Chiropractic Treatment FAQ

Because most adjustment techniques emphasize the use of gentle pressure and minimal force, it is rare to feel any discomfort during the adjustment. If patients are very tense and involuntarily stiffen to resist the adjustment, they might feel slight discomfort, but only until their bodies relax. As well, it is normal for “popping” sounds to be heard during an adjustment. Many people mistake these sounds for bones moving or “popping” back into place, which is not the case. The unusual sounds are caused by gas and fluid in the joints shifting as they are being adjusted, which is completely normal. Many patients report feeling a tremendous sense of relief, relaxation and improved well being following an adjustment.

Chiropractic is recognized as one of the safest types of health care in the world. The World Health Organization states that “employed skillfully and appropriately, Chiropractic care is safe and effective for the prevention and management of a number of health problems.” In 1993, the Canadian Government responded to public demand to include Chiropractic as a covered benefit. The Ontario Ministry of Health hired a renowned health care economist to undertake a comprehensive study of the safety and effectiveness of Chiropractic care. In 1994, Dr. Pran Manga, PhD released the “Manga report” which concluded that “there is no clinical or case-control study that demonstrates or even implies that chiropractic spinal manipulation is unsafe in the treatment of low-back pain”.

The source of public concern in this regard is a condition known as vertebral artery syndrome (VAS), which occurs when sudden head movements disrupt the blood flow in the vertebral artery, possibly leading to stroke. The risk of this complication arising from upper cervical (or neck) manipulation by a chiropractor is extremely remote. Up to 75% of chiropractic patients receive cervical manipulation as part of their individual chiropractic care. It may be performed as part of your care for total spinal health and wellness, or for specific causes such as muscle tension and stiffness, headache or injury. After a detailed history and examination, if there is any indication that you would be at risk, your chiropractor will not include a neck adjustment in your treatment.

The core curriculum that chiropractors study is similar to that which is taught in medical school. Chiropractors complete 4 years of graduate study, including over 4,500 hours of combined study in anatomy, physiology, neurology, microbiology, pathology, radiology, biochemistry, pharmacology, paediatrics, geriatrics, nutrition, physical and laboratory diagnosis, as well as many hours of training in spinal manipulation and adjustment. Chiropractic institutions grant the “Doctor of Chiropractic” degree. Post doctoral training is also available for Chiropractors who wish to specialize in areas such as paediatrics, orthopaedics, neurology, sports injuries, rehabilitation, nutrition, radiology, and applied chiropractic sciences.

The number of adjustments needed will vary from patient to patient depending on the nature of the problem and how quickly you respond to your care. Consistent visits at the beginning of your Chiropractic care help to create the momentum necessary to correct your spine. As your spine stabilizes and your health improves, the number of visits needed decreases. Your Chiropractor will work with you to recommend a program of care suited to your needs, with your health goals in mind. Maintenance care is always suggested for continued spinal health.

As often as is needed! Your Chiropractor will determines a program of care which best suits your needs, and will recommend the frequency of adjustments accordingly. Even if you do not feel like you are having problems, the health of your spine should always be checked, just as you get your teeth checked. Subluxations of the spine, like cavities can often be present for long periods of time before symptoms appear.

Many patients feel great after completing a program of Chiropractic care and choose to continue with a maintenance program. Maintenance visits help support the final stages of healing and also help to detect and resolve new problems before they become serious.

The activator is an instrument used to replace manual adjustments. It is often used on children, those with osteoporosis, or patients who prefer a lighter, low force adjustment.

Yes! Chiropractors spend much of their education and training on the study of pediatrics. They learn adjustment techniques focused exclusively on smaller frames of children, and how to deliver adjustments in a gentle manner which children respond well to.

Chiropractic care is essential for children as childhood is the most active stage in our lives. The jumping, falling, running and bumping of normal childhood activities can cause spinal misalignment’s which can lead to health problems. Sitting in desks at school, computer activities, and participation in dance, gymnastics and sporting activities can also cause spinal stress.

The birth process can be very traumatic for newborn babies. It is common for babies as young as one day old to receive spinal adjustments, especially after a difficult birth. Also babies develop and begin to sit, crawl and walk it is important to ensure their spines are functioning properly.

“As the twig is bent so grows the tree.”

Anyone with disc problems, especially if faced with the prospect of spinal surgery should get at least one opinion from a Chiropractor before deciding on further care. While spinal surgery is occasionally necessary in cases of trauma or severe bone, disc and nerve destruction, the vast majority of people with low back pain and/or sciatica never need it. Often those who do have surgery discover a return of their original symptoms months or years later. Chiropractic can provide relief from the returning symptoms and often prevent the necessity of repeated operations.

The desire to “crack” or “pop” the neck or back is caused by tension from a jammed vertebra. This causes another part of the spine to compensate by moving too much creating this cracking or popping. The jammed vertebra should be adjusted by a Chiropractor so that the rest of the spinal column is balanced and the tension is properly corrected. Even chiropractors seek the services of a colleague to adjust their vertebra and realign their spines.

