The Ultimate Guide To Chiropractic Care – Who Needs It, What To Expect, and How To Find an Amazing Chiropractor
Here’s a special message for every person who needs relief from their muscle and joint pain but can’t decide among treatment options (chiropractic, physiotherapy, massage therapy etc.)
Hi, my name is Dr. Hafeez Merani, from Metrotown Family Chiropractic, and if you want to understand how chiropractic care can help you, then read on.
Many people with back and neck pain are worried that chiropractic care is painful and unsafe, but nothing could be further from the truth.
And if you’re someone who wants to have relief from back and neck pain, then this is exactly what you’re looking for.
I’d like to introduce you to “The Ultimate Guide To Chiropractic Care – Who Needs It, What To Expect, and How To Find an Amazing Chiropractor“, which helps answer many of the questions you have about chiropractic care!
“The Ultimate Guide To Chiropractic Care” makes it simple for you to:
- Understand who chiropractic care is for
- Know how much a chiropractic visit costs
- Learn how to not pay out of your own pocket
- Know exactly when you should seek out a chiropractor
- Learn the top five conditions your chiropractor treats daily
- Know how long it takes to see improvement of your back pain or neck pain
- … and much, MUCH more!
And best of all, this resource is completely FREE for you!
So again, if you’re an individual who who needs relief from their muscle and joint pain, but can’t decide between chiropractic, physiotherapy, massage therapy etc. then stay tuned!
The following article is for you, to help you understand the biggest questions people have about chiropractic care;
What is a chiropractor, and what does a chiropractor do?
A chiropractor is a health care practitioner who is responsible for managing pathology associated with the muscles, nerves, and joints in your body.
They spend four years studying after an undergraduate degree to develop specialization in anatomy, physiology, biomechanics (to name a few) and participate in academic and clinical rounds.
Although the most common reason people think of visiting a chiropractor is for low back or neck pain, the reality is that they are trained to work on the majority of joints in the body.
Why would I need to see a chiropractor?
Neck pain, low back pain, headaches, repetitive strain injuries, whiplash symptoms – these are all reasons to see a chiropractor since they help treat muscle and joint pain.
You may also want to visit a chiropractor if you are having foot pain as they are often certified in prescribing and dispensing custom orthotics.
When should I visit a chiropractor after I have an injury?
In the vast majority of cases, the sooner you can see a chiropractor after an injury, the quicker a diagnosis can be rendered.
Following this, the correct treatment and management plan can also be prescribed, which should result in faster healing time from the injury compared to if it was left without any intervention.
If you have left your injury a few days and find your pain is worsening, or that it is beginning to affect your movement daily, this is also an opportune time to visit a chiropractor for treatment.
In general, the longer it has been between the injury and treatment, the more challenging it is to resolve the injured muscles, joints, or nerves.
Do I need a referral to visit a chiropractor?
Chiropractors are primary care practitioners who can see you directly without a prior visit to your family physician.
As a result, feel free to visit a chiropractor knowing that you are in good hands with a trusted part of the allied medical team in Canada and abroad.
In very rare instances, some extended health insurance companies may require a referral before seeing a chiropractor.
In essence, it’s always a good idea to do your due diligence to ensure your eligibility for seeking reimbursement for your visit.
What are the top five conditions our resident chiropractor treats daily?
- Low back pain and sciatica
- Neck pain
- Headaches caused by tight muscles and joints
- Repetitive strain tendinopathies (like carpal tunnel syndrome or tennis elbow)
- Foot Pain
How much does a chiropractic visit cost?
The cost varies from clinic to clinic and depends on a multitude of factors.
Expect to pay between $90-120 for the initial visit, and between $60-75 for subsequent treatments.
The first visit to our clinic is $100, which consists of a thorough history, physical examination, diagnosis, and treatment.
Subsequent visits cost $65.
It’s essential to call ahead to the clinic you decide to visit before your first visit to ensure that treatment will be offered as part of your first session as some clinics only provide an orientation as part of the initial consultation.
How much is a chiropractic session with insurance?
