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What Is a Chiropractor?

A chiropractor is a university trained (7 years minimum) healthcare professional. They deal with neck, back and extremity problems mainly. They can help treat basically any problem that arises from the spine, either through mechanical problems or nerve irritation.

What to Expect at Our Office?
When you come into our office you will be greeted by a receptionist. They will proceed to explain billing procedures, fill in a new chart for you and answer any questions you have. They will ask if you have medical coverage. If you have extended medical coverage you may be eligible to get reimbursed for the treatment. If you have social services medical coverage, you may not have to pay for 10 treatments as they are covered for you. If you think you may be covered through social services, please let the receptionist know. They will call a phone number and check. The receptionist will ask you to sign an informed consent form. This is to inform you that chiropractic treatment does have risks, as do all forms of treatment, including taking medication. If you have any questions or worries, feel free to talk to the receptionist or Dr. Warawa about them.

When you go into the treatment room the first thing to be done is a history. Dr. Warawa will ask many questions regarding the past and present that will help in diagnosing your problem. Any information you give him can help in your treatment. After the history taking, an examination is done, this is to determine what injury is present. Dr. Warawa will push and prod in different areas, have you move in certain ways and will do various orthopedic tests. This will give Dr. Warawa the information he needs to make a diagnosis and determine what treatment will help the most.

After the examination, Dr. Warawa will explain what he found and how he will treat the problem. If you have any questions, please ask them. If Dr. Warawa does not think he can help your condition, he will refer you to where he feels you should be to get proper treatment.

Do I Need X-rays?
X-rays may be necessary. Many times before coming to our office X-rays are already taken. If they were, let us know and we will get the X-ray reports. If X-rays are needed, but not already taken, Dr. Warawa will send you back to your M.D.

If your M.D. requests your X-rays they will be covered by medical. If a chiropractor orders them or takes them, you have to pay for them. X-rays are generally needed when Dr. Warawa feels that there may be a problem that needs to be ruled out, before treatment starts. Basically, X-rays are to rule out what we should not treat (such as fractures) as compared to what we should treat. Many conditions, such as mild to moderate osteoarthritis, do not significantly change the treatment plan, so X-rays may not be taken.

What Conditions Do Chiropractors Treat?

Chiropractors are experts trained in the neuromuscular system. They diagnose and treat disorders of the spine and other body joints by adjusting the spinal column of through other corrective manipulations. Chiropractors provide conservative management of neuromuscular disorders including, but not limited to, back, neck and head pain (over 90% of the conditions treated). They also advise patients on corrective exercises, lifestyle and nutrition.

What Happens During a Treatment?

During your first visit, the chiropractor will want to know about your health history as well as your current complaint. Your home and work life as well as your level of physical activity may also affect your health, so don’t be surprised to be asked questions about these. Although chiropractors use their hands for most treatments, they also use other methods such as massagers, stretching and trigger point massage. Your chiropractor can also give you information and guidance on how you can stay healthy through proper nutrition, exercise and lifestyle changes.

What Kind of Education And Training Do Chiropractors Have?

Chiropractors are educated as primary contact health care practitioners, with an emphasis on neuromusculoskeletal diagnosis and treatment. Preparation for the practice of chiropractic is concentrated on three areas: basic training in the biological and health sciences, specialized training in the chiropractic discipline, and extensive clinical training. Becoming a chiropractor in Canada requires a minimum of 7 years post-secondary education including no less than 4 years of full-time classroom and clinical instruction at an institution approved by the Council on Chiropractic Education Canada.

What Is a Subluxation?

“Subluxation” is a term used to describe a problem with a spinal joint. The World Health Organization defines a “subluxation” as a functional problem related to a joint and the structures associated with the joint such as the muscles, tendons and nerves. Dysfunction can present itself in various ways such as pain, inflammation and restricted movement of the joint. Some type of dysfunction, such as a sprain, will not appear on an X-ray. Chiropractors are trained to identify dysfunction that does not appear on imaging through the use of manual examination and non-imaging diagnostic tests.

