New to Chiropractic? What you can expect.

What stops someone from trying something new? Sometimes it is a sense of comfort in a certain way they’ve always done things. Other times it is a concern about what others will think. And for others it’s a lack of understanding about what they can expect.

Sometimes what we don’t understand can keep us from trying new things. Even we still hear occasionally from new friends that they don’t know what to expect from a chiropractic visit, so they won’t try it. That’s why we’ve outlined the following information about what you can expect from your first chiropractic visit.

  1. All chiropractic patients will experience an initial assessment before treatment. You will be asked to share information about your health, such as any injury or surgery, medications you are taking and family health history.
  2. The first visit will take longer than following visits, because your chiropractor will conduct a physical assessment/exam based on the reason for your visit. This might include a posture assessment, range of motion test, checking your reflexes, and other orthopaedic and neurologic tests. Depending on the reason for your visit, your chiropractor may also order an x-ray or ultrasound.
  3. From your physical exam, your chiropractor will determine your diagnosis. Your chiropractor will talk with you about the diagnosis and propose a treatment plan, ensuring your consent to treatment is informed and your questions are answered.
  4. You may receive an adjustment on your first visit, but you may also be asked to make a second appointment so that your chiropractor can fully consider your needs and develop your treatment plan.

What is spinal manipulation therapy (SMT)

Most chiropractors use a hands-on treatment called spinal manipulation therapy (SMT).

This main form of treatment is also known as an adjustment by chiropractic patients. SMT is a non-invasive procedure consisting of a precise directed movement to help relieve pain and discomfort, and restore range of motion.

It is common to feel the pressure from the adjustment and to hear a sound. The sound is the release of air in the joint space. This sound is identical to the sound you hear when you crack your knuckles or your ankles, and research has proven it is not harmful.

Other treatments that your chiropractor may propose could include therapeutic ultrasound, laser or shockwave therapy. Your chiropractor may also recommend acupuncture or massage therapy as additional courses of therapy.

Your chiropractor will help you understand what side effects, if any, you can expect to experience from SMT or any other form of treatment.

As your condition improves, your chiropractor will also likely recommend exercises or stretches that will help ensure you recover fully and regain full strength/mobility.

If you have any questions about anything during your visit or treatment, always ask. You are encouraged to ask as many questions as you need to feel comfortable.

The last thing to note about your chiropractic experience is that since there is diversity in how chiropractors treat, you may need to try a different chiropractor who offers a different type of treatment if you don’t feel that a particular chiropractor’s method is helping you.

Content courtesy of the Alberta College and Association of Chiropractors.

Headaches

Headaches are a common inconvenience for many people living in Saskatchewan. They can seemingly strike at any time.

Nearly 90 per cent of women and about 70 per cent of men will get a tension headache during their lifetime, while 37 per cent of women and 21 per cent of men experience them regularly.

Most believe the only cure for a pounding headache is simply to just grin, bear it and let it pass. The good news is there are ways to both prevent and treat frequent headaches.

What causes a headache?

A headache is your body’s way of telling you something isn’t quite right. Most of the common causes of the milder variety of headaches stem from something you are either doing or not doing. These include;

  • missing meals
  • consuming excessive alcohol
  • excessive stress
  • not getting enough sleep.

In rare cases, headaches can be sparked by more serious problems. It’s important to rule any significant health issues out as early as possible, if your headaches are becoming a major problem.

Your headaches could also be caused misalignments in your body. These misalignments, which commonly happen in cervical vertebrae (spinal bones within the neck structure) can irritate the nerve roots in the neck and may even cause minor constrictions in some vessels which supply blood to the brain. Your cervical vertebrae can become misaligned for many reasons, which can be anything from excessive physical stress to severe emotional strain.

How your chiropractor can help

Your chiropractor is an excellent source to deduce the cause of your frequent headaches.

They will perform a thorough spinal examination to determine whether the symptoms are coming from misalignments in your body.

On the flip side, they can also rule out misalignments and find out if your headaches are coming from your lifestyle choices (poor diet, alcohol consumption, not enough sleep, etc.).

If misalignments are the culprit, your chiropractor may perform a simple spinal adjustment to improve function and help alleviate your headache. Other treatment options are also available.

