What is a Chiropractor?

The World Federation of Chiropractic defines a chiropractor as a health professional concerned with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system, and the effects of these disorders on the function of the nervous system and general health. There is an emphasis on manual treatments including spinal adjustment and other joint and soft-tissue manipulation. Other important components of chiropractic care include patient education, post injury rehabilitation, and lifestyle advice. Chiropractic care has a strong safety record and is widely accepted as a drug-free, surgery-free form of health care. However, no health treatment is completely free of potential adverse effects—even common non-prescription pain relievers carry a risk. Fortunately, adverse effects associated with chiropractic adjustments are usually minor and short-term.

What is Spinal Manipulation Therapy?

Spinal Manipulative Therapy, or a Chiropractic adjustment is a manual procedure that utilizes the highly refined skills developed during four intensive years of chiropractic education. The chiropractor typically uses his/her hands to manipulate the joints of the body, particularly the spine, in order to reduce pain, and restore or enhance joint function. Chiropractic manipulation is a highly controlled procedure that rarely causes discomfort. The chiropractor adapts the procedure to meet the specific needs of each patient. Why do we ask so many questions?

What is an adjustment?

A chiropractic adjustment or manipulation is the skilled application of a quick force to a joint that moves it beyond its passive range of motion but within a safe range.  It can take many forms and be applied manually (with the hands) or with an instrument. The purpose is to remove any restrictions (stiffness) in a joint which has lost its normal motion. Even a slight loss of normal motion at any joint can have negative impacts on neighbouring joints and soft tissues. Think of it this way - if one joint is not moving as it should, other tissues and joints must compensate for that loss, often pushing these other structures to be overextended and overworked. This can result in injury and pain elsewhere, and a domino-like effect can occur.  Sometimes adjustments result in a popping or “cracking” sound, this is a release of gas within the joint as it is “stretched” and the pressure changes.  A common misconception is that the sound needs to occur for the adjustment to be successful, which is not the case. As long as motion is restored in the joint, the adjustment was successful. Although other health professionals utilize adjustments to care for patients, chiropractors are the experts when it comes to assessing for loss of motion, and applying an appropriate adjustment to a restricted joint.

What is Soft Tissue Therapy?

Sometimes joints are the main cause of pain and sometimes muscles and other soft tissues are the main pain generators, but often it’s a combination of the two. Therefore, it is often important to address both the joints and the muscles in order to achieve maximum benefits. Some examples of soft tissue treatments include trigger point therapy (pressure applied to “knots”), muscle release techniques, stretches, and applying current or heat to the tissue. These all help to relax the muscles, restore the physiological properties which enable the muscle to fire properly, and relieve pain and stiffness. For many conditions, soft tissue therapy is often used in conjunction with joint and spinal manipulation therapy to help you feel better as quickly as possible.

What is Graston Technique®?

The Graston Technique® incorporates a patented form of instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization that enables clinicians to effectively detect and treat scar tissue and restrictions that affect normal function. (http://www.grastontechnique.com). This is accomplished using the Graston® instruments which are a series of stainless steel tools.  When treating an area, the instruments effectively break up scar tissue and act to re-start and/or control the healing cycle within that tissue. Various applications can be utilized to treat a wide range of conditions from acute to chronic. Stretches and exercises both during and after treatment are essential to maximize the effectiveness of this technique.  Some patients may experience tenderness or bruising in the area that the treatment was applied, but this should dissipate in a few hours or days and is a common side effect.  Additional training by the clinician is required to use Graston Technique®.

Why do we ask so many questions?

Questions Questions Questions

Why are you asking me so many questions?
Sometimes your chiropractor may ask you questions that seem completely unrelated to your condition. Or, you may have a medical condition that you think your chiropractor doesn’t need to know about. Getting in and out of the office quickly is important to some of our patients and we understand that, however it is our goal to ensure you are getting the best care possible and you can help by answering all of our questions to the best of your ability. Just as a physical examination of your complaint is important in leading us to the correct diagnosis, the health history portion of the exam is equally (if not more) important to us. Remember that your health is a two-way process and any extra information you can share with us can help us help you!

Some of the questions your chiropractor may ask are listed below with some of the reasons we are asking them, but remember each case is different and may require more or less discussion.

Let’s use an example of low back pain.

How long have you had the pain?
Why: we need to know if this is a chronic, acute, or recurring problem.

Can you point to the pain with one finger?
Why: some conditions cause generalized pain while others have specific pain sites or patterns.

Was there an injury?
Why: how the pain started helps us establish what tissue might be causing the pain. Insidious pain (or pain that began without a reason) might lead us to consider different pain generators then just muscles or joints.

