment. A thorough examination will identify those for whom chiropractic adjustments may be unsuitable,and alternative treatment strategies would be recommended.
Q: Why is there a crack or popping sound when a joint is adjusted?
A: Adjustment of a joint causes a reduction in pressure within the joint. This can result in the release of gas bubbles creating a popping sound. It’s the same as when you open a pop bottle releasing pressure from the liquid in the bottle. It is not painful.
Q: What if I feel fine? Do I still need to keep coming back?
A: The decision whether or not to continue with chiropractic care after your symptoms are resolved is always up to you. Many people choose to continue with periodic care to maintain the positive progress and to prevent recurrences in future. Often, they also find that they are better able to perform their favorite activities by working with a chiropractor from time to time.
Dysfunction in the neuromusculoskeletal system frequently go unnoticed until symptoms become acute and painful. Just as you see your dentist to have your teeth checked and your optometrist for eye exams, regular visits to your chiropractor can identify imbalances early often preventing them from developing into major problems. Remember that your spine is also susceptible to wear and tear just like your teeth and eyes; give it the same preventative attention!
The frequency of "maintenance" visits different for everyone depending on the demands on them personally. Generally speaking however, people come in for a preventative check-up every 2 weeks to every 3-4 months.
Q: Can chiropractic treatment provide a preventative function?
A: Clinical experience suggests that individuals with chronic conditions such as degenerative joint disease (osteoarthritis) or recurrent neck pain, back pain or headaches may experience less frequent and less severe symptoms when under regular chiropractic care. This also applies to individuals in highly stressful situations and those who experience repetitive physical and postural strain from their daily activities.
Q: How do I know something is wrong? Indications for chiropractic care
A: Here are some of the most common reasons why more than 4 million Canadians visit a chiropractor each year:
- Back pain
- Neck pain
- Strains and sprains from daily activities
- Repetitive strain injuries
- Work and sports-related injuries
- Restricted movement in the back, shoulders, neck or limbs
- Numbness, tingling or weakness in the arms or legs
Q: Should I wait for painful symptoms before I receive chiropractic care?
A: If aching joints and muscle pain are affecting your ability to get through the day and keeping you away from your favourite activities, consider chiropractic care. Work, accidents, sports injuries, household chores, even the stress of daily living can cause painful joint and back problems. Even if you do not have painful symptoms, chiropractic care can help you maintain healthy spine and joint function in addition to:
- Improved movement in your neck, shoulders, back and torso
- Better posture
- Relief from headaches, neck and back pain
- Prevention of work-related muscle and joint injuries
- Enhanced athletic performance
- Improved flexibility
- Relief of pregnancy-related back ache
- Correction of gait and foot problems
Q: What do headaches, back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, shin splints, shoulder pain, sciatica, plantar fasciitis, knee problems and tennis elbow all have in common?
A: They are often a result of overused muscles that affect joint function and can be treated effectively with chiropractic adjustments and Active Release Techniques.
Q: How does overuse of muscles occur?
A Over-used muscles (and other soft tissues) change in three important ways:
- acute conditions (pulls, tears, collisions, etc)
- accumulation of small tears (micro-trauma)
- not getting enough oxygen (hypoxia).
Each of these factors can cause your body to produce tough, dense scar tissue in the affected area. This scar tissue binds up and ties down tissues that need to move freely. As scar tissue builds up, muscles become shorter and weaker, tension on tendons causes tendonitis, and nerves can become trapped. This can cause reduced range of motion, loss of strength, and pain. If a nerve is trapped you may also feel tingling, numbness, and weakness.
Q: What is subluxation?
A: Subluxation is a term occasionally used to describe a misalignment or dysfunction of the vertebra in your back that can result in nerve irritation. Spinal dysfunction has a multitude of causes- repetitive movements, poor sleeping habits, poor posture, inadequate or excessive exercise, sports injuries, stress, tension & anxiety, chemical exposure (i.e. drugs and medications), injuries at work, automobile accidents, and stumbles and falls.
Q: What Type of Education Do Chiropractors Get?
A: Chiropractic students undergo a rigorous course of study similar to that of other regulated health care professionals. Entrance requirements are also similar- students are required to complete a minimum of three years of university before they are eligible for admission. The chiropractic program itself is four years of full-time study with special emphasis on anatomy, neurology, biomechanics, nutrition, x-ray, physiology, diagnosis, and of course, spinal adjusting. In addition to the academic program, chiropractic education requires 1.5 years of hands-on clinical experience under the direct supervision of highly-qualified faculty. This experience includes clinical assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and referral protocols. A graduate must then pass comprehensive national examinations administered by the Canadian Chiropractic Examining Board before qualifying to become licensed by the regulatory authority in their province of practice.