Chiropractic is one of the largest primary-contact health care professions in Ontario. It is a non-invasive, hands-on technique that focuses on treating the muscles, nerves and joints of the body, allowing the spine and nervous system to function optimally.
Chiropractors use a combination of treatments, which are tailored to the specific needs of each patient. Based on the history and diagnosis of the patient, a chiropractor can develop and carry out a specific treatment/management plan, which includes chiropractic manipulation, electrical modalities and therapeutic exercise as well as nutritional, dietary and lifestyle counseling.
Low back pain is a common musculoskeletal condition treated by chiropractors. In non-musculoskeletal conditions such as cancer and diabetes, chiropractic care may complement or support medical treatment by relieving any muscle, joint or nerve pain that may occur as a result of the condition.
In chronic conditions such as osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis, and migraines, chiropractic care may also be used to provide symptomatic relief. According to patient surveys, by treating the neuromusculoskeletal elements of such disorders, chiropractic treatment has been shown to improve the general well-being of the patient.
Reasons to Seek Chiropractic
There are many reasons to seek chiropractic care:
- Back pain
- Neck pain
- Strains and Sprains
- Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI)
- Work and Sports Injuries
- Limited range of motion in the back, shoulder, neck or limbs
- General health and well-being
Chiropractors are one of only five classes of health care professions in Ontario that are able to use the title Doctor, with its accompanying rights and obligations. Chiropractic is regulated by provincial statute. Each province has a regulatory college, established by legislation in the same manner and structure with similar regulations to other health care professions’ regulatory bodies. Ontario chiropractors are regulated and licensed by the College of Chiropractors of Ontario. As primary care practitioners, chiropractors can develop and carry out a comprehensive treatment / management plan, recommend therapeutic exercise and other non-invasive therapies, as well as provide nutritional, dietary and lifestyle counseling.
A Doctor of Chiropractic spends four years at an accredited chiropractic institution, receiving more than 4,200 hours of specialized clinical training. The chiropractic curriculum at the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, in Toronto, includes studies in anatomy, pathology, biomechanics, chiropractic principles, diagnosis and adjustment techniques.
1. What to expect on your first visit?
You may visit my clinic for low back pain, neck pain, headache, or other aches and pains, but in order to provide the best possible treatment for you, a complete picture of your health history and overall current health is needed. Here's what you might expect on your first visit.
Tip: Bring a copy of any X-rays or radiology reports you have. These assessments give me a better picture of your complete health.
On your first visit, I may ask about the following:
- Personal and family medical history
- Major illnesses you have experienced
- Surgeries or operations you have had
- Medications you are taking
- A description of your present condition
- The steps you have taken to manage your condition
- Your diet and exercise
- Your sleeping habits, daily activities, work routine, stress level, and home life
It is a good idea to wear comfortable clothes and shoes for your visit. I may ask you to change into a gown to perform some of these tests:
- A check of your blood pressure, pulse and breathing
- A test of your reflexes, strength and sensations
- An analysis of your posture
- An analysis of your movement - I will observe how you walk, turn, bend or lift things, as well as how your body moves in the affected area
- A hands-on evaluation of how well your spine moves, identifying restrictions and areas of improper motion
As a diagnosis is made, a course of treatment will be prescribed for you, and once the matter of informed consent has been discussed, treatment will begin. Your treatment, regardless of the stage of care, will often include exercise, diet and other healthy living suggestions to help keep you healthy and strong.
If a condition that would be more appropriately treated by another health care professional is diagnosed, a referral will be made.
2. What is an adjustment and is it safe?
An adjustment is a highly skilled and precise movement usually applied by hand to a joint of the body. Adjustment loosens the joint to restore proper movement and optimize function.
When a joint is adjusted, a gas bubble escapes causing the popping noise you may have heard about.
Chiropractic adjustment techniques have been researched extensively. Most patients experience immediate relief following an adjustment, however, some may experience temporary pain, stiffness or slight swelling. Some patients may also experience temporary dizziness, local numbness, or radiating pain. However, adverse effects associated with spinal adjustment are typically minor and short-lived. Chiropractors are well-trained to determine if your problem will respond to chiropractic care or if you require a referral to another health care provider.
3. Does chiropractic care require a referral from an MD?
Chiropractors are legislated as primary contact health professionals in every province in Ontario. This means that patients can consult them directly. However, chiropractors often work closely with medical doctors, many of whom refer to chiropractors when they believe chiropractic treatment will help alleviate a patient's condition. Similarly, chiropractors frequently refer to medical doctors when necessary.