Since everyone’s extended health insurance plan is different, the best way to find the answer to this question is to contact your insurance provider directly.
Unfortunately, this is not something our clinic can do on your behalf as this is privileged information.
The good news is that the majority of extended health insurance companies offer fairly significant coverage for chiropractic services.
Feel free to call our clinic if you have any questions regarding this.
What can I expect with an appointment with the chiropractor?
- You should arrive at the chiropractic clinic approximately 15 minutes before your appointment.
This will give you enough time to fill out personal information that will be part of your patient file, which will include your relevant health history.
You can provide us with your extended health insurance details so our office coordinators can look into direct billing your visit with your consent.
- You will then be led to an examination room where the chiropractor will conduct a detailed case history.
Your case history will include but not be limited to questions about when your pain started, if you’ve had it before, and if you’ve done anything to help manage it successfully.
Other questions you may want to consider before visiting the chiropractor are how much the pain is on a scale of 0-10 or if there is any pain going into your arms or hands.
- Your chiropractor will then do a physical exam on the area of the body where the pain is present.
This will likely include relevant orthopedic tests, in addition to muscle and joint palpation.
Some of these tests may be painful or elicit your chief complaint – this part of the discovery process to see what tissue/structure is causing your pain.
Your chiropractor will always obtain your consent throughout this process, so feel free to communicate with your doctor if you have any questions or concerns throughout the process.
- Based on the above history and physical exam, your chiropractor will then confer a diagnosis and appropriate management plan, which will include a treatment plan.
Your chiropractor may also stress the need to perform rehabilitation exercises in addition to the treatment they provide – this is common with most muscle/joint injuries.
- After agreeing to a treatment plan, your chiropractor will go through an informed consent process.
This is where the doctor will ensure you fully understand the diagnosis and go through all the benefits and risks associated with your treatment.
This is another opportunity to ask any questions you may have.
Upon your satisfactory comprehension of the benefits/risks of having chiropractic care, you will sign a document acknowledging this fact.
- Treatment will be rendered on the first visit, which will likely include an adjustment, in addition to targeted soft tissue therapy and some rehabilitation exercises.
This occurs on a chiropractic treatment table which is similar to a massage therapist’s table.
Remember that if during the informed consent process, you expressed your wish not to undergo adjustments, the chiropractor will use alternative methods to work on the affected area.
Chiropractors take pride in the fact that their patients have an excellent understanding of what’s going on.
So at any point throughout the steps mentioned above, please feel free to ask the doctor or chiropractic staff if you have questions or need help – remember, we must ensure our visit goes smoothly and that we can alleviate your pain.
Why does my back hurt more after a chiropractic adjustment?
Soreness is one of the most common side effects of chiropractic adjustments. It typically dissipates 24 hours after the treatment.
If it persists longer than this or you have any concerns, speak to your chiropractor immediately.
What if I don’t want to get a chiropractic adjustment?
This is no problem at all.
Our chiropractors can use an instrument called an Activator which uses a gentle and targeted impulse to your spine to help improve the muscles and joints that are causing your pain.
This process, like an adjustment, is painless; however, there is no “cracking” sound.
Remember that a chiropractor’s job is to listen to your preferences and feedback at all times.
What do I wear for my chiropractic appointment?
Comfortable clothing that allows you to move freely is best to wear to appointments.
This is because the chiropractor may move your body through different ranges of motion to find what is responsible for the pain you are experiencing.
If you are not wearing something that is acceptable, the clinic has hospital gowns that you can change into.
What does a chiropractor do for upper or lower back pain?
A chiropractor uses a variety of techniques to help manage upper or lower back pain. Below is a list of the most common interventions.
The first is called spinal manipulation, or an adjustment, which helps to reset the vertebral levels they are targeting.
Typically after a chiropractic adjustment, the area will feel looser, and there will likely be pain relief and better movement.
Another treatment a chiropractor can do for low back pain is called soft tissue therapy. This involves gently massaging muscles around the area in question to help relieve tension.
