What is a Chiropractor?
Doctors of chiropractic, called ‘chiropractors’ are spine, muscle, joint and nervous system experts. Every chiropractor receives at least six to seven years of post-secondary academic and clinical education. They are trained in how to evaluate, diagnose, recommend and deliver a treatment plan that manages issues within these systems, according to your preferences. A chiropractor’s education also includes courses in radiology, pain management, prescribed exercise and rehabilitation, among others.
Each chiropractor is uniquely qualified to evaluate your condition and identify what’s causing your pain.
Based on the best available evidence, combined with their clinical expertise, your chiropractor will then work with you to determine the best treatment to relieve your pain. They will also help prevent it from returning and restore your mobility.
Some of the conditions chiropractors treat include:
- Back pain
- Headaches or migraines
- Neck pain
- Whiplash injuries
- Joint pain
- Disc problems (herniated discs, bulging discs)
- Sciatica and leg pain
- Numbness and/or tingling in the arms or legs upon waking up
- Shoulder, arm and hand pain
- TMJ (jaw pain)
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Knee pain
- Repetitive stress/strain injuries and strain caused by postural problems
- Other injuries caused by sports, work, falls or other traumas
After an initial appointment to assess your condition, your chiropractor will use their clinical expertise and the best available evidence to make a diagnosis and recommend treatment options for you.
Chiropractic care is the primary method of treatment for many medical conditions, such as low back pain. For other conditions, such as pain associated with arthritis, diabetes or osteoporosis, chiropractors and other health professionals recommend an interprofessional approach. So in these situations, your chiropractor will coordinate with other health care professionals in your circle of care to support your overall treatment with chiropractic care to relieve your spine, muscle or joint pain.
Chiropractors use various treatments, depending on their patient’s specific needs and preferences. Common treatments include:
- Manual, ‘hands-on’ therapy
- Soft tissue therapy
- Customized, therapeutic exercise programs
- Self-management tools and techniques (like positions for relief or coping strategies for pain)
- Advice and education
One of the most frequent treatments a chiropractor uses is manual manipulation of the vertebrae of your spine or other joints, which is called an ‘adjustment.’ To perform an adjustment, your chiropractor will use their hands to apply controlled force to your joint and guide it through a range of motion. This action restores your joint’s natural movement and improves its function.
When applied to your spine, this treatment is called spinal manipulation therapy (SMT). Manipulation is also used on other joints, such as those in your wrist, ankle or foot, as an effective treatment.
You may want to visit a chiropractor at various times throughout your life. A chiropractor can alleviate long-term or sporadic pain, promote health and help you live your best life.
Whether we’re at home, work or out and about, daily living puts strain on our bodies. As a result, you may suffer from persistent headaches, migraines, back, neck or joint pain. You may also have this type of pain due to an injury, accident, illness or long-term condition.
Taking pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications may temporarily alleviate your symptoms but may not address the underlying cause. They may also create new health challenges. Consider visiting a chiropractor instead. Using primarily their hands, your chiropractor will treat these issues without medication or surgery and help prevent them from returning. But you don’t have to have an issue or be in persistent pain to visit a chiropractor. They can help you at many other times.