On September 18, 1895 Dr. Daniel David Palmer performed the first ever recorded chiropractic adjustment. Since then, chiropractic has grown to be the second – only to medicine – largest primary health care provider in the western world.
The word chiropractic comes from Greek, meaning “done by hand” and it is performed by highly trained professionals with at least 8 years of post secondary education at an accredited facility. The Chiropractic program focuses on anatomy, biomechanics, physiology, biochemistry, assessments, x-rays, medical diagnosis, pharmacology and adjusting.
A Doctor of Chiropractic is a primary healthcare professional with extensive training in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disorders related to the spine, the nervous system, and the extremities – including the hands and feet. The correction of these disorders and their negative effects on your health, athletic performance and quality of life are the primary foci of Chiropractic Doctors.
At Ottawa Health Group. our highly skilled downtown Ottawa and Kanata (Stittsville), ON Chiropractors, will conduct a comprehensive assessment and present to you an individualized rehabilitation program that is customized to your injuries and goals and may include an active exercise component. Your Chiropractor will then work with you to determine which adjusting style will best suit you and your conditions. They will vary the style of adjusting and the pressure used to ensure you achieve their goals safely and efficiently.
Chiropractors focus on the source of pain, not the symptoms and adjustments are applied to areas of reduced mobility in either the spine or the extremities. An adjustment restores normal movement to the joints, reduces muscle spasm and relieves pressure on the surrounding nerves. During an adjustment, it is normal to hear a cracking noise which is a release of air from within the joint.
Immediate effects that can be felt after an adjustment:
- Increased joint mobility and range of motion
- Decreased localized inflammation associated with joint stasis
- Decreased localized nerve irritation associated with inflammation
- Decreased pain associated with localized nerve irritation and muscle spasm
Overall, adjustments improve joint motion, which decreases inflammation in the area.
Car accidents, stress, work-related injuries, sports injuries, poor posture, improper lifting or sprains can cause back problems.
Symptoms of a back or joint problem can include:
- Leg pain with numbness, tingling, and/or weakness
- Back pain when coughing or sneezing
- Difficulty standing up after sitting for any period of time
- Stiffness in the morning that decreases once you move around
- Pain in your hip, buttock, thigh, knee or foot
- Unable to bend or turn to each side equally
- Unbalanced or poor posture
- Pain while sleeping or in the morning
- Pain that persists or worsens after 48 hours
- Pain, stiffness and reduced mobility or range of motion
The vertebra in the back is connected by cartilage. When everything is working together, your spine is in-line, strong and flexible. However, after the stress of daily living or an accident or injury has occurred, the spine can shift out of alignment and can affect your range of motion. This can cause pain by putting pressure on the different joints and nerves along the spinal column.
There are four levels of care that Chiropractors provide:
- Initial Intensive Care
- Pain and other symptoms bring most patients to the chiropractor and the first thing they want is to feel better. During this phase, your visits are more frequent and aimed at stabilizing and improving the movement of your spine, as we eliminate your symptoms.
- Rehabilitation Phase
- After your symptoms have improved we concentrate on restoring the joints, muscles, and ligaments to the best possible state so that you gain maximum function and health. Rehabilitative care aims to achieve complete healing, not just pain relief. Your visits will be less frequent and we will introduce exercise and other self-care to aid your recovery.
- Maintenance Care
- Treatment in this stage is aimed at preventing a chronic condition from reoccurring or the arousal of new symptoms.
- Wellness Care
- Are you looking for wellness care? Most people are raised to believe that we are sick because we have symptoms. Have you ever considered sickness without symptoms? There is a growing number of people that are starting to visit doctors while they feel like they are completely healthy. This decision is starting to become more appealing because more and more people want to be and feel their best.
- Have you ever called into work or called a child off of school due to nausea or a fever? Most of us have learned to associate having an illness with apparent symptoms. Research is starting to show us that many of the illnesses society suffer from are directly related to decisions we are making in our lives. These decisions may affect our bodies and produce problems that do not have, what we consider to be apparent symptoms.
