Q: How do I know whether I need to see a chiropractor, physiotherapist or massage therapist?
A: There are overlapping features and services between these professions. However, chiropractors are doctors, meaning they have the ability to diagnose your condition, treat it if indicated, or refer you to the appropriate health professional/specialist if necessary.
Chiropractors are trained in all areas of manual therapy, physical therapy and rehabilitation. The chiropractors at KIH are able to treat all joints and soft tissues of the body, as well as prescribe exercises and rehabilitate you after an injury, surgery or other health condition.
We work well with physiotherapists and massage therapists and will refer you to them if we find more attention is needed in areas they can better address.
Q: What can I expect from my chiropractic visit?
A: All chiropractors work differently and have varied technique styles and approaches to health care. Here at KIH, we strongly follow an evidence and team-based approach, whereby we try to find the underlying cause of your condition and work together with a health professional team to help you recover.
First, we take a full medical history, obtaining all pertinent medical reports and testing that you may have had. Then we conduct a full physical examination relevant to your particular condition. We then report to you our diagnosis, plan of management/treatment and prognosis. We will also let you know of any alternatives to our treatment essentially giving you all the information you need to make an informed choice about how you would like to proceed with your treatment options.
With your consent, we find it helpful to write a brief report to your family physician about our findings about your case. That way they can be aware of all of your medical care. The health care system serves you best when your family doctor knows exactly what’s going on with all aspects of your health and what treatment you re receiving.
Q: I don’t have back pain. Why should I see a chiropractor?
A: It is a common misconception that chiropractors only deal with back pain. We diagnose and treat all aspects of the neuromusculoskeletal system (nerves, muscle, connective tissues, ligaments and tendons, bones and joints).
Q: My doctor says I have arthritis. Chiropractic can’t help with that, can it?
A: There are various forms of arthritis inflammatory types and the more common “wear-and-tear” type called osteoarthritis. Many people with back and neck pain commonly see their doctors and x-rays are typically taken. It is very common to see some level of degeneration (wear-and-tear) in certain levels of the spine or other joints especially in the elderly or middle-aged. Osteoarthitis is the degeneration of joint cartilage and the bones next to it.
Doctors will quite often tell you that your back or neck pain is due to the arthritis and that there’s not much you can do about it. However, the scientific research shows that osteoarthritis is not usually the cause of one s pain and that other structures/factors are the culprit.
Regardless, chiropractors are well-trained to diagnose osteoarthritis and will know when to refer you to a specialist if another type of arthritis is present or if chiropractic care is not appropriate in your case.
In terms of osteoarthritis, chiropractic treatment can be helpful in a number of ways: joint mobilization/manipulation can help to decrease stiffness and improve circulation to the area, thereby decreasing pain and improving function. Specific exercise prescription and postural education can help to improve strength and overall mechanical function, thereby decreasing the stresses placed upon the joints and inhibiting the degenerative process. Chiropractors are also well trained in nutrition and can make recommendations to help ensure that your body is receiving what it needs in order to keep your joints as healthy as possible. We work with the naturopathic doctor and massage therapist in an integrated fashion to serve you best.
Q: I don’t have coverage for chiropractic. How can I afford it?
A: At KIH, our fees are extremely reasonable and our sessions with you are one-on-one without interruption. We only treat one patient at a time without running back and forth between treatment rooms and patients. This means that you have our undivided attention and our time together is efficient.
In addition, our philosophy is that we render as little treatment as possible and get you better as quickly as possible. Our main goal is to educate you on your specific condition and how you can help yourself first. In other words, we will only provide treatment that we feel is reasonable and necessary…. nothing more and nothing less.
Q: Once I start chiropractic, do I have to keep coming?
A: No. In most cases, our patients walk away with significant knowledge about their particular condition, what caused it, what their treatment options are, how to self-manage their condition and how to prevent it?
A typical scenario is that a patient has an injury, they come to see us for examination and treatment and then we give them an exercise and self-management program. If after a trial of therapy (typically lasting 2-4 weeks) a patient is not improving, we will either opt to send you for more testing or refer you to another health professional for a second opinion or treatment alternative. We will not continue treating a condition if little or no improvement is occurring!
In this day and age, many people have sedentary and repetitive jobs (computer and desk work). These people often feel better with treatment every so often to help alleviate tense and sore muscles and joints. However, this option is entirely yours to make. We will never force you into a treatment plan. We are here to work with you and will only proceed with treatment plans that are reasonable, necessary and that you are comfortable with. You are the ultimate gatekeeper of your own health.
Q: I don’t like getting “cracked”. Can I still see a chiropractor?
A: Yes. There are a variety of techniques that can be used to treat joints, bones, muscles, nerves and surrounding soft tissues. We’ll choose those that suit your needs and comfort level.
Q: What is the “cracking” noise?
A: During a chiropractic adjustment/manipulation, the low back for example, undergoes quick and gentle stretching of the spinal joint. This can be a significant therapeutic intervention as it improves joint mobility and function. The patient may hear a cracking or popping noise as the joint is opened. Research has proved that small pockets of air or bubbles are found in the tissue fluid surrounding a joint capsule. When the joint tissues are stretched during an adjustment, the pockets of air ‘pop’ creating a cracking sound.
Q: My doctor told me not to see a chiropractor. What should I do?
A: There are several reasons why your doctor might say this to you: they are not sure what chiropractors do; they think that “cracking” is not appropriate for you; they think you need physiotherapy or massage; they have had bad experiences with some chiropractors; or they are not aware of the latest scientific research on chiropractic indicating that it is a very safe and effective mode of treatment.
We will address these concerns at KIH. We are happy to communicate with your doctor either by telephone or by sending a report or both, explaining exactly how we are managing your case. As stated previously, a treatment doesn’t always have to involve a “crack”; we offer different effective treatment techniques. We are able to provide you with the physical therapy and soft tissue therapy that you require in most instances. However, we are happy to refer you to qualified physiotherapists or our own in-house registered massage therapist for additional therapy if required or if you choose.
The medical community is more familiar with mainstream physiotherapy and massage therapy than with chiropractic. Therefore, they are more willing to refer to these professionals. This is good; however they could be missing out on the significant and additional benefits that chiropractic also has to offer.