The Webster technique is a specific chiropractic analysis and adjustment technique commonly used in the care of pregnant women for symptoms such as (but not limited to) low back pain, sciatic neuralgia, and pelvic pain.
The goal of the adjustment is to reduce the effects of SI joint dysfunction and improve biomechanical function in the pelvis. With an increase of hormones, weight gain, and postural adaptation through the course of pregnancy, pregnant mothers have a greater chance of sacral dysfunction and biomechanical imbalance than the general population.
In the clinical studies, pregnant patients undergone Webster care reported less cases of dystocia (difficult labor) which can be caused by inadequate uterine function, pelvic contraction, and baby malpresentation.
A few case studies published in the chiropractic literature also reports that Webster technique facilitated optimal fetal position.
Physiotherapists are primary health care professionals with a significant role in health promotion and treatment of injury and disease.
They combine their in-depth knowledge of the body and how it works with specialized hands-on clinical skills to assess, diagnose and treat symptoms of illness, injury or disability. All physiotherapists registered to practice in Canada are qualified to provide safe and effective physiotherapy. They have met national entry-level education and practice standards, and have successfully passed a standardized physiotherapy competence examination prior to being registered with the college of physiotherapists in their province/territory.
More than 20,000 registered physiotherapists work in Canada, in private clinics, general and rehabilitation hospitals, community health centres, residential care and assisted-living facilities, home visit agencies, workplaces, and schools.
Massage therapy is the manipulation of soft tissues of the body including, muscles, connective tissues, tendons, ligaments and joints. Massage Therapy is a clinically-oriented healthcare option that helps alleviate the discomfort associated with everyday and occupational stresses, muscular over-use and many chronic pain conditions.
Therapeutic massage is an important part of your health maintenance plan. It can aid in reducing or eliminating pain, improving joint mobility and circulation, increasing lymphatic drainage, reducing depression and anxiety, reducing tension within muscles, and increasing body awareness. Massage therapy benefits people of all ages. While it benefits the injured, the ill and the stressed, the real strength of massage therapy lies in prevention.
Massage therapy should be provided by a Registered Massage Therapist (RMT). An RMT is an individual who is registered with the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario, in accordance with the Regulated Health Professionals Act and the Massage Therapy Act. Only registrants with the CMTO are permitted to use the title Massage Therapists (MT), Registered Massage Therapist (RMT) and the equivalents in other languages.
A Registered Massage Therapist is a primary healthcare provider in Ontario and anyone may visit an RMT of their choice. A referral or prescription is not required to visit an RMT; however, please note that some extended health insurance plans may require a physician’s referral for coverage. If you are planning to use your insurance coverage, please review your individual insurance plan before you visit! Upon payment, they will provide a receipt that will be accepted by your extended health benefits plan for reimbursement (provided you plan covers massage therapy)
Naturopathic medicine is a holistic approach to health, and includes considering aspects of your mental, emotional, and physical health. Its main premise is to support the natural healing ability of the body. It recognizes that each body is different, and so treatment is tailored to the individual. Your naturopathic doctor is trained to do physical exams and order labs to have a more complete picture of your health. As the "Sherlock Holmes" of medicine, they work to figure out the root cause of your illness, and develop a treatment plan using a wide variety of methods. These methods include herbal medicine, cupping, acupuncture, nutritional counseling, lifestyle management, hydrotherapy, spinal manipulation, supplementation, and homeopathic medicine. Because this approach to medicine is more than a band-aid solution, the process is often slow and steady, but works to be sustainable and deep rooted.
Shockwave therapy is a non-invasive treatment method used to treat intense and chronic musculoskeletal pain. Shockwave therapy uses high-energy, short wavelength acoustic waves called shockwaves to treat tendons, fascia, bone and periosteum (membrane on bones). This energy is applied directly to the site of injury in order to:
- Increase local blood flow.
- Break down scar tissue and adhesions.
- Decrease pain.
- Create an optimal environment for cellular repair and tissue healing.
- Stimulate the natural healing response.
Conditions that are successfully treated with Shockwave Therapy
Extracorporeal shockwave therapy can be used to treat a variety of musculoskeletal conditions including:
- Tennis elbow
- Golfers elbow
- Rotator cuff tendinopathies including calcific tendonitis
- Jumpers knee
- ITB syndrome
- Hamstring tendinopathy
One of the most common regions treated with shockwave therapy is the foot due to the strong support for its use in research studies. Some conditions in the foot that respond very well to shockwave include:
- Plantar fasciitis
- Heels spurs
- Achilles Tendinosis
- Stress fractures in the bones of the foot
The therapy may also heal other types of pain that you may not have known their source. The therapy stimulates the natural healing process, which can be an answer to chronic pains in your body.
