WHY SEE A CHIROPRACTOR?
The answer to why see a chiropractor depends on you. If your life is disrupted due to back pain, neck pain, headaches, sprains or strains, or another problem involving your muscles, joints, and nervous system, chiropractic care can help you feel like yourself again. Injuries to the spine can happen at any stage of life and for various reasons including car crashes, workplace incidents and sports injuries. Even simple everyday tasks such as going for a walk or washing the dishes have the potential to cause pain or discomfort that many of us just decide to live with. Sometimes these aches and pains even prevent us from working or doing the things we love. You don’t have to live with the pain.
Chiropractic can help you recover from these conditions and addresses the underlying cause of the pain. It is one of the fastest and most effective forms of care available to address spine and spinal related problems. As an active participant in your health, you also have a role to play in your recovery outcome. From posture correction to stretches and even nutrition advice, your Doctor of Chiropractic will walk you through a comprehensive treatment plan to help you get well and stay well.
Chiropractors are primary healthcare providers that have the skills and expertise to address these concerns. You do not need a referral from a medical doctor to see a chiropractor. In many cases, coverage is available through ICBC, WorkSafeBC and extended health plans to help pay for your treatment costs. Visiting your chiropractor at the first sign of injury or pain will put you on the path to a quicker recovery.
Benefits of Chiropractic Care
Improved movement in your neck, shoulders, back and torso
Relief from headaches, neck and back pain
Prevention of work-related muscle and joint injuries
Enhanced athletic performance
Relief of pregnancy-related backache
Correction of gait and foot problems
What Can I Expect When Visiting a Chiropractor?
What is a chiropractic visit like? A visit to the chiropractor begins when you walk through the clinic door and are greeted by the receptionist. Visits are very similar to what you might expect at any health clinic.
Information: Paperwork is provided to you to be completed including a health history form and information about your health complaint. You may also be asked for contact information for your patient file. The reception staff can also answer any questions you may have about what to expect.
Case History: Once in the exam room, your chiropractic doctor will introduce him/herself, review your paperwork and ask further questions about your condition and history. Further notes are made to your chart depending on your answers.
Examination: A physical exam is conducted which may mean touching or palpating areas of your body. Your chiropractic doctor will also look for neurological symptoms that could point to an injury involving your nerves. An x-ray or other imaging is recommended in some cases. This will also include some physical tests such as leaning your body to one side and then the other, checking your reflexes and or moving your arms and legs. Depending on your symptoms, you may be asked to wear a gown for examination and treatment purposes.
Diagnosis: The exam provides clues for your doctor as to what is causing the problem. After all of this information is gathered, your doctor will provide you with a diagnosis. If your doctor suspects that your problem is not caused by the spine, you may be referred to a specialist or other health care provider.
Informed Consent: Your doctor will discuss the informed consent form with you and request your signature before you continue treatment. Informed consent is about ensuring the patient is clear as to the diagnosis, treatment options and anticipated outcomes of the treatment.
Treatment: A treatment plan including the types of treatment and how many visits is proposed and discussed. Your doctor will make sure you understand what this means. Once you understand your treatment plan and feel comfortable moving forward, your doctor will perform the treatment, which may consist of a chiropractic adjustment. Adjustments are generally performed on a chiropractic table, similar to a massage table.
Prevention: How did you end up in this situation? Your doctor will help you identify the cause of your condition, whether it is from poor posture while studying, a repetitive strain injury from the workplace or anything else in between. Exercises and lifestyle advice will accompany your treatment plan. The goal is to get you well and keep you well.
After your visit you may feel some discomfort or fatigue but this should not last more than 24 hours. Many patients feel relief and increased mobility immediately after treatment while others notice changes more gradually. If you follow your treatment plan, you should notice a change in your level of pain or mobility within 3 to 5 visits and maximum recovery within on average 6-8 visits* depending on the nature of the condition or injury. Your Doctor of Chiropractic will review and discuss what you can expect from your treatment.
*Although the Provincial average is 6-8 visits, the range is large with some patients responding much quicker and a few taking much longer.
CHIROPRACTIC ADJUSTMENTS ARE SAFE
Chiropractic manipulation has been proven to be safe, effective treatment for neck, mid-back, and lower back pain. A comprehensive review of scientific evidence noted that there is as much evidence supporting chiropractic care as for other treatments such as prescription and non-prescription drugs and surgery.
Doctors of chiropractic are trained to work with patients to achieve and document informed consent, which involves describing the risks and benefits of all treatment options before the selected treatment is performed.
The most common side effects associated with chiropractic care are temporary. These are typically symptoms of increased pain, radiating pain, and/or stiffness that usually resolve within 24 hours of treatment. Serious complications are rarely associated with chiropractic care.
What about neck manipulation?
Millions of neck manipulations are performed safely each year, providing patients relief from common forms of neck pain and headache, and helping them to get back to their normal activities. If you have upper neck pain or a headache, be very specific about your symptoms. This will help your chiropractor offer the safest and most effective treatment, even if it involves referral to another healthcare provider.
Do not hesitate to discuss any concerns you may have with your chiropractor. Depending on your clinical condition, he or she will recommend the most appropriate and safest treatment for your particular condition. Treatments may include joint mobilization, therapeutic exercise, soft tissue techniques, or other therapies.
Depending on your condition and how you sustained an injury, there may be coverage for your chiropractic care. In fact, many British Columbians are eligible for treatment with little to no co-pay required. BC’s chiropractors are pleased to work with many different benefits providers to expand access to chiropractic care and improve the patient experience when they have a need to obtain coverage.
Musculoskeletal conditions account for the highest number of worker’s compensation claims. Research shows that chiropractors get people back to work sooner than traditional treatment methods and with less chance of relapse. That’s why it’s no surprise that many British Columbians include a chiropractic doctor as part of their health care team.
If you are an injured worker and require chiropractic care, your treatment costs are covered. By law, all health professionals are required to report an injury that occurs on the job to WorkSafeBC so be sure to let your chiropractic doctor know ahead of time if this is the case. Conditions that involve any joint, nerves or muscles are eligible for coverage through WorkSafeBC. Your chiropractic doctor can help you to answer any questions you may have about treatment and coverage.
Car accidents are one of the most common causes of spine and spine related conditions. Injuries from a collision often take longer to treat than other types of injuries. Even low speed crashes have the potential to cause significant damage to your back and neck. Your chiropractic doctor has the skills to assess and treat these types of injuries.
In most cases, ICBC customers pay little or no money to receive care for their crash injuries. You don’t need to seek pre-approval either. Simply visit your family chiropractor as soon as you feel symptoms and advise them that you were involved in a car accident. Your chiropractic doctor will guide you through the process of obtaining coverage for your care.
Medical Services Plan (MSP)
British Columbians who receive MSP Premium Assistance are eligible for coverage of $23 per visit for a combined annual limit of 10 visits each calendar year for the following services: acupuncture, chiropractic, massage therapy, naturopathy, physical therapy and non-surgical podiatry. There may be an additional fee from the Chiropractor over and above this coverage. Advise your chiropractor if you are covered under MSP Premium Assistance.
Extended Health Coverage
Many British Columbians enjoy the benefits of extended health care policies through their employer or that they have purchased privately. The majority of these policies integrate coverage for chiropractic care into their plans and often times the patient does not need to pay for costs up front. If you are interested in learning more about your private health coverage, speak with your human resources representative at work or your benefits provider for more information.