What is chiropractic care and what does a Chiropractor do?
The practice of chiropractic is the assessment of conditions related to the spine, nervous system and joints and the diagnosis, prevention and treatment, primarily by adjustment, of:
(a) dysfunctions or disorders arising from the structures or functions of the spine and the effects of those dysfunctions or disorders on the nervous system; and
(b) dysfunctions or disorders arising from the structures or functions of the joints.
Chiropractors practice within the scope of practice to examine, diagnose and provide care to patients with a variety of health concerns related to the spine and joints and the effect on the nervous system, such as low back, shoulder and knee pain, sports injuries, and overall wellness care. Chiropractors focus on patient-centered care, use manual therapies, and often work in collaboration with other regulated health professionals.
How does one become a Chiropractor?
After participating in an undergraduate university program for at least three years, a Doctor of Chiropractic spends another four years at an accredited chiropractic college, receiving more than 4,200 hours of specialized clinical training.
The chiropractic curriculum includes studies in anatomy, pathology, biomechanics, radiology, chiropractic principles, diagnosis and adjustment techniques.
As primary care practitioners, chiropractors can develop and carry out a comprehensive treatment / management plan, recommend therapeutic exercise and other non-invasive therapies, and provide nutritional, dietary and lifestyle counselling.
Chiropractors are one of only seven classes of health care professionals in Ontario that are able to use the title Doctor, with its accompanying rights and obligations.
Chiropractors work in a variety of settings such as private practice, family health teams, hospitals, universities and many more.
Healthcare teams, comprising of a group of professionals, can improve the quality of patient care and safety while reducing overall costs and workload on individual providers. Chiropractors work complementarily with other healthcare providers, including (but not limited to): medical doctors, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, naturopathic doctors, social workers, psychologists, nurses, dentists, dieticians etc. Partnering with other healthcare professionals can build a strong network of resources that will benefit patients.
Benefits of Chiropractic
Low Back Pain
Spinal manipulative therapy is an effective treatment for both acute and chronic back pain. For acute back pain up to six weeks persistency, spinal manipulative therapy, both as an independent treatment and in conjunction with standard medical care, can help decrease pain and improve functioning. 2, 3 For chronic back pain, spinal manipulative therapy has a modest effect on chronic back pain, with 12 treatments yielding the most favourable results in terms of improving functioning and reducing pain.
Clinical evidence demonstrates that spinal manipulative therapy, mobilization and clinical massage are the most effective treatments for neck associated disorders (NAD I/II). These are deemed more effective than medication for acute/subacute neck pain in the short and long term.
Manual therapy (joint/soft tissue mobilization) in conjunction with stretching and strengthening for patients with plantar fasciitis improved function and sensitivity to pain from 4 to 6 weeks in comparison to other treatments.
Chiropractic care, including spinal manipulation therapy, improves migraines and cervicogenic headaches.