What Is the “Vertebral Subluxation Complex?”
VSC is a term used to describe the kinds of issues that may be associated with a joint that is not functioning properly. For example, there may be loss of motion, changes in the muscles that attach to the spine, irritation or injury to the nerves that radiate out from the vertebrae, degeneration of the discs or inflammation of the tissues in the spinal region. Chiropractors are well trained to identify the components (or complex) of problems that may accompany a joint problem. Some of the indicators include tenderness, soreness and stiffness, spasm, tightness or weakness, headaches and reduced mobility. Pain may or may not be felt. Chiropractors typically use a combination of tools such as manual examination, patient history, non-imaging physical test and X-rays (if necessary) to determine what is taking place physiologically.

What Results Can I Expect From Chiropractic Treatment?
That depends on your condition. The length of time you have had the problem, your age and the degree of your disability all affect the length of your treatment. Your chiropractic doctor should tell you the extent of the treatment recommended, and how long you can expect it to last. One of the main reasons people choose chiropractic is that they often get quick results. Many studies show that people with low back pain get back to work much faster with chiropractic care.

You might also consider the benefits of regular chiropractic care even when you feel healthy. Sometimes you won’t know you have a disorder of the neuromusculoskeletal system until it becomes acute and painful. So, just as you see your dentist to have your teeth checked and your optometrist for eye exams, regular visits to your to your chiropractor can catch related health conditions early, often preventing them from developing into major problems. Remember, your spine is every bit as susceptible to wear and tear as your teeth and eyes so you should look after it.

How is Chiropractic Adjustment Made?

Chiropractic adjustment or manipulation is a manual procedure that utilizes the refined skills developed during 4 intensive years of chiropractic education. The chiropractor typically uses his hands to manipulate the joints of the body, particularly the spine, in order to restore or enhance joint function in order to reduce pain. Chiropractic adjustments are a highly controlled procedure that usually does not cause discomfort. Most patients look forward to their treatments as many experience relief immediately afterwards. Individuals who present with moderate to severe pain may experience some discomfort for obvious reasons; however, care is always gentle, safe and non-invasive.

How Many People See Chiropractors?

Statistics Canada data found that over 11 percent (3 million) Canadians consulted a chiropractor in 1996. The figures today are closer to 15 percent, or over 4 million Canadians annually.

Is Chiropractic Covered By Government Health Plans?
Yes, if you are on premium assistance your chiropractic treatments are covered. In B.C. you are covered for 10 visits per calendar year. Chiropractic care is covered extensively by third party payers. These include WCB, ICBC, private health care insurers, RCMP and Veteran’s Affairs Canada.

Is Chiropractic Manipulation a Safe Procedure?
Chiropractic adjustment or manipulation is a drug-free, non-invasive approach to common musculoskeletal conditions such as headache, and neck and back pain. As such, it is a low risk therapy. Complications arising from adjustments are rare. The chiropractic profession is based on anatomy, physiology, biomechanics and most importantly, research.

Is Chiropractic Evidence-Based?
Chiropractic is a healing discipline firmly grounded in science. Few other health-care interventions have been assessed as extensively as chiropractic manipulations, both in terms of safety and effectiveness. There have been at least six formal government studies into chiropractic worldwide over the last 25 years and all have concluded that contemporary chiropractic care is safe, effective, cost-effective and have recommended public funding for chiropractic services. In addition, there have been countless scientific clinical studies assessing the appropriateness, effectiveness, and/or cost-effectiveness of spinal manipulation, most notably for low back pain. The Canadian Institute for Health Research (CIHI) now offers research grants in partnership with the Canadian Chiropractic Association to chiropractors and other scientists for high-quality chiropractic research.

Is Chiropractic Regulated in Canada?
Like medicine and dentistry, chiropractic is a self-regulating profession, and each provincial chiropractic regulatory body has the authority to grant a license to practice chiropractic. There are Chiropractic Acts in all 10 provinces and the Yukon Territory which establish a self-regulatory process which includes extensive testing for licensure. In all provinces, licensure requirements include university studies followed by graduation from an accredited chiropractic institution, and passing national and provincial board examinations.

Is Chiropractic Treatment Appropriate for Children?

Yes, many children may benefit from chiropractic care. Children are very physically active and experience many types of falls and blows from activities of daily living as well as from participating in sports. Injuries such as these may cause many symptoms including back and neck pain, stiffness, soreness or discomfort. Chiropractic care is always adapted to the individual patient, It is a highly skilled treatment, and in the case of children, very gentle.

