Fact vs. Fiction on Chiropractic

What is chiropractic?

Chiropractic is a branch of the healing arts based upon the understanding that good health depends, in part, upon a normally functioning nervous system (especially the spine, and the nerves extending from the spine to all parts of the body). "Chiropractic" comes from the Greek word chiropraktikos, meaning "effective treatment by hand." Chiropractic stresses the idea that the cause of many disease processes begins with the body's inability to adapt to its environment. It looks to address these diseases not by the use of drugs and chemicals, but by locating and adjusting a musculoskeletal area of the body which is functioning improperly.

What education and training do doctors of chiropractic receive?
After completing the same prerequisites for medical school, chiropractors attend Chiropractic College for 4 years. A minimum of 7 years are spent preparing the chiropractor for their role as health care leaders. They receive an education that emphasizes neuromuscular diagnosis and treatment. Preparation for the practice of chiropractic is concentrated on three areas of learning; basic training in the biological and health sciences (anatomy, physiology, histology, biochemistry, clinical and radiological diagnosis); specialized training in the chiropractic discipline (theoretical studies, practice, diagnosis and applications); and extensive clinical training.

What conditions benefit from chiropractic care?
Although chiropractic is used most frequently to relieve low back pain, studies have found it to be effective for a variety of conditions, such as migraine/headaches, neck and shoulder pain, athletic injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome, fibromyalgia, and infantile colic.

Have studies been published showing what chiropractic is effective for?
Several studies have documented the effectiveness of chiropractic in relieving back pain. The Manga Report, a Canadian study, sampled a majority of the research on the topic and concluded that chiropractic adjustments were found to be the most effective & cost-effective form of treatment for low back pain.

Is Chiropractic safe?
Chiropractic adjustments are extremely safe. One of the largest misconceptions out there is that chiropractic care is dangerous. This is simply not blue. The profession is based on anatomy, physiology, biomechanics and most importantly, research!

What can I expect on my first visit?
The first thing a chiropractor will do is ask you about the health complaints about which you are chiefly concerned. The DC will also ask about your family history, dietary habits, other care you may have had (chiropractic, osteopathic, medical, etc.), your job, and other questions designed to help determine the nature of your illness and the best way to go about treating the problem.  A physical examination will be performed in accordance with your DC's clinical judgment, which may include x-rays, laboratory analysis and other diagnostic procedures. In addition, a careful spinal examination and analysis will be performed to detect any structural abnormalities which may be affecting or causing your condition. All of these elements are important components of your total health profile, and vital to the doctor of chiropractic in evaluating your problem.

What is an adjustment?
An adjustment is the procedure used to correct spinal misalignments, called subluxations. It is known in the medical community as spinal manipulation, although the chiropractic adjustment is performed specifically by chiropractors with 4 years of extensive education in this type of treatment.

What is a "subluxation"?
A subluxation is a misalignment of the bones that house and protect the spinal cord. Any misalignment puts unnecessary pressure on the nerve system and cuts off the nerve supply to different parts of the body. Vertebral subluxations that are left undetected and unadjusted for months and years can lead to symptoms of pain, diseases, and an unhealthy expression of life.

How do I know when I am subluxated?
It is not easy knowing when you are subluxated, although a pain of some kind can be a clue. Abnormal posture including one shoulder higher than the other, hips not level or a head forward past the shoulders can also be indicative of a subluxation. Like the early stages of tooth decay or cancer, subluxations can be present without pain signals. This means that you can suffer from subluxations for years without any painful warning signs. However, allowing subluxations to exist in your body can negatively impact the functions of the organs in your body, which leads
to a deterioration of your health. A chiropractor can detect the subluxations with their trained hands, and can correct them properly.

How did I get "subluxated"?
A person can become subluxated in a wide variety of ways. Simple things like sleeping, sitting, and standing can contribute to subluxations. Often, people develop their first subluxation during birth when the doctors use force of up to 60 to 100 pounds to aid the delivery. Normal childhood activities such as spills from the bike, sledding, playing ball, and any other activity that results in a jarring fall, all result in subluxations in children. Because subluxations don'toften cause pain, people do not know they are there and thus do not get them fixed until after major damagehas been done, at which point the pain usually begins to be felt.

Will this cure my back/neck pain?
While correcting subluxations might bring you relief from pain, the goal of the chiropractor is not to merely fix painful backs and necks, but to enable the body to function optimally without any interference from subluxations. Correcting subluxations opens up a whole new world of wellness and health care because the body is able to function as it was designed to. Relief from back and neck pain, which are the most common symptoms that bring people into a chiropractor's office, might come about from the adjustments, but there are no guarantees. However, living with subluxations is like trying to ride a bike with one hand, you are only half as effective as you would be if you had the full use of both hands. 

When can I expect to feel better?
Different patients have different healing times. Some experience relief within 1-2 weeks; others notice changes before the end of the first month. Healing is sometimes dependent on the length of time a patient has had the problem.

Do I have to keep coming back forever?
No! You can continue your care as long as YOU want to be healthy. I cannot force you to come in. If you choose to let symptoms be your guide, that is YOUR choice. I will merely try to educate you on how your body works and why it makes sense to have your spine checked regularly. Your spine is the largest complex organ in your body. It pays high dividends
when it is maintained properly. Symptoms usually subside in the first 4-6 weeks. You have the option of discontinuing care when the symptoms subside or you can continue with what we call maintenance care. The purpose of maintenance care is to keep your spine healthy and to avoid a reoccurrence of a back-related problem. Just as you go to the dentist for regular checkups, having your spine checked is just as important, if not more so. The choice is always yours.

What is that “cracking” sound?
That "cracking" sound is air, gas & fluid escaping from the joint. It is the same thing that happens when you crack your knuckles. The patient's bones do NOT crack.

 Do I have to have x-rays?
We will determine if films are necessary during the initial examination. X-rays help establish a diagnosis. They are the blue prints to your spine.

Will chiropractic straighten my spine?
Again, this is not the goal of chiropractic, but it can be the result. It depends on what is causing the spine to NOT be straight. If the cause is a lot of arthritis and degeneration, it is unlikely that the spine can be straightened. If the cause is related to muscle tightness, there is a much greater chance that the spine can be straightened.

Is chiropractic good for children, pets or elderly people?
Chiropractic is good for all patients, human and animal alike because chiropractic care centres on the spine. Particularly, it is good to get children checked out after the birthing process as it alone can be rather traumatic. Also, children tend to fall a lot so it is a good idea to have their spines check on a monthly basis to ensure a healthy spine. As the twig is bent, so grows the tree.

Will BC Medical or Extended Insurance cover chiropractic?
As of January 2002 BC Medical no longer covers essential forms of treatment such as chiropractic other than those who qualify for “premium assistance” – those registered as earning under $20,000 per year.
Most extended insurance plans cover chiropractic & custom orthotics. This coverage is a bonus though as the lack of insurance should not deter you from bringing your family in for good spinal hygiene.

Have your questions about Chiropractic & Massage Therapy in Vancouver answered by calling 604-733-7744 or by filling out the form below:

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