FAQ

Do chiropractors take a medical history?

Like MD’s, the chiropractor will take a detailed health history during the first visit, prior to initial treatment. This will include details on lifestyle and risk factors to give the chiropractor a full picture of the patient’s health in order to determine the best treatment. As well, a detailed health history is important to rule out any contraindications to treatment and to fully investigate risk factors before a diagnosis and treatment recommendation can be reached.

What is the “vertebral subluxation complex”?

VSC is a term used to describe the kinds of issues that may be associated with a joint that is not functioning properly. For example, there may be loss of motion. changes in the muscles that attach to the spine, irritation or injury to the nerves that radiate out from the vertebrae, degeneration of the disks or inflammation of tissues in the spinal region. Chiropractors are well trained to identify the components – or complex – of problems that may accompany a joint problem. Some of the indicators include tenderness, soreness and stiffness, spasm, tightness or weakness, headaches, and reduced mobility. Pain may or may not be felt. Chiropractors typically use a combination of imaging such as x-ray, manual examination, patient history, and non-imaging physical tests to determine what is taking place physiologically.

What results can I expect from treatment?

That depends on your condition. The length of time you have had the problem, your age and the degree of your disability all affect the length of your treatment. Your chiropractic doctor should tell you the extent of treatment recommended, and how long you can expect it to last.

One of the main reasons people choose chiropractic is that they often get quick results. Individual cases vary and chronic conditions obviously need more treatment, but Workers’ Compensation Board studies show that people with low back pain get back to work much faster with chiropractic care.

You might also consider the benefits of regular chiropractic adjustments even when you feel healthy. Sometimes you won’t know you have a disorder of the neuromusculoskeletal system until it becomes acute and painful. So, just as you see your dentist to have your teeth checked and your optometrist for eye exams, regular visits to your chiropractor can catch related health conditions early, often preventing them from developing into major problems. Remember, your spine is every bit as susceptible to wear and tear as your teeth and your eyes so you should look after it.

How is chiropractic adjustment performed?

Chiropractic adjustment or manipulation is a manual procedure that utilizes the highly refined skills developed during four intensive years of chiropractic education. The chiropractor typically uses his/her hands to manipulate the joints of the body, particularly the spine, in order to reduce pain, and restore or enhance joint function.

Chiropractic manipulation is a highly controlled procedure that rarely causes discomfort. The chiropractor adapts the procedure to meet the specific needs of each patient.

Is chiropractic covered by government health plans?

Chiropractic care is covered extensively by third party payers. These include the federal public service, worker’s compensation boards, the automobile insurance industry, private health care insurers, large employers, the RCMP, and Veteran’s Affairs Canada.

Is chiropractic manipulation a safe procedure?

Chiropractic adjustment or manipulation is a drug-free, non-invasive approach to common musculoskeletal conditions such as headache, and neck and back pain. As such, it is a low risk therapy. Complications arising from adjustment are rare.

Is chiropractic evidence-based?

Chiropractic is a healing discipline firmly grounded in science. Few other health care interventions have been assessed as extensively as chiropractic manipulation, both in terms of safety and effectiveness. There have been at least six formal government studies into chiropractic worldwide over the last 25 years and all have concluded that contemporary chiropractic care is safe, effective, cost-effective and have recommended public funding for chiropractic services. In addition, there have been countless scientific clinical studies assessing the appropriateness, effectiveness, and/or cost-effectiveness of spinal manipulation or chiropractic manipulation, most notably for low back pain. The Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHI) now offers research grants in partnership with the Canadian Chiropractic Association to chiropractors and other scientists for high quality, chiropractic research.

Is chiropractic treatment appropriate for children?

Yes, children may benefit from chiropractic care. Children are very physically active and experience many types of falls and blows from activities of daily living as well as from participating in sports. Injuries such as these may cause many symptoms including back and neck pain, stiffness, soreness or discomfort. Chiropractic care is always adapted to the individual patient. It is a highly skilled treatment, and in the case of children, very gentle.

While there is some clinical evidence that musculoskeletal treatment of infants may have positive effects, well-controlled studies are required to verify the benefits that are seen in clinical practice.

Does chiropractic treatment require a referral from an MD?

No. A patient does not have to be referred. Chiropractors are legislated as primary contact health care professionals in every province in Canada. This means that patients can consult them directly.

Why is there a popping sound when a joint is adjusted?

Adjustment of a joint may result in release of a gas bubble between the joints that makes a popping sound – it’s exactly the same as when you “crack” your knuckles. It is not painful. It is caused by the change of pressure within the joint resulting in gas bubbles being released.