Frequently Asked Questions
At Back on Track Wellness we’re often surprised by the questions new patients ask. It seems that many are unaware of the power that chiropractic care has, and the number of things it can positively affect. To learn more, click on some of the fields below. Some of the answers might surprise you!
Remember, if you have any questions, you can always contact us at any time. You can reach us on the main office line during regular business hours at (905) 319-6606. You can also book your free initial consultation by phone, or by email just by clicking the buttons at the top. We look forward to hearing from you!
What is Chiropractic?
Chiropractic is the science, art and philosophy that restores and maintains a properly functioning nervous system, without the use of drugs or surgery. Chiropractic is based on the scientific fact that your body is a self-regulating, self-healing organism. These important functions are controlled by the brain, spinal cord, and all the nerves of the body through the body’s own innate intelligence.
The nervous system is so important and yet so delicate, that it has a protective armor. The skull protects the delicate tissues of the brain. The moving bones of the spine protect the vulnerable communication pathways of the spinal cord and nerve roots.
If the nervous system is impaired or encounters interference in its vital communication pathways, it can cause malfunction of the tissues and organs throughout the body. Doctors of Chiropractic call this the Vertebral Subluxation Complex.
The chiropractic adjustment has been proven to increase motion, increase circulation, reduce swelling and pain, and remove nerve irritation. After this nerve irritation is removed, your body is able to do what it is designed to do – heal itself.
What do Doctors of Chiropractic do?
Chiropractors enhance the function of the nervous system. Treatment begins with a thorough case history, which reveals lifestyle habits and past trauma that could be causing dysfunction in the nervous system.
This is followed by a thorough orthopedic, neurological, and chiropractic examination. Optimal Wellness Chiropractic offers cutting-edge that locates stress on the nervous system in a quick, painless, non-invasive way.
X-rays may be taken if necessary. These will reveal structural and functional problems, as well as degeneration in your spine.
What type of education do Chiropractors have?
The science of chiropractic includes an emphasis on anatomy, physiology, pathology, neurology, biomechanics, X-ray, spinal adjustment techniques and other related subjects. This demanding curriculum prepares chiropractic doctors to locate the Vertebral Subluxation Complex and help correct the resulting nervous system dysfunction.
Before beginning chiropractic school, students must complete a minimum of three years of undergraduate education to obtain the necessary prerequisites. Four years of graduate school are then required to receive a Doctor of Chiropractic degree. Candidates must then pass both federal and provincial board examinations before becoming licensed to practice chiropractic.
A chiropractic education never ends, however. Chiropractic doctors are required to complete continuing education and postgraduate courses every year. After undergraduate studies, today’s chiropractic doctor completes an additional four-year curriculum of more than 4,500 classroom hours of health sciences. In fact, studies have showed that chiropractic and medical education are “more similar than dissimilar.”
Chiro vs. Medical Student (Class Hours)
Anatomy - 520 (Chiro), 508 (Medical)
Physiology - 420 (Chiro), 326 (Medical)
Pathology - 271 (Chiro), 335 (Medical)
Chemistry - 300 (Chiro), 325 (Medical)
Bacteriology - 114 (Chiro), 130 (Medical)
Diagnosis - 370 (Chiro), 374 (Medical)
Neurology - 320 (Chiro), 112 (Medical)
X-Ray Radiology - 217 (Chiro), 148 (Medical)
Psychiatry - 65 (Chiro), 114 (Medical)
Obstetrics & Gynecology - 65 (Chiro), 198 (Medical)
Orthopedics - 225 (Chiro), 156 (Medical)
Total Hours - 2,887 (Chiro), 2,756 (Medical)
Specialty Courses - 1,598 (Chiro), 1,492 (Medical)
Entire Total Hours - 4,485 (Chiro), 4,248 (Medical)
While medical students spend more time gaining clinical experience including a 3-year residency, chiropractic students spend more time in laboratories and lectures learning basic and clinical sciences including anatomy, physiology, neurology, and orthopedics.
What is an adjustment?
A chiropractic adjustment is the art of using a specific force in a precise direction, applied to a joint that is “locked up” or not moving properly. An adjustment adds motion to the joint, helping the bones gradually return to a more normal position and motion. The result of this safe and natural procedure is improved spinal function, improved nervous system function, and improved overall health.
There are hundreds of ways to adjust the spine. Usually the doctor’s hands or a specially designed instrument delivers a brief and highly accurate thrust. Some adjusting methods are quick, whereas others require a slow constant pressure. After years of training and clinical experience, each chiropractic doctor becomes highly skilled in the delivery of a variety of adjusting approaches.
Do I have a pinched nerve?
Many patients consult a doctor of chiropractic because they think they have a pinched nerve. While commonly associated with the spine, a pinched nerve is actually rare. Research suggests that only 10%-15% of spine related problems are caused by direct pressure of bone on a nerve. Typically a ‘pinched nerve’ will result in numbness, burning, or a ‘pins and needles’ feeling. When a bone pushes on a nerve, this is a serious condition that requires immediate attention.
Several other factors can cause numbness and/or a burning sensation. Most commonly, nerves are stretched or irritated, which produces a numbness feeling. Many people are surprised to discover that many causes of their pain are actually due to chemical irritation to the nerve, which also responds beautifully to chiropractic care. If you have numbness, please contact us for a detailed and thorough examination.
Do I have a slipped disc?
People commonly refer to slipped discs in the back, but it is not possible for discs to slip. The disc is a pad-like tissue located between two vertebrae, which acts as shock absorber for the spine. The centre of the disc is made of a fluid, soft, jelly-like substance. When discs become damaged, tears can occur, which allows the soft centre to leak out and put pressure on the nerves. This is known as a ruptured or herniated disc, and is extremely painful.
