Author: Craig Coghlin, B.A., CPT, CSCS, ART Provider, D.C. (candidate)
Well, despite what some people think, chiropractic is not some sort of Egyptian practice (Cairo-practic)! Literally, chiropractic means “by the hand”. A chiropractor is a licensed Doctor of Chiropractic medicine who uses a drug-free (NOT “anti” drug), manual approach to the healing of the human body. Chiropractic is a primary contact health care profession under the Regulated Health Care Practitioners Act (1991), and the Chiropractic Act (1991).
Chiropractics, an overview
Chiropractic health care has over 6000 practicing doctors in Canada alone, with well over four and a half million Canadians seeking our care every year!

What is their approach to health care?

Doctors of Chiropractic practice a drug-free (again, that is NOT read “anti”-drug), manual approach to improving the health of their patients by way of a thorough history taking and a physical assessment of function using appropriate orthopedic, neurological, and sensorimotor tests to arrive at a diagnosis. After arriving at a diagnosis, the chiropractor will decide on a plan of management that may include a wide array of treatment methods including, but not limited to, such things as joint manipulation, manual muscle techniques, modalities (things like Interferential Current, Ultrasound, and Laser), stretching, advice, and exercise programs.

Our “bread and butter” lies in the treatment and management of the human spine and related structures, but that is NOT to say that’s all we do. Chiropractors have also been proven to be effective in managing many other conditions such as headaches, infantile colic and disorders of the extremities.

The main treatment tool that the chiropractor is known for is the spinal adjustment or “bone cracking” as many improperly term it. Think about it, if any health care professional literally cracked a bone as part of their treatment, it would be completely counterproductive to patient health. We are the only health profession that receives extensive training and practice in this form of treatment.

The highly skilled chiropractic practitioner is trained to deliver adjustments to dysfunctional joints in the body in order to receive a therapeutic effect, whether that is pain relief, restoration of mobility in the joint or related tissues, or d

crease tightness and spasm in the muscle.

Despite what many people think, an adjustment rarely causes discomfort, however as with any manual therapy, mild soreness may be experienced following some treatments. This sensation will disappear within 24-48 hours, and is usually a one time thing at a particular joint.

So what is that “popping” sound I hear when I get an adjustment?

When a chiropractor decides that it is appropriate to apply an adjustment, he/she will put the dysfunctional joint in an optimal position for adjustment according to its shape and angle. All joints in the spine and extremities are angled differently and have different characteristics of motion, so the chiropractor must take care to position it appropriately.

When applying an adjustment, the chiropractor applies a “high velocity, low magnitude” thrust to the joint creating the capsule (like a sleeve of tissue over the joint) to be stretched and expanded slightly. Within this joint capsule is fluid containing many dissolved gases. When the capsule is stretched and expanded (prepare for a little bit of a physics lesson), the volume of the joint increases. But the joint is like a vacuum, and when the volume increases and the pressure within the joint changes, it causes the dissolved gases to come out of the dissolved state. So basically what you are hearing during an adjustment is the release of gas bubbles from inside the capsule. It can be loosely related to opening a can of pop. You open the can and change the pressure and the dissolved gas in the can produces a “pop” sound.

Any questions?

So that is a brief description of what a Doctor of Chiropractic is responsible for, and how he/she practices. Many chiropractors practice in many different ways, and it’s important to find a doctor that works for you, just like any other health care provider.

There are many myths and misconceptions regarding Chiropractic health care due to lack of knowledge, media, or old urban legends. I aim to address many of these in my article Myths and Misconceptions of the Chiropractor, so check it out. If anyone has any further questions, please feel free to email me.

Written by

Craig Coghlin, B.A., CPT, CSCS, ART Provider, D.C. (candidate)
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