Is a medical referral required to see a Doctor of Chiropractic(DC)?
No. Chiropractors are legislated as primary health care professionals in every province in Canada. This means that patients can consult them directly.
Chiropractors are educated and clinically trained to diagnose and treat patients, with a specialization of the neuro-musculo-skeletal system. However, chiropractors often work closely with medical doctors, many of whom refer to chiropractors to help alleviate a patient’s condition. Similarly, chiropractors frequently refer to medical doctors and other professionals when necessary. This ensures the most comprehensive care is provided to the patient.
What is the neuro-musculo-skeletal system?
Think of the human body as a biomechanical system, made up of the following three systems:
- Neural – the brain, the spinal cord and all the peripheral nerves and receptors outside the spinal cord that reach every part of or body.
- Skeletal – encompassing the spine and the rest of the bones and joints.
- Myofascial – the entire regiment of muscles, tendons and connective tissues that hold us together.
This amazing interaction lets us do exceptional, beautiful things such as ballet, play sports, or run 100m in less than 10 seconds.
These three systems are profoundly interconnected. A change in one will almost always affect the other two. Like any complex system, things can go wrong.
For instance, incorrectly lifting potted plants while gardening leads to a joint strain in your lower back(skeletal system). Muscles associated with your back (the myofascial system) try to compensate becoming overactive and inflamed. These muscles then irritate the surrounding nerves (the neural system) near the joint, making them overly sensitive. Afflicted nerves then send the muscles into a holding spasm – and over time stiffens the joint increasing strain. If the strain persists or worsens an emanating pain from other nerves leading down the leg can be felt.
Chiropractic care is primarily a hands-on, non-invasive and drugless practice that is safe and effective for the management of MSK conditions.
When should I see a chiropractor?
The answer depends on you. If your life is disrupted due to back pain, neck pain, headaches, strains or sprains, arthritis or another problem involving your muscles, joints, and nervous system, chiropractic care can help you feel like yourself again.
Injuries to the spine can happen at any stage of life and for various reasons including car crashes, workplace incidents and sports injuries. Even simple everyday tasks such as going for a walk, or washing the dishes have the potential to cause pain or discomfort that many of us just decide to live with. Sometimes these aches and pains even prevent us from working or doing the things we love.
Chiropractic may help so You don’t have to live with the pain.
Who can benefit from Chiropractic Care?
Everyone! We all have a neuro-musclo-skeletal system. Over our lifetime we will inevitably experience problems affecting this system that could require a health care professional.
Chiropractors are medically trained to assess, diagnosis and treat these MSK conditions whether they are mild or severe, acute or chronic, common or rare, and localized or widespread.
From small children to elderly adults to pregnant women to Olympic athletes, Chiropractors are specially trained to provide extra consideration and care to the needs of all family members. The whole family can benefit!
What are some of the benefits of Chiropractic Care?
- Improved movement in your neck, shoulders, back and torso
- Better posture
- Relief from headaches, neck and back pain
- Prevention of work-related muscle and joint injuries
- Enhanced athletic performance
- Improved flexibility
- Relief of pregnancy-related backache
- Correction of gait and foot problems
Does Chiropractic care require and x-ray?
X-rays can play a role in diagnosis and treatment. X-rays will be requested only when a need has been determined after taking a patient case history and conducting a physical examination. Most patients do not require X-rays.
Chiropractors receive 360 hours of education in radiology covering a full range of topics from protection to X-ray interpretation and diagnosis. Every Canadian province recognize the training and competence of chiropractors to both take and interpret X-rays and have granted them this right.
What education does a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) require in Canada?
Individuals interested in becoming a chiropractor will have to make a substantial investment of time in their education.
Chiropractors must have at least 3 years of post-secondary education with a focus on biological and health sciences, including anatomy, physiology, histology, biochemistry, clinical and radiological diagnosis. Many students obtain their bachelor of science prior to attending an accredited chiropractic college.
The doctor of chiropractic degree involves a four-year program at an accredited school. This specialized training in the chiropractic discipline, including theoretical studies, practice, diagnosis and application; and Extensive clinical training overseen by licensed professionals.
Upon graduation from an accredited program, candidates must pass the written and practical exams offered by the Canadian Chiropractic Examining Board (CCEB).
After passing the CCEB examinations, a Chiropractor must apply for licensure in a Canadian province or territory. Each jurisdiction has unique requirements should be contacted. Generally, the regulatory boards of the province or territory require letters of reference, passing a legislation and ethics examination specific to the jurisdiction, criminal screening, and an interview.
In addition, all chiropractic doctors complete 40 hours of continuing education every two years to maintain their clinical competency. These learning events must fall within the scope of practice of chiropractic and demonstrate a benefit to patient care.
A chiropractic specialty can also be obtained, but is not mandatory, in the areas of sports sciences, orthopedics, radiology, physical rehabilitation and clinical sciences.