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What is chiropractic?
The word “chiropractic” comes from ancient Greek and it means “done by hand.” It is a practice that involves manual adjustments of the body’s spine and other joints. Chiropractic care has been used for many centuries as an effective treatment to restore proper function of the spine and relieve pain. Chiropractors also prescribe therapeutic exercise, provide nutritional counseling, and recommend rehabilitation and injury prevention strategies.
How are chiropractors educated?
Chiropractors are highly educated. They complete eight years of schooling and over 4000 hours in the clinic at Chiropractic School, ¾ the same amount that your medical doctor completes. They are trained to assess, diagnosis, treat, and prevent disorders of the spine, joints, muscle and nervous systems.
Chiropractors are also regulated primary health care professionals. They are one of only five classes of healthcare professionals in Ontario that are certified to use the title Doctor with all of its accompanying rights and obligations.
When should I see a chiropractor?
More than 4,000,000 Canadians visit a chiropractor each year for the treatment of work-related injuries, motor vehicle accidents, sports injuries, slips and falls at home, household chore injuries like snow shoveling or gardening, and conditions that arise from the stresses of daily living.
Eight out of ten Canadians will experience back pain at some point in their lives, and at least 1/3 of people in Ontario will have back pain at any given time. For many people, this pain can keep them from work, school,and other day-to-day activities. If pain causes interruptions and restrictions in your daily life, then you should ask a health care provider about chiropractic care.
Many patients also seek chiropractic treatment for wellness care. Here are some of the most common reasons why you might seek the care of a chiropractor:
- Low Back Pain
- Neck Pain
- Shoulder Pain
- Knee Pain
- Foot Pain
- Strains and Sprains
- Repetitive Strain Injuries
- Sports Injuries
- Work Injuries
- General health and well-being
What are the benefits of chiropractic care?
Chiropractic care has many benefits, and it can be an important part of a regular health regiment. Chiropractic care improves overall health in the following ways:
- Decrease muscle tension and improve movement in your neck, shoulders, and low back
- Provide relief from headaches, neck and back pain
- Help prevent work-related muscle and joint injuries
- Lead to enhanced athletic performance
- Improve flexibility and range of motion
- Relieve pregnancy-related back ache
- Correct gait and foot problems
What is a chiropractic adjustment?
An adjustment is a highly skilled and precise movement, usually applied by hand, to a joint on the body. Adjustments loosen the joint to restore proper movement and optimize function. When a joint is adjusted, a gas bubble escapes causing the popping or crack noise you may have heard about. This is a painless and beneficial process.
Are chiropractic adjustments safe?
Yes. 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. Complications are extremely rare and side effects are usually minor. Some patients may experience temporary pain, stiffness, or slight swelling, however most individuals experience immediate relief following an adjustment.
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.
Many extensive studies on this occurrence have been published by peer reviewed, top tier medical journals. Researchers generally agree that that stroke associated with neck adjustment is so rare that it is difficult to calculate an accurate risk. While estimates vary, a range of one to two events per 1,000,000,000 neck adjustments is the ratio generally accepted by the research community.
It should be noted that there are many risk factors for stroke, including blood clotting problems, hypertension, smoking, high cholesterol, birth control pills, heart conditions, and trauma, such as blows to the head. Some strokes happen spontaneously with no obvious cause.
Does chiropractic care require a referral from a medical doctor?
No. Chiropractors are legislated as primary contact health professionals in every province in Canada. This means that patients can consult them directly. Chiropractors often work closely with medical doctors; however, and your family doctor may suggest chiropractic services. Similarly, chiropractors frequently refer patients to medical doctors when necessary.
Will chiropractic care improve my athletic performance?
Yes. Many amateur and professional athletes use chiropractic treatment as part of their overall health care, fitness, and maintenance program. Chiropractic care improves muscle and joint conditioning and overall biomechanical function, which have a direct effect on an athletic performance. Finally, chiropractic treatment can help to prevent, and sometimes shorten, the healing time of injuries.
Does chiropractic care require X-rays?
X-rays can play an important role in the diagnosis of many treatable conditions. Chiropractors are highly trained in radiology, and can conduct X-rays when needed depending on each individual’s case history and physical examination.