What should I expect when I am receiving Shockwave Therapy?
If you are a good candidate for shockwave therapy, your physiotherapist or chiropractic doctor will let you know. Typically you will require 3-5 treatments of shockwave and your sessions are generally scheduled one week apart. Most people will notice the benefits of shockwave therapy immediately following the first session.
Shockwave therapy can be mildly painful for some however most patients are able to tolerate the discomfort well. Your therapist can adjust the intensity of the energy so that it is comfortable for you and can ramp up intensity if you are able to tolerate more. The most intense pain is during the application of shockwave, which only lasts 3-5 minutes
Acupuncture is an ancient form of Chinese medicine involving the insertion of stainless steel acupuncture needles into the skin at specific points on the body to achieve a therapeutic effect. Many effects of Acupuncture are produced by the stimulation of nerve receptors in skin and muscle through release of various substances that cause an increase of local blood flow and encourage tissue healing.
- Acupuncture helps to reduce pain locally where the needles are inserted and systemically throughout the body.
- Acupuncture has a calming effect and help decrease stress.
- Acupuncture inactivates myofascial trigger points and effectively decreases muscle tightness.
- The effects of acupuncture accumulate when repeated.
The contemporary scientific explanation of acupuncture is that needling certain points in the body stimulates the nervous system to release chemicals in the brain, spinal cord and muscles. These chemicals will change the perception of pain, or will trigger the release of other chemicals and hormones, which affect the body's internal regulating system. The energy and biochemical balance produced by acupuncture promotes the body's natural healing abilities and improves physical and emotional well-being.
And Much more...!
Kinesio Taping helps to support and stabilize your joints and muscles without affecting circulation and range of motion. It is commonly used for preventing and stabilizing sports-related injuries, edema, and pain-relief.
Kinesio Taping is a technique based on the body's own natural healing process. It is effective in that it activates both neurological and circulatory systems.
Kinesio Taping is used for the prevention and treatment of many neuromusculoskeletal conditions including:
- Muscular facilitation (activation) or inhibition (deactivation) in pediatric patients
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Lower back strain/pain
- Knee conditions, shoulder conditions, hamstring, groin injury, rotator cuff injury, whiplash, tennis elbow, plantar
- fasciitis, patella tracking, ankle sprains
- Pre- and post- surgical edema
- Injury prevention and support for athletes.
Custom-Made Foot Orthotics
Custom made foot orthotics are used to help proper positioning of the bones in the feet, ankles, and knees. The mechanical properties of foot orthotics can help reduce muscular fatigue and may help to promote more efficient muscle performance. People who are active in sports may find that custom orthotics help to increase endurance, strength and performance abilities. Individuals who are overweight may find that orthotics relieve the additional stress of extra weight off the ligaments in their feet and legs.
Individuals who may benefit from foot orthotics include people who stand or walk on hard surfaces for considerable amounts of time each day, who participate regularly in high-impact sports, have had previous foot or leg injuries, or experience joint pain when walking, running, or standing. If your knee or back pain is due to foot mechanics, orthotics can be a very effective way to relieve your symptoms.
The most common types of foot pain that can result from poor foot function are:
- Plantar Fasciitis (arch pain)
- Heel Spurs (heel pain)
- Achilles Tendonitis (rear foot pain)
- Bunion Pain (big toe pain)
Consult your chiropractor, chiropodist, or podiatrist today for an assessment.
Medical gradient compression stockings improve venous and lymphatic blood flow. They are designed to deliver a controlled amount of pressure which is greatest at the ankle of the garment and gradually decreases towards the top of the stocking. This gradient pressure promotes better venous blood flow which in turn helps to control swelling, varicosities, leg fatigue and other problematic leg conditions.
Who should wear gradient compression hosiery?
People who have or are experiencing any of the following conditions can benefit from wearing gradient compression hosiery:
- Tired, aching, fatigued legs
- Swollen feet, ankles, and legs
- People who stand or sit for long periods
- Chronic venous insufficiency
- Moderate to severe varicose veins
- Expectant mothers
- Family history of venous leg disorders
Consult your chiropractor for an assessment