While results cannot be guaranteed, many patients have avoided needless surgery or a dependency on pain pills by choosing chiropractic care for their disc-related health problems. Chiropractic adjustments are safer than back surgery, muscle relaxers, and even aspirin! Discs do not “slip,” but if damaged they can leak or rupture.
Are all patients adjusted the same way?
No, each patient is adjusted according to his or her unique requirements. Your chiropractor will determine the best way to adjust your spine after completing a detailed examination.
Many chiropractors will adjust your entire spine, even though you don’t have pain in that area. Pain is a poor indicator of problems as many problems spread pain to other areas. Some patients who complain of headaches may actually have a lower back problem that is causing a compensation reaction at the base of the skull. Other patients may be experiencing numbness and tingling in their fingers when the actual problem is in the neck.
While visits may seem similar, each visit builds on the one before. Chiropractic care is customized to each patient’s age, condition, and spinal problem.
Can I adjust myself?
Since a chiropractic adjustment is a specific force, applied in a specific direction to a specific joint, it is impossible to “adjust” oneself; and also dangerous. Spinal adjusting may look easy when done by an experienced chiropractor, but it has taken several years to master – just as a gymnast makes walking on a balance beam look easy.
Turning and twisting your back and neck may create a “popping” sound. The “popping” sound is heard when built-up gas pressure is released from stuck joints. This is not the adjustment, this is a release of pressure.
The adjustment is the precise movement of a joint or bone. When someone tries to adjust themselves, it can cause an unstable area of the spine to become even more unstable. Remember the goal of the adjustment is to enable joints to move normally. Spinal adjusting is not for amateurs!
The best way to enjoy the healthful benefits of chiropractic treatment is to receive adjustments from a Doctor of Chiropractic. Even a non-chiropractic doctor must seek out the services of a chiropractor to enable a patient to restore and maintain proper spinal function.
Is chiropractic care safe?
There are literally thousands of published scientific studies proving chiropractic’s safety and effectiveness. Serious side effects from spinal adjustments appear to be rare. A recent article in Integrative Medicine reported the low risk of serious complications from neck and low back adjustments. According to the literature review, the estimated risk for serious complications from neck adjustments is 6.39 per 10 million adjustments. For low back adjustments, it is 1 per 100 million adjustments. Chiropractic treatment is a conservative approach to health that avoids invasive procedures or addictive drugs. In fact, chiropractic adjustments are safer than back surgery, muscle relaxers and even aspirin! Chiropractic care is a natural approach to better health that is proven safe and effective. For more information visit www.chiropracticissafe.org.
What can I do to help my healing?
There’s a lot you can do to avoid problems or give yourself the best chance for a quick recovery.Learn proper sitting and lifting methods as well as proper ergonomics at work, in the car, and at home. Specific exercises can be suggested to help retrain the muscles that support the spine. Proper rest is an important aspect of the healing process, too. Get the appropriate amount of rest your body needs (typically 6-8 hours) and NEVER sleep on your stomach.
During the healing process, proper nutrition and water intake is more important than ever. Be sure to eat balanced meals. If you’re overweight, slim down and reduce unnecessary stresses to your spine.
Perhaps most important of all, keep your appointments and follow your chiropractic doctor’s recommendations for optimum results.
Do children need to be adjusted?
It is our office’s policy that all children have their spines checked periodically. Most children visit a dentist or pediatrician regularly, but do not have spinal check-ups. Considering your nervous system is the most important system in your body, wouldn’t you want to have your child’s assessed? Since significant spinal trauma can occur at birth, many parents have their new-borns checked for the Vertebral Subluxation Complex.
Later, learning to walk, riding a bicycle, and other normal childhood activities can cause spinal problems. Only a chiropractor can treat unseen damage to a child’s spine. Many childhood health complaints that are brushed off as ‘growing pains’ can often be traced to the spine. Regular chiropractic check-ups can identify these problems and help avoid many of the health problems of adults.
Naturally, chiropractic adjusting procedures are modified to a child’s spine. Most parents report that their children enjoy their chiropractic adjustments and seem healthier than other children. Chiropractic has been shown to be helpful with scoliosis and many other so-called “normal” childhood health problems.
Can I be too old for a chiropractic adjustment?
More and more people are consulting chiropractic doctors, especially in their later years. With growing concerns about over-medication and the side effects of combining various prescription drugs, safe, natural chiropractic care is growing in popularity.
Restoring better spinal function can help improve mobility, vitality, endurance and appetite. Many patients report improvement with arthritic symptoms and other chronic ailments often associated with the aging process. The adjusting technique used by your doctor will be modified for maximum comfort and results.
As we get older and wiser, the simplicity and effectiveness of chiropractic care becomes more and more obvious. Regardless of your age, chiropractic care can help improve mobility and maintain vitality.
If I get adjusted once, will I have to go forever?
Spinal problems neglected since early childhood may require ongoing supportive care for optimum spinal function. These long-standing problems are often associated with muscle weakness, soft tissue damage, and degenerative changes to the spine.
Most patients find that periodic chiropractic check-ups help keep them in tip-top shape. Those who are active, have stressful jobs, or want to function at their very best, find that a schedule of “wellness visits” are helpful in the maintenance of good health.
Some patients seek chiropractic care only when their pain becomes unbearable. Unfortunately this style of “crisis management” is usually more costly and time-consuming in the long run. How long you decide to benefit from chiropractic care is always up to you. Periodic chiropractic check-ups, like brushing and flossing your teeth, getting regular exercise, drinking pure water, and eating wholesome foods is part of a healthy lifestyle.