The 20 Most Frequently Asked Questions about Chiropractic

How does Chiropractic Work?

Chiropractic works by restoring your body’s ability to be healthy. It does so by locating and removing interference (misaligned vertebrae) affecting your nervous system. When the nervous system is functioning optimally, your cells, tissues and organs are far more efficient at resisting disease and ill health; thus, the goal of chiropractic care is to remove any interference that may be impairing normal health. Through specific chiropractic adjustments, chiropractors help your body to heal itself.

What is Chiropractic Adjustment?

A chiropractic adjustment is defined as “the art of using a specific force in a precise direction, applied to a joint that is out of alignment, “Locked up,” or not moving properly. A chiropractic adjustment is a safe and natural procedure. By receiving an adjustment, you are actively trying to remove interference from the nervous system. In doing so, you are improving your spinal function, and overall health. Remember, not everyone receives the same form of adjustment. Different techniques and forces are used based on factors such as health, age, preferences and comfort.

Is Chiropractic Safe?

While past media attention may have painted at times a negative picture of the chiropractic profession, scientific literature provides solid evidence of chiropractic care efficacy and safety. Chiropractic’s excellent safety record is the result of a conservative and natural approach the health-one, which avoids invasive procedures and addictive drugs.

What Type of Education do Chiropractic Doctors Receive?

Chiropractic education and medical education are similar in many respects; however, there are some noticeable differences. Chiropractors do not prescribe drugs or perform invasive procedures. Instead, chiropractic doctors are trained to correct vertebral subluxations-their training, therefore, differs from that of a standard medical doctor. After graduating with a Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C) Degree, each candidate must pass National Board Examinations.

Is Chiropractic Care Expensive?

Chiropractic doctors provide effective, low-cost health care for a wide range of conditions. The Ontario Ministry of Health recently stated:

“On the evidence, particularly the most scientifically valid clinical studies, spinal manipulation applied by chiropractors is shown to be more effective than the alternative treatments for low back pain… There would be highly significant cost savings if more management of low back pain was transferred from physician to chiropractors.”

Furthermore, though chiropractic care was de-listed by the province of Ontario in 2004-most extended benefit programs continue to cover a portion of your chiropractic care.

What Can I Expect During My First Visits at a Chiropractic Office?

Though each chiropractor is different in their own respect, patients may commonly expect the following during the chiropractic evaluation process at our chiropractic office:

  • An overall health review and discussion of your health concerns and challenges
  • A complete chiropractic evaluation with state-of-the-art technologies to determine the current function of your spine and nervous system (x-rays may also be taken)
  • A detailed explanation of your test results and what it means to your health
  • A clear action plan to achieve your health goals
Will I Receive an Adjustment on my First Visit?

After completing a comprehensive examination, the doctor will explain the next steps in your care process. The doctor may need time to properly evaluate your exam results before care can begin. To put it simply, the initial consultation with a chiropractic doctor does not usually involve a chiropractic adjustment as the doctor will want to prepare your report of finding and have enough time to review it with you.

How Soon Can I Expect Pain Relief?

Although everyone experiences pain relief at their own pace, most patients report relief after only a few adjustments. How quickly a patient will experience pain relief depends on the severity of their condition, as well as how long they have been living with it. If an individual has been living with back pain for the majority of their life, it is unlikely that they will experience immediate pain relief after just one adjustment. Correcting problems that have developed over years takes time and will also depend on your current health and lifestyle habits

Can Chiropractic Help You?

Each year millions of people reap the benefits of chiropractic care-the most popular natural, drug-free healthcare system in the world. While back & neck pain, and headaches are the most popular symptoms of spinal misalignment, many people may not even be aware of it. A thorough chiropractic examination can show you the location and severity of the subluxations throughout the body, and determine if chiropractic care is right for you.

What is the Role of a Wellness Chiropractor?

The primary objective of your chiropractor is to locate, correct and prevent spinal subluxations thus allowing your full expression of life. By minimizing the effects of subluxation, your wellness chiropractor strives to:

  • Improve the function of your spine and enable you to be active, energetic and at your best.
  • Restore, and maintain your nervous system so that every cell, tissue and organ in your body can function optimally.
  • Keep the communication channels open between your body, mind and spirit.
  • Minimize the effects of spinal subluxation and improve your body’s ability to heal and self-regulate.
  • Help you lead a wellness lifestyle that addresses the dimensions of stresses in your life (physical, biochemical and psychological).
How Can I Explain Chiropractic to My Family and Friends?