Is Every Patient’s Treatment the Same?
No. Each patient’s spine and care plan is unique. The treatment each patient receives is related to the specific condition diagnosed by the chiropractor, and will vary from patient to patient depending on each person’s unique situation. With 24 moving bones in the spine and about 100 joints, each of which can move in 7 different directions, we see a wide variety of spinal patterns.

Is Chiropractic Treatment Ongoing?
The hands-on nature of chiropractic is essentially what sends patients back to the chiropractor a number of times. To be treated by a chiropractor a patient needs to be in his office. A chiropractor may provide acute, preventative and/or maintenance care thus making a certain number of visits necessary.

Can Chiropractic Treatment Prevent Problems?
Clinical experience suggests that in individuals with chronic conditions such as degenerative joint disease (osteoarthritis) or recurrent neck pain, back pain or headaches may experience less frequent and less severe symptoms when under regular chiropractic care. This also applies to individuals in highly stressed situations and those who experience repetitive physical and postural strain from their daily activities.

What Is the Difference Between Medical Doctors and Chiropractors?
That’s like asking the difference between a medical doctor and a dentist: they are different professions within the health-care spectrum. Both chiropractors and physicians are legally entitled to use the title “doctor.” As the appellation MD means “Doctor of Medicine,” so DC means “Doctor of Chiropractic.”

The role of chiropractic is complementary to other areas of primary health care. Chiropractic is not, for example, a replacement for medical care, but may offer an alternative to medication and/or surgery in appropriate circumstances.

Do Chiropractors Refer Patients to Medical Doctors When Necessary?
Yes, like medical doctors, chiropractors refer to other health professionals when they feel it is appropriate. Chiropractors are well trained to recognize risk factors as well as individual disease patterns and will not hesitate to make a referral when it is in the patient’s best interest.

Does chiropractic treatment require a referral from an MD?
No. A patient does not have to be referred. Chiropractors are legislated as primary health-care professionals in every province in Canada. This means that patients can consult them directly.

Do Chiropractors Take a Medical History?
Like MDs, the chiropractor will take a detailed health history during the first visit, prior to initial treatment. This will include details on lifestyle and risk factors to give the chiropractor a full picture of the patient’s health in order to determine the best treatment. As well, a detailed health history is important to rule out any contraindications to treatment and to fully investigate risk factors before a diagnosis and treatment recommendation can be reached.

Does Chiropractic Treatment Require X-Rays?
X-rays can play an important role in diagnosis and are taken when a need has been determined after taking a patient case history and conducting a physical exam. Chiropractors receive 360 hours of education in radiology covering a full range of topics from protection to X-ray interpretation and diagnosis.

Why Is There a Popping Sound When a Joint Is Adjusted?
Adjustment of a joint may result in the release of a gas bubble between the joints that makes a popping sound – it’s exactly the same as when you “crack” your knuckles. It is not painful. It is caused by the change of pressure within the joint resulting in gas bubbles being released.

Can Patients with Osteoporosis Get Chiropractic Care?
Yes. When developing a care plan, your chiropractor considers the unique circumstances of each patient. There are many ways to adjust the joints of the body. The method selected will be best suited to your age, size and condition.

Will Adjustments Make My Spine Too Loose?
No. Only the spinal joints that are “locked up” receive adjustments. This allows inflamed hardened connective tissues to heal and discs between the vertebrae to be nourished.

Can I Adjust Myself?
No. Some people can make their joints “pop,” but that is not an adjustment! Damage occurs by mobilizing a joint with weakened muscles and ligaments. Adjustments are specific and take years to master. Even your chiropractor must consult a colleague to benefit from chiropractic.

Can I Have Chiropractic Care After Surgery?
Yes. Your chiropractor will avoid the surgically treated areas of your spine if clinically indicated. Surgery often causes excessive stress above or below the involved areas. These areas will be the focus of chiropractic care.

How Many Adjustments Will I Need?
The number of adjustments varies with each patient and their individual health goals. Many patients sense progress within 1 treatment. Absence of pain doesn’t mean that the problem is fixed as healing can take months or even years. Spinal correction can take 50-60 adjustments for some chronic problems.

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Chronic Pain Relief

Dr. Warawa can help determine the source of your discomfort and offer treatment options.

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