What is Chiropractic?

One of the largest primary-contact health care professions in Ontario, chiropractic is a non-invasive, hands-on health care discipline that focuses on the assessment, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of conditions related to the spine, nervous system and joints.

Chiropractors use a combination of treatments, all of which are predicated on the specific needs of the individual patient. After taking a complete health history and diagnosing a patient, a chiropractor can develop and carry out a comprehensive treatment/management plan, recommend therapeutic exercise and other non-invasive therapies, and provide nutritional, dietary and lifestyle recommendations.

Who are chiropractors?

A Doctor of Chiropractic has spent four years at an accredited chiropractic institution receiving more than 4,200 hours of specialized clinical training with a prerequisite University undergraduate degree. Chiropractors are one of only five classes of health care professionals in Ontario that are able to use the title Doctor, with its accompanying rights and obligations.

Chiropractors are Regulated Health Professionals under the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991.

When should I see a chiropractor?

Eight out of ten Canadians will experience back pain at some point in their life, and at least one third of people in Ontario will have back pain at any given time. However, there are many reasons to seek chiropractic care:

  • Back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Headache
  • Whiplash
  • Strains and sprains
  • Repetitive strain injury
  • Work and sports injuries
  • Arthritis
  • Limited range of motion in the back, shoulder, neck or limbs
  • General health and well-being

For many people, pain can keep them away from work, school or even their day-to-day activities. If pain causes interruptions and restrictions in the activities of your daily life then you should consult a health care provider.

Even if you do not have painful symptoms, chiropractic care may help you maintain a healthy spine and optimal joint function.

What kind of treatment will a chiropractor do?

The word “chiropractic” comes from ancient Greek and means “done by hand.” Adjustment of the joints of the body has been used in health care for many centuries and is at the heart of modern chiropractic care.

Chiropractors are specialists in manual adjustment of the vertebrae of the spine and other joints. Adjustment may help relieve pain and restore normal functioning to the spine, joints and supporting structures of the body – so you can enjoy your everyday activities again as quickly as possible. Your chiropractor is well-trained to determine if your problem will respond to chiropractic care or if you require referral to another health care provider.

Chiropractors tailor treatment plans to the specific needs of the individual patient and takes into account patient preferences. There are many gentle techniques available if a patient is not comfortable with a chiropractic adjustment.

Chiropractors are also trained to provide a range of manual therapy techniques including: soft tissue therapy, joint mobilizations, manual stretching, heat and ice application, ultrasound, electrotherapy, acupuncture, laser therapy, decompression, traction; as well as prescribe therapeutic exercise, provide nutritional and ergonomic counselling, and recommend rehabilitation and injury prevention strategies.

What is a chiropractic adjustment?

  • An adjustment is a highly skilled and precise movement usually applied by hand to a joint of the body
  • Moving the joints of the spine beyond a person’s usual physiological range of motion using a fast, low amplitude thrust
  • Force and technique modified to patient age, stature, comfort level and condition
  • Improves joint mobility by restoring the range of motion, reducing muscle hypertonicity and optimizing function

Are chiropractic adjustments safe?

Chiropractic is widely recognized as one of the safest, drug-free, non-invasive therapies available for the treatment of headache, and neck and back pain.
Many health care professionals provide manual adjustments including: orthopaedic surgeons, sports medicine doctors, physiotherapists, osteopaths and naturopathic doctors.

The latest research evidence and clinical practice guidelines for management of low back pain recommended to medical doctors endorses spinal adjustments and conservative care for patients.

What are some of the benefits of chiropractic care?

Chiropractic care may:

  • Improve movement in your neck, shoulders, back and torso
  • Improve your posture
  • Provide relief from headaches, neck and back pain
  • Help prevent work-related muscle and joint injuries
  • Lead to enhanced athletic performance
  • Improve your flexibility and range of motion
  • Relieve pregnancy-related back ache
  • Correction gait and foot problems

Is there coverage for chiropractic care?

  • 90% of Extended Health Care plans cover chiropractic services
  • Auto insurance covers chiropractic care
  • WSIB includes coverage for chiropractic through their programs of care

Where do I find a chiropractor?

You may find a chiropractor in:

  • Private practices
  • Community health centres
  • Government/health planning agencies
  • Health clubs/Fitness centres
  • Hospitals
  • Individual homes/home care
  • Insurance companies
  • Public settings for health promotion
  • Rehabilitation Centres
  • Research facilities
  • Seniors centres/residences
  • Schools/universities/colleges
  • Sporting events/field settings-Olympics
  • Sports medicine clinics
  • Work sites/companies

You may wish to ask your friends, family, coworkers or other healthcare providers for a recommendation of where to find a good chiropractor. You may also use the chiropractor search feature on the College of Chiropractors of Ontario website to find a chiropractor nearest you. http://www.cco.on.ca/English/Chiropractor-Search/Search