Chiropractic FAQs

What is chiropractic?

The word “chiropractic” comes from ancient Greek and means “done by hand.” Chiropractic 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.

Chiropractic 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 counseling, and recommend rehabilitation and injury prevention strategies.

Chiropractic care cannot “cure” every ailment, but there is some evidence to indicate that chiropractic adjustments may have a beneficial effect on a variety of conditions. Chiropractic adjustment may alleviate some of the secondary or referred pain, arising from the response of the musculoskeletal structures to the primary cause.

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.

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.

Chiropractors are legislated as primary contact health 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.

Chiropractors complete an intensive four to five year full-time program following university studies or graduation from CEGEP in Quebec. All chiropractors must pass national qualifying examinations and be provincially licensed in order to practice in Canada. Chiropractors are trained to take a medical history and assess your condition before making a diagnosis and proposing a treatment plan. Your chiropractor is trained to determine if a neck adjustment is right for you. He or she may decide to use massage, exercise or other therapies to treat your condition.

Part of the first chiropractic visit is the process of obtaining consent to treat you. Your chiropractor will explain the risks and benefits associated with treatment, and it is up to you to decide if you would still like to proceed. If you do not wish to receive an adjustment but still want treatment, there are alternatives to treatment such as mobilizations, which do not involve as much pressure and does not usually result in a cavitation (the ‘popping’ sound you hear, much like cracking your knuckles). The treatment you receive is entirely up to you, and your chiropractor will tailor the treatment to suit you and your specific needs.

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. Prior to any adjustment it is imperative that a physical examination is performed to determine what type of adjustment is required. Adjustments (Spinal Manipulative Therapy) have 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.

What’s the deal with Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is among the oldest healing practices in the world. It is a method of encouraging the body to promote natural healing and to improve functioning.

Medical Acupuncture has become a huge part of our practice due to its ability to treat a variety of conditions non-invasively. Over the last 20 years there has been conclusive evidence recognizing the effectiveness of acupuncture. In fact, in the summer of 2000, Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital opened an acupuncture clinic in its Wasser Pain Management Centre to treat patients suffering from chronic pain.

Get the answers to common questions

Does acupuncture hurt?
Where do the needles go?
Do all chiropractors perform acupuncture?