Frequently Asked Questions:
What do chiropractic doctors do?
The primary focus of chiropractic is to identify
spinal subluxations (misalignments causing nerve stress)
and reduce or if possible correct them. Chiropractors
use a careful history taking, physical examination and
technologies such as spinal thermal scanning,
electromyography and if needed x-ray analysis to
determine the need for chiropractic care. The word
Chiropractic is derived from Greek and means "preformed
by hand." Chiropractors use a gentle and painless
procedure known as a spinal adjustment to correct the
cause of many health problems.
What is an adjustment?
A chiropractic adjustment is the art of using a
specific low-force in a precise direction applied to a
bone that is subluxated, "stuck," or not moving
properly. This "adjustment" adds motion to the spinal
joints helping the bone gradually return to more normal
motion and more normal position. By doing this the
adjustment releases tension or stress from the
neighbouring spinal nerves and spinal cord, leading to
relief, improved nerve function and improved health.
Are all patients adjusted the same way?
No. The doctor evaluates each patient's unique spinal
problem and develops an individual care program. The
resulting recommendations are based upon years of
training and experience. There are numerous techniques
or types of spinal adjustments. At Hands On Health we
tailor the type of adjustments given to suit each
Do spinal adjustments weaken or loosen the spine in
In a word, no. Spinal adjustments restore the
normal, healthy motion and position that each spinal
segment requires. Because spinal adjustments, delivered
by a trained chiropractic doctor, do not injure or
weaken the muscular and ligamentous structures of the
spine they do not cause any weakening or "loosening" of
the spine. In order for the spine to be strong and able
to withstand the various forces and stresses of daily
life the spinal bones must be in normal alignment and
have their normal amount of movement. Spinal adjustments
do just that.
Can I adjust myself?
Since a chiropractic adjustment is a specific force,
applied in the specific direction, to a specific spinal
bone, it is virtually impossible to adjust oneself. It
is possible to turn or bend or twist in certain ways to
create a "popping" sound, like the sound that often
accompanies a chiropractic adjustment. Unfortunately,
this type of joint "manipulation" is usually
counterproductive, often making an all ready unstable
area of the spine even more unsteady. This is also true
for well-meaning friends or family members who are
"chiropractor wanna-be's". Adjusting the spine is not
for amateurs! Chiropractors themselves seek out the
services of their colleagues to maintain their spinal
How often should I get a spinal adjustment?
As soon as you develop "spinal nerve stress." Since
spinal nerve stress is often painless, it is best to
have your spine checked regularly, just as you would
have your teeth checked for "painless" cavities.
How safe is chiropractic care?
In the words of the "Report Of The Commission Of
Inquiry" of the New Zealand Government, Chiropractic
care is remarkably safe. Chiropractic has an excellent
safety record. It is the result of a conservative
approach to health that avoids invasive procedures or
What about strokes and neck adjustments?
Despite some misunderstanding by some in the medical
community the actual scientific research into the
subject reveals that the incidents of stroke from a
chiropractic neck adjustment is extremely rare (
According to a recent, 2001, paper published in the
Journal of the Canadian Medical Association, 1 in 5.8
million neck adjustments may be related to altered blood
flow through the vertebral arteries of the neck.) Neck
manipulation has been somewhat more correlated with
stroke. Some in the medical profession as well as many
physiotherapists perform these manipulations, most in
the chiropractic profession do not.
Why do children need chiropractic care?
Since significant spinal trauma can occur during the
birth process many parents have their newborns checked
for spinal nerve stress (subluxations.) Later, learning
to walk, or ride a bicycle, and many other childhood
activities can cause spinal problems. Many childhood
health complaints that are brushed off as "growing
pains" can often be traced to spinal problems.
Naturally, Chiropractic adjusting procedures are
modified to a child's spine. Most parents report that
their children enjoy their chiropractic adjustments and
seem much healthier than other children. Chiropractic
for children can help to avoid many other health
complaints seen later in adulthood.
Can someone with arthritis in their spine receive
Most certainly. While there are various types of
arthritis, the most common type occurring in the spine
is called osteoarthritis. With few exceptions people
with degenerative osteoarthritis find chiropractic
adjustments a great help in relieving their symptoms and
improving their overall body movement.
Can chiropractic prevent back surgery?
Most surgical cases begin with spinal subluxations
which chiropractic can often correct. If a condition is
detected soon enough, generally, back surgery would
rarely be needed.
Can a person who had back surgery see a chiropractor?
Yes. We have cared for numerous patients who have
had various types of spinal surgeries with good results.
It's an unfortunate fact that half of those who have
spinal surgery discover a return of their original
problems months or years later. This all too-common
occurrence is known as "Failed Back Surgery Syndrome."
Chiropractic can often help avoid repeated operations.
Can a person with a broken back or neck see a
In the majority of cases, yes. In fact, a broken
bone forms a callus or bone scar when it heals that is
stronger than the rest of the bone. People who have had
broken bones in particular need chiropractic check-ups
because accidents usually cause spinal subluxations.
I am not in pain or sick should I see a chiropractor?
Most people that have their first heart attack had
no idea they had a problem before. In the same way
symptoms or the lack thereof are not a good way to judge
one's health. Pain and other symptoms often show up only
after years of body malfunction. Most people maintain
their automobiles much better than they do their own
bodies. Chiropractic is a preventative proactive type of
What is the biggest benefit to a Chiropractic
Simply put, ongoing chiropractic check-ups and
adjustments help to ensure that you can enjoy your life
to the fullest extent in a body that feels and works at
its possible best!