Do you have pain in any other joints?
Why:sometimes joint pain can be the result of systemic conditions/generalized disease such as certain types of inflammatory arthritis.

Do you have pain in your legs?
Why: sometimes back injuries can cause pain, numbness, or loss of sensation in the legs. We need to know if you are experiencing any of these symptoms as it could indicate nerve root irritation. Some more serious conditions like a disc herniation, spinal stenosis, neurological diseases, or cauda equina syndrome may need to be ruled out.

Does the pain vary throughout the day?
Why: different tissues are stressed with different activities, it is important that we can identify which tissue is causing the problem. In some conditions pain is worse with activity and sometimes it’s worse with rest. This information will also help us make recommendations of positions that may offer you relief or activities that you should avoid until you’re feeling better.

Can you describe the pain?
Why: different tissues cause different types of pain and this is critical to our ability to diagnose your problem. Burning pain, numbness, or loss of sensation may indicate nerve irritation while stiffness might be more indicative of a muscular origin.

Have you noticed any changes in your bowel or bladder function?
Why:If you are male, prostate enlargement or cancer may alter your bladder control and may also cause back pain. Kidney infections or kidney stones can cause low/mid back pain that seems muscular in origin.Sudden changes in these functions can indicate a serious condition of a pressure build up in the spinal canal that requires immediate medical attention.

Past medical history/current medical conditions?
Why: Some medical conditions such as diabetes, organ diseases, cardiovascular illness, prostate enlargement, infections, or neurological diseases can either cause back pain or masquerade as back pain. They can also alter our treatment choices and change our expectations on how quickly you will be able to recover.

Family medical history?
Why: family history is important so that we can watch for the development of any signs of these conditions beginning in you! It may also change which treatment strategies we use, or whether or not we need to do some further medical testing. Whether you like it or not, we don’t just inherit our parents’ good looks!

Medication use?

I have back pain which I think is both muscle and joint related, so who should I see first – a Massage Therapist or a Chiropractor?

Chiropractors are the experts and trained in the diagnosis of the musculoskeletal system so it is always recommended to see a Chiropractor first to understand the source of the pain and then a referral to a Massage Therapist will be made if necessary.

What is Massage Therapy?

Webster’s Medical Dictionary defines massage therapy as the manipulation of muscle and connective tissue to enhance the function of those tissues and promote relaxation and well-being. Therapeutic massage can ease tension and reduce pain, and can be used on its own or as an adjunct to other manual therapies. If we believe a patient’s issue is primarily generated from soft tissues, we may refer to our massage therapist in addition to chiropractic care.

What are the Benefits of Massage Therapy?

  • Decreases Pain
  • Rehabilitate Sports Injuries
  • Increases Mobility and Range of Motion
  • Increases Circulation
  • Decreases Soft Tissue Tension
  • Improves Quality of Life
  • Education on Health and Wellness, Specific to your Body

What is included in a Massage Therapy Treatment?

  • Assessment: i.e. Palpation, Full Body Scan, Muscle Testing, Orthopaedic Testing.
  • Hands on Treatment: i.e. Trigger Point Therapy, Neuromuscular Therapy, Swedish Techniques, Myofascial Release.
  • Home care: This is your homework; includes stretching, strengthening, education, and hydrotherapy.

What are Conditions Where Massage Would be Beneficial?

  • Fibromyalgia
  • Arthritis
  • Postural Dysfunction
  • Headaches
  • Pregnancy Related Discomfort
  • Sprains and Strains
  • Frozen Shoulder
  • Whiplash
  • Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMJ)
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Tendinitis: Golfers Elbow, Tennis Elbow
  • Sciatica Pain

How are Chiropractors educated?

In order to be accepted into chiropractic college, students must have completed at least 3 years of post-secondary studies – though most have completed a degree prior to pursuing chiropractic.  Our chiropractors have been educated at the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College (CMCC) in Toronto, the only English-speaking chiropractic institution in Canada and a leader in the field. In general, Chiropractors earn a doctor of chiropractic degree after 4 years of training at an accredited chiropractic educational institution.  The focus of the education is basic sciences, nutrition, biomechanics (how the body moves), anatomy, physiology, radiology, manual technique application, pathology and much more.  At CMCC, the first three years are mainly in the classroom, while the fourth year consists of two six month internships in teaching clinics across the Greater Toronto Area. This final year allows students the invaluable opportunity to treat patients under the direction of an experienced supervising clinician.  Once studies are completed, all chiropractors must pass national qualifying examinations and be provincially licensed in order to practice in Canada.

