Question 1. What Conditions Do Chiropractors Treat?
Doctors of Chiropractic (DCs) care for patients of all ages, with a variety of health conditions. DCs are especially well known for their expertise in caring for patients with back pain, neck pain and headaches…particularly with their highly skilled manipulations or chiropractic adjustments. They also care for patients with a wide range of injuries and disorders of the musculoskeletal system, involving the muscles, ligaments and joints. These painful conditions often involve or impact the nervous system, which can cause referred pain and dysfunction distant to the region of injury. The benefits of chiropractic care extend to general health issues, as well, since our body structure affects our overall function. DCs also counsel patients on diet, nutrition, exercise, healthy habits, and occupational and lifestyle modification.
Question 2. How Do I Select A Doctor Of Chiropractic?
One of the best ways to locate a doctor of chiropractic (DC) near you by using Find a Doctor. You can also select a DC is by getting a referral from a friend, family member, colleague, or another health care provider.
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Question 3. Does Chiropractic Treatment Require A Referral From An Md?
A referral is usually not needed to see a doctor of chiropractic (DC); however, your health plan may have specific referral requirements. You may want to contact your employer’s human resources department—or the insurance plan directly—to find out if there are any referral requirements. Most plans allow you to just call and schedule an appointment with a DC.
Question 4. Is Chiropractic Treatment Appropriate For Children?
Yes, children can 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.
Question 5. Are Chiropractors Allowed To Practice In Hospitals Or Use Medical Outpatient Facilities?
Chiropractors are being recognized to admit and treat patients in hospitals and to use outpatient clinical facilities (such as labs, x-rays, etc.) for their non-hospitalized patients. Hospital privileges were first granted in 1983.
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Question 6. Do Insurance Plans Cover Chiropractic?
Yes. Chiropractic care is included in most health insurance plans, including major medical plans, workers’ compensation, Medicare, some Medicaid plans, and Blue Cross Blue Shield plans for federal employees, among others. Chiropractic care is also available to active-duty members of the armed forces at more than 60 military bases and is available to veterans at more than 60 major veterans medical facilities.
Question 7. What Type Of Education And Training Do Chiropractors Have?
Doctors of chiropracticare educated as primary-contact health care providers, with an emphasis on diagnosis and treatment of conditions related to the musculoskeletal system (the muscles, ligaments and joints of the spine and extremities) and the nerves that supply them. Educational requirements for doctors of chiropractic are among the most stringent of any of the health care professions. The typical applicant for chiropractic college has already acquired nearly four years of pre-medical undergraduate college education, including courses in biology, inorganic and organic chemistry, physics, psychology and related lab work. Once accepted into an accredited chiropractic college, the requirements become even more demanding — four to five academic years of professional study are the standard. Doctors of chiropractic are educated in orthopedics, neurology, physiology, human anatomy, clinical diagnosis including laboratory procedures, diagnostic imaging, exercise, nutrition rehabilitation and more. Because chiropractic care includes highly skilled manipulation/adjusting techniques, a significant portion of time is spent in clinical technique training to master these important manipulative procedures. In total, the chiropractic college curriculum includes a minimum of 4,200 hours of classroom, laboratory and clinical experience. The course of study is approved by an accrediting agency that is fully recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
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Question 8. How Is A Chiropractic Adjustment Performed?
Chiropractic adjustment or manipulation is a manual procedure that utilizes the highly refined skills developed during the doctor of chiropractic’s intensive years of chiropractic education. The chiropractic physician typically uses his or her hands–or an instrument–to manipulate the joints of the body, particularly the spine, in order to restore or enhance joint function. This often helps resolve joint inflammation and reduces the patient’s pain. Chiropractic manipulation is a highly controlled procedure that rarely causes discomfort. The chiropractor adapts the procedure to meet the specific needs of each patient. Patients often note positive changes in their symptoms immediately following treatment.
Question 9. Is Chiropractic Treatment Ongoing?
