DOES CHIROPRACTIC TREATMENT REQUIRE A REFERRAL FROM A MD?
No. A patient does not have to be referred. Chiropractors are legislated as primary contact health care professionals in every province in Canada. This means that patients can consult them directly. However, chiropractors often work closely with MDs, 44 per cent of whom refer their patients to chiropractors when they believe chiropractic treatment will help alleviate a patient’s condition1. Similarly, chiropractors frequently refer to medical doctors when necessary.
HOW IS CHIROPRACTIC ADJUSTMENT PERFORMED?
Chiropractic adjustment or manipulation 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 functioning. Chiropractic manipulation is a highly controlled procedure that rarely causes discomfort. The chiropractor adapts the procedure to meet the specific needs of each patient. Patients often note positive changes in their symptoms immediately following treatment.
CAN CHIROPRACTIC TREATMENT CURE COLDS, EARACHES AND OTHER AILMENTS?
Chiropractic care cannot “cure” these conditions, but there is some evidence to indicate that adjustment may have a beneficial effect on a variety of conditions. Adjustment may alleviate some of the secondary, or referred pain, arising from the response of the musculoskeletal structures to the primary cause. For example, research conducted in Denmark resulted in chiropractic treatment being recommended for the relief of infantile colic. Similarly, a recent U.S. study concluded that the application of manipulative techniques in children with recurring ear infections can prevent or decrease surgical intervention or antibiotic overuse.
IS CHIROPRACTIC ADJUSTMENT A SAFE PROCEDURE?
Chiropractic adjustment or manipulation is a drug-free, non-invasive approach to common musculoskeletal conditions such as headache, neck and back pain. As such, it is a low risk therapy. Complications arising from adjustment are rare.
IS CHIROPRACTIC TREATMENT APPROPRIATE FOR CHILDREN?
Yes, children may benefit from chiropractic care. Children are very physically active and experience many types of falls and blows from activities of daily living as well as from participating in sports. Injuries such as these may cause many symptoms including back and neck pain, stiffness, soreness or discomfort. Chiropractic care is always adapted to the individual patient. It is a highly skilled treatment, and in the case of children, very gentle. While there is some clinical evidence that musculoskeletal treatment of infants may have positive effects, well-controlled studies are required to verify the benefits that are seen in clinical practice.
DOES CHIROPRACTIC TREATMENT REQUIRE X-RAYS?
X-rays can play an important role in diagnosis and are taken when a need has been determined after taking a patient case history and conducting a physical examination. Chiropractors receive 360 hours of education in radiology covering a full range of topics from protection to X-ray interpretation and diagnosis. Governments in every province have recognized the training and competence of chiropractors to take and interpret X-rays and have granted them this right.
CAN CHIROPRACTIC TREATMENT PROVIDE A PREVENTIVE FUNCTION?
Clinical experience suggests that individuals with chronic conditions such as degenerative joint disease (osteoarthritis) or recurrent neck pain, back pain or headaches may experience less frequent and less severe symptoms when under regular chiropractic care. This also applies to individuals in highly stressful situations and those who experience repetitive physical and postural strain from their daily activities.Whether ongoing chiropractic treatment can prevent back pain from occurring in the first place, or prevent a previous condition from re-occurring, requires further study.