I’ve never been to a Chiropractor, what can I expect in my first visit?

Your first visit is a bit longer than what your other appointments will be.  You will be asked to fill out a few forms for us about your medical history and what you are visiting us for that day.  Once you see the chiropractor, they will ask you various questions to help them understand both your condition and your outcome goals (to understand why we ask so many questions, download this information sheet).  After this “history taking” has been completed, a physical exam is performed and then a diagnosis is made.  After going through our findings with you, we will then begin the treatment.  There are many different effective approaches to treatment, so if there is anything that makes you uncomfortable, please let us know immediately. We are always willing to work with you to find the most appropriate care for your individual needs.

Is Chiropractic right for me?

If you are someone who is interested in their health and wants to try a conservative approach, then chiropractic is right for you!  If you aren’t sure if your condition can be managed by a chiropractor, please feel free to call our office with your questions or book an appointment for an initial consultation. We are also highly trained in diagnosing conditions which are outside our scope of practice, and if this is the case, we will gladly refer you to the appropriate health care professional.

How much does it cost?

Chiropractic fees are established/recommended by the Chiropractic College of British Columbia, though they do vary slightly from one clinic to the next depending on the services offered or the length of the appointment.  Most extended health plans cover chiropractic and massage therapy so patients can submit their receipts to their insurance company for reimbursement.  ICBC and WorkSafeBC also cover chiropractic and massage therapy if required.  MSP covers a portion of the fee for premium-assisted patients.

Is Chiropractic evidence-based?

Chiropractic is firmly grounded in science. Few other forms of health care treatments have been researched as much as chiropractic in terms of safety and effectiveness. The Canadian Chiropractic Association states that there have been at least six formal government studies into chiropractic worldwide over the last 25 years and all have concluded that contemporary chiropractic care is safe, effective, and cost-effective and have recommended public funding for chiropractic services. In addition, Dr. Weglo was educated at CMCC, arguably the leading chiropractic research institution in the world.

Does treatment require x-rays?

Not every patient will require x-rays prior to their treatment, in fact, most do not.  We understand some patients’ concerns with radiation exposure and reserve our x-ray referrals for situations in which an x-ray (or radiograph) is necessary to provide you with treatment safely.  Usually no x-rays are required, but in some cases such as major trauma’s or conditions that are not progressing as expected, further imaging studies may be requested by the chiropractor.  Although our chiropractors are trained in both taking and reading x-rays, Creekside Chiropractic does not use on-site radiographic machines and will refer you to an x-ray clinic for this procedure if it is necessary.

Is chiropractic treatment appropriate for children?

Yes, just as it is for adults, chiropractic care is a safe and effective form of health care for children of all ages.  Children tend to bounce back quickly following an injury and it is not normal for a child to be in pain for long periods of time.  Some indications that your child may require a chiropractic visit include abnormal postures, a reluctance to participate in physical activity, increased irritability, and crying for no apparent reason.  Some parents also like to bring their child in for a check-up as some conditions, if caught early can be prevented or monitored closely.  Infancy and childhood are times of rapid growth and it is important that muscles and joints are working as they should to allow for optimal development and an active lifestyle. As with our adult patients, a history (often with help from you) and a physical exam will be conducted before we provide you with our clinical impression and treatment recommendations.  We will also be glad to answer any questions/concerns you may have regarding our treatments prior to starting.  If co-management with other healthcare providers is indicated we will recommend referrals and will be happy to work alongside other clinicians to ensure your child gets the best care.

Does Creekside Offer Rehabilitation Exercises and Stretching?

At the beginning of a treatment plan, often most of the “work” is done by the health care provider, however the onus soon shifts onto the patient as they are just as important (if not more important) then their doctor in determining the outcome of their condition.  We will work with you to provide exercises that will help relieve pain and some that you can do after you’re feeling better to help re-strengthen the injured area and improve posture and function which will prevent re-injury.

Does Creekside Offer Patient Education?

Because what you do outside of our clinic can have great impacts on your outcome, we believe that it is important that you understand exactly what your condition is and how you can be involved in your own recovery.  If you ever have questions or concerns about your health please feel free to ask us and we will do our best to provide you with answers.

If I start chiropractic treatment do I have to continue it forever?

No! Every patient and every condition requires a different plan.  We will work with you to establish your goals and formulate a treatment plan that best suits you and your needs.  Some people like to continue to come in for regular “tune-ups” because it feels great, and others prefer to come in only when they are injured.  We are willing and able to accommodate to suit any of our patient’s goals.


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