What is Chiropractic Medicine?
Chiropractic medicine, sometimes simply referred to as “chiropractic”, is a hands-on therapeutic practice that bases its treatment on the manipulation of the musculoskeletal system. Chiropractors are able to diagnose, treat and give preventive care for ailments in the spine, joints, nerves and pelvic area.
What Does a Chiropractor Do?
Chiropractic medicine is tailored to each patient.
After doing an initial examination and arriving at a diagnosis, the chiropractic practitioner will tailor a treatment plan, as well as make recommendations regarding exercise types, additional therapies, nutrition and lifestyle counselling.
Spinal manipulation is one of the more common therapies that a chiropractor will perform, yet it requires specific training to allow the chiropractor to provide exact adjustments to the vertebrae. This is a non-invasive therapeutic procedure that allows the chiropractor to alleviate pain or discomfort even enable them to restore and improve bodily function.
Chiropractors will sometimes use other therapy types, including massage, heat treatments, ultrasound or Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy. What they will not do is perform surgery or issue prescription drugs.
Why Seek a Chiropractor?
There are a number of reasons to seek the help of a chiropractor, including:
- Back pain
- Neck pain
- Headache(inc. migraines)
- Car accident injuries
- Strains and sprains
- Repetitive strain injuries
- Work and sports injuries
- Restricted movement in the back, shoulders, neck or limbs
- General health and wellbeing
In Canada, individuals training to become chiropractors have to complete at least three years of post-secondary education, along with four years at a chiropractic college. In the last years of their education, would-be practitioners are expected to complete a practicum in a supervised clinic.
What You Can Expect from Your Chiropractor
All patients will undergo an initial examination and assessment before a course of treatment can be decided upon. In this assessment, you will be expected to share information like your health history (including that of your family members), any surgeries or injuries you may have sustained and any medications you may be taking.
For this reason, the initial visit will take longer than other visits will. In some cases, if the chiropractor feels that one session is inadequate for the assessment, they may suggest a second. During the examination, the chiropractor may examine your posture and your range of motion and reflexes, among other things.
It’s important to note that not all chiropractors will use the same set of therapies or techniques. In addition, if you have questions about either the diagnosis or the treatment plan, you should ask so that there are no miscommunications.
Are There Any Safety Concerns?
Since chiropractic medicine is already a non-invasive practice, the potential safety concern is quite low. Most people experience relief from pain or discomfort after their session, but it is possible for a patient to experience a small amount of soreness that resolves itself quickly.