An Introduction to Chiropractic Health Care
When do you need a chiropractor? If you’ve got back pain from sitting all day at work, neck pain from sleeping the wrong way or chronic pain that never seems to go away. If you’ve been injured in a car accident or have suffered a sports-related or work injury, a chiropractor can be a good first step in relieving your pain and discomfort.
In addition to these scenarios, there are plenty of other reasons to see a chiropractor. Below is an overview of chiropractic health care and the things you should know before booking your first appointment.
What is a Chiropractor and What Do They Do?
A chiropractor is a registered health care professional specializing in relieving back, neck, and soft tissue pain primarily through manual (hands-on) manipulation of the body’s musculoskeletal structure (spinal adjustments, in other words). Yet, there is a bit more to it than that.
Chiropractors combine spinal adjustment techniques with joint manipulation, soft tissue therapy, rehabilitation exercises, and more to provide pain relief, movement and optimal function for their patients. Essentially, chiropractors find the root cause of your pain by zeroing in on your joints, muscles, ligaments, tendons and bones.
Chiropractic procedures are typically intended to provide fast pain relief for muscles, joints, bones and connective tissues (cartilage, ligaments and tendons), for making sure that pain doesn’t return and optimizing function through movement. Many people view seeing a chiropractor as a welcome alternative to taking drugs or undergoing invasive surgeries.
History of the Chiropractic Profession
While there is evidence to suggest that some chiropractic maneuvers have been around since the time of the ancient Greeks, chiropractic care as it is practiced today was founded in 1895 by D.D. Palmer, said to be the discoverer of chiropractic methods and the founder of the chiropractic profession. Like most medical professions, the chiropractic profession has grown from its initial roots to provide scientific, evidence-based care to patients.
In North America, chiropractors have become the third largest group of health care professionals (after physicians and dentists) who have primary contact with patients.
Debunking Top Chiropractic Myths
You might have heard some of these common myths associated with chiropractic care:
- “Chiropractors only treat back injuries.”Yes, chiropractors “got your back”, but they also treat all types of pain including neck, shoulder, hip and back pain as well as for things like headaches, TMJ, foot/knee problems, pinched nerves and for all-around healthy aging.
- “Chiropractors aren’t real doctors.”Chiropractic is a comprehensive doctoral degree. All chiropractors have a minimum of 3 years of graduate school, and 4 years of chiropractic school. Chiropractors are highly trained, licensed medical professionals. To become a registered chiropractor in Canada, an individual must complete the Doctor of Chiropractic degree program, which is a four-year graduate degree program that follows an undergraduate degree. A chiropractor’s education doesn’t stop there, however, as they continue to take additional training to enhance and expand their skills and/or work closely with other medical professionals to ensure their patients get the best treatment. Many chiropractic clinics, like us here at Equilibrium Therapeutics, offer many types of health and wellness services under one roof.
- “Chiropractic is not safe.”Chiropractic is just as safe as going to your family doctor. With 8 years of training under their belt, you can rest assured that your chiropractor knows what they’re doing. Not only is chiropractic safe but it can also be more affordable than going the route of surgery or prescription drugs as ongoing care can prevent more expensive problems down the road. Also, most extended medical plans cover chiropractic appointments.
- “Spinal adjustments are going to hurt too much.”Spinal adjustments are almost always pain-free. In fact, they often bring immediate pain relief. This myth that treatments are painful likely comes from concerns over the popping sounds that often occur during adjustments, which are normal. Sometimes, however, before an injury gets better, a patient might feel it getting worse as your body is adjusting to the chiropractic changes.
We hope after dispelling these myths, you’ll visit your chiropractor to help you with your current condition.
When to See your Victoria, BC Chiropractor?
Seeing a chiropractor is often recommended as the first step in a longer healing process and is often combined with physiotherapy and/or massage therapy. For example, people experiencing dull or sudden inexplicable muscle strain, headaches, or pain in their neck, arms, and legs, often start by seeing a chiropractor to diagnose, analyze and break down their pain, so they are receiving appropriate care moving forward.
There’s a long list of ailments a chiropractor can assist with. Some are widely known, and others may come as a surprise.
Let’s take a closer look at the types of health conditions a chiropractor can help treat.
Chiropractic Care for Headaches
Headaches are a common ailment that affect many people. Chiropractic treatments, especially spinal manipulative therapy, can be effective in treating tension headaches and cervicogenic headaches that originate in the neck or cervical spine. Studies have also shown that chiropractic treatments can also lessen the frequency and intensity of migraines. If you’re tired of treating your headaches as they are happening, a chiropractor can help determine where the pain is originating from, so you can prevent them from happening in the first place.
Chiropractic Care for Neck Pain
A common chiropractic procedure known as neck cracking, or neck adjustments, is intended to relieve pain and pressure for those suffering from neck pain, neck strain, and/or whiplash. Once the neck starts feeling better, it’s amazing what else starts feeling better too.
Although common, not all chiropractic visits involve neck adjustments.
Chiropractic Treatment for Back Pain
Of all the reasons to see a chiropractor, back pain remains the most common. Back pain, considered a musculoskeletal (MSK) condition, can range from mild to severe – from dull to sharp to throbbing.
A chiropractor has a range of treatment methods at their disposal to help relieve your back pain, including specific exercises, spinal adjustments, neck adjustments, flexion distraction and ultrasound.
Chiropractic Treatment for Sciatica
The sciatic nerve is the big one that runs from your lower spine down into your legs. When it gets pinched or compressed, the pain can be debilitating and cause a condition called sciatica. Because sciatica has become somewhat of a buzz word as of late, many people self-diagnose themselves as having sciatica when in fact, it is something else. Seeing a chiropractor for your suspected sciatica will help you understand what might be causing it and also provide quick pain relief. Medicine can dull the pain but can’t do much to un-pinch this nerve.
Chiropractic Care for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Chiropractic treatments can do so much more than relieve neck and back pain. For example, chiropractic care is a common treatment for the repetitive stress injury known as carpal tunnel syndrome or CTS.
A chiropractor can diagnose where the pain is originating from. Oftentimes it’s nerves in the neck or under the arm. After finding the source, chiropractors will provide the necessary manipulations, soft tissue release and exercises to help alleviate your symptoms.
Chiropractic care for carpal tunnel is often paired with a lot of rest for the affected arm, cold presses to reduce inflammation, exercises, and/or occasionally wearing a brace or splint.
Chiropractic Care for TMJ Pain
TMJ stands for Temporomandibular Joint and it’s the joint that attaches your jaw to your skull. If you’re experiencing TMJ pain, it will manifest itself through pain in your jaw as well as possibly by way of a clicking sound when you open your mouth wide. As bad as the pain can be, fortunately, you can see a chiropractor for TMJ treatment. Chiropractors are often able to release the muscles through something called Intraoral Myofascial Release, accessing the joint from the inner side of a patient’s cheek.
Pediatric Chiropractic Care
Sometimes you might have to book a chiropractor not for yourself, but for your child. From the day your baby is born, a pediatric chiropractor can check and monitor your child for spinal restrictions. In children, chiropractic care requires a gentler touch, and, in some cases, manipulation is not needed – a chiropractor simply mobilizes the joints.
To learn more about how a chiropractor can help you achieve your health and wellness goals, come and see us on Tillicum Road in Victoria BC. Chiropractor Dr. Marc Bijman is here to help you relieve your immediate pains and also to prevent new ones. Book your appointment now using our online booking system or call 250-590-7888. We are open 7 days a week!