What is Chiropractic?

In Canada there are over 5,000 practicing chiropractors. Approximately four and a half million people in Canada see a chiropractor each year. In Canada, chiropractic is a regulated health profession.  It is recognized by statute in all of the Canadian provinces.

Chiropractic adjustments are drug-free, non-invasive manual procedures which are learned during an intensive 4 year program at a chiropractic college.  Chiropractors assess disorders related to the spine, nervous system, and joints of the extremities, and provide diagnosis, treatment and prevention of those disorders. The primary goal of chiropractic adjustment, also referred to as manipulation, is to treat areas of decreased movement in the joints of the body, particularly the spine, which can create a reaction in surrounding tissues (ligaments, muscles and nerves) resulting in pain, dysfunction and muscular spasm. Because all patients don't respond equally to all treatments, chiropractors also utilize therapeutic exercise, soft-tissue therapy and electrotherapy such as ultrasound, laser, and microcurrent.  In British Columbia, chiropractors are able to provide information regarding nutritional support for many patients.


Patients seek chiropractic care for a vast array of musculoskeletal complaints.  Some of these are headache, migraine, neck stiffness and pain, upper back pain, shoulder pain, elbow pain, wrist and finger pain, low back pain, hip pain, sciatica, knee pain, ankle and foot pain.  In other words just about any type of pain!

What is a Chiropractic Adjustment?
 

Chiropractic adjustment (or as we call them - manipulations)  is a procedure in which the chiropractor uses his/her hands to manipulate the joints of the body in order to restore motion and proper function of the spine. Adjustments are a highly controlled procedure which looks easy to many but is exceptionally difficult to do properly.  This skill is learned over a four year period at chiropractic college and is then refined during the years that the doctor practices. Manipulations are adapted to meet the specific needs of each patient and require skill, dexterity, sensitivity and a dash of artistry.

How Are Chiropractors Educated?

Doctors of Chiropractic have studied for a minimum of seven years at university and chiropractic college. Anatomy, physiology, pathology, neurology, biomechanics, radiology (x-ray) and spinal adjustive techniques are among the  subjects that are concentrated on. An internship program provides students with further supervised training and the clinical "hands-on" skills required to practice chiropractic. Once the student has received the Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) degree, they must then sit for and pass National License Exams.  To practice in B.C.,  Provincial Licensing Exams must then be passed. Every year on order to maintain their B.C. Chiropractic licenses, chiropractors  are required to participate in approved continuing education programs.  These programs consist of subjects such as radiology, MRI, research update seminars, technique seminars, electrotherapy seminars, etc.

Is Chiropractic Safe?
 

Chiropractic is one of the safest, drug-free, non-invasive treatments available for headache, and neck and back pain. During the last 25 years there have been six formal government studies of chiropractic, all of which have found the profession to be both safe and effective. Based on the results of more than 44 studies into the safety and efficacy of chiropractic treatment, no other profession, including medicine, can demonstrate greater effectiveness or a better safety record for the treatment of spinal pain syndromes.

What is that Popping Sound?

All fluid has gas dissolved in it.  When pressure is exerted on the fluid, gas comes out of solution and forms a bubble.  This is called cavitation.  It's the reason bubbles form behind a propeller, or why bubbles form when you open a bottle of sparkling water.  When a chiropractor adjusts a joint, the fluid within that joint is placed under tension.  The gasses dissolved in the fluid come out of solution and form a bubble within the fluid of the joint and you get to hear a pop!  The popping noise is harmless and is non therapeutic.  It is merely an indicator that joint fluid was placed under enough tension that a bubble formed.  We all know people who "crack" their knuckles.  They are not actually helping themselves at all but they think they are because they made a noise.  "Cracking" or "Popping" is something best left in the hands of a licensed Doctor of Chiropractic who knows how to adjust a joint properly, effectively, and safely.


Does Chiropractic Treatment Require X-Rays?

X-rays can play an important role in diagnosis but are only taken when a need has been determined by your case history and physical examination. If x-rays are indicated we will refer you to your medical doctor requesting the appropriate films.


Does Chiropractic Treatment Require a referral from an M.D.?

No. A patient does not have to be referred. Chiropractors are legislated as primary contact health professionals in every province in Canada. This means that patients can consult a Doctor of Chiropractic directly. However, chiropractors often work closely with MDs and other health care professionals.  In her downtown Vancouver practice Dr. Sayani has a wonderful working relationship with excellent medical doctors, physiotherapists, massage therapists, podiatrists, and acupuncturists.