Chiropractic has been proven to help those suffering from chronic migraines. An Australian study found seventy-two per cent of migraine sufferers in a clinical trial experienced either ‘substantial’ or ‘noticeable’ improvement after a period of chiropractic treatment.

Content courtesy of the Alberta College and Association of Chiropractors.

Staying Active During the Winter

You go outside, only to find your hands freezing and nose running. You drive to work in the pitch-black of darkness and step outside after a long day on the job, only for it to be dark again. It can be hard to stay motivated and committed to fitness and activity during the winter months.

While it can be easy to lose sight of your activity levels until you’ve thawed out a little, research has shown it’s important to exert yourself in the winter months. As the darkness and cold creeps in, your serotonin (or feel-good chemical) levels drop. Consistent exercise and activity is a great way to combat this. Getting up and moving in the winter also boosts immunity by keeping the lymphatic system active.

Tips to stay active

GET OUTSIDE AND MOVE

This option embraces the cold. Saskatchewan is full of opportunities to use the frigid weather to your advantage. Skiing, snowboarding, snow shoeing, ice fishing, or skating are all great options to keep you moving outside. You can also check what’s going on locally, as most communities regularly host fun events during the winter months.

ACTIVITY IN  YOUR DAY-TO-DAY LIFE

Being active doesn’t always have to mean sweating it out. Making little, conscious decisions to get up and move can do wonders for your overall health. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Get out and shovel the snow by hand (using the correct technique, of course). Get up from your desk and take a short walk every few hours. It’s little activities like these that can help break up the monotony your body can feel during the winter months.

JOIN A GYM

A great indoor option is to join a gym. Joining a gym doesn’t just have to mean running on a treadmill or lifting weights. A lot of fitness facilities offer a variety of indoor activities and classes for you to participate in. This may include basketball, swimming, squash, yoga, etc. This can be cost prohibitive for many, but still remains a great option. If cost is an issue, look at local community options for recreation and leisure activities.

EXERCISE YOUR BEST WITH THE RIGHT ADVICE

Chiropractors are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions of the musculoskeletal system (the body’s bones, muscles, cartilage, tendons, joints and connective tissue). Visits to your chiropractor can identify potential dysfunction that may be occurring to ensure your bones, muscles, joints and nerves are working together properly, which reduces stress placed on ligaments.

Your chiropractor can tell you what type of exercise best suits you before you embark on a new exercise regimen. They can also help work with you to identify areas of weakness to work on and activities you should avoid, to keep yourself strong and healthy.

TECH NECK

Saskatchewan chiropractors are seeing a rise in head, neck and back pain caused by poor posture from using digital devices.These strains and pains associated with texting and spending time on hand-held devices have been dubbed ”tech neck”. Thanks to our love for technology, this condition isn’t going away anytime soon.

Why Does Tech Neck Matter?

Bending your head to look at your phone can put significant pressure on your spine! Your head weighs, on average, 10 pounds when in a neutral position.It’s estimated that for every inch forward that you crane your neck, an additional 10 pounds of pressure is being applied to your spine.That adds up fast and can harm your spine in a number of ways, including neck pain, hunched shoulders and headaches.

There Are Things You Can Do!

LIMIT SCREEN TIME

Try to limit screen time to an hour or two. If you need to be on a device for extended periods of time, fit in a 15-minute break for every hour of screen time.

MAINTAIN A CORRECT POSTURE

Bring the device up so it is eye level and sit or stand up straight with your chest out and shoulders back. If you must look down, tuck your chin into your neck instead of hanging your head forward.

BALANCE SCREEN TIME WITH ACTIVITY

Exercise is a great way to help neutralize the stress caused by poor posture. Try some stretches, or get up and walk around.

INVEST IN FURNITURE THAT WILL HELP ENCOURAGE GOOD POSTURE

There are so many options available to try! You could sit in an ergonomic chair with a headrest, purchase a tablet holder or raise the level of a computer monitor so it’s eye-level, to name a few.

If you have recurring aches or persistent pain, it is a good idea to consult with a chiropractor.The sooner you address the problem, the more successful you will be in combating tech neck and ensuring strong posture.

