What is a chiropractic adjustment?
What is the cracking sound?
Is chiropractic safe?
What kind of education do Chiropractors have?
What kinds of things can chiropractic help me with?
Is chiropractic safe during pregnancy?
Will I have to do exercises?
What can I expect on my first visit?
Once I go to the Chiropractor, do I have to go forever?
How soon will I be better?
What are the different types of care I can receive?
What is the risk with neck adjustment?
Do I have to have my neck adjusted?
Chiropractors are highly skilled in the hands-on art of spinal adjustment. An adjustment involves applying a specific force in a precise direction to a joint that is troublesome (for instance, it may be locked-up or not moving properly). The purpose of the adjustment is to help restore a more normal position or motion, often relieving pain. Using this technique, Chiropractors can treat any joint in your body…from your spine all the way out to your fingers and toes. Treatment is always within your comfort level and often can be quite relaxing.
Chiropractic treatment involves the manipulation of joints, with the goal of decreasing pain by improving movement and function within that joint. When a joint is adjusted (moved), there is a natural change in the internal pressure of that joint. This change results in the release of gas normally dissolved in the fluid which lubricates the joint. The release of this gas may produce a “crack” or “pop” sound similar to that produced when you open a can of soda.
Research continues to support the safety and efficacy of chiropractic treatment. Chiropractors do not use drugs or surgery, which have their place but may produce side effects and complications. The one chiropractic treatment with any significant risk of harm is adjustment of the cervical spine (neck manipulation). As each patient is unique, each treatment and each adjustment is unique as well. Your age, size and individual problem will determine which technique(s) will best put you on the road to feeling better.
Before Chiropractors can lay their hands on you, they’ve first laid their eyes on hundreds of books. They’ve studied for at least five years at university and post-graduate levels (at a Chiropractic college). Anatomy, physiology, pathology, neurology, biomechanics, X-rays and spinal adjusting techniques are just a handful of the topics they’ve studied. Before receiving their Doctor designation, Chiropractic students undergo an intensive and closely supervised internship program at a Chiropractic College Clinic, where they gain and perfect valuable skills and also learn when referral to other disciplines is warranted. Prior to being able to open their door to you, Chiropractors must pass rigorous National and Provincial Licensing Board examinations.
Chiropractors treat problems of the musculoskeletal system. This includes lower back pain, neck pain, headaches, disk herniations, plantar fascitis, jaw problems, muscle strains and sciatica. You do not always have to be in pain to consult a Chiropractor. With their unique vantage point, our Doctors can help you reduce the stress on the musculoskeletal system. Since this system uses a large percentage of the body’s energy, optimizing the function of this system can have wide reaching effects on other aspects of your health. You may be interested in prevention of a problem. You may want to learn more about your body. You may want to improve your quality of life. These are all good reasons to consider consulting a Chiropractor.
As the body changes very rapidly during pregnancy, there is a large amount of stress placed on the musculoskeletal system. The joints in the body try to compensate for these changes, and as a result, they are often sore and stiff. Your Chiropractor has special techniques that will help make you comfortable during all the stages of pregnancy. Chiropractic is safe for both the mother and fetus and often helps to reduce those “typical pregnancy” aches and pains.
To optimize the effects of treatment, stretching and strengthening programs are almost always initiated. As always, the choice to follow instructions plays a very important role in both recovery and long-term prognosis/outcome. Continuing with your individualized exercise program can help you minimize the occurrence of future episodes. This leaves you more time and energy to do the things you want to do.
Prior to meeting with the Chiropractor, you will be asked to complete a New Patient Admission Form. Using this form as a guide, you and the Chiropractor will discuss your health history in detail. This will be followed by a full physical examination. Your Chiropractor will then decide if further testing, such as x-rays or blood work, is required. You will then be presented with a report of findings, outlining your specific problem, treatment options and prognosis. Questions are always welcome. Your first visit includes time to initiate treatment if you decide chiropractic care is right for you. At the close of the visit, you will be given a few specific instructions to help make achieving your goal easier.
The choice to continue chiropractic care is always up to you. Although pain is the most common reason people initially go to the Chiropractor, chiropractic treatment often helps people reach an improved state of health. They have less pain, greater freedom of movement, better sleeping patterns and an improved sense of well being. The daily rigors of life such as computer work, commuting, stress and lack of time for one’s self are hard on the body. Many people use chiropractic “maintenance care” to function at a better state of health. The frequency of treatment depends on other lifestyle factors such as exercise, stress reduction and nutrition to name a few.
This is one of the most common questions we are asked. To provide you with realistic expectations, many factors affecting your recovery time must be taken into consideration, including:
- acute vs. chronic pain
- first episode or recurrent problem
- history of previous injuries
- general health
- general fitness level ( strength, flexibility and cardiovascular health)
- poor postural hygiene
- lifestyle (work, diet, sleep)
- patient comprehension and compliance with recommendations
- kept appointments
- stress (physical/mental/chemical)
- family history
These factors and your individual health goals combine to structure the frequency and duration of your care.
Some people are looking strictly for symptom relief while others are interested in long-term strategies to maintain good health. There are three stages of care.
Initial Intensive Care (Crisis Management): The primary goal is symptom or pain relief. Depending on the severity of the problem, you may be treated as little as once a week or as often as every day.
Rehabilitative Care: The focus here is on correcting or eliminating the source of the problem. This minimizes your likelihood of a relapse. Treatment frequency starts to decrease and you are advised on home/office self-care to help support this process. You will notice further improvement in your range of movement, flexibility, strength, energy level and/or general health.
Wellness Care: You have now returned to your pre-injury/illness state. Acknowledging that daily stresses and strains wear us all down, you choose to maintain an optimal level of functioning with periodic checkups. Depending on the factors listed above, you may receive maintenance treatments anywhere from one to six months.
Remember, how long you choose to continue care is always up to you.
There is a rare risk of stroke or stroke-like symptoms associated with adjustment of the neck. Reports on the subject over the past 40 years present a range of estimates based on different research methodologies. However, all the published studies to date agree that the risk is extremely low. Overall, a ratio of one to two cases per one million neck adjustments represents a conservative and generally recognized estimate. There are many risk factors for stroke including blood clotting problems, hypertension, smoking, high cholesterol, use of birth control pills, heart problems and trauma such as sports injuries or blows to the head from accident. All carry a greater degree of risk than spinal adjustment.
After a thorough history and examination, your Chiropractor will discuss your treatment options with you. There are alternatives to neck adjustments that some people prefer. The risks associated with each type of treatment will also be discussed, allowing you to make an informed decision about your health care.