What is Chiropractic ?

Chiropractic is based on the scientific fact that your body is a self-regulating, self-healing organism. These important functions are controlled by the brain, spinal cord, and all the nerves of the body.

The skull protects the delicate tissues of the brain. The moving bones of the spine protect the vulnerable communication pathways of the spinal cord and nerve roots. If the nerve system is impaired, it can cause malfunction of the tissues and organs throughout the body. Doctors of Chiropractic call this the Vertebral Subluxation Complex.

The Chiropractic adjustment has been proven to increase motion, increase circulation, reduce swelling and pain, and remove nerve irritation. Once this nerve irritation is removed, your body is able to do what it is designed to do – heal itself.

Chiropractic is the Science, Art and Philosophy
that concerns itself with the restoration of good health
by restoring and maintaining a properly functioning nerve system,
without the use of drugs or surgery.

What do Doctors of Chiropractic do ?

Chiropractors restore proper motion to joints that are not moving properly.  Helping to restore proper spinal bio mechanics and improved nerve system function begins with a case history.  Your case history is vital as it reveals the background about your health, such as surgeries, accidents, the onset of your condition, and other details which brought you into the office.

After reviewing your history and discussing your specific problem, a thorough orthopedic, neurological, and chiropractic examination is performed. X-ray may be taken which will help uncover structural and functional problems.

Then, once the examination is complete, your chiropractor will explain the findings and outline a treatment plan.  Progress is then monitored with periodic examination and follow-up reports.

What Type of Education do Doctors of Chiropractic get ?

Today’s Doctor of Chiropractic is well educated. The science of chiropractic requires a special emphasis on anatomy, physiology, pathology, neurology, bio mechanics, X-ray, spinal adjusting techniques and related subjects. This demanding curriculum prepares chiropractic doctors to locate the Vertebral Subluxation Complex and help correct the resulting nerve system dysfunction.

Course in classroom hours


540 Anatomy 508
240 Physiology 326
360 Pathology 401
165 Chemistry 325
120 Microbiology 114
630 Diagnosis 324
320 Neurology 112
360 X-Ray 148
60 Psychiatry 144
60 Obstetrics 148
210 Orthopedics 156
3,065 2,706
Spinal Adjustments Pharmacology
Nutrition Immunology
Advanced Radiology General Surgery





Before beginning Chiropractic school, chiropractic students need to complete 3 years of undergraduate education to obtain the necessary prerequisites.  A chiropractic student then completes 4 years of graduate school to receive a Doctor of Chiropractic degree.  However the testing is not done.  Each candidate must then pass both Federal and Provincial board examinations in order to receive a license to practice chiropractic.  It takes about 7 years of post-secondary schooling to learn how to be a chiropractor !

A chiropractic education never ends.  Most doctors continue to educate themselves by taking postgraduate courses and staying current by reading the latest scientific research.

After undergraduate studies, today’s chiropractic doctor completes
an additional four-year curriculum of over 4,500 classroom hours of health sciences.

What is an Adjustment ?

A chiropractic adjustment is the art of using a specific force in a precise direction, applied to a joint that is fixated, ‘locked up,’ or not moving properly.  An adjustment adds motion to the joint, helping the bones gradually return to a more normal position and motion. The purpose of this safe and natural procedure is improved spinal function, improved nerve system function, and improved health.

There are hundreds of ways to adjust the spine.  Usually the doctor’s hands or a specially designed instrument delivers a brief and highly accurate thrust.  Some adjusting methods are quick, whereas others require a slow constant pressure.

After years of training and clinical experience, each chiropractic doctor becomes
highly skilled in the delivery of a variety of adjusting approaches.

Do I Have a Pinched Nerve ?

Many patients consult a doctor of chiropractic because they think they have a pinched nerve.  While commonly associated with the spine, a pinched nerve is actually rare.  Research suggests that only 10%-15% of spine related problems are caused by direct pressure of bone on a nerve.  Typically a ‘pinched nerve’ will result in numbness, burning, or a ‘pins and needles’ feeling.  When a bone pushes on a nerve, this is a serious condition that requires immediate attention.

Several other possibilities exist that and also cause numbness and/or a burning sensation.  Nerves are more commonly stretched or irritated, which will produce a numbness feeling.

If you have numbness, see your chiropractor for a detailed and thorough examination.

Do I Have a Slipped Disc ?

No, it is not possible for discs to slip.  The disc is a pad-like tissue located between two vertebrae which acts as shock absorber for the spine.   The center of the disc is made of a fluid, soft, ‘jelly-like’ substance.  When discs become damaged, tears can occur through which the soft center can leak out and push on the nerves.  This is know as a ruptured or herniated disc and is extremely painful.

While results cannot be guaranteed, many patients have avoided needless surgery or a dependency on pain pills, by choosing chiropractic care for their disc-related health problems. In fact chiropractic adjustments are safer than back surgery, muscle relaxers, and even aspirin !

Discs do not ‘slip,’ however, if damaged they can leak or rupture.

Are All Patients Adjusted the Same Way ?

No, each patient is adjusted according to their unique requirements.   Your chiropractor will determine the best way to adjust your spine after completing a detailed examination.

Many chiropractors will adjust your entire spine, even though you don’t have pain in that area.  Pain is a poor indicator of problems as many problems refer pain into other areas.  Some patients who complain of headaches, may actually have a lower back problem that is causing a compensation reaction at the base of the skull. Other patients may be experiencing numbness and tingling in their fingers, when the actual problem is in the neck.

While visits may seem similar, each visit builds on the one before.

Chiropractic care is customized
to each patient’s age, condition, and spinal problem.

Can I Adjust Myself ?

Since a chiropractic adjustment is a specific force, applied in a specific direction, to a specific joint, it is impossible to adjust oneself; and also dangerous.  Spinal adjusting may look easy when done by an experienced chiropractor, but it has taken several years to master – just as a gymnast makes walking on a balance beam easy.

Turning and twisting your back and neck may create a ‘popping’ sound, however this usually causes an unstable area of the spine even more unsteady.   Remember the goal of the adjustment is to get joints moving that are not moving normally, twisting your back will cause unstable joints to become more unstable.   Spinal adjusting is not for amateurs !

The best way to enjoy the healthful benefits of chiropractic is to receive adjustments from a Doctor of Chiropractic. Even your doctor must seek out the services of another colleague to help restore and maintain proper spinal function.

Is Chiropractic Care Safe ?

There are literally thousands of published scientific studies proving chiropractic’s safety and effectiveness.  In the words of the New Zealand government’s inquiry, chiropractic care is ‘remarkably safe.’

Chiropractic has an excellent safety record. It is the result of a conservative approach to health that avoids invasive procedures or addictive drugs. In fact, chiropractic adjustments are safer than back surgery, mus