Lastly, rehabilitation exercises may be introduced as home care to help the injured tissues heal faster and prevent future aggravation after symptoms have resolved.
How does a chiropractor adjust your back?
A chiropractor uses their hands to apply gentle, quick and controlled forces to your spine with the overall goal to move the joint through its range of motion.
This is pain-free and is analogous to when your knuckles or knees crack, with the only difference being the area of application.
What happens after my chiropractic session?
After treatment, patients may feel some discomfort or fatigue, but this should not last more than 24 hours.
Many patients feel relief and increased mobility immediately after the treatment, while others notice changes more gradually.
How long does it take to see improvement after beginning treatments?
The amount of time it takes to see improvements after an adjustment varies based on the severity of the injury and what caused it.
Generally speaking, within 3 to 5 visits, patients should start to notice an improvement in their symptoms.
Complete resolution is variable and often depends on if the patient is executing the chiropractor’s treatment plan appropriately.
How often should I see my chiropractor while they are treating my pain?
There is no simple answer to this question.
Depending on what type of injury you present with, treatment frequencies could range from between 1-3x/week, or on an as-needed basis.
Make sure you ask the doctor if you have any reservations about the frequency of care or your plan of management.
How long after a car accident should I see a chiropractor?
Whiplash is defined as severe tightness in the spine and surrounding muscles and joints from a sudden change in velocity.
Since chiropractors work at relieving tension in muscles and joints, seeing a chiropractor as soon as possible is likely helpful.
Remember that if you’re quite stiff and tight, the chiropractor may use different techniques to relieve tension before moving to adjustments – remember to have a discussion with the chiropractor and explain exactly how you’re feeling and agree on a course of action.
How long should I go to my chiropractor after a motor vehicle accident?
Most whiplash cases resolve within 3-6 months, with a small portion of cases lasting more than a year.
To find the right combination of help early on after an accident, collaboration should be sought between your family physician and team of allied health care professionals, (physiotherapists, registered massage therapists, acupuncturists, and chiropractors).
At some point, regardless of the practitioner you are seeing, you may notice your improvement plateaus and does not get any better.
This is normal and expected, and presents an opportune time to have a conversation with your practitioner to see if switching to another treatment modality is the correct next move.
What is a pinched nerve? Can a chiropractor help relieve pain associated with a pinched nerve?
Pinched nerves are defined as the pressure applied to nerve roots exiting the spine by tissues that surround them.
Examples of tissues that are applying pressure could be bones, cartilage, muscles, or ligaments.
Pinched nerves can occur because of a sudden injury, repetitive strain injuries, or other factors.
Chiropractors can help lessen pain around tight tissues by performing adjustments, soft tissue therapy, or by prescribing rehabilitation exercises.
How many visits to a chiropractor would it take to feel better from a pinched nerve?
The number of treatments it takes to recover depends on many factors including but not limited to the following: the patient’s underlying medical conditions, the severity of the injury, or whether the pinched nerve has occurred previously.
With that said, the patient should begin to notice a decrease in the intensity and frequency of nerve pain quite quickly, as the treatments progress.
What can a chiropractor do for carpal tunnel syndrome?
Carpal tunnel syndrome is a compression neuropathy where the nerves that supply your palm and fingers become compromised.
Symptoms may include tingling in the thumb, index, and middle finger or in the palm of your hand.
There may also be decreased grip strength, swelling, general hand/wrist pain.
It’s essential to visit your family doctor/physician before seeing your chiropractor to confirm this diagnosis, and to rule out any serious underlying causes of the nerve pain.
The first thing a chiropractor can do is examine the likely cause of this injury (work or another repetitive task) and make the appropriate ergonomic interventions.
The second thing a chiropractor can do is perform soft tissue therapy, joint mobilizations, or gentle manipulation to ease tissue tension around the compromised area.
Another treatment intervention a chiropractor can use is Graston© technique, which is aimed at decreasing scar tissue around the affected area.
What can a chiropractor do for a herniated disc?
A disc herniation occurs when the disc material (gel-like shock absorber) between spinal vertebrae extrudes into the vertebral canal.