Your friends and family may be curious as to what chiropractic care is all about. To explain it simply, our brain, which controls absolutely everything in our bodies, sends signals down the spinal cord. These signals allow our bodies to move and function. If any of the spine’s vertebrae are misaligned, unwanted pressure is placed on the spinal cord and nerves. Such misalignment can result in a multitude of negative symptoms, such as back pain, headaches, and so on. A chiropractor gently removes the pressure on the nerves by gently and safely adjusting the spine-alleviating negative symptoms, and aiding the body to correct itself. Chiropractic is one of the best kept health secrets!

What Steps Can I Take to Maximize My Chiropractic Results?

Your Chiropractor has spent many years learning the most effective techniques for getting you well; however, your chiropractor is merely a catalyst. Without your help, your results will be limited. Follow your chiropractor’s recommendations closely, and be sure to take full advantage of all offered workshops and information sessions, for they are designed to help you get well and stay well.

How Long Will My Body Take to Heal?

This question is difficult to answer, for each and every individual heals at a different pace. Your chiropractor will definitely provide you with some form of timeline, based on his or her experience; however, it is important to note that your body does the healing-not solely your chiropractor. This means that your body will prioritize the healing. For example, if your lower back is sore and you have digestive problems, your body may prioritize healing to your GI tract. Since both of these areas are under the control of the nerves in your lower back, priority will be given to the issue more critical to your overall health.

Will I Be Sore After an Adjustment?

Typically, patients report feeling much better than they did prior to their chiropractic adjustment; however, this is not always the case. Approximately 10% of patients will report feeling sore after an adjustment. If certain spinal bones have not moved properly in a long time, and are then mobilized with a specific chiropractic adjustment, the muscles and soft tissues surrounding the joint may become sore. This is similar to how your body reacts to exercise, when one returns to the gym after sending the winter in hibernation. If you happen to experience tenderness after an adjustment, simply apply ice to the affected area for 10-15 minutes every hour until the pain lessens.

What Causes that Popping Sound During an Adjustment?

Lubricating fluids separate the vertebrae of each spinal joint. Some adjusting methods produce a sound when the gas and fluids in the joint shift. The sound is comparable to that which is made when someone “cracks” their knuckles. To be clear, not all techniques render a “popping sound”. Moreover, the presence or absence of that sound means little to the effectiveness of the adjustment.

What is the Difference between Corrective Care and Relief Care?

Most people go to the chiropractor because they are experiencing some form of pain; thus, in the first phase of care, the main goal of the chiropractor is to reduce the pain experienced by patients (this is known as relief care). Sometimes this will require daily visits, or two to three visits per week for a time. When you being chiropractic care, pain is the first symptom to disappear; however, the underlying condition remains. It is important to remember that pain is a poor indicator of health, and although one may not feel pain this does not mean that they are necessarily healthy.

Because of this, it is important that patients continue to see their chiropractor even if they are no longer experiencing symptoms-this can be referred to as the corrective/restorative phase of chiropractic care. During this phase of care, you will not receive adjustments as often as you did during the first phase. Moreover, depending on your particular circumstance, your chiropractor may suggest that you do exercises and stretches to help accelerate your healing. It is important to note, that mild flare-ups are common during this phase, for your body has not fully healed. Depending on how long you have been suffering from a certain condition, this phase of your care may last anywhere from a few months to a few years.

Does My Insurance Cover My Chiropractic Care?

Most supplementary insurance plans cover some percentage of your chiropractic care. Check with your insurance benefits advisor to determine the portion that will be covered. If you have been in an automobile accident, your vehicle insurance coverage should include chiropractic care and physiotherapy. If you don’t have insurance coverage, this is not a reason to put off chiropractic care, your health affects everything you do and it is your most valuable possession. 

Can’t I Just Do Yoga or Other Stretching Exercises to Correct My Spine?

To put it simply – no. Although exercise is an important part of good health, without normal spinal function a physical workout merely puts additional wear and tear on improperly functioning spinal joints. While yoga and stretching may be valuable in your recovery process, it is important that you check with your chiropractor before attempting any exercise that may be stressful on your spine.