What is Chiropractic?
The word CHIROPRACTIC comes from the Greek: kheir meaning hands and praktikos, meaning do or perform.
Chiropractic is a health discipline that focuses on the inherent capacity of the human body to maintain health and heal without drugs or surgery (homeostasis). It focuses on the relationship between structure (primarily the spine) and function as coordinated by the nervous system.
The chiropractic approach is both preventative and curative. It aims not only to provide relief, but also to ensure that you do not develop symptoms or pain associated with a malfunction of your spine and your joints. To achieve this, the chiropractor will use primarily chiropractic adjustments, a specialized form of joint manipulation.
Doctor Gagnon, Chiropractor, is a partner in the recovery and maintenance of your health. She is trained to give you the best advice to optimize your health and prevent health problems.
The profession of chiropractic is recognized by the Ordre des professions du Québec www.opq.gouv.qc.ca/, which is a professional association whose primary mission is to protect the public. To do this, the Ordre des chiropraticiens du Québec www.ordredeschiropraticiens.ca establishes standards of practice that all chiropractors must meet.
Chiropractic is based on scientific facts: the nervous system controls the function of every cell, tissue, organ and system of your body. The nervous system consists of the brain, spinal cord and millions of nerves. The brain is protected by the skull and spinal cord by 24 movable bones of the spine, called vertebrae. Many daily activities can cause the displacement or loss of mobility of the vertebrae, leading to a disorder of the nervous system and, ultimately, poor health. The chiropractic approach to better health is to detect, reduce and help prevent a disorder of the nervous system.
With my chiropractor, my health is in good hands!
A chiropractor is a primary care health professional, which means you do not need to be referred by your medical doctor for a consultation.
In order to help you improve your condition as best she can, Doctor Gagnon, Chiropractor, must first establish your chiropractic diagnosis. To do so, she must perform a case history, a study of the status of your current health and past health history: surgery, diseases, events, pregnancy, drugs, accidents, family history, etc.
With these answers, your chiropractor will have a better idea of the necessary examinations. If you have results of previous examinations, they will also be useful to better understand your health.
Your chiropractor will do a thorough chiropractic examination to determine the presence of subluxations, which could have a negative impact on your health status. The detection of vertebral subluxations is usually done by manual palpation of each vertebrae of your spine on a chiropractic table.
It may happen that Doctor Gagnon, Chiropractor, decides to take X-rays of your spine or any other joint to assist in her diagnosis. Before taking x-rays, she will explain the process and answer all your questions.
After the analysis of all test results, Doctor Gagnon, Chiropractor, will make her chiropractic diagnosis. Depending on your condition, it will indicate whether chiropractic care will be useful in your case or whether it would be best to refer you to another health professional. If chiropractic can help you, she will recommend a program of chiropractic care specifically related to your condition and your well-being.
Take time to discuss with your chiropractor this program of care in order to understand its importance. Never hesitate to ask any questions you feel are necessary, either to clarify the diagnosis, procedures or techniques or to understand the evolution of your care.
At any point, you can get a copy of your file. Your chiropractor is a professional partner concerning your health. Obviously, it is important to follow her advice and recommendations to recover faster or maintain your health at its maximum level.
To assess your health condition, Dr. Gagnon, Chiropractor, has various devices or instruments. You've probably seen some of these instruments, such as a sphygmomanometer to measure blood pressure or a hammer-reflex to assess your reflexes.
The choice of instruments depends on your health condition and functions that she considers important to evaluate. Before performing a test with an instrument, we will explain what we will do to avoid surprises on your part.
The use of device or instrument can be whatever the nature of the physical examination (orthopedic, neurological and chiropractic).
Dr. Gagnon, Chiropractor, is also trained and licensed to perform and analyze x-rays.
A device called “activator” is frequently used to perform the adjustment, especially when you do not want it to “crack”. This instrument is equipped with a spring and gives excellent results.
Our latest technology called “Impulse iQ” is frequently used to perform the adjustment. Very similar to the activator, the iQ has a high-tech sensor that provides information from your body's response to chiropractic adjustments to a micro-computer inside to give the doctor feedback about your results.
Electrotherapy and ultrasound are other tools that can be used.
Electrotherapy is electric current that relieves pain. This approach is particularly indicated for muscle spasms and pain of the sciatic nerve. Ultrasound consists of sound waves that are used to accelerate tissue healing and reduce swelling, pain or muscle spasms. We often use this method to support the care related to cases of bursitis, tendonitis, sprains, plantar fasciitis (bone spurs), carpal tunnel syndrome and many others. The ultrasonic treatment is painless, safe and effective. Electrotherapy and ultrasound are often a great alternative to taking medication when the pain is difficult to control.
Radiology is a well-known diagnostic tool. With this technology, we can see the bones and joints and their relationship to each other. Following the interview and physical examination with a patient, radiology allows us to direct our diagnosis and our plan of care. Radiology is also very important in the elimination of certain diagnoses that represent an indication against chiropractic care and require a reference to another health professional.