Back Health for Frequent Drivers

Our province is beautiful – and expansive – making driving necessary to get where we need to be. Whether it’s grabbing your commuter cup full of piping, hot coffee and heading to work in the morning or piling the kids in the car and heading to soccer practice or the rink, driving is a fact of life for most.

For those who are career drivers, like bus, taxi or delivery drivers, or even those who just live a go-go lifestyle, back pain can be an unfortunate side effect of living on the open road.

Professor Mark Porter, of Loughborough University in the United Kingdom, has found that absence from work because of back pain is six times higher for drivers who are at the wheel for more than four hours a day. Four hours a day may seem like a lot, but when you think about it, all those little trips you make in a day add up quickly.

What causes back pain when I drive?

Back pain when driving for long periods can be caused by a number of things:

  • your lumbar curve is all but lost, placing extra strain on the vertebrae and discs
  • your spine takes the brunt of all bumps or quick turns you make
  • those who drive with their seat reclined or lowered tend to keep their legs straighter, placing strain on their hamstrings, in turn pulling on their pelvic attachments and resulting in the pelvis rolling backwards, this causes the spine to pitch posteriorly. The rest of the spine is then forced to curve forward in compensation
  • reclining or lowering your seat also places stress on your neck because you are forced to flex your neck by up to 20 degrees in order to look straight ahead

How can I ease my back pain while driving?

There are a number of ways to help ease your pain:

Use a lumbar support – A lumbar support, which is essentially a cushion for your lower back, can go a long way in preventing pain. You can purchase one specifically made for driving or it can be as easy as using an old couch pillow or a rolled up towel.

Move your seat forward – Getting as close as you can to the steering wheel, without it being uncomfortable, is the optimal driving distance to prevent back pain. This way you aren’t slouching and also not straining yourself to reach the pedals.

Adjust your hands on the steering wheel – We were all told by our driving instructor, “keep those hands at 10 and 2,” over and over. This was definitely true when we were 16-years-old and trying to get our licence, but isn’t true when we are looking to alleviate back pain. With the invention of airbags, research has found that your hands should be at 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock. This allows you to rest your elbows on the armrests, which can help ease pain, especially in the upper back.

Stretching – Stretching it out (perhaps with the Straighten Up Canada program), before hopping in the car is a great way to prevent driving related pains from creeping up. Getting out and stretching every half-hour or so will alleviate some of your pain if you can spare the time or if you know you’re going to be in your car for a long time throughout the day.

You can always see your chiropractor if you are still unsure about how to prevent and alleviate back pain. Your chiropractors is an expert in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions of the musculoskeletal system (the body’s bones, muscles, cartilage, tendons, joints and connective tissue). Your chiropractor will first assess your back’s current condition and then develop a treatment plan for you to help ease your pain.

Office Stretches

Do you sit at a desk or computer for a good portion of the day? Sitting at your desk or computer for a lengthy period of time can lead to muscle tension, fatigue, and occasionally pain. Proper workspace set-up and ergonomics are important in avoiding pain while working at your desk or computer. Try moving and changing positions every 30-50 minutes. Take a quick stretch break, or get up and move around. Try these stretches below and remember these tips:

  • Start each stretch from a neutral, aligned position using good posture
  • Stretch only to the point of comfortable tension, then relax and hold
  • Don’t bounce while stretching
  • Stretch slowly and remember to breathe
  • If you feel any pain, stop immediately and relax

Stretches for office workers   Click here for printable stretches for the office! 

Chiropractic Care and You

WHAT IS CHIROPRACTIC HEALTH CARE?

The word “chiropractic” comes from ancient Greek and means “done by hand.”

Adjustment of the joints of the body has been used in the healing arts for many centuries and is at the heart of modern chiropractic care.

Chiropractors are specialists in manual adjustment of the vertebrae of the spine and other joints. Adjustment helps relieve pain and restore normal functioning to the spine, joints and supporting structures of the body – so you can enjoy your everyday activities again as quickly as possible.

Chiropractors are also trained to prescribe therapeutic exercise, provide nutritional counselling, and recommend rehabilitation and injury prevention strategies.

Did you know?

