Frequently Asked Questions

A subluxation is when your spine misaligns, resulting in what we call nerve interference. Your spine consists of 24 articulating vertebra, a sacrum and a coccyx. Together, these bones make up multiple articulations allowing you to bend, twist and move freely. However, several stressors can result in a restriction of movement at one of these joints. Because 31 spinal nerves exit between these bones, this easily translates into nervous dysfunction. The integrity of spinal nerves is fundamental to optimal health as it ensures proper and efficient brain-body communication.
The effects of a subluxation may vary greatly, affecting the integrity of the brain-body connection, but are not dependent on the presence or absence of symptoms. Because your body is only able to perceive 10% of pain on average, absence of pain does not necessarily equal absence of subluxation. Also, just as a misaligned car accelerates the wear and tear process, a misaligned spine accelerates degenerative changes, often better known as arthritis.
Subluxations may be caused by more than one factor, but they can all be summarized into three main causes (the three Ts). Traumas: Whether you suffered a car accident, sport injury, slipped on the sidewalk last winter (macro traumas), live a sedentary lifestyle, have a job requiring you to be sitting for several hours per day, have a poor posture (micro traumas), these factors build on each other and create stresses on your body that can cause subluxations in an attempt to adapt to its environment. Toxins: We are all exposed to several toxins on a daily basis. From the air we breathe, the foods we eat, the products we use daily, our bodies are exposed to chemical substances that stress our bodies. In an attempt for homeostasis (internal balance), our nervous system must integrate these stresses, which can once again lead to subluxations in an attempt to adapt. Thoughts: While it’s not every day that we get chased by a tiger in Canada nowadays, we are more than ever exposed to work deadlines, overloaded schedules, financial stresses, lack of sleep, self esteem problems, peer and society pressures, and quests for excellence. Oddly enough, our body does not know the difference between these stresses and a tiger chasing us! The only difference is that, unlike today’s stressors, we could be assured that the tiger would not chase us indefinitely. One of two options would take place: it would catch us or we would escape it. The problem is that many of us function in survival mode—often without realizing it—which takes a toll on our health and well-being!
A chiropractic adjustment is the treatment of choice for subluxations. Chiropractors are highly trained in delivering a specific gentle force to the spine where restrictions are found, relieving neural tension and allowing proper spinal and nervous function.
Chiropractic is widely recognized as one of the safest, drug-free, non-invasive therapies available for the care of neuromusculoskeletal complaints. Although chiropractic has an excellent safety record, no health care is completely free of potential adverse effects. The risks associated with chiropractic, however, are very small. Many patients feel immediate relief following chiropractic care, but some may experience mild soreness or aching, just as they do after some forms of exercise. Current literature shows that minor discomfort or soreness following spinal adjustment typically fades within 24 hours. If you have any concerns, we invite you to voice them at your first appointment in order that we may address them.
Unlike other health care avenues where treatment consists largely on prescribing an at-home treatment (drug, etc.) chiropractic care does indeed require the patient to visit his chiropractor a number of times due to the hands-on nature of the treatment. The actual frequency and duration can vary greatly, depending on the patient’s goals and presenting health level. If your goal is optimal health, periodic visits are encouraged as a preventative measure. In the long run, this usually proves to be the most time and financially effective. You can reduce the frequency of these visits by following your chiropractor’s recommendations, and by adopting lifestyle habits that support optimal health and proper spinal hygiene. Just like brushing your teeth daily helps keep the dentist away, these recommended lifestyle habits can support your spinal health!

Doctors of chiropractic are educated as primary-contact health care providers, meaning that you do not need a referral from your family doctor in order to consult. Educational requirements for doctors of chiropractic are among the most stringent of any of the health care professions.

Most applicants to a chiropractic college have completed an undergraduate education, which include premedical requirements such as biology, inorganic and organic chemistry, physics, psychology and related lab work. Once accepted into an accredited chiropractic college, the applicant must complete four to five years of doctorate level studies to complete a minimum of 4200 classroom hours. These include classes on orthopedics, neurology, physiology, human anatomy, clinical diagnosis including laboratory procedures, diagnostic imaging, exercise, nutrition, rehabilitation and more.

Because chiropractic care includes highly skilled adjustments/adjusting techniques, a significant portion of time is spent in clinical technique training to master these important manipulative procedures.


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Adapted from: Chapman‐Smith, D. The Chiropractic Profession. NCMIC Group Inc. 2000