common chiropractic questions

Common Chiropractic Questions

Why did this happen?
Is the adjustment going to hurt?
Is there any difference between a hand adjustment and one using an instrument like the Activator?
Should I get a massage or see a physiotherapist at the same time?
Will I feel better right away?
Can I keep exercising?
What is the benefit of me laying down on the treatment table before my adjustment?
When using the Activator instrument, what are you looking for during the adjustment?
You did not do very much, are we done already? 

Q: Why did this happen?

Sometimes, the cause of an injury is obvious – being in a car accident, falling at work, slipping down stairs. However, most of the time, patients are not sure why they are injured or are having pain. Most patients that come in for chiropractic care do so because of cumulative or repetitive stress and tension that accumulate in a part of their body over a long period of time.

Quite often, you are unaware of the increasing tension. It is typically only after a long period of time that the stress has built up enough to a point where you start to notice some discomfort and that is what triggers most people to seek help. Similar to a dental cavity, when it first starts you are unaware and it is only when you visit your dentist or when the cavity becomes severe enough that you realize there is a problem.


Q: Is the adjustment going to hurt?

For most patients, so long as the adjustment is done correctly, it will not hurt. During your adjustment, some areas may be slightly tender at most. Rarely, depending on the type of injury and your physical condition, some adjustments may be a bit tender in which case your chiropractor can modify their treatment approach to ensure your adjustment is comfortable and tolerable


Q: Is there any difference between a hand adjustment and one using an instrument like the Activator?

The adjustment itself may feel a bit different when comparing a hand or manual adjustment with one performed using a device like the Activator instrument. However, the results and goals are the same – to improve the mobility and movement of your spine, provide pain relief and improve your body’s ability to function and heal


Q: Should I get a massage or see a physiotherapist at the same time?

Massage therapy and physiotherapy are both useful treatment approaches to a variety of injuries and problems. When first beginning chiropractic care, it is usually recommended to start with just chiropractic care as doing too much can sometimes create more discomfort than necessary, much like having too many cooks in the kitchen. Your body needs time to process and respond to the treatment. Doing too much can sometimes in fact hinder your progress.

It also depends on what type of injury you have. Most of the time, your chiropractor will be able to help you resolve your discomfort and improve your health. In some cases, combining other treatment approaches with chiropractic care may also be your best option, at which point your chiropractor will suggest the other complementary treatment options to you when appropriate


Q: Will I feel better right away?

Patients come into our clinic with different expectations. Some believe they will be better right after their treatment, some understand that they have had their injury for quite awhile and so recovery will also take time. How soon you will start feeling better really depends on a number of factors – the type of injury you have, how long has the problem been there, what is your physical health like, what are your daily routines, what are your exercise habits, etc.

Some people will notice an improvement as soon as they get off the table. For others, it can take several weeks and adjustments before they begin to notice even slight improvements. For others, they may even feel a bit worse before feeling better. So to answer the question, it really depends!


Q: Can I keep exercising?

While we typically encourage people to stay active even during the course of their treatment, if you have an injury you may have to be more selective in the type of exercises you do. While one particular exercise may be helpful for a specific type of injury, it may also be harmful for a different type of injury. Doing the wrong exercise can in fact worsen your injury or slow down your recovery.

The old adage of, “no pain, no gain”, does not apply here. If you are dealing with an injury and a specific exercise causes pain or discomfort, you should stop performing that exercise and mention it to your chiropractor. They can oftentimes modify the exercise to better suit your current physical health or suggest an alternative that will not worsen your injury


Q: What is the benefit of me laying down on the treatment table before my adjustment?

In most cases, we recommend that you lay face down on the treatment table for a few minutes before your adjustment in order to relax your body and muscles. We have found that patients who are able to do so before their adjustment tend to respond better to the treatment


Q: When using the Activator instrument, what are you looking for during the adjustment / how do you know what to adjust?

Using the Activator Method, you will be face down during the majority of your adjustment. As you are laying down, you will notice your chiropractor moving your feet and asking you to perform different actions, sometimes followed by an adjustment. By performing those movements, you are using different muscles, joints and nerves in your body.

Once you complete a particular movement and if there are no problems in the muscles, joints and nerves that you just used, nothing happens as your body simply relaxes. If there is a problem or injury in the muscles, joints or nerves you just used, then your body will have a difficult time stabilizing the region and will then recruit some of your larger postural muscles to help stabilize the area. By eliciting these larger muscle groups, this activation triggers a slight shift in your posture which your chiropractor detects by observing your feet.

This reaction, along with the information you tell your chiropractor during your consultation and the physical examination performed before your adjustment, helps your chiropractor locate areas that need to be adjusted, areas that do not need to be adjusted as well as when to adjust a particular area


Q: You did not do very much, are we done already?

Because a chiropractic adjustment is very fast, only a small amount of force is required to perform the adjustment. Much like hammering a nail into a piece of wood. If the nail is hit in the right direction, on the right spot with the right amount of force, it will almost effortlessly go into the wood.

Results will of course vary from person to person