Areas of Focus
Back pain is a symptom rather than a condition but it is an issue that most Canadians will suffer with at some point in their lives. There are many possible causes for back pain and for this reason it is best to have thorough assessment with your chiropractor in order to arrive at the correct diagnosis. While one person’s back pain may be caused by poor posture, another person’s may be caused by a muscle spasm or a herniated disc. Back pain is a condition which chiropractors treat very frequently and effectively.
The spine is a large and complex series of joints. Between each pair of vertebrae sits a soft but firm cushion called the intervertebral disc. This disc cushions impact between the vertebrae and protects them from damage. The most common symptom of disc herniation is pain which travels down the path of the spinal nerve which is impinged. For example, when the L5-S1 disc herniates pain is often felt down the sciatic nerve distribution of the buttock, thigh, leg and/or the foot.
Healthy posture is an essential factor in maintaining a strong and stable spine. When posture and overall ergonomics are compromised, misalignment, muscle weakness and pain may develop. Chronically poor posture and ergonomics are a significant barrier to full recovery from injury and painful conditions in general. Conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome, low back pain and neck pain are heavily influenced by a person’s posture. Your chiropractor will fully assess the impact of postural imbalances on your body and make the necessary changes for optimal recovery.
Migraine & Tension Headaches
While migraines and tension headaches have some similarities, they each have unique symptoms. A tension headache is usually experienced as a chronic, even daily, nagging headache, while a migraine typically lasts for a day or two and then is gone for weeks or months. Tension headaches are a lower intensity pain that may rarely go away. They become a part of the sufferer’s life and are often misdiagnosed. Migraine headaches are typically shorter bursts of intense pain which may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting and light sensitivity.
Muscles are contractile tissues which drive movement throughout the body. Muscles function through a delicate balance of many factors including water, magnesium, calcium, potassium, protein, fat, carbohydrates, stress, sleep and exercise. If any of these factors is out of balance the muscles may become weak or even spasmodic. Luckily there are treatments and lifestyle modifications which can help with acute spasms as well as chronically spasmodic muscles.
The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve of the body and runs from the hip down the thigh and leg, providing sensation and motor control to the thigh and lower leg. Sciatica is a common condition which is caused by pressure on the sciatic nerve. People with sciatica usually will experience pain in the buttock which extends down the back of the thigh and leg. The pain can vary in intensity, being a nuisance for some and being unbearable for others. While sciatica is a common problem which is often chronic, it tends to respond well to proper treatment and lifestyle modification.
Wellness & Preventative Care
While chiropractors are well known for helping people recover from a multitude of health conditions, they also help their patients maintain good health through lifestyle modification, exercise guidance and ongoing maintenance care. Ideally you will begin seeing your chiropractor when you are healthy and pain-free because your chiropractor can help you to maintain your good level of health, prevent injuries and keep you in balance overall.
Whiplash is an injury to the neck which is most commonly caused by rapid and forceful jerking of the neck, much like the motion of a whip when it is snapped. Car accidents, falls and jarring sports injuries are common causes of whiplash. People with whiplash may experience neck stiffness, pain and a limited range of motion of the neck. Pain can also occur beyond the neck, with headaches being another common symptom of whiplash.
- The activator is a small, spring-loaded device which your chiropractor may use to assist him/her in performing adjustments. The activator helps your chiropractor to perform very specific adjustments with minimal force. While not all chiropractors use an activator device, it is one of the most used tools for assisting effective adjustment in the chiropractic profession.
- Joint Mobilization
- Joint mobilization is a manual therapy which involves creating passive movement in a specific joint without the patient’s assistance. Your chiropractor may isolate your affected joint and move it through a specific range of motion in order to loosen any restrictions on it and to increase blood flow to the joint. These movements are typically gentle but can have a profound effect on the joint.
- Manual Adjustment/Manipulation
- Chiropractors perform joint adjustments, also known as manipulations, in order to realign vertebrae and most other bones in the body. Chiropractors are experts in assessing and treating musculoskeletal conditions and the adjustment is one of their main tools for accurately correcting bony or joint misalignment. A chiropractic adjustment consists of a high velocity, low amplitude thrust which gently corrects the misalignment of the joint.
- Orthotics is a discipline of medicine which focuses on designing and prescribing a medical device which is used to improve a person’s posture and movement. The most common form of orthotics used by chiropractors is in the form of custom shoe inserts (or custom shoes) which are designed based on patient’s individual bio-mechanics. These orthotics help to correct gait imbalances and improve overall body ergonomics.
- Rehabilitative Exercise
- While many treatments exist for painful conditions, few are as pivotal to a person’s recovery as rehabilitative exercise. While your chiropractor will provide you with necessary treatments in their office, they will also likely recommend specific exercises aimed at aiding recovery and preventing reoccurrence. These exercises aim to strengthen the affected area, as well as strengthening supporting musculature, in order to optimize your recovery.
- Soft Tissue Mobilization
- Chiropractors have extensive training in soft tissue manipulation and mobilization. Your chiropractor will likely perform some soft tissue work on you if you are suffering with a painful condition or joint restriction.