Chiropractors and Treatment
Chiropractic doctors are primary contact healthcare professionals that provide non-invasive, hands-on treatments. Chiropractors practice a manual approach utilizing skilled, combination of hands-on techniques for treatment and preventative care for disorders related to the extremities, spine, pelvis, and the neuromusculoskeletal system.
What do Chiropractors treat?
Chiropractors treat conditions relating to the neurological, muscular and skeletal systems of the body. They diagnose and treat disorders of the spine and extremities.
Here is a partial list of conditions that are managed conservatively by chiropractors:
- Postural dysfunction
- Joint Dysfunction
- Acute or chronic neck and back pain
- Tendonitis/tendinosis such as rotator cuff injury, golfers, tennis elbow and Achilles pain
- Repetitive strain injuries that may be work or sport-related
- Nerve entrapment/pinched nerve such as carpal tunnel syndrome and disc herniations
- Chronic exertional compartment syndrome
- Plantar fasciitis
- Thoracic outlet syndrome
What to expect during the first Chiropractic visit?
Chiropractors will take a detailed health history during the first visit, prior to initial treatment. This will include details on lifestyle and risk factors to give the Chiropractor a full picture of the patient’s health in order to determine the best treatment. Following the history, a physical exam is completed that includes functional, neurological and orthopedic testing as well as a postural assessment. Once a plan of management is determined based on your specific diagnosis, the Chiropractor will choose the best approach for your specific condition and treatment goals. Throughout your plan of management, your Chiropractor can also give you information and guidance on how you can stay healthy through proper nutrition, exercise and lifestyle changes.
What is a Chiropractic adjustment?
A Chiropractic adjustment, also known as manipulation, is the use of a specific force in a precise direction that helps normalize joint motion and restore function. A “cavitation” or a “pop” may be associated with an adjustment. Cavitation is a process of releasing pressure between our joints and is associated with a sound or a “pop”. This sound comes from the release of oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide gases that form a bubble when space forms within the joint, for example when you physically stretch your finger out to the extreme. This process allows waste products to be flushed out of our joint fluids while nutrients enter and therefore contributes to the overall health of the joint. The purpose of an adjustment is to restore motion to allow optimal joint congruency and elicit a positive effect on the nervous system. This will help reduce wear and tear and avoid bone and soft tissue degeneration. When nervous system function improves in this way, the body can begin the natural healing process.
What is the process on becoming a Chiropractor?
Chiropractors are regulated, primary healthcare practitioners, with an emphasis on neuromusculoskeletal diagnosis and treatment. The Doctor of Chiropractic degree is a 4-year extensive program at an accredited college that consists of 4500 hours of academic and clinical education. Becoming a chiropractor in Canada requires a minimum of 7 years of post-secondary education.
What is the process on becoming a Sports Chiropractor?
Completion of a Chiropractic degree is required for the application process into the post-graduate Sports Fellowship Program. This program is offered through the Royal College of Chiropractic Sports Sciences. This is a 2-4 year intensive program that includes completion of 1) sports psychology, sports nutrition, advanced imaging, high performance evaluation & testing, research methodologies & biostatistics and sports injury management courses; 2) 1000 hours of clinical placements and field work; 3) four book reviews and case reports that are publishable quality; 4) sports first responder course and 5) a thesis or dissertation publishable quality. Once program is completed, residents may sit for the fellowship exam.
To give you a comparison, take your local Medical Doctor. He or she has been studying for years to meet the requirements of becoming a General Practitioner. To specialize in Sports Medicine, that Doctor would have to go back to school and complete the requirements for a specialist designation. This may take anywhere from 2-4 years of specialized training after medical school is completed.
A General Practitioner of Medicine may have a broad understanding of how the musculoskeletal system works, but unless they are certified in the specialized field of Sports Medicine – they can’t claim to be one.
Unless you’re a certified Sports Specialist chiropractor, you can only say you ‘treat’ sports injuries.
In Canada, a Sports Specialist Chiropractor must undergo an additional 2-4 year post-graduate degree on top of their chiropractic training. A Sports Specialist, as the name implies, puts emphasis on the treatment of injuries sustained through physical activity. Basically, this covers any injury you might sustain while playing your sport of choice.
A Sports Specialist chiropractor not only treat backs and necks – they also specialize in the treatment of the extremities.
What is evidence-based chiropractic care?
Evidence based chiropractic care (EBC) relies on scientific evidence to validate knowledge and clinical expertise. Chiropractors that endorse this type of practice have developed, since their undergraduate studies, specific research skills that they use as professionals to make effective clinical decisions. Evidence-based medicine integrates the patient’s preference along with clinical expertise that is supported by evidence from research, all for the goal of providing optimal patient care. What makes evidence-based practice significant is that patient input is an essential part of the treatment process and it has progressed to be known as the golden standard of care amongst health care professionals. The constant use of updated knowledge based on current evidence and findings essentially helps lead to more valid diagnostic protocols amongst chiropractors and takes priority over traditional beliefs all for the sake of providing the best care for patients. While evidence-based care may present barriers for traditional based chiropractors as it requires time, an understanding in research terminology, access to research papers, and understanding the impact of research on clinical practice, adopting this approach is becoming increasingly praised. What makes EBC different from traditional chiropractic care is that it strives to reach a maximum level of recovery for the patient as quickly and economically as possible.
Haneline, M. T. (2006). Evidence-based chiropractic practice. Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Villanueva-Russell, Y. (2005). Evidence-based medicine and its implications for the profession of chiropractic. Social science & medicine,60(3), 545-561.
For further information regarding chiropractic care, please visit www.chiropracticcanada.ca.