Back pain, neck pain and headache are the most common reasons why Canadians first consult a chiropractor. If aching joints and muscle pain are affecting your ability to get through the day and keeping you away from your favourite activities, consider chiropractic care. A Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) will assess your symptoms and recommend a treatment plan to put you on the road to recovery. Your chiropractor can also provide expert advice to help you prevent pain and injury from recurring.

WHAT IS AN ADJUSTMENT?

An adjustment is a highly skilled and precise movement usually applied by hand to a joint of the body. Adjustment loosens the joint to restore proper movement and optimize function. When a joint is adjusted, a gas bubble escapes causing the popping noise you may have heard about.

WHY IS SPINAL HEALTH IMPORTANT?

The spine serves as a pillar to support your body’s weight and movement. It also houses and protects the nervous system, which carries messages from the brain to every corner of the body. The joints, discs, ligaments and attachment points for muscles on the spine help us to move, maintain posture and protect our body from dangerous movements. Stress or strain on the spine can present as pain and impedes your daily activities and can also affect the health of your muscles, joints and nerves.

EVIDENCE-BASED & PATIENT-CENTRED

Chiropractic adjustment techniques have been researched extensively. Complications are rare and side-effects, such as temporary soreness, are usually minor. Your chiropractor is well-trained to determine if your problem will respond to chiropractic care or if you require referral to another healthcare provider.

Following university studies, a chiropractor must then complete a rigorous four-year, full-time education program and pass comprehensive Canadian qualifying examinations in order to become licensed to practice. Chiropractors are regulated health professionals and the licensing college in each province is charged with protecting the public and setting standards for the profession.

WHEN SHOULD I CONSIDER CHIROPRACTIC CARE?

There are many reasons to seek chiropractic care. Work, accidents, sports injuries, household chores, even the stress of daily living can cause painful joint and spinal problems. Even if you do not have painful symptoms, chiropractic care can help you maintain healthy spine and joint function.

Here are some of the most common reasons why more than 4 million Canadians visit a chiropractor each year:

  • Back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Headache
  • Whiplash
  • Strains and sprains from daily activities
  • Repetitive strain injuries
  • Work and sports-related injuries
  • Arthritis
  • Restricted movement in the back, shoulders, neck or limbs

BENEFITS OF CHIROPRACTIC CARE

Chiropractic treatment is skilled, hands-on health care that relieves pain and helps your body be its best. Here are some of the ways it can help you.

  • 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 back ache • Correction of gait and foot problems

Chiropractic Care and Repetitive Strain

WHAT IS REPETITIVE STRAIN?

Repetitive strain injury is typically caused by rapid, repeated use of muscles and joints. Numbness, tingling and burning sensations, swelling and aching pain are among the most common symptoms. It affects a broad variety of people from athletes such as tennis players and golfers to trades people like jackhammer operators and assembly line workers. Video gaming, computer use and even crafts like knitting are all associated with repetitive strain injuries.

Common types of repetitive strain include carpel tunnel syndrome, golfer’s elbow, tennis elbow and rotator cuff injuries. Left untreated, repetitive strain can cause injuries that may not heal without a long break from the cause.

Did you know?

A Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) is highly trained to diagnose the cause of your pain and provide hands-on treatment that works. Ignoring symptoms doesn’t make them go away. In fact, it can make them worse. It’s important to treat not just the symptoms, but also the cause.

If repetitive strain injury is affecting your ability to get through the day and keeping you away from your favorite activities, consider chiropractic care. A chiropractor will assess your symptoms, diagnose your condition, and recommend a treatment plan to put you on the road to recovery. Your chiropractor can also provide expert advice to help you prevent pain and injury from recurring.

GETTING BACK IN ACTION

Chiropractic care can restore healthy function to your spine and the related muscles and ligaments to get you moving again. Chiropractors are specialists in adjustment of the vertebrae of the spine and other joints of the body. Adjustment helps relieve pain and restore normal movement – so you can enjoy your everyday activities again as quickly as possible. Complications are rare and side-effects such as temporary soreness are usually minor.

Chiropractors acquire their skills through an intensive four-year, full-time course of study after three years of university education.

PATIENTS PLAY A ROLE

The success of any treatment relies on patients playing an active role. Treating repetitive strain may require making changes to your work
station, taking breaks to relax overworked muscles and joints, and exercises to relieve stress and strengthen the affected parts of your body.