Symptoms can include local pain with numbness and tingling into an arm or leg.
A chiropractor can help to manage pain associated with a herniated disc by adjusting the joints around the affected area, as well as performing soft tissue therapy to help to manage pain/inflammation around the affected joint and nerve root.
Your physician or chiropractor may order additional imaging if symptoms aren’t resolving or another pathology is suspected.
What can a chiropractor do for plantar fasciitis?
Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common causes of foot pain, and it occurs when this tissue which extends from your heel to toes gets stretched and inflamed.
A chiropractor can perform soft tissue therapy to the affected fascia, Graston© therapy to help decrease scar tissue on the affected area, or lastly evaluate if the patient is a candidate for custom orthotics.
What can a chiropractor do for headaches?
There are many reasons why an individual may experience a headache. One possible cause is postural strain leading to tight muscles and joints in the neck and upper back which feels like a headache.
Treatment of this type of headache by a chiropractor would include but not be limited to spinal adjustments, soft tissue therapy, and exercises geared at stretching the tissues in the back of your neck.
This type of headache very commonly presents in a chiropractor’s office and responds well to treatment in a few sessions.
What can a chiropractor do for scoliosis?
Scoliosis is defined as a curve in the spine. Some estimates put the prevalence of this condition at around 2-3% of the entire population.
It’s important to know that having scoliosis does not mean the patient has or will have back pain.
A chiropractor can use spinal adjustments and soft tissue therapy, along with rehabilitation exercises, to help alleviate pain associated with scoliosis and in some instances, reduce the degree of the curve.
If the curve is significant, bracing may be indicated.
It’s essential to discuss with your chiropractor, physician, and physiotherapist to find a collaborative approach to managing scoliosis.
What does a chiropractor do for Sciatica?
Sciatica is defined as low back or buttock pain which typically refers down one leg.
This is caused by a disc bulge or nerve pinch in the lumbar spine.
Sciatica can be diagnosed via a focused history and targeted orthopedic testing.
Treatment would likely consist of soft tissue therapy around the affected area, gentle joint mobilizations/manipulation, and rehab stretches/exercises.
Typically, chiropractic is very effective for Sciatica and depending on the severity of the pain and the pathophysiology of the injury; improvement should be seen within a few treatments.
What is better – physiotherapy or chiropractic?
Physiotherapy and chiropractic are both excellent ways to help manage muscle and joint pain.
Since there is a lot of overlap between both disciplines, the answer to this question lies in the style of the practitioner.
In truth, some chiropractors practice like a physiotherapist and vice versa.
Both disciplines have a similar scope of practice as well.
Although there are exceptions to this rule, generally physiotherapy tends to be more active based (movement based) and chiropractic is more passive based.
See below for the explanation between active and passive care.
What is the difference between passive care and active care?
Passive care is defined as a therapy that doesn’t involve you moving very much as a patient – an example of this is Massage Therapy.
Active care is defined as movement-based rehabilitation – an example of this is working out in a gym with a kinesiologist.
Generally, during motor vehicle accident rehab, there is a progression from passive care to active care. Speak to your chiropractor about this and when you might be ready for active care as your pain and whiplash symptoms subside.
What is better – massage therapy or chiropractic?
They are both great! Massage therapy tends to have a more significant focus on addressing muscle tightness in your body, versus chiropractic tends to work more on the joints of your spine and extremities.
Since muscles are directly connected to joints, you’ll often find that visiting both disciplines is extremely effective at managing your pain.
It’s also the reason why most chiropractic offices have massage therapists working alongside them.
Speak to your practitioner to see what approach may be a better option for you.
How often should I go to my chiropractor after my pain has resolved?
This is totally up to you. Some patients choose to see their chiropractor only when they are in pain.
Other patients want a preventative treatment which typically involves seeing the chiropractor once per month – the rationale for this is that over the course of a month, the muscles and joints become tight and stiff when a patient is doing daily tasks and getting adjusted helps to relieve the accumulated tension.
