Frequently Asked Questions About Chiropractic
We’ve amassed this list of the most common (and not so common) questions we field every day… we know if one person is asking, there’s likely ten others wishing they knew the answer too!
What exactly is a chiropractic adjustment?
At your first check up you probably noticed a few key things – it was fast, gentle, and seemed to have a lot to do with your feet… We’ll get to that one in a moment, but first…
As Corrective Chiropractors we analyse and correct subluxations in the spine and pelvis. These deviations in normal alignment and motion of the vertebrae can place stress on your musculo-skeletal sysytem.
An adjustment is the method by which a Corrective Chiropractor corrects subluxations in your spine.
An adjustment is different from a manipulation in two ways:
An adjustment is always delivered specifically to an area of the spine that is shifted – not just an area that hurts. Vertebral subluxations are most often painless as only a small percentage of the nervous system receives and reports pain. You may have a subluxation impairing your function and yet have no pain.
An adjustment is not accomplished by simply popping or cracking the spine. Although some audible sounds may accompany some corrections, the sound is not related in any way to the success of an adjustment.
How do you know when an adjustment worked?
The first thing we need to do is define what is meant by ‘work.’
In the context of a chiropractic adjustment, ‘working’ means that there has been a measurable reduction in stress on the musculo-skeletal system as a result of correcting the underlying distortion in the spine.
Primary indicators the doctor may use at any given check up include balancing of leg lengths (this is what we check when we’re at your feet), palpable (observing by hand) improvements in motion of the spine and changes in muscle tension surrounding the affected vertebrae.
In short, the analysis used by your doctor during your check up will determine if a correction worked or did not work. This is exactly why you will notice your Doctor re-checking your spine following every correction.
Longer term indicators include things like improvements in your posture (being able to stand up taller or straighter), optimal motion throughout the spine, symmetry of muscle size and strength along with objective changes in Electromyography identified on your comparative examination results.
Why don’t I feel any different after an adjustment?
That’s a really good question. After all, you originally came in because you wanted help with a problem right?
Do you remember when your doctor told you that what you thought was your problem likely wasn’t your problem at all but instead it was collateral damage?
The objective of a chiropractic adjustment is to reduce as much stress as possible from your musculo-skeletal system. This doesn’t always equate to feeling better, but may help your body to function and move better.
You may not immediately be aware of the change that has occurred as it takes time for your body to adapt to the correction and many of the functions that could improve cannot be ‘felt’.
Subluxations are very often accompanied by chronic inflammation and soft tissue damage, both of which will take time to heal. As scar tissue starts to break down, inflammation clears and the structure of your spine changes…rest assured we are trying to make sure that each correction moves you slowly and steadily toward a healthier version of YOU!
Is it ok to have adjustments on back-to-back days?
Short answer – Yes. In fact, early on we may recommend you have back-to-back check-ups so that we can monitor how quickly your body falls back into the old patterns of distortion.
Initially, this may occur within hours of your checkup, however as your body begins to adapt to the adjustments we typically see less and less required adjustments, and in some cases you may not require any adjustments at all!
When we see this, it’s a clear indication that you are ready to progress and we can decrease the frequency of your visits.
Sometimes there are very few adjustments required while other times there are several… what’s going on here?
Every time you come in to the office and lay down on the table, your spine is different than the last time you came in. This is why every single time you come in we check and analyse your spine to determine if any adjustments are even necessary. Some days there will be more subluxations, therefore more adjustments needed while other days, you’ll need less.
When we consistently see that less adjustments are required, it’s a clear sign that your body is recovering and adapting better – in other words, you are getting healthier! When it happens consistently and your test results support it, your check up schedule will change.
What can I do to speed up my recovery?
I think it’s fair to say we all want the same thing…the best results in the shortest amount of time. So it’s totally normal for you to ask what else could you be doing to speed up your Neuro-Structural Correction.
In our experience there’s a very specific process you will need to go through and it’s often slightly different for each person.
You will definitely be prescribed specific corrective mobility exercises along with strengthening and stabilizing exercises when we feel you are ready. We may also recommend getting the help of a registered massage therapist and/or physiotherapist.
One blanket recommendation that we can make for everyone is to make sure you are getting lots of regular, low-level movement in your day.
As humans, we are designed to move…a lot. Aim to walk at least 45-minutes every day above and beyond your normal activities. Split this up however you want, but an easy strategy would be to take a 15-minute walk in the morning before work, at lunch, and after dinner. If you have kids, get them involved too – this is excellent habit to instill in them at a young age.
Another excellent habit to establish is the sit-busting habit: for every 30-minutes that you sit, get up and move for 2-minutes. In that 2-minutes you could go for a quick walk, do some jumping jacks, air squats or climb up/down some stairs. It may seem distracting from your work but research clearly shows that regular movement breaks actually increases your productivity.
Should I exercise before or after my check-ups?
The most important thing is that you find time to fit both exercise and your checkups into your busy week. In our experience, your personal schedule will dictate this more than anything else.
However, if you find yourself with the freedom to choose then you are always better off to exercise following your checkup and here’s why…
Since the purpose of your check-up is to maximize your musculo-skeletal performance by correcting any distortions in your spine, your body will usually work more efficiently and effectively following any required corrections.
With a more mobile spine you will be able to move more optimally in your training as well as get the most out of your session and reduce the risk of injury.
Should I also be seeing a Physiotherapist or Registered Massage Therapist?
Due to the fact we focus on Neuro-Structural Correction, the combination of our approach and massage and/or physiotherapy can provide great results. We work very closely with several excellent therapists in our neighbourhood and never hesitate to refer you to the most appropriate one for you.