WHEN SHOULD I CONSIDER CHIROPRACTIC CARE?

If you begin to experience pain in your hands, wrists, arms or shoulders, consult a chiropractor for an assessment. Most people respond well to treatment and get back to their regular activities faster than waiting it out.

EVIDENCE-BASED

Chiropractors are regulated health professionals and members of your health care team. Chiropractic care has been researched extensively. Your chiropractor is well-trained to determine if your problem will respond to chiropractic care or if you require referral to another health care professional.

LENGTH OF CARE

In some cases, treatment may begin on the first visit. Length of treatment will vary for each person and condition. People who have lived with long-term pain or have degenerative problems will typically be in treatment longer. Successful treatment of repetitive strain requires a combination of chiropractic care and addressing the source of the repetitive strain.

A HEALING PARTNERSHIP

Your chiropractor will work with you to establish goals to measure your progress. Chiropractors are trained to prescribe therapeutic exercise, provide nutritional counselling and recommend rehabilitation and injury prevention strategies to help you participate in your care.

WHAT TO EXPECT ON A FIRST VISIT

If you are visiting a chiropractor for the first time, expect to provide a health history. This may include asking you about any illnesses, past surgeries, medications and other health issues. The chiropractor will ask you about your pain and conduct a physical examination to assess and diagnose the problem. Sometimes x-rays may be required.

Your chiropractor will explain the findings of the assessment to you and discuss the treatment recommendations, ensuring your consent to treatment is informed and your questions are answered.

Neck Pain

CAUSES OF NECK PAIN

Neck pain is a common problem with many possible causes. Poor posture, hunching over a computer, arthritis, whiplash, and muscle strain from simple things like reading in bed or grinding your teeth can all trigger neck pain. When your neck muscles become tired and strained, pain is usually the first symptom.

In rare cases, neck pain can be a sign of something serious. Seek immediate attention and tell your chiropractor if your neck pain is accompanied by severe headache, shooting
pain in your shoulder or arm, numbness or loss of strength in your arms or hands, trouble speaking, swallowing or walking, blurred vision or loss of balance.

Did you know?

A Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) is highly trained to diagnose the causes of your neck pain and provide hands-on treatment that works. In fact, a recent international study on neck pain found that manual therapies such as adjustment and mobilization are among the few treatments that can help relieve neck pain1.

If neck pain is affecting your ability to get through the day and keeping you away from your favorite activities, consider chiropractic care. A chiropractor will asses your symptoms, diagnose your condition, and recommend a treatment plan to put you on the road to recovery. Your chiropractor can also provide expert advice to help you prevent pain and injury from recurring.

GETTING BACK IN ACTION

Chiropractic care can restore healthy function to your neck and the related muscles and ligaments to get you moving again. Chiropractors are specialists in adjustment of the vertebrae of the spine and other joints of the body. Adjustment helps relieve pain and restore normal movement – so you can enjoy your everyday activities again as quickly as possible. Complications are rare and side-effects such as temporary soreness are usually minor.

Chiropractors acquire their skills through an intensive four-year, full-time course of study after three years of university education.

PATIENTS PLAY A ROLE

The success of any treatment relies on patients playing an active role. Treating neck pain may require making changes to your work station, taking breaks to relax overworked muscles and joints, changing your pillow, and exercises to strengthen your neck and shoulders.

WHEN SHOULD I CONSIDER CHIROPRACTIC CARE?

If you experience neck pain, consult a chiropractor for an assessment.
Your chiropractor will recommend a course of treatment specific to you which may include spinal adjustments, joint mobilization, muscle release techniques, muscle stimulation, and therapeutic exercises.

Most people respond well to treatment and get back to their regular activities faster than waiting it out.

EVIDENCE-BASED

Chiropractors are regulated health professionals and members of your health care team. Chiropractic care has been researched extensively.
Your chiropractor is well-trained to determine if your problem will
respond to chiropractic care or if you require referral to another health

care professional.

LENGTH OF CARE

In some cases, treatment may begin on the first visit. Length of treatment will vary for each person, but many patients will begin to feel better after a few visits. People who have lived with prolonged neck pain or have degenerative problems will typically be in treatment longer. People may also choose periodic care to maintain healthy neck function.

