Chiropractic FAQs

Does it hurt?

No. An adjustment executed properly does not hurt. Chiropractors spend a lot of time in technique labs in college learning how to adjust and perfect their technique. It is not something that can be learnedin a weekend course. Sometimes if a patient is guarding a little or there is an adhesion in the joint capsule that must be broken in the process, there can be slight discomfort, but this is not the norm.

Do I need a referral?

No. Chiropractors are doctors, just as optometrists – “portal of entry specialists” – and a referral is not required to seek care, nor to be reimbursed by an insurance company.

Should I tell my medical doctor I’ve come to you?

Sure, it is best for your MD to know all aspects of your healthcare, just like it is for your chiropractor as well. MDs who, despite their busy schedules and have been able to keep-up with the research, know the benefits of what we do and don’t have a problem with it.

How many times will I have to go?

Every condition is different and treatment plans are individualized for each patient. I’ve treated some people who are fine after just one visit, while others are more involved and require several visits over a number of weeks. Usually, the scenario is somewhere in the middle between the two mentioned above. Some people find that getting adjusted regularly, whether quarterly, monthly, or bi-weekly can be of great benefit in terms of helping them feel better and less-likely to be injured in their work, or recreational lives.

What is that cracking sound?

Synovial fluid is the liquid that bathes a joint and lubricates it. When a joint is gapped, as occurs with some adjustments, the pressure within the joint is lowered and causes gases (mostly nitrogen) in the fluid to form a bubble that then pops. The whole process occurs essentially simulataneously. Joint cavitation is the technical term for this, but is not a requirement to increase mobility in a joint, however, it is the procedure that chiropractors are highly-trained in andcomprises much of our work.

What does it cost?

Initial visits are $100 while subsequent visits are $58. For those on premium assistance, MSP pays a portion of the fee and then it is $65 and $35, respectively. Veterans and RCMP have complete coverage and we can bill for them directly. For those who are billed privately and have extended health coverage with an insurance provider, we can bill them directly. Because every plan is different and therefore coverage varies, we can tell you at the time of visit how much your insurance pays and whether there is any portion left for you. WorkSafe and ICBC can be billed directly for the full amount and nothing is required from you. Likewise, no referral is required for approval by them.

Aren’t chiropractors just ‘back-crackers?’

While adjustment of the spine to ensure proper mobility is a lot of what we do, it is much more than that. Compression of nerves can be relieved to diminish sharp nerve-derived pain, or numbness and tingling in an arm or leg. Releasing restrictions in a vertebra also relieves ‘tension’ in nerves that can be causing them to be facilitated or inhibited (doing too much or not enough). We can adjust the joints throughout the body, whether they’re in the shoulder, hip, ankle or wrist, we are not limited to the spine. Many of us use soft tissue techniques such as Active Release Technique, FAKTR, or Graston, to name a few, that concentrate on freeing muscles, tendons and ligaments to complement the adjustive work we do in those same areas. Kinesiology tape has become quite popular with its action to support injuries and promote healing. We offer stretching/strengthening/exercise advice, nutritional advice and just overall, look into someone’s lifestyle and make recommendations that can help them to live in a more healthful way.

What if you can’t help me?

Sometimes after a trial of care, a patient may not have had the desired results and we can refer you on to someone else for another opinion, whether that is back to your MD, a massage therapist, naturopathic doctor or physiotherapist, for example.

Do you use x-ray?

There is no x-ray unit in our office. Modern evidence-based practice does not include x-ray as a screening tool. The College of Chiropractors of B.C. does not permit screening x-ray and to do so is an infringement of College by-laws. There are only 3 indications for the use of x-ray in chiropractic practice:

  1. recent history of trauma
  2. to rule out serious pathology  i.e. cancer
  3. the patient is not responding to care as expected, so we need to look for other possible causes

Radiation is cumulative over a lifetime and one should always try to minimize their exposure unless absolutely necessary. Most dentists will not x-ray semi-annually anymore, and even annually, it is used only if there is an indication for it. If I believe x-rays are necessary I will refer a patient back to their MD who will then refer them to a facility, and then MSP covers the cost. If I refer them directly to the x-ray facility then they must pay the cost themselves. I can later view the images through the VIHA x-ray portal.


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