No. Due to budget cutbacks, Alberta Health Care is no longer subsidizing chiropractic care. As a result, more options are available through private extended health insurance plans.

Massage Therapy FAQ

Visit our New Patients page for a detailed explanation.

Depending on the technique your massage therapist uses, your session will probably begin with broad, flowing strokes which help calm your nervous system and relax muscle tension. During these strokes, your massage therapist will assess the condition of your muscles and tissues. As the massage progresses various other strokes will be introduced, some which “knead” the tissue, and others which gently stretch the muscles. The pressure of the strokes used will gradually be increased, but is always adjusted to your comfort level (your massage therapist will check to ensure you the pressure or technique they are using is comfortable). A light hypoallergenic lotion or gel is used to reduce friction on your skin. Massage therapy should never feel painful!

Most people feel very relaxed, and experience a deep sense of relief from muscle tension and long term aches and pains. People will often also feel increased energy as their circulation and blood flow improves. Occasionally people will feel slightly tender after a massage due to the gentle manipulation of muscle and tissue which is not used to being worked on. Most massage therapists will recommend taking a warm bath in Epsom salts afterwards to alleviate any stiffness and release any toxins that may have been stirred up during the massage.

The focus of your massage therapy treatment is for you to be comfortable and to fully relax. Some people lie on the table and simply relax and breathe, while others prefer to talk with their massage therapist (however this is not necessary). Do whatever feels right for you, but remember that your massage therapist is there to provide the best treatment possible by supporting your relaxation and comfort.

The length of a massage therapy treatment varies, depending on your goal and what you and your massage therapist wish to achieve. The average full-body massage treatment lasts approximately one hour. Partial massage sessions focusing only on certain areas such as the neck and shoulders or lower back and legs will last approximately 30- 45 minutes. Many people will schedule up to 90-minute massage sessions for optimal results. Your massage therapist will work with you to recommend how much time he/she thinks is needed to address your specific area of concern.

The number of treatments needed will vary and depends on the nature of your problem and how quickly you respond to treatments. Consistent visits at the beginning of your care are usually recommended to correct any problems. Once your muscles and tissues respond and improve, your massage therapist will work with you to recommend a maintenance program of care suited to your needs.

Massage therapy is a healing modality that most people can safely experience and benefit from. As with most modalities however, certain contraindications (health conditions in which massage therapy is not advisable) do exist. It is important to complete a comprehensive health history form prior to your massage, and to indicate any health problems, surgeries, medications, etc. In some cases, your massage therapist may ask you to consult your health care practitioner if he or she feels that massage therapy might not be appropriate for you.

In Alberta educational programs for massage therapists vary from 250 to 2200 hours in length. All massage therapists at Oliver Chiropractic Wellness Clinic have a minimum 2200 hour (2 year) Registered Massage Therapy diploma/designation. This includes training in anatomy & physiology, disease pathology, assessment, and clinical massage for sports and rehabilitation. Massage therapists must pass admissions examinations which test for comprehensive core competencies. In addition to this, massage therapists are required to enroll in continuing education seminars and courses to stay current in their profession.

Currently massage therapy treatments are not covered by Alberta Health Care. Some employer health benefits plans do provide coverage for massage therapy, check with your employer or health benefits provider to determine if you have coverage for this service.

Acupuncture FAQ

In the Chinese language, acupuncture is described as “bu tong”, meaning painless. Any discomfort experienced with an acupuncture treatment is generally quite mild. It is normal to feel slight muscular cramping and heaviness, tingling, and/or electric sensation around where the needles are inserted, or traveling up or down the affected meridian.

In Canada, only disposable, individually packaged, stainless steel needles are used. Needles are never saved and reused for other treatments, eliminating all risk of contamination.

Depending upon the specifics of the health condition, acupuncture point location, patient’s size, age, constitution, and the acupuncturist’s methodology, the needles are typically inserted approximately half an inch, but may be as deep as 2 inches in large muscle areas (i.e. in the buttocks in cases of sciatic pain.)

This will vary, depending on your health problem. A single treatment could produce results for an acute condition or it may take a series of treatments. Some chronic conditions may require many treatments over time. For many conditions, an investment of 6-8 treatments can affect positive change, at which point re-assessment may be required. Ask your acupuncturist for an estimate about this prior to beginning treatment.

Prior to your first treatment, be prepared to provide your medical history and list of current medications. Come relaxed and wearing loose, comfortable clothing. You may be asked to remove some articles of clothing (shirt, pants or socks for example), and in those cases you will be covered by a sheet.

There are 12 pulse positions on each wrist that your acupuncturist will palpate. Each position corresponds to a specific meridian and organ. Your acupuncturist will be looking for 27 individual qualities that reflect overall health. If there are any problems, they may appear in the pulse.

The tongue is a map of the of the body. It reflects the general health of the organs and meridians. Your acupuncturist will look at the color, shape, cracks and coating on your tongue.

At this time, Alberta Health Care does not provide any coverage for acupuncture services. However, more and more private insurance companies are willing to provide coverage for appropriate acupuncture services performed by a registered acupuncturist. Check your plan for details.