A HEALING PARTNERSHIP

Your chiropractor will work with you to establish goals to measure your progress. Chiropractors are trained to prescribe therapeutic exercise, provide nutritional counselling and recommend rehabilitation and injury prevention strategies to help you participate in your care.

WHAT TO EXPECT ON A FIRST VISIT

If you are visiting a chiropractor for the first time, expect to provide a health history. This may include asking you about any illnesses, past surgeries, medications and other health issues. The chiropractor will ask you about your pain and conduct a physical examination to assess and diagnose the problem. Sometimes x-rays may be required.

Your chiropractor will explain the findings of the assessment to you and discuss the treatment recommendations, ensuring your consent to treatment is informed and your questions are answered.

Headaches

DIFFERENT TYPES OF HEADACHE

Many people have occasional headaches, but frequent headaches that affect your ability to sleep or get on with
your day can be disabling. Common types of headaches are tension, migraine and cervicogenic headaches. Tension-type headaches commonly present as band-like tension around the head, whereas migraine headaches usually result in pain on one side of the head and are commonly accompanied by nausea and sensitivity to light and sound. With cervicogenic headaches the neck is the source of the problem but the pain is perceived in one or more areas of the head and/or face.

The causes of headaches are not always well understood but a family history of headaches, neck stiffness and stress are common factors.

Did you know?

A Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) is highly trained to diagnose the causes of back pain and provide hands-on treatment that works. Ignoring back pain doesn’t make it go away. In fact, it can make it worse. It’s important to treat not just the symptoms, but also the cause.

If back pain is affecting your ability to get through the day and keeping you away from your favorite activities, consider chiropractic care. A chiropractor will assess your symptoms, diagnose your condition, and recommend a treatment plan to put you on the road to recovery. Your chiropractor can also provide expert advice to help you prevent pain and injury from recurring.

GETTING BACK IN ACTION

Chiropractors are specialists in adjustment of the vertebrae of the spine and other joints of the body. Adjustment helps relieve pain and restore normal movement – so you can enjoy your everyday activities again as quickly as possible. Complications are rare and side effects such as temporary soreness are usually minor.

Chiropractors acquire their skills through an intensive four-year, full-time course of study after three years of university education.

PATIENTS PLAY A ROLE

The success of any treatment relies on patients playing an active role. Your chiropractor will recommend a course of treatment specific to you that may include life and work style changes, adjustment and mobilization of the joints, muscle release techniques, muscle stimulation, and therapeutic exercises. For example, you may be advised to make nutritional changes, have an eye examination or use a glare-free computer screen.

WHEN SHOULD I CONSIDER CHIROPRACTIC CARE?

It’s important to take headaches seriously. Consider consulting a chiropractor if you often have headaches, if you frequently take a pain reliever for your headaches, if your headache pattern changes, or if your headaches are getting worse. Seek prompt attention if your headache is sudden and severe, follows a head injury or is accompanied by fever, stiff neck, weakness, numbness or difficulty speaking.

EVIDENCE-BASED

Chiropractors are regulated health professionals and members of your health care team. Chiropractic care has been researched extensively. Your chiropractor is well-trained to determine if your problem will respond to chiropractic care or if you require referral to another health care professional.

LENGTH OF CARE

In some cases, treatment may begin on the first visit. Length of treatment will vary for each person, but many patients will begin to feel better after a few visits. Certain types of headaches may require periodic care.

A HEALING PARTNERSHIP

Your chiropractor will work with you to establish goals to measure your progress. Chiropractors are trained to prescribe therapeutic exercise, provide nutritional counselling and recommend rehabilitation and injury prevention strategies to help you participate in your care.

WHAT TO EXPECT ON A FIRST VISIT

If you are visiting a chiropractor for the first time, expect to provide a health history. This may include asking you about any illnesses, past surgeries, medications and other health issues. The chiropractor will ask you about your pain and conduct a physical examination to assess and diagnose the problem. Sometimes x-rays may be required.

Your chiropractor will explain the findings of the assessment to you and discuss the treatment recommendations, ensuring your consent to treatment is informed and your questions are answered.