The hands-on nature of the chiropractic treatment is essentially what requires patients to visit the chiropractor a number of times. To be treated by a chiropractor, a patient needs to be in his or her office. In contrast, a course of treatment from medical doctors often involves a pre-established plan that is conducted at home (i.e. taking a course of antibiotics once a day for a couple of weeks). A chiropractor may provide acute, chronic, and/or preventive care thus making a certain number of visits sometimes necessary. Your doctor of chiropractic should tell you the extent of treatment recommended and how long you can expect it to last.
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Question 10. Why Is There A Popping Sound When A Joint Is Adjusted?
Adjustment (or manipulation) of a joint may result in the release of a gas bubble between the joints, which makes a popping sound. The same thing occurs when you “crack” your knuckles. The noise is caused by the change of pressure within the joint, which results in gas bubbles being released. There is usually minimal, if any, discomfort involved.
Question 11. What Is An Adjustment?
An adjustment is a highly skilled and precise movement usually applied by hand to a joint of the body. Adjustment loosens the joint to restore proper movement and 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.
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Question 12. What Are Some Of The Benefits Of Chiropractic Care?
Chiropractic care can:
- Improve movement in your neck, shoulders, back and torso
- Improve your posture
- Provide relief from headaches, neck and back pain
- Help prevent work-related muscle and joint injuries
- Lead to enhanced athletic performance
- Improve your flexibility and range of motion
- Relieve pregnancy-related back ache
- Correct gait and foot problems
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Question 13. 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 pain, stiffness or slight swelling. Some patients may also experience temporary dizziness, local numbness, or radiating pain. However, adverse effects associated with spinal adjustment are typically minor and short-lived.
Prior to starting treatment, all health professionals are required by law to obtain informed consent to treatment from their patients. Health care consumers must receive adequate and accurate information to assist them in evaluating their health care choices, and in balancing the relative risks of treatment options with the benefits. The chiropractic profession takes this responsibility seriously and has been a leader in obtaining informed consent.
Ontario’s chiropractors are required in their Standards of Practice to obtain written informed consent prior to treating a patient.
Neck adjustment, particularly of the top two vertebrae of the spine, has on rare occasions been associated with stroke and stroke-like symptoms. This risk is considerably lower than those serious adverse events associated with many common health treatments such as long-term use of non-prescription pain relievers or birth control pills. While estimates vary, a range of one to two events per million neck adjustments is the ratio generally accepted by the research community.
An extensive commentary on chiropractic care, published in the February 2002 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine, which is the journal of the American College of Physicians, reviewed more than 160 reports and studies on chiropractic. It states the following with regard to the safety of neck adjustment: “The apparent rarity of these accidental events has made it difficult to assess the magnitude of the complication risk. No serious complication has been noted in more than 73 controlled clinical trials or in any prospectively evaluated case series to date.”
A Canadian study, published in 2001 in the medical journal Stroke, also concluded that stroke associated with neck adjustment is so rare that it is difficult to calculate an accurate risk ratio. The study was conducted by the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) and the authors have stated: “The evidence to date indicates that the risk associated with chiropractic manipulation of the neck is both small and inaccurately estimated. The estimated level of risk is smaller than that associated with many commonly used diagnostic tests or prescription drugs.”
The most recent research into the association between neck adjustment and stroke is biomechanical studies to assess what strain, if any, neck adjustment may place on the vertebral arteries. The preliminary findings of this ongoing work indicate that neck adjustment is done well within the normal range of motion and that neck adjustment is “very unlikely to mechanically disrupt the VA [vertebral artery].”
There are many risk factors for stroke including blood clotting problems, hypertension, smoking, high cholesterol, birth control pills, heart problems and trauma such as blows to the head from car accidents, sports injuries or falls. Some strokes happen spontaneously with no obvious cause during activities of daily living such as backing up a car. A patient’s health history and activities have to be examined very carefully in order to determine the most probable cause of a stroke.
Question 14. Does Chiropractic Care Require A Referral From An Md?
Chiropractors are legislated as primary care 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.
Question 15. 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.
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Question 16. How Many Ontarians Use Chiropractic?
Chiropractic is one of the largest primary care professions in Ontario, with more than 3,100 practicing chiropractors. Almost 2 million Ontarians use the services of a chiropractor each year to help them get back to work, and back to doing the things they love.
