What is Chiropractic?


What is Chiropractic?

Chiropractic is a healing discipline firmly grounded in science that is concerned with the care of the entire body.

Chiropractors use various diagnostic methods, including x-rays, to discover the state of your health, paying particular attention to your spine and bone structure. Spinal manipulation and other manual adjustments are their primary methods of helping your body heal.

Chiropractors provide care for patients of all ages with a range of acute and chronic conditions.

As well as advice about self help, exercise and diet and lifestyle, chiropractors often provide support for pain management, sports injuries and active rehabilitation.

The word chiropractic comes from a combination of the Greek words "chiro" and "praktikis", meaning "done by hand". "Treatment by hand" was an accepted form of therapy in ancient Greece. Hippocrates, who is regarded as the founder of medical inquiry, made the first recorded references to spinal manipulation. 1995 marked the 100th anniversary of the evolution of modern chiropractic. 


Is Chiropractic effective?

Scientific evidence proving that the chiropractic care works, is safe and effective is compelling. Over the past 20 years, many controlled and independent research studies have shown repeatedly that chiropractic care is safe and effective for treating low back pain, neck pain, headaches and other conditions relating to the spine. Based on these scientific studies, chiropractic care should be the treatment of choice for most spinal problems.

Why should I see a Doctor of chiropractic?

From professional athletes to homemakers, engineers to electricians, children to seniors, chiropractic care has been the answer to improved health. Many people see a Doctor of Chiropractic for back, neck or joint problems, while others may seek relief from the pain caused by headaches. Still others find that regular visits to their chiropractor help keep them in peak condition for sports and other activities.

What can I expect when I go to a chiropractor?

As a licensed practitioner, your chiropractor is required to do the following:

  • A thorough review of your specific problem is conducted, including relevant past history and overall health;
  • Physical tests and movements to help identify the problem;
  • If required, an X-ray may be used to determine the source of your problem and investigate for pathological developments;
  • A diagnosis to make certain choices clear. If it is not a chiropractic problem, a suitable referral is done. If it is, a plan of treatment is communicated;
  • A prognosis taking into account your general health habits, occupation, stress and activity levels;
  • Your response to treatment including monitoring your specific condition, as well as for changes in your overall health. Utilization of exercise, along with nutrition and lifestyle modifications may be suggested to improve your overall well being and promote active, patient-centered care.

Chiropractors take an integrated and holistic approach to the health needs of their patients considering the physical, psychological and social factors. They provide care and support by reducing pain and disability and restoring function.  

Is every patient's treatment the same?

The treatment a patient receives is related to the specific condition diagnosed by the chiropractor, and will vary from person to person depending on each persons unique situation.    

Is Chiropractic treatment ongoing?

The hands-on nature of chiropractic treatment is essentially what sends patients back to the chiropractor a number of times. To be treated by a chiropractor a patient needs to be in his or her office. A chiropractor may provide acute, preventative and/or maintenance care thus making a certain number of visits necessary. The average number of annual visits per patient is about five.

Is neck adjustment safe?

All health treatments have the potential for adverse effects and, on rare occasions, neck adjustment has been associated with stroke-like symptoms. A Canadian study, published in 2001, concluded that stroke symptoms associated with neck adjustments are so rare that it is difficult to quantify. Similarly, a medical review published in 2002 looked at 73 studies of chiropractic care and found no serious complications reported in any of them. By way of comparison, neck adjustment is significantly safer than other common treatments for headache, neck and back pain.

How long do chiropractors go to school?

Today's graduating Doctors of Chiropractic have studied and trained in a college or university for at least seven years.  Just like medical or dental students, they must first complete undergraduate study before applying for admission to a chiropractic college.

Becoming a chiropractor requires a minimum of 4,500 hours of intense academic study including classroom instruction, clinical science and internship. During the course of their training, he/she will have studied the following three areas:

  • Basic sciences, including anatomy, physiology, pathology, biochemistry, clinical sciences and X-ray diagnosis;
  • Specialized training in the science and art of chiropractic;
  • Clinical internship with an emphasis on hands-on practice.

Is Chiropractic part of the Health Care System?

Chiropractors in Saskatchewan consider themselves to be an integral and complementary part of the health care system. The non-surgical, drug-free healing approach of chiropractic provides benefit to the health of millions of people worldwide each year. Most chiropractic patients experience benefits from pain relief and improvement in function.

Do I need a referral to make an appointment with a Chiropractor?

Your chiropractor is a primary contact provider just like your family physician, optometrist or dentist. You do not need a referral from your medical doctor to see a chiropractor.

Extended Health Care: Private & Group Plans

Patients may receive reimbursement of the treatment if they have private insurance or coverage through their employment. Receipts are available from your chiropractic office and should be sent to your extended health benefits carrier. Consult your employer for required reimbursement forms.

Is Chiropractic a Regulated Health Profession?

Like medicine and dentistry, chiropractic is a self-regulating profession, and each provincial chiropractic regulatory body has the authority to grant a license to practice chiropractic. There are Chiropractic Acts in all 10 provinces and the Yukon Territory which establish a self-regulatory process which includes extensive testing for licensure. In all provinces, licensure requirements include university studies followed by graduation from an accredited chiropractic institution, and passing national and provincial board examinations.

What if I've been injured in a car accident or on the job?

It is important that you consult with your family chiropractor as soon as possible regarding treatment for your injuries. The longer you wait, the longer it can take for treatment and recovery time. Remember, no referral is necessary from your family physician. Your chiropractor will provide, upon request, a medical legal report and attend court when requested by your lawyer or SGI's lawyer.

The Workers' Compensation Board (WCB) pays for the full cost of treatment for work-related injuries.