Chiropractic FAQs from Edgar Family Chiropractic. Learn about training, qualifications and treatments and what and how they can be treated.
1. How does chiropractic work? Chiropractic treatment helps to remove postural imbalances and structural misalignments that can accumulate in our bodies over time. Our spines change as we age and develop problems just like our teeth, eyes, and heart. If left untreated, these changes may lead to pain and stiffness. Your chiropractor can help to decrease your pain, improve your posture, your muscle balance, and mobility so that you can get back to feeling and move well!
2. What kind of training and education do chiropractors have?
Chiropractors are educated as primary health care providers, with a focus on neuromusculoskeletal diagnosis and treatment. This means they are specialized in the diagnosis and treatment of anything to do with your nerves, muscles, joints, ligaments, tendons, and bones.
Chiropractors are back specialists and are one of five regulated primary health care professions in Canada with the right to diagnose conditions and use the title ‘Doctor’. Their training consists of an undergraduate degree in the sciences followed by 4 years of graduate studies in chiropractic for a total of 8 years. Because chiropractors are a primary healthcare profession, no MD referral is necessary.
3. Do you need a chiropractor?
Eight out of ten Canadians will experience back pain at some point in their lives. For many people, the pain can keep them from work, school, or from keeping up with their busy lives. Early treatment from a chiropractor can help get you back on your feet.Your spine is one of the strongest parts of your body, but because it carries so much weight, it is also susceptible to injury. Accidents, stress, work poor posture, sports, or sprains can all cause back problems. When you injure your back, the pain can appear in other areas. Simple things like walking become painful with back injuries, and the changes we make in posture and stride can lead to pain in our hips, knees, and feet.
4. What happens during treatment?
During your first visit, a thorough health history is taken and physical exam is performed. Following this, your chiropractor will explain your diagnosis and offer options for treatment. Treatment at Edgar Family Chiropractic is initialized on the first visit. Although chiropractors use their hands for most treatments, they can also use other methods such as muscle work (ART), heat, adjusting instruments, ultrasounds, electrotherapy, personalized exercise programs.
5. How is a chiropractic adjustment performed?
A chiropractic “adjustment” is a treatment where the chiropractor uses his or her hands to apply a very quick, precise, and safe amount of pressure directly on the problem area of your spine. Usually, this problem area is a joint that is not moving well or is "stuck". If a joint is not moving well, the surrounding tissues can become irritated and inflamed causing, even more, pain and discomfort. The adjustment helps the joints that are not moving well to momentarily separate, allowing a gas bubble to escape from the joint capsule (this is the popping sound or cracking noise you might have heard about) and this separation allows the joint to move once again. Once the joint is able to move, pressure on the joint is relieved and pain and inflammation decrease.
6. Can I adjust myself?
Some people can make their joints “pop” but that is not considered an adjustment. Usually, joints that move too much or are "hypermobile" are the joints being "popped" when an untrained person adjusts their own back. This hypermobility can cause weakness and loss of stability in the surrounding muscles and ligaments and lead to further injury. Spinal joints that move too much (hypermobile) are NOT adjusted by chiropractors in order to allow weakened muscles and ligaments that surround the joints to stabilize and heal. Chiropractors are specially trained in identifying areas of the spine that do not move well (or are "locked up") and helping them to move once again.
7. Will adjustments make my spine too loose?
No. Only the spinal joints that are “locked up” receive adjustments. The occasional spinal joints that move too much, are passed over so weakened muscles and ligaments can stabilize and heal.
8. Can patients with osteoporosis get chiropractic care?
Of course. When developing a care plan, your chiropractor considers the unique circumstances of each patient. There are many ways to adjust the spine. The method selected will be best suited to your age, size, and spinal problem.
9. Why would a newborn get adjusted?
Even today’s “natural” childbirth methods can affect an infant’s spine. Colic, unusual crying, poor appetite or erratic sleeping habits can be signs of spinal distress. Adjustments are gentle. Knowing exactly where to adjust, no more pressure than you’d use to test the ripeness of a tomato is involved.
10. What results can I expect from treatment?
Results depend on a few factors. Age, activity level, the severity of injury and length of time that you have had the problem are just a few factors that affect the length of your treatment. After completing a history and physical exam, your chiropractor will be able to tell you the type of treatment that will be necessary for your individual condition and how long you can expect it to last.
11. How often do I need to see a chiropractor?
Your chiropractor will discuss the need for ongoing care with you and it will depend on your specific problem. For some people, chiropractic treatment is like a regular physical tune-up—it helps the body deal with the daily wear and tear of life. For others, it's simply an effective treatment when back pain or other health issues strike. Take the time to discuss with your chiropractor the level of care that's best for you.
Examples of treatment plans:
- Relief Care- is provided for the immediate relief of pain and discomfort. Depending on the diagnosis, your age and physical condition, one visit, or several visits over a short period of time may be necessary.
- Corrective Care- is provided when a condition has been on-going for a long time. In order to heal these more chronic and complex conditions, longer treatment programs are often required and include a variety of treatment modalities.
- Supportive or Maintenance Care- For some people, chiropractic treatment is like a regular physical tune-up. It helps the body deal with the daily wear and tear of life.
12. Can chiropractic provide a preventative function?
From clinical experience, we find 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 supportive/maintenance care. Also, individuals who have highly stressful jobs and those who experience repetitive physical and postural strain from their daily activities tend to find maintenance care very effective in better managing their symptoms.
13. Does chiropractic treatment require a referral from an MD?
Although many medical doctors refer their patients to chiropractors, a referral is not necessary. Chiropractors are legislated as primary contact health care professionals in every province in Canada. This means that patients can consult them directly.