If you have any specific questions regarding either of these options, please don’t hesitate to bring this up with your doctor.
I have this feeling that my body feels “unbalanced” … can a chiropractor help?
Many patients get to know their bodies and can sense the need for a visit to maintain optimal spinal health.
They may feel like something is “off”, unbalanced or tight in their posture and seek out treatment to correct it.
What about neck manipulation or neck adjustments? Are they safe?
Neck manipulation is a technique performed by many health care professions, one of whom is a chiropractor.
The purpose of this is to safely move the joints in your cervical spine within their physiological joint space to release tension and muscle spasm.
Chiropractors spend many years in school perfecting this procedure, and when performed correctly, it is safe, painless, and very effective to relieve muscle and joint tension.
According to the most recent literature, neck manipulation does not cause strokes, but rather people are presenting with stroke-like symptoms, and the health care practitioner fails to screen the cause of those symptoms accurately.
If you have any specific concerns about this or want to abstain from this altogether, please communicate this to your health care practitioner.
There are numerous other options to help resolve your neck pain, and it is the practitioner’s responsibility to respect your wishes.
What happens when a chiropractor adjusts or cracks your neck or back?
The actual noise you hear when your neck “cracks” is a quick stretching of the spinal facet joint.
In the process of this stretching, air bubbles are released from the joint, which results in the sound that you hear.
It is possible that after this release of air, the spine may seem to move with less resistance.
Can I see a chiropractor when I’m pregnant?
Absolutely! Chiropractic care throughout pregnancy is safe and effective when the pregnant mother is experiencing muscle and joint pain.
Often, as the mother progresses through her pregnancy, techniques and modifications will be made to chiropractic adjustments to ensure they are safe and gentle for the patient.
Most clinics have special pillows to allow the pregnant patient to lie on the treatment table comfortably.
If you have any specific questions about this, please do not hesitate to contact our clinic to chat with our chiropractor.
Will my chiropractor give me exercises to do at home?
Yes – often with most injuries, patients benefit not only from adjustments but also home care exercises designed to accelerate the healing process.
Doing targeted rehabilitation work has been shown to decrease postural strain and prevent future aggravation of symptoms.
If you feel pain with a stretch when you are doing it at home, make sure you bring it up with the doctor to see if you are performing it correctly or if a modification needs to be made.
Is chiropractic safe?
Chiropractic is a conservative, non-invasive type of therapy whose focus is to restore the optimal function in nerves, muscles, and joints.
There is a lot of literature that supports its efficacy – a link to one article that looked at the treatment of neck pain can be found here.
Common side effects of chiropractic care include temporary soreness or stiffness that typically should diminish within 24 hours.
More severe complications like fracture are very rare, and your chiropractor is obligated to have a conversation with you to discuss risks before starting treatment.
Is there evidence for chiropractic?
One of the international bodies that supports chiropractic advocacy (World Federation of Chiropractic) has put together a list of evidence that is easy for an individual with no scientific background to understand. It can be found here.
Provincially, the British Columbia Chiropractic Association, is performing research into the efficacy of chiropractic care.
It’s important to remember that yearly, almost 1 million British Columbians visit a chiropractor to help recover from their muscle and joint pain further reinforcing the notion of a safe and evidence-informed profession.
How do I find a good chiropractor? What should I look for in a chiropractor?
Because chiropractic is an art, finding a chiropractor that works well for you can be challenging.
It’s possible that visiting three different clinics will result in three different approaches to care.
A few things you can do include calling the clinic to chat with their front desk, looking up reviews online, and going for a consultation to meet the doctor before beginning treatment.
This consultation should be complimentary and include no obligation to start working with the practitioner.
Speaking to friends for a referral may also be helpful. Make sure you can communicate any concerns you have with your chiropractor – as long as they are receptive to your feedback and wishes, you’re likely in the right place.
How can I book an appointment at your chiropractic clinic?
Feel free to call our clinic at 604-430-1525, send us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org), or use our contact us form. We look forward to the opportunity to serve you or answer any questions you may have.