Chiropractic Frequently Asked Questions

Is chiropractic safe?
Studies from around the world have determined chiropractic care to be remarkably safe. There is not only a very low risk of injury, but chiropractic care can also be used to avoid invasive surgeries and addictive drugs – leading the industry to consider it a conservative delivery of health care. Chiropractors always put safety at the forefront of their patients’ treatment plans. A thorough case history and physical examination of each patient is carried out to evaluate their health history, the cause of their problem and any underlying conditions that would prevent a safe adjustment from being given.
Are Chiropractors well educated and trained?
Before practicing chiropractic, Alberta Doctors of Chiropractic complete a four year, 4500 hour curriculum of specialized instruction and hands-on training at an accredited Chiropractic College. This is after completing an undergraduate degree and/or the required prerequisite courses.  In order to earn the privilege to practice they must also pass National Board and Clinical Competency exams. In Alberta, chiropractic is a regulated health profession that is governed by legislation and required to comply with standards of practice laid out by the College of Chiropractors of Alberta.
Is chiropractic accepted within the medical community?
In the past, there was some skepticism towards chiropractic within the medical community, but research findings have changed the attitudes of many physicians.  Increasing numbers of medical doctors and health care providers are recognizing the benefits of chiropractic care, and many refer their patients to Chiropractors.
What is an adjustment?
The chiropractic adjustment is the art of applying a specific thrust in a precise direction to a fixated, locked or improperly moving joint. The adjustment is most usually applied with the practitioner’s hands, but it can also be applied with a hand held instrument or with the use of a chiropractic table. Some methods of adjusting are quick, while others are slow and gradual. After years of training and clinical experience, Chiropractors become highly skilled in the art and science of adjusting.

The adjustment can release adhesions that have formed around the joint, and can help restore the joint to the position that is most conducive to fluid motion. The adjustment will directly improve spinal function, and may indirectly improve the function of the nervous system, which benefits the individual’s general health and well being.

Are all patients adjusted the same way?
Every patient’s spinal structure and genetic blueprint are unique – as are the environment and stresses that each patient experiences. Chiropractors evaluate each patient’s unique spinal problem and then develop an individualized program of care. Your Chiropractor will determine how you are adjusted and will recommend a course of care suitable for you – and only you.

Can I adjust myself?
It is virtually impossible to adjust yourself. Even your Chiropractor must seek out the services of a colleague to help restore and maintain their own spinal function. Although it is possible to bend and twist your neck or back to create a ‘popping’ or ‘cracking’ sound, this is not the result of an adjustment but is probably due to instability in the spine. The best way to enjoy the healthful benefits of chiropractic is to see your Chiropractor.

Why should I continue chiropractic care?
While it is ultimately up to you how long you benefit from chiropractic care, there are a number of reasons to continue with treatment. First, research suggests that the ligaments and muscles that support your spine continue to heal after your symptoms are gone. Continuing with chiropractic care encourages more complete healing – ensuring a more thorough and lasting recovery.

Second, rehabilitative care continues to retrain and strengthen your spine, which helps in avoiding a relapse of the problem that you initially sought help for. Continued chiropractic care helps to establish healthy patterns and can help in avoiding the reoccurrence of acute flare-ups.

Third, our bodies encounter common stresses on a daily basis. Long periods of sitting, mental stresses, toxic environments and many other everyday activities can stress your spine. Many of the degenerative processes that result from uncorrected spinal problems may be slowed, stopped or even reversed with regular spinal check-ups.

Fourth, continuing your care can save money. Regular chiropractic check-ups can help you avoid the expense of correcting serious problems that could have been prevented.

Do I need a chiropractor if I exercise?
Exercise is very important in maintaining good health. But while it can keep muscles strong and the body healthy, it can also expose underlying problems and even create injuries – this is where your Chiropractor can help. In the same way that someone who brushes their teeth still needs a dentist, someone who takes care of their body with exercise will still benefit from chiropractic care.

Why do children need chiropractic care?
Chiropractic care is safe for children, and can help them in much the same way that it helps adults. Significant spinal trauma can occur at birth, leading many parents to have their newborns checked for the Vertebral Subluxation Complex – the most common spinal problem affecting new babies.

Later in life, learning to walk, riding a bike and many other childhood activities can cause spinal problems. A fall, aside from the obvious scrapes or bruises, can cause twisting and shearing forces to the spinal column, creating less obvious injuries to the child. Many of the childhood complaints that are brushed off as ‘growing pains’ can often be traced to the spine, and these conditions can worsen by degenerative processes if not addressed promptly.

Do I have a pinched nerve?
While many people see a Chiropractor because they think they have a pinched nerve, pinched nerves are actually a rare occurrence. Researchers suggest that pinched nerves cause only 10% to 15% of spinal related problems. When these cases do occur, it’s because a bone is putting direct pressure on nerve tissue, with those affected experiencing sensations of burning, numbness and/or ‘pins and needles’.  In most cases, spinal problems are caused by irritated nerves, which can be caused by the loss of spinal curve, malfunctioning spinal joints or when nerve tissue is rubbed, scraped or stretched.

Do I have a slipped disc?
The term ‘slipped’ disc is . Because the fibres connecting the disc to the bone are stronger than the disc itself, discs cannot slip from the surface of a bone. Instead, an injury to the spine can tear, bulge, herniate or even rupture a disc. This bulging can put direct pressure on the nerves leaving the spinal column or even on the spinal chord itself. If severe, this kind of damage can lead to surgery.

While no guarantees are possible with any form of health care, many patients have avoided unnecessary surgeries or dependency on pain medications by choosing chiropractic care. Due to the inherent risks associated with surgery, conservative care should always be the first priority when considering surgical procedures.