- The Body Reactions – Our body does not just react to unhealthy choices, but it also reacts to healthy choices. If a person eats something that has not been cooked properly then that person will most likely find themselves getting physically ill. Getting ill and vomiting is not something that we like to experience, but we know that it is the body’s way of helping us stay healthy. The body having such a response is healthy and is proof of the body functioning properly. Health can be defined as the body functioning properly rather than just feeling good.
- Master Control Center – Everything that occurs in our body throughout the day would not be possible without our nervous system. We can help you detect problems before it develops into a more serious issue as well as help you on your way to wellness. Contact the Ottawa Health Group to help you on the road to better health
To assess the level of care, the Chiropractor may perform some of the following tests:
- A thorough case history on what is affecting you
- Analysis of your posture and ranges of motion
- A test of your muscle strength, flexibility, and coordination
- Orthopedic tests to help determine your diagnosis
- A neurological exam including reflexes, sensory tests, and cranial nerves
- Analysis of your movement (like walking and how you lift things)
This comprehensive examination will give the chiropractor a clear picture of your overall health and of your condition. You will be given a diagnosis of your condition, what therapies are recommended to correct it, what you can do at home to speed your recovery and how long it is estimated to return to pre-accident status.
Are you in pain? You don’t have to be. Contact our Chiropractors in downtown Ottawa or Kanata (Stittsville), ON for an appointment.
What Can Chiropractic Help With?
Chiropractic has provided effective relief to millions of individuals suffering from back and neck ailments. Chiropractic has also provided relief from many other musculoskeletal complaints ranging from knee and ankle problems to carpal tunnel syndrome and tennis elbow. In fact, if you suffer any musculoskeletal pain or discomfort in any area of the spine or extremity, you may be a candidate for natural, non-invasive chiropractic care. Your chiropractor is fully trained to identify red flags and make the appropriate referral to the appropriate health care provider. However, most patients suffering from musculoskeletal complaints can and are successfully treated with chiropractic.
Common musculoskeletal conditions treated:
- Low back pain and stiffness
- Neck and upper back pain and stiffness
- Mid back pain and stiffness
- Headaches and migraines
- Leg pain, weakness, numbness & tingling
- Arm pain, weakness, numbness & tingling
- Extremity joint pain and dysfunction
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
What Is An Adjustment?
A chiropractic adjustment involves using a specific force in a precise direction, applied to a joint that is fixed, locked up, or not moving properly. This adds motion to the joint, helping the bones gradually return to a more normal position and motion. The purpose of this procedure is to improve spinal function, nervous system function, remove muscle tension, and enhance health.
There are many ways to adjust the spine. Usually, the chiropractors’ hands are used to deliver a brief and highly accurate thrust, although specially designed instruments or tables may also be used. After years of training and clinical experience, each chiropractor at the Ottawa Health Group is highly skilled in delivering a variety of adjusting approaches.
What Is The Sound Heard During An Adjustment?
Recent research on this subject shows that a gas (in this case nitrogen), which is normally dissolved into the surrounding tissues of the spine, rushes in to fill the partial vacuum created when the joint surfaces are slightly separated. Another example of this phenomenon would be the “pop” you hear when you take the cork out of a champagne bottle. The carbon dioxide in the champagne rushes out of the bottle when the cork is removed. This phenomenon is called a cavitation.
It is not always necessary to cause a “crack” or cavitation in order to gain the desired effect of an adjustment. The main aim is to increase movement at the specific segment of the spine to positively influence the surrounding tissues. In fact, some chiropractic adjustment techniques use little force and thus produce no sound.
Why Do The Joints Of My Spine Tighten Up?
There is no one answer to this, though there are some factors that will have more of an influence on the function of your spine than others. One of the major causes of increased stresses on the joints of the spine is your posture. This is something that will have an effect every day of your life. Some other factors include motor vehicle accidents or falls; improper lifting; long periods of sitting; improper sleeping conditions or habits; occupational hazards; lack of rest; lack of exercise; obesity; and even an inherent spinal weakness.
Basically, anything that places undue or unbalanced stress on the spine can lead to a tightening of the supporting ligaments and muscles of the spine. When the joints of the spine are not moving correctly, it is referred to as a spinal subluxation by chiropractors.
