Frequently Asked Questions About Chiropractic

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What To Expect On Your First Chiropractic Visit

When you arrive for your initial appointment, you will be asked to provide us with some information about your health history and the nature of your current complaint or reason for your visit. Your forms can be filled out ahead of time if you wish. After you complete this short process, Dr. Heaman will spend some time talking with you so that she can better understand your condition and be aware of any health concerns you may have.

Once Dr. Heaman feels that she has a complete understanding of the history and nature of your complaint, she will examine to help her evaluate your condition and develop a working diagnosis. Women will be asked to put on a gown, and men will be asked to remove their shirt and socks.  After the examination, Dr. Heaman will explain your diagnosis and will address whether she feels chiropractic treatment is appropriate. If chiropractic care is deemed appropriate, she will discuss the specific treatment types that will help a treatment schedule. Treatment will be performed on your first visit if Dr. Heaman feels that x-rays are not necessary. Treatment may consist of a chiropractic spinal or extremity adjustment, soft tissue therapy such as myofascial release or trigger point therapy, custom foot orthotics and therapeutic ultrasound. 

How Does Chiropractic Work?

Your brain stem and spinal cord create a "highway" for your nerves.  Nerves send messages to and from your brain, which control the health and function of virtually every cell in your body.  Chiropractic care focuses on maximizing the body's potential & self-healing capabilities by detecting, correcting and preventing spinal misalignments, which may lead to nerve interference.  Chiropractic treatment may include spinal adjustments, custom foot orthotics, exercise counselling, nutritional advice and/or healthy lifestyle recommendations.

What Education Do Chiropractors Have?

Chiropractors must receive a minimum of 7-8 years of a college education. The basic science and clinical coursework include anatomy, biochemistry, microbiology, physiology, physical and laboratory diagnostics, radiology, physiology, pathology, nutrition, biomechanics, and spinal manipulation techniques. Chiropractic education is similar to medical education; hence, both earn the doctor's title, except the focus is on the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal and nervous system disorders rather than drugs or surgery.

Do I Need A Prescription or Referral?

No.  Anybody is allowed to use a chiropractor.  You do not have to be referred by your doctor.

How Does My Spine Get Misaligned?

We are exposed to numerous factors regularly, which may interfere with proper nerve functioning.  They can arise from physical, emotional or chemical reasons.  The physical causes can result from accidents, slips and falls, repetitive motions, poor posture, improper lifting & bending.  Emotional causes include stress, anger, depression and fear.  Chemical causes include drugs, alcohol, pollution and poor nutrition.

Is Chiropractic Just For Back Pain?

No, Chiropractic care can benefit organs, tissues, systems and cells in your body by optimizing your body's ability to heal itself.  Although it is usually associated with back pain, chiropractic effectively relieves headaches, neck pain, arthritis, sciatica, carpal tunnel syndrome, rotator cuff strain and many other conditions.  Many headaches originate from the neck area of the spine being misaligned.

How Old Do I Have To Be To See A Chiropractor?

Chiropractic is safe for all ages. Many childhood activities have a significant impact on the spine.   Learning to walk or ride a bicycle, playing sports, and even the birth process can cause spinal problems.  Regular spinal checkups can help identify these problems and help avoid any more problems seen later in adults.  As we age and reach the later years of life, the spine can go through degenerative changes. The benefits of chiropractic care can also be seen as many patients have reported relief of arthritic symptoms and other chronic ailments often associated with the ageing process. The adjusting techniques are modified depending on the patient's age to give maximum comfort and results.

What is an Adjustment?

An adjustment is how chiropractors treat bones that are misaligned.  An adjustment is a specific and precise force applied in an area where the joint is stuck or "locked."  Adjusting the joint allows it to move better.  Chiropractors can use their hands, instruments and/or gravity.

Will It Hurt?

In some cases, there is the feeling of a slight pressure on your spinal joints and/or you may hear a popping sound, but there is rarely pain associated with an adjustment.

How Can I Tell If I Need An Adjustment?

Most of us can not tell if we have spinal bones that are misaligned and need an adjustment.  After a course of chiropractic care, you may, however, develop a sense of when your body is not functioning at its best.  To be sure, include a regular spinal check-up as part of your balanced health care. Like early tooth decay, there are often no warning signs informing us that we need an adjustment.

What is the "Popping" Or "Cracking" Sound?

The popping sound is gas!  Between each spinal joint are lubricating fluids.  With some adjustments, gases escape due to pressure being placed on your spine.  This pressure causes gases to escape and creates a popping sound.  It is similar to when champagne or a can of pop is opened.  The noise is from a change of pressure.   Not all adjustments will create a sound, so if you didn't hear anything, the adjustment did not "fail."  The goal of an adjustment is to put a force through an area that is stuck, not to produce a sound.

Can I Adjust Myself?

Definitely not.  Even chiropractors have to go to other chiropractors to be adjusted.  Chiropractic adjustments are applied to a specific spinal segment with a specific force in a specific direction. Some people can "crack" their own joints, but this is not an adjustment.  "Self-adjusting" yourself is detrimental, often making an already unstable area of the spine even more unstable or hyper-mobile. Chiropractic training takes many years to complete; adjusting the spine is not for the inexperienced.

Is It Bad To "Crack" My Own Joints?

Generally, when you feel the need to "crack" a joint regularly, it is a sign that there is instability in the area.  Cracking the joint yourself may provide temporary relief but the need to crack soon returns.  Often the joints affected by your "crack" are not the ones that are fixated; they are ones with too much mobility.  They may have weakened muscles and ligaments, and you may cause more problems in the area.

Will A Chiropractor Prescribe Medication?

No, they will not.  Chiropractic is a natural form of health care.  The chiropractic goal is to provide safe, gentle, effective treatment without the use of drugs or surgery. If you have a condition that requires medication, your chiropractor will refer you to your family physician.

Is Chiropractic Safe?

Chiropractic is remarkably safe. Chiropractic is a conservative approach to health care. Because there are no drugs or surgery involved with chiropractic, it is a safe, natural way to help you reach 100% health. Chiropractors are highly skilled and highly educated individuals who have the knowledge and confidence to deliver this natural healing to you.