Question 17. Are There Many Athletes Who Use Chiropractic?
Yes. Many amateur and professional athletes use chiropractic treatment as part of their overall health care, fitness and maintenance program. Chiropractic is often used to improve muscle and joint conditioning, which has a direct effect on an athletic performance. Treatment works to improve biomechanical function and enhance overall conditioning, important in situations where there is continuous repetitive movement. Chiropractic care also help athletes fine-tune their muscles and joints for high level performance, and may reduce long term wear and tear. Finally, treatment can be used to prevent, and sometime shorten, the healing time of injuries.
Athletes most often select treatment to improve their performance, where as the average consumer will select chiropractic care to help manage aches and pains. In some cases treatment will be similar, but in all cases a treatment plan will be developed according to the goals and condition of each patient. In the case of professional and elite athletes, chiropractors often work in conjunction with other health care professionals, including medical doctors and/or sports medicine doctors, massage therapists and physiotherapists.
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Question 18. 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.
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Question 19. How To Select A Chiropractor?
- Word of mouth
- Friends, family and co-workers
- Referrals from other health care practitioners
- The chiropractor locator on the OCA’s website
Question 20. 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 counselling, and recommend rehabilitation and injury prevention strategies.
Question 21. Are All Patients Adjusted The Same Way?
No. The doctor evaluates each patient’s unique spinal problem and develops an individual course of care. Each chiropractic adjustment builds on the one before. The resulting recommendations are based on years of training and experience. Each patient’s care is uniquely different from every other patient.
Question 22. Can A Person Who Had Back Surgery See A Chiropractor?
Yes. It’s an unfortunate fact that more than half of those who had spinal surgery discover a return of their original symptoms months or years later. They then face the prospect of additional surgery. This too common occurrence is known as “failed back surgery syndrome.” Chiropractic may help prevent repeated back surgeries. In fact, if chiropractic care is used initially, back surgery can often be avoided in the first place.
Question 23. Can I Adjust Myself?
No. Since a chiropractic adjustment is a specific force, applied in a specific direction to a specific joint, it is virtually impossible to adjust oneself safely, correctly and accurately. It is possible to turn or bend or twist in certain ways to create a “popping” sound that sometimes accompanies a chiropractic adjustment. Unfortunately, this type of joint manipulation is usually counterproductive, often making an already unstable spine even more unstable, and can sometimes be dangerous. Adjusting the spine is not for amateurs!
Question 24. Can I Tell If I Have A Subluxation?
Not always. A subluxation is like a dental cavity—you may have it for a long time before symptoms appear. That’s why periodic spinal checkups are so important. Although it may be possible to know you have a subluxation, it is rarely possible to be sure you don’t. Regular spinal checkups are always a good idea, and they promote good health from the inside out.
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Question 25. Do Children Need Chiropractic Care?
Since significant spinal trauma can occur at birth, many parents have their newborns checked for vertebral subluxation. Naturally, chiropractic adjusting procedures are adapted for the child’s spine. Many childhood health complaints that are brushed off can be traced to the spine. Health problems that emerge in adulthood could often be prevented by having your children’s spine checked by a chiropractor early. Many parents report that their children enjoy their chiropractic adjustments and are healthier than their peers.
Question 26. Does Chiropractic Work For All Types Of Health Problems?
No, however chiropractic care is successful with a very wide variety of health problems outside of “back” problems because of improved nerve system function. With a normal nerve supply, the body’s natural healing capacity can improve a variety of health problems.
Question 27. How Does Chiropractic Work?
Chiropractic works by restoring your body’s inborn ability to be healthy. When under the proper control of your nervous system, all the cells, tissues, and organs of your body are designed to resist disease and ill health. The chiropractic approach to better health is to locate and remove any interference (misaligned vertebrae, aka subluxations) to your nervous system. With improved spinal function, there is improved nervous system function. The goal of the chiropractor is to remove interference that may be impairing normal health through specific chiropractic adjustments, allowing your body to heal itself. A healthy spine and a healthy lifestyle are your keys to optimal health!
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Question 28. I Have Government Insurance (medicare, Medicaid, Tricare, Etc.), Can I Use The Promotional Offer?
