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Frequently Asked Questions

(Click a question to read its answer below.)

How Chiropractic Can Help

I know people who go to their chiropractor even though they don’t have symptoms. Why?

Do you wait for symptoms (i.e. a blown engine) before you change the oil in your car? Should you wait until a wall falls down before you check for termites? Should you wait until you have a heart attack to start eating properly? Let’s take a look at a high performance race car; getting your spine adjusted periodically, once your problems have been fixed, is no different than a “Pit-Stop.” It keeps your body functioning properly and decreases your chances for cumulative injuries.

The reason people go to their Kitchener chiropractors when they don’t have symptoms is because they like not having symptoms. Unfortunately, some people’s idea of preventative care is “hoping” that they don’t wear out. It is much wiser to “ensure” that you don’t wear out by caring for your body like a high performance racecar. Most people care for their bodies like they have another one in the bank!

Can chiropractic care provide a preventative 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.

What results can I expect from chiropractic care?

That depends on your condition. The length of time you have had the problem, your age and the degree of your disability all affect the length of your care. Your Kitchener Waterloo chiropractic doctor should tell you the extent of care recommended, and how long you can expect it to last.

One of the main reasons people choose chiropractic is that they often get quick results. Individual cases vary and chronic conditions obviously need more care, but Workers’ Compensation Board studies show that people with low back pain get back to work much faster with chiropractic care.

You might also consider the benefits of regular chiropractic adjustments even when you feel healthy. Sometimes you won’t know you have a disorder of the neuromusculoskeletal system until it becomes acute and painful. So, just as you see your dentist to have your teeth checked and your optometrist for eye exams, regular visits to your chiropractor can catch related health conditions early, often preventing them from developing into major problems. Remember, your spine is every bit as susceptible to wear and tear as your teeth and your eyes so you should look after it.

Is chiropractic regulated in Canada?

Like medicine and dentistry, chiropractic is a self-regulating profession, and each provincial chiropractic regulatory body has the authority to grant a license to practice chiropractic.

There are Chiropractic Acts in all 10 provinces and the Yukon Territory which establish a self-regulatory process which includes extensive testing for licensure. In all provinces, licensure requirements include university studies followed by graduation from an accredited chiropractic institution, and passing national and provincial board examinations.

Is chiropractic covered by government health plans?

Chiropractic care is covered extensively by third party payers. These include the federal public service, worker’s compensation boards, the automobile insurance industry, private health care insurers, large employers, the RCMP, and Veteran’s Affairs Canada.

Questions About Adjusting

What is a subluxation?

“Subluxation” is a term used when two or more vertebrae have lost their normal motion and/or position. This causes interruption to the normal nerve flow and interferes with the communication from the brain to the body and from the body back to the brain.

What causes a subluxation?

Watch a two year old for 3 hours-how many times do they fall down? Go observe an elementary recess playground-any chance that a child to may play too hard and slightly misalign one of the 24 movable vertebra? Accidents, injuries, improper lifting or body mechanics and inherited spinal weaknesses are common causes of subluxations. Other causes include prolonged sitting, poor sleeping habits, poor posture, obesity, slips and falls, car accidents, stress, a sedentary lifestyle, sports injuries, internal organ dysfunction, and not enough rest or sleep.

A vertebra can easily get misaligned and, unknowingly to the patient, put slight pressure on a nerve. Since you can’t feel your nerve roots you don’t even know its there. Its sort of like stepping gently on a garden hose…whatever is on the other end doesn’t get its life force, in this case water. If it were a garden the flowers or plants would slowly wilt or even die. If it’s your body the effected tissue, whether a muscle or and organ, gets deprived of its life force, nerve impulses and can slowly become dis-eased.

Often, damage is accumulated slowly without symptoms. That’s why some refer to subluxations as “The Silent killer”.

Is it safe to adjust myself?

No. Since a chiropractic adjustment is a specific force, applied in a specific direction to a specific joint, it is virtually impossible to adjust oneself correctly and accurately.

It is possible to turn or bend or twist in certain ways to create a “popping” sound that sometimes accompanies a chiropractic adjustment. Unfortunately, this type of joint manipulation is usually counterproductive, often making an already unstable spine even more unstable, and can sometimes be dangerous. Adjusting the spine is not for amateurs!

Does an adjustment have to make noise to be effective?

No, it is a common misconception that your joints must make a noise to be properly adjusted. Rarely does the vertebra make a noise when it becomes misaligned, so why would it have to make a noise in the process of re-alignment?

There are times when your spine is adjusted that a sound will be created. This sound means little, and is a poor indicator of the success of your adjustment. Your Kitchener Waterloo chiropractor employs several techniques that do create this sound and several techniques that do not.

Does the adjustment hurt?

No. A chiropractic adjustment does not hurt. Most patients look forward to being adjusted and often feel an instant sense of well-being after their adjustment.

If you’ve had a recent injury, however, adjustments can irritate inflamed tissue and cause minor discomfort. In these cases, it is important to continue care despite minor tenderness and discomfort. Some people also experience odd sensations in their muscles or extremities after adjustments.

