Frequently Asked Questions
Why a Chiropractor?
Chiropractors are specialists in neuromusculoskeletal disorders, a fancy name for nerve, muscle and bone/joint complaints. Chiropractic care offers an effective and safe treatment for many complaints – especially important if you’re considering more invasive options like drugs or surgery. A good analogy to answer the question “why a chiropractor?” is to compare your body to a car. Imagine taking your car into the repair shop complaining of a weird noise from the engine. Do you want the mechanic to hand you a set of earplugs or find and fix the cause of the noise?
What does a Chiropractor do?
The Chiropractic approach is to first figure out what’s wrong, and then make a specific repair to the specific problem. Pain is only a symptom that something is wrong, yet many of us disguise this important warning signal with pain killers, designed not to fix the actual problem, but eliminate the symptom hoping the problem will fix itself.
Based on a thorough history and physical examination of your complaints, a Chiropractor can diagnose the underlying cause of the problem. Given an accurate diagnosis, the Chiropractor will formulate an appropriate treatment plan tailored to your specific condition, ideally resolving the underlying problems and therefore relieving the symptoms as well. Using our understanding of bio-mechanics (body motion) Chiropractors can often treat such diverse conditions as upper back, low back/leg pain, neck pain, disc injuries, and headaches as well as complaints stemming from the extremities such as conditions of the feet, hip, shoulder, wrist, knees, fingers and ankles.
What is a Chiropractic treatment?
Treatment can consist of a variety of different modalities including muscle relaxation/massage, stretching, joint manipulation/mobilization, exercise, and Graston soft tissue mobilization, all aimed at restoring normal function to the injured areas and thereby resolving the underlying cause.
Do Chiropractors really “crack backs”?
The principle behind Chiropractic manipulation/adjustments is to restore normal motion and function to the joints. Typically “cracking” the joints, whether its your knuckles or your spine is painless. The sound you hear is cavitaion, when the “vacuum seal” inside the joint releases, not your bones snapping. The effect is similar to pulling a suction cup off a window – you hear the ‘pop’ or release of the suction in the same way as you do with a joint.
What does cracking joints have to do with pain relief?
Manipulation helps restore normal joint mechanics (movement) and has been proven to reduce pain, relax tense muscles and increase range of motion. Many scientific studies have proven the effectiveness, cost effectiveness and safety of Chiropractic care for musculoskeletal complaints.
“My mother always told me that cracking my joints would cause arthritis and big knuckles, is that true?”
Studies of habitual knuckle crackers have not shown joint damage, arthritis or increased size, but that’s not to say cracking your knuckles or other joints yourself is good for you. When a Chiropractor manipulates joints, he/she specifically picks the problem area that is not moving properly and attempts to restore normal function. Habitual cracking (in any joint) is different. Often the joint that ‘cracks’ is already overly mobile leaving other areas tighter than normal. This can actually magnify the complaint that leads to self-adjusting in the first place. While therapeutic joint manipulation is safe, habitual self-adjusting could lead to increased problems and certainly has no benefit.
How long do Chiropractors spend in school?
Similar to Medical Doctors, Chiropractors need three years of University level courses (an undergraduate degree) prior to being accepted to a full four year Chiropractic program. The basic programs of Medicine and Chiropractic are almost identical, especially in the first 2 years. Chiropractic students focus on the muscles, nerves and bones of the spine and body, Medical students focus more on medications, infectious diseases and the internal organs and Dentists focus on the teeth and jaws.
What's the difference between Chiropractors and Physiotherapists?
That can be difficult to discern at times, with Chiropractors and Physiotherapists sometimes using the same therapies (ie. ultrasound, exercises, etc.).
Primarily the difference comes down to the treatment approach. Chiropractors often use manipulation as the first line of treatment on many conditions, using the other modalities like exercise, stretching, heat or ice to assist the adjustment. Typically Physiotherapists do not manipulate the joints, relying instead on stretching and exercise to treat the complaint.
I have heard that once I start going to a Chiropractor I will have to keep going forever.
This is simply not the case. At our clinic we focus on pain management and resolution. Our goal is to free you from pain and give you the tools to keep yourself painfree. While we do have patients who return on a regular basis, we also have patients who go years between episodes. In the end a lot will depend on you, your lifestyle and how well you take care of yourself.
Does the provincial health plan cover Chiropractic?
Unfortunately no, but most private health care plans do have coverage for Chiropractic treatment. We are alble to directly bill many insurance companies on behalf of our patients. It's a good idea to contact your insurance company and ask about your coverage limits and the availablility of direct billing for your plan.
Bedford Chiropractic, based in Bedford, Nova Scotia, offers full-service consultations, diagnosis and treatment plans for a variety of workplace, repetitive and other injuries. We treat pain to the head, neck, jaw, arm, shoulders, upper body, chest, lower back, legs and feet. Contact us today at 902 835-6865. We serve patients in the Halifax Regional Municipality, including Halifax, Dartmouth, Bedford, Sackville and surrounding areas.