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What is chiropractic?

Chiropractic care is a patient-centered, non-invasive, hands-on, regulated health care profession focused on your spine, muscles, joints, and nervous system.

Chiropractors use the best available evidence and clinical expertise to diagnose issues that affect your body’s movement. They treat them without medication or surgery and prevent them from returning. Chiropractic care can also promote health and improve your quality of life, as well as alleviate pain.

Who are chiropractors?

Doctors of chiropractic, called ‘chiropractors’ are experts in the spine, muscles, joints and nervous system. Every chiropractor at our office has received at least eight years of post-secondary academic and clinical education. They are trained in how to evaluate, diagnose, recommend, and deliver a treatment plan that manages issues within these systems with a variety of techniques while taking into account your preferences. A chiropractor’s education also includes courses in radiology, pain management, nutrition, prescribed exercise, and rehabilitation, among others.

What is a chiropractic adjustment?

One of the most frequent treatments a chiropractor uses is manual manipulation of the vertebrae of your spine or other joints, which is called an ‘adjustment.’ To perform an adjustment, your chiropractor will use their hands to apply a controlled force to your joint and guide it through a range of motion. This action restores your joint’s natural movement, decreases pain and improves its function.

When applied to your spine, this treatment is called spinal manipulation therapy (SMT). Manipulation is also used on other joints, such as those in your wrist, ankle, or foot, as an effective treatment for complaints in those areas.

What should I expect on my first visit?

During your first visit, your chiropractor will ask questions and perform tests to better understand your current health, as well as your spine, muscles, joints, or nervous system issues. This visit will last approximately 30 to 60 minutes depending on your medical history and presenting complaint. Please wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing. As an example, if you have a sore knee please bring or wear shorts. Please bring with you any test results or imaging results and a list of your medications.

During your first visit, your chiropractor may ask:

  • What’s the main issue that brings you here and how is it affecting your life?

  • What are some of your goals for treatment? What do you hope to get back to?

  • What major illnesses and surgeries have you had?

  • Do you have any chronic conditions?

  • What medications are you taking?

  • What steps have you taken to manage or improve your condition?

  • What’s your diet and exercise like?

  • How do you sleep at night?

  • What is your work routine, schedule, and daily stress like?


Your chiropractor may perform some of the following tests:

  • Blood pressure, pulse, and breathing checks

  • Reflex, strength, and sensation tests

  • Orthopedic tests of your spine, shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, knee, or foot/ankle.

  • Analyze your posture

  • Analyze your movement, including how you walk, turn, bend or lift things, as well as how your body moves in the affected area

  • A hands-on evaluation of areas of your spine and extremities to see areas that are not moving well

  • Sometimes your chiropractor may order X-rays or refer you to your family doctor or nurse practitioner for diagnostic tests, such as lab work or advanced imaging, as part of their assessment process.


Using the best available evidence and their clinical expertise, your chiropractor will then be able to assess and diagnose issues affecting your body’s movement. Once they have made a diagnosis, they can develop a treatment plan to specifically meet your needs and preferences. For many conditions, such as low back pain, chiropractic care is the primary method of treatment. For others, such as pain associated with arthritis, diabetes, or osteoporosis, an interprofessional approach is advisable. If they suspect you have a condition that’s more appropriate for another health care professional to treat, your chiropractor will make a referral.  They will also coordinate with other health care professionals and support your overall treatment with chiropractic care, as needed.

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