This is a normal reaction to the relieving of pressure on nerves and is no cause for concern.

Can chiropractic adjustments damage your joints?

The answer is no. In fact the evidence shows clearly that chiropractic adjustments can actually prevent arthritis by maintaining joint health. It does this by restoring the proper motion to the joint.

Medical textbooks will tell you that it is loss of motion of a joint that causes damage and arthritis to the joint. Motion is life when it comes to joint health. Restoring proper function to the joint provides the cartilage and disc (in the case of the spine), with improved blood supply. Better blood supply means better nourishment and the ability to dispose of waste products.

What’s more, most chiropractic adjustments are painless. Often, the adjustment may feel good and can provide immediate relief from stiffness or tension.

Chiropractic and Medical Care

Does chiropractic care require a referral from a medical doctor?

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.

Do chiropractors refer practice members to medical doctors when necessary?

Yes, like medical doctors, chiropractors refer patients to other health professionals when they feel it is appropriate. Chiropractors are well trained to recognize risk factors as well as individual disease patterns and will not hesitate to make a referral when it is in the best interest of the patient’s health.

Is it true that chiropractors do not prescribe medication or perform surgery?

Yes. Chiropractors don’t prescribe medication or perform invasive procedures. They believe the body has the ability to heal itself, and therefore focus on providing it with the right elements for self-restoration. This makes chiropractic one of the safest of all care.

If your doctor of chiropractic identifies a problem that should require immediate medical attention you will be referred out to the proper provider. Your health and safety are always our main concern.

Does chiropractic care 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.

Spinal X-rays are pictures of the spine to find injuries or diseases that affect the discs or joints in the spine. These pictures are taken as a safety precaution to allow the doctor to rule out fractures, tumors, infection and congenital blocks. These pictures will also help detect any abnormal curves in the spine which will allow the doctor to correct them back to normal, moving you back to a state of wellness.

Can a person who had back surgery see a chiropractor?

Yes. It’s an unfortunate fact that up to half of those who have had spinal surgery will return to their original symptoms months or years later. They then face the prospect of additional surgery. This common occurrence is known as “Failed Back Surgery Syndrome.”

Although techniques may need to be modified to accommodate a person who has had a surgery, chiropractic may help prevent repeated back surgeries. In fact, if chiropractic care is utilized initially, back surgery can often be avoided in the first place.

Common Chiropractic Myths

How old should a person be before receiving chiropractic care?

People of all ages are candidates for chiropractic care. Even babies can have subluxations, due to the rigors of birth. In general, it’s best to care for children’s subluxations early, as they interfere with nerves that control developing muscles and organs. How long would you let your children’s teeth go without brushing them?

We advise that maintaining a structure as intricate and vital to the whole health of the organism as the spine should begin shortly after birth and continue for as long as you would like your spine to be healthy. A rapidly developing spine and all other bones and joints of the body consist of cartilage growth centers that the bone grows from. Abnormal stresses on these growth plates can cause the bones to develop abnormally.

Remember that 65% of neural development occurs within the first year of life and that your child’s spine grows 50% of its length within the first year. With an early checkup, your Kitchener chiropractor can detect any problems that exist and prevent problems from developing.

Children who are colicky, get sick often, and have numerous ear infections should all be checked for subluxation. As the twig is bent, so grows the tree.

I heard if you go to a chiropractor you have to go forever?

I heard if you don’t want your teeth to fall out you have to brush them everyday… forever! I heard if you want to keep your physical fitness you have to exercise 3 days a week…forever. I heard that if you want to stay healthy you have to eat right, 3 meals a day, forever. When do you stop maintaining your car? It’s a hunk of metal that will be thrown away in 10 years. You only have one human body. If you don’t take care of it, where will you live?

Most people who don’t see chiropractors are used to seeing their medical doctor only 1 visit. They get a prescription and that is it. Chiropractic is not about taking drugs to alleviate symptoms. It is about the health and well being of the most important structure in your body, the spine and what it protects, your nervous system.

Chiropractic patients usually choose to get adjusted once a month forever because they have been in pain before and they much prefer the way they feel when they are adjusted. The ball is always in your court at Westheights Chiropractic when making decisions about your health, so choose wisely! We are always here to guide you in making decisions towards optimal health and wellness.

Is every practice member’s care the same?

The care a practice member receives is related to the specific condition diagnosed by the chiropractor, and will vary from person to person depending on each persons unique situation.

Is chiropractic evidence-based?

Chiropractic is a healing discipline firmly grounded in science. Few other health care interventions have been assessed as extensively as chiropractic adjustments, both in terms of safety and effectiveness.

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, cost-effective, and have recommended public funding for chiropractic services. In addition, there have been countless scientific clinical studies assessing the appropriateness, effectiveness, and/or cost-effectiveness of spinal adjustments or chiropractic adjustments, most notably for low back pain.

The Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHI) now offers research grants in partnership with the Canadian Chiropractic Association to chiropractors and other scientists for high quality, chiropractic research.

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Chiropractor Kitchener | Dr. Ryan Rullitis, Dr. Aaron Beaudry, and Dr. Robert Kniess

Westheights Chiropractic