Is Chiropractic Care Safe?
In fact, in a study comparing a course of chiropractic care with a course of anti-inflammatory drugs, chiropractic was shown to be 250 times safer (1).
As with any form of health care, there are some risks. Some people may feel slight soreness following their first few adjustments as the body begins to realign. This is usually very mild and lasts only a short time. Then there are the very rare risks of infrequent strain/injury to a ligament or disc in the neck (less than 1 in 139,000) or the low back (1 in 62,000). There is also an extremely rare risk of stroke associated with specific adjustments of the neck. All studies published found the risk to be very low (3,4,5), with the most recent research published , putting such an event at one in 5.85 million adjustments (6).Chiropractors malpractice insurance is the lowest of all healthcare providers and the Doctors at the Ottawa Health Group are insured through the CCPA.
Is Chiropractic Safe During Pregnancy?
Spinal adjustments are especially gentle during pregnancy, as far less force is required to correct spinal joint restrictions. This is due to the increase in hormones causing significant muscle and ligamentous relaxation. Special “adjustive” positions are also used to provide comfort and safety for both mum and baby.
More than 50% of women experience back pain during pregnancy, especially in the third trimester. Because of the additional weight, there is an increase in stress on the framework of the body.
Chiropractic adjustments do not harm the pregnant mother or her unborn child. In fact, maintaining a healthy spine and nervous system throughout pregnancy can prevent further postural problems that might occur during and following childbirth.
Once pregnant, some women feel they must stop their chiropractic care. This does not need to be the case. In fact, chiropractic care is a valuable component of a healthy pregnancy and can be used throughout. Our team is qualified in the Webster technique a valuable technique to assist with breech babies.
After the baby is born, chiropractic care ensures that normal spine and pelvic bio-mechanics are restored and that pre-pregnant musculoskeletal status is achieved.
Is Chiropractic Safe For Children?
Chiropractic care is considered safe* for children. In fact, many people even have their newborn child checked due to the amount of trauma that can occur during the process of birth (especially if forceps are used). Modifications are made to accommodate for children, with less force required to gain the desired effect of an adjustment. For young children, all that may be required is the use of fingertips. Children generally respond very quickly to chiropractic, and will usually require a less intense treatment frequency before moving on to a maintenance program.
For more information on children and chiropractic, visit our Children’s section.
Am I Too Old For Chiropractic?
Getting older does not mean you have to endure aches and pains. People often disregard treatable joint and muscle problems by saying “I’m just getting old”. This is often not the case, and these aches and pains of getting old may be treatable. Regardless of your age, chiropractic care can help to improve mobility and function of your body. More and more people are consulting chiropractors, especially in their later years. With growing concerns about over-medication and the side effects of combining various prescription drugs, safe, natural chiropractic care is growing in popularity.
Restoring better spinal function can help improve mobility, vitality, and endurance. Many patients report improvement with arthritic symptoms and other chronic ailments often associated with the aging process.
The adjusting technique used by the chiropractors at the Ottawa Health Group will be modified for maximum comfort and results. Even patients with osteoporosis and other ailments can receive treatment with the right modifications and the use of the Activator technique.
Can I Adjust or “Crack” My Own Back and Neck?
Many people commonly crack their own necks and backs in order to gain some relief or a ‘pressure release’. There is no denying that it can give some relief in the short term, but in the long run, it may be detrimental to your spinal health.
If your neck cracks by a simple turn or bend of the head, or your lower back by a twist, it is likely that the joints are actually hypermobile (moving too much). This means that you are self-manipulating and increasing the movement of joints that are already moving too much.
These joints may be moving too much in order to compensate for a lack of movement in other joints. If joints of the spine are restricted, other joints will attempt to make up for the lack of movement. These are the joints that will crack easily, and not the joints that are causing the problems.
Spinal pain is often due to this phenomenon. If a joint has to increase its movement due to a restriction somewhere else, more stress is placed upon the supporting ligaments. With this extra movement, the joint is more prone to sprain and resultant pain. Cracking these joints will give short term relief only. In order for sustained improvement, the actual cause must be addressed. This is where a chiropractor comes into play. Chiropractors are trained to locate and treat the cause of your problems.
