Myths and Facts

Chiropractors already play an important role in the health and wellbeing of New Brunswickers, caring for tens of thousands of patients every year. To help you decide if chiropractic is right for you, here are some commonly asked questions:

1. What is an adjustment?

An adjustment is a highly skilled and precise movement usually applied by hand to a joint of the body. Adjustments help restore proper movement and optimize function of the joint.

Chiropractic adjustment techniques, also known as manipulation, have been researched extensively and found to be safe and effective. Your chiropractor is well-trained to determine if you would benefit from chiropractic care or if you require referral to another health care provider.

2. When should I see a chiropractor?

Chiropractors are highly trained to assess, diagnose, treat and prevent disorders of the spine, joints, muscle and nervous system. These disorders may include back pain, neck pain, headaches, referring pain in your arms and legs, among others.

Many New Brunswickers also seek chiropractic treatment for wellness care to improve performance and overall health. Others, like seniors, find that treatment helps them to maintain mobility. Athletes may rely on chiropractic care to prevent injuries and enhance performance. Even if you are not experiencing pain, chiropractic care can help you maintain a healthy musculoskeletal and associated nervous systems.

Over 4 million Canadians visit a chiropractor every year. Here are some of the common reasons for seeking care:

3. What are some of the benefits of chiropractic care?

Chiropractic care can:

4. Is chiropractic safe?

Yes. Chiropractic is recognized as a safe, effective and non-invasive therapy used to help manage musculoskeletal conditions such as back and neck pain. Evidence supports both the effectiveness and safety of chiropractic care. However, no health treatment is completely free of adverse events or risks. 

Commonly, patients experience relief immediately after treatment, yet some may experience temporary pain, stiffness and even minor swelling. However, the adverse effects are typically minor and short-lived. 

Prior to treatment, all health professionals are required to obtain informed consent which ensures that patients receive sufficient information about the care recommended. The patient and chiropractor should discuss risks, benefits and alternatives to care. Patients are highly encouraged to ask questions. 

Many common activities of daily living involving ordinary neck movements have been associated with stroke resulting from damage to an artery in the neck, or a clot that already existed in the artery breaking off and travelling up to the brain.

Neck adjustment has, on rare occasions, been associated with stroke and stroke-like symptoms. However, that association occurs very infrequently, and may be explained because an artery has already been damaged and the patient was progressing toward a stroke when the patient consulted the chiropractor. Present medical and scientific evidence does not establish that chiropractic treatment causes either damage to an artery or stroke.

Risk factors for stroke include problems with blood clotting, hypertension, smoking, high cholesterol, birth control pills, heart problems and trauma such as blows to the head from car accidents, sports injuries or falls. Some strokes happen spontaneously with no obvious cause during activities of daily living such as backing up a car. A patient’s health history and activities have to be examined very carefully in order to determine the most probable cause of a stroke.

5. Do I need a referral from my family physician to visit a chiropractor?

No. Chiropractors are legislated as primary care professionals in every province in Canada. This means that patients can visit chiropractors without a referral.

6. How do I find a chiropractor?

You can find a licensed chiropractor by visiting Find A Chiro. Otherwise, often patients will find a chiropractor by talking to friends and family, referred by another referral by other health care professionals or by word of mouth.

7. What is chiropractic?

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

Doctors of chiropractic (or chiropractors) are primary contact health professionals qualified to provide hands-on, effective conservative treatment to help manage musculoskeletal conditions, like back pain, neck pain and headaches.

Your chiropractor is a spine, muscle and nervous system expert, trained to assess, diagnose and treat disorders of the musculoskeletal system. Chiropractors often use a combination of manipulation and mobilization of the joints, soft tissue therapy, modalities, rehabilitation and lifestyle counselling determined by the patient's goals and needs to help alleviate symptoms, improve quality of life and promote overall health.

Chiropractors are extensively trained completing a minimum of seven years of post-secondary education. Canadian chiropractors must have completed a Doctorate of Chiropractic degree at an accredited institution, completing a minimum of 4,200 hours of dedicated training and a full year of clinical internship.