Chiropractic QA's Q&A's: What is Chiropractic?
Chiropractic is a branch of the health field that is concerned with the musculoskeletal, neurological and structural integrity of the human body. Chiropractors assess disorders related to the spine, nervous system, and joints of the extremities and provide diagnosis, treatment and prevention of those disorders.
Chiropractic looks to address these disorders not by the use of drugs and chemicals, but by locating and adjusting a musculoskeletal area of the body which is functioning improperly. Chiropractic today is one of the largest primary-contact health care professions in Canada with over 5,000 practicing chiropractors. Approximately four and a half million Canadians use the services of a chiropractor each year.
I was told I should see a chiropractor, but I'm nervous about it. I mean, what exactly are chiropractors?
Chiropractors are doctors who practice the art of healing by adjusting, or manipulating, the spinal column. A healthy, well aligned spinal column moving with full range of motion allows the nervous system to perform properly, which is vital because it controls every function of your body. To be licensed, chiropractors must have completed three years of university followed by four years at chiropractic college.
What conditions do chiropractors treat?
The vast majority of patients who seek chiropractic care do so for complaints of the musculoskeletal system, most often for conditions affecting the spine. Low back pain, neck pain (e.g. whiplash), headaches, migraines, carpal tunnel syndrome, and jaw pain are some of the conditions that are commonly seen at a chiropractor's office. In addition to reducing pain, chiropractic is also concerned with correcting and maintaining the function of the spine so that the body's musculoskeletal and neurological system will perform optimally and help to ensure a natural state of health and well-being.
Does it hurt to get your spine adjusted?
Not at all. Chiropractic adjustments are comfortable and safe for the whole family, from infants to pregnant women and the elderly, For hundreds of thousands of Canadians, visiting a chiropractor is just routine - like regular dental check-ups.
If I go to see a chiropractor, will I be expected to keep going?
That's entirely up to you. Some people only want to be treated for a specific pain or illness, and when the symptoms disappear they stop going. Others use the chiropractic care to fully correct the underlying cause of the symptoms and to remain feeling really well. Like a car, your body has constant stress and wear, and it benefits from a 'tune-up'. However, which treatment approach you want is always your choice.
Every doctor I know refers patients to other specialists. Do chiropractors do this?
Yes, like other doctors, chiropractors refer patients to other professionals when they feel it is appropriate. Chiropractors are extremely well-trained to recognize risk factors as well as individual disease patterns and will not hesitate to make a referral when it is in the best interest of your health.
Should I volunteer additional information or concerns to my chiropractor?
Yes, by all means let your chiropractor know everything you think is important. This could include any health histories in your family that are similar or any new symptoms you feel are related. An open line of communication between you and your chiropractor is vital to maximize the potential benefit and safety of your care.