So the nagging from your mother about cracking your knuckles too much-causing arthritis may be true to some extent. If the joints are moving too much, over a long period bony change may occur in order to stabilise the movement. When this bony growth begins in an attempt to lock-off the joint, it is known as degenerative joint disease or osteoarthritis.
Are All Patients Treated and Adjusted the Same Way?
Regardless of the adjusting technique, chiropractic care is tailored to each patient’s age, condition & spinal problem. An example of this is with the treatment of children. Children generally have more mobile joints, and therefore, require less force in order to attain the desired effect of the adjustment.
In addition to varying the amount of force used, treatment frequency will also be customised to the individual. Different conditions require different intensities in treatment schedules. The chiropractors at The Ottawa Health Group will tailor the amount of treatment needed depending on a number of factors. These factors include (but are not limited to), what tissue is involved (eg. ligament, tendon, muscle, disc), how long you have had the condition, the amount of inflammation and intensity of pain being experienced, and the presence of any unavoidable aggravating factors to your condition (eg. your occupation).
The chiropractor evaluates each patient’s unique spinal problem and develops an individual course of care. Each visit builds on the one before. While visits may seem similar, each patient’s care is uniquely different from every other patient’s.
What Do I Wear to a Chiropractic Consultation?
Ideally, the best clothes to wear are those that are comfortable and have some stretch, such as a t-shirt with leggings or trackpants or shorts.
However, we also understand that many of our patients are coming from work or are on their way to work. As such, our chiropractors are used to treating patients wearing work attire and will adjust the treatment accordingly.
What Type Of Education Do Chiropractors Have?
Canadian chiropractors study full-time at University for a minimum of seven years. The chiropractors at Ottawa Health Group each graduated with a Bachelors degree in Science, and a Doctorate degree in chiropractic.
The course is of similar length and depth as medical courses but focus on promoting better health via better body function, rather than on drugs and surgery. Accordingly, chiropractic education involves a special emphasis on anatomy, physiology, pathology & diagnostic sciences, neurology, biomechanics, X-ray, chiropractic spinal adjusting techniques and related subjects. This comprehensive knowledge means that the chiropractors at the Ottawa Health Group are experts in knowing when a person will benefit from specialised chiropractic care, and when referral to another health provider is required.
Chiropractors are fully licenced health professionals who are governed by College of Chiropractors of Ontario and the Canadian Chiropractic Association. A chiropractor’s education never ends. After entering practice, the chiropractors at The Ottawa Health Group complete continuing professional development courses and seminars to upgrade and improve their skills and to stay current on the latest scientific research.
How Long Will I Need Chiropractic For?
The answer to this question will differ for every person. A comprehensive assessment from your Chiropractor is required in order to determine the most appropriate treatment plan for you. The amount of time it takes to be symptom free will also depend on a number of factors. Examples of factors that may influence the time taken for symptoms to resolve include:
- The severity of your condition.
- The tissue that is damaged – e.g. the tendon of a muscle will be slower to heal than the interior of the muscle due to having a poorer blood supply.
- The length of time you have had the condition.
- Age – Generally as you get older, your rate of recovery will decline.
- Trauma or accidents – past or present.
- Smoking – Decreases the rate of healing.
- Nutrition – The healthier your diet, the more fuel there is available for repairing your tissues.
- Stress – High-stress levels can slow recovery.
- Posture – Poor postural habits place increased stress on ligaments and muscles and can not only slow recovery, but also can be a major cause of symptoms.
- Occupation – Your occupation may involve activities that aggravate your condition, e.g. lifting or sitting for extended periods.
Why Should I Continue Treatment If The Pain Is Gone?
It is a common belief that if you are not in pain, there is nothing wrong with you. This can be far from the truth, and you would be amazed what you will become used to and perceive as being normal. Pain is actually the last symptom to appear & the first to leave. Therefore, it is not a good indicator of how your spine is functioning. Continuing treatment for a chronic condition may continue to provide benefit and also prevent recurrence of the problem.