We’re glad you’re interested in chiropractic! Many patients have coverage for chiropractic treatment through their government insurance, however, we’re not able to extend the promotional offer for an evaluation to patients with Medicaid, Medicare, Tricare, etc. We highly recommend setting up a free appointment to come see the office and speak with the doctor to see what your coverage includes and how much an evaluation would cost. Call our team at 855-4-CHIRO-1 to schedule your tour and visit.
Question 29. Is A Good Workout The Same As Getting Adjusted?
No. Exercise is an important part of good health, yet without normal spinal function, a physical workout merely puts additional wear and tear on improperly functioning spinal joints.
Question 30. Is Chiropractic Care Addictive?
No. If only it were, there would be more healthy people around and chiropractors would not get patients who last saw a chiropractor “a few years ago when their back went out.” It is possible to get used to feeling more balanced, less stressed, and more energetic as a result of regular chiropractic care. Chiropractic is not addictive, however, good health is.
Question 31. Is Chiropractic Safe?
Yes. Chiropractic has an excellent safety record. It is the result of a conservative and natural approach to health that avoids invasive procedures or addictive drugs. As proof, one merely has to compare malpractice rates between chiropractors and other healthcare professionals. Chiropractors’ malpractice premiums are a small fraction of those for medical doctors.
Question 32. Is It Ok To See A Chiropractor If I’m Pregnant?
Any time is a good time for a better functioning nerve system. Pregnant mothers find that chiropractic adjustments help with pregnancy discomforts, like sciatica, improve their pregnancy and make delivery easier for themselves and their baby. Also, certain chiropractic techniques can be used to help properly position the baby for delivery. Adjusting methods are always adapted to a patient’s size, weight, age and condition of health.
Question 33. What Causes The Sound During An Adjustment?
Actually, adjustments do not always produce a sound. Often, however, adjustments do create the sound of a spinal “release,” or “popping” sound. The sound is caused by gas rushing in to fill the partial vacuum created when the joints are slightly separated. This sound is painless and totally harmless.
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Question 34. What Is A Chiropractic Adjustment?
A chiropractic adjustment is the art of using a specific force in a precise direction, applied to a joint that is subluxated, “locked up,” or not moving properly. The purpose of this safe and natural procedure is to eliminate interference to the nervous system, improving spinal function and overall health.
Question 35. What Is Chiropractic Care?
There’s nothing mysterious about chiropractic. It’s a natural method of healthcare that focuses on treating the causes of physical problems, rather than just treating the symptoms. Chiropractic is based on a simple but powerful premise. With a normally functioning spine and healthy nerve system, your body is better able to heal itself. That’s because your spine is the lifeline of your nervous system. It controls feeling, movement, and all function through your body.
Question 36. What Is The Difference Between A Chiropractor And An Osteopath?
Chiropractors base their care on the detection correction, and prevention of vertebral subluxations (spinal misalignments). We use specific spinal adjustments to correct the spine, to improve nerve system functions and reduce nerve interference. Osteopaths use drugs, surgery and other traditional medical therapies and only occasionally use manipulative procedures.
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Question 37. What Type Of Education Do Chiropractic Doctors Receive?
Doctors of chiropractic are well educated. Chiropractic education and medical education are similar in many respects and different in others because chiropractors do not prescribe drugs or perform surgery, and medical doctors do not correct vertebral subluxations. After graduating with a doctor of chiropractic (D.C.) degree, each candidate passes the demanding four part National Board Examinations. Then, doctors apply to a governmental or professional licensing board and must pass a more difficult test before being granted the privilege to practice. A chiropractor’s education, however, never ends. Most doctors complete regular postgraduate instruction for license renewal and to stay current on the latest research and adjustment techniques.
Question 38. Why Do Chiropractors Take X-rays?
Chiropractors take X-rays to reveal the internal structure and alignment of the spine. We are also concerned about underlying disease processes and disorders of the spine such as spinal deterioration, arthritis of the spine, abnormal development, bone spurs, disc disorders, tumors and spinal curvature. X-rays also provide a blueprint for correcting the spine back to optimal health and alignment.