The Pontiac Chiropractic Clinic offers its patients radiology services directly in the clinic in Mansfield. This allows us to instantly take and analyze the x-rays to quickly begin care.
It is important to note that the taking of radiographs depends on the patient’s specific needs. Children and pregnant women are not normally subject to X-ray examinations.
The frequency and number of treatments is determined after your first visit. There are 3 distinct phases of care.
When tension, pain or other obvious symptoms encourage you to begin chiropractic care, you first want to feel better. Chiropractic treatments give you relief. Your age, your health and your lifestyle will determine the number of visits you will need to reduce or eliminate your symptoms. Initially, frequent visits are usually needed to relieve the symptoms and begin the healing process.
Often the damage to muscles and other soft tissues persist when initial symptoms subside. Correction Care provides flexibility to your spine and promotes more complete healing. The frequency of visits is reduced and Doctor Gagnon, Chiropractor, will advise you on exercises or other ways to optimize your results. Once the tension or pain disappears, the true healing can occur. The cessation of care at this stage may cause a relapse. Care corrections are designed to help restore proper posture and to improve the mobility of the vertebrae.
When maximum improvement is reached, periodic chiropractic checks are recommended. These check-ups can help detect and correct problems before they become serious. Adults concerned about their health choose this type of care for themselves and their children. Wellness care, like many other preventive measures can save you time and money by helping you stay healthy.
How long you benefit from chiropractic care is YOUR DECISION! It is false to believe that once you start chiropractic care, you need to go for the rest of your life. What is true is that patients feel so wonderful with care that they choose to keep feeling in tip-top shape!
The expectant mother
In addition to relieving several discomforts associated with pregnancy like back pain, numbness of the hands and muscle cramps, chiropractic can reduce complications related to pregnancy and childbirth.
How does chiropractic help pregnancy and childbirth?
Balance of the pelvis
Chiropractic adjustments for the expectant mother particularly aim to preserve or restore the balance of the pelvis. The uterus is maintained in the abdomen by a group of ligaments which are attached to the bones of the pelvis. When the pelvic bones aren’t properly aligned, it has a negative effect on the function of the uterus by creating tension on the ligaments that support it.
Why do expectant mothers see a chiropractor?
- For wellness care, to experience a healthy pregnancy and delivery
- To relieve sciatica
- To relieve back pain
- To relieve tension on the abdomen and pelvis
- To relieve pain in the ribcage
- To reduce numbness of the hands (carpal tunnel syndrome)
Prevention : When should pregnant women begin chiropractic care?
Chiropractic adjustments are adapted to the needs of expectant mothers and are safe and effective from the onset of pregnancy up until childbirth. It is best to see a chiropractor as soon as possible in early pregnancy to maximize the benefits to mother and child.
The first stresses on baby’s spine, cranial bones and nervous system occur during childbirth and even during pregnancy. Chiropractic can limit the impact of these stresses and allow the newborn to better adapt to its new environment. Offer your newborn the chance to start off life on the right foot!
How does chiropractic contribute to the health of babies?
Stresses related to the birth process cause muscle, joint and nerve tension on the newborn. Chiropractic adjustments are delicate manual techniques that allow us to correct these tensions. These techniques are so gentle that baby often sleeps through it!
Why do parents see a chiropractor for their baby?
- Nursing problems
- Congenital torticolis
- Prevention- to start on the right foot!
Prevention : When to see a chiropractor with your baby?
Newborns can safely receive chiropractic care immediately following birth.
Childhood is a period of constant learning which can lead to physical, chemical and emotional stresses in your child and have a negative impact on its health. A backpack that is too heavy and badly adjusted, not enough exercise and too much time in front of the TV, computer, and electronics are the major causes of discomfort in kids. Whether it’s to help with growing pains, to correct a posture problem or for prevention, chiropractic care is a great option!
How does chiropractic contribute to the improvement of children’s health?
Stresses related to childhood can cause joint, muscle and nerve tension in kids. Chiropractic adjustments are gentle and precise manual treatments that correct these tensions. Painless and fun, chiropractic adjustments are well liked by kids!
Why do parents see a chiropractor for their kids?
- Postural problems (scoliosis, rounded shoulders,…)
- Back and neck pain
- Joint or muscle pain (sprains, bursitis, tendinitis,..)
- Growing pains
A chiropractic adjustment follows palpation of your spine (or other joints that may be affected) that have detected subluxations. Then Doctor Gagnon, Chiropractor, using her hands or a tool, will restore the proper mechanics to the joint in question and stimulate the neuromusculoskeletal system.
A vertebral subluxation is a region of the spine whose position or movement is not optimal. Although often asymptomatic, patients will sometimes call this area "sensitive" or "stiff". It is necessary to correct a subluxation to restore movement to the spine but also to protect the nervous system of the irritation it can cause.
The spine plays several roles. First, it is part of our musculoskeletal system and it is therefore essential in all human body movements. So to keep physically fit and move freely in our daily lives, a spine in good health is necessary. Another role of the spine is that of protection. The spine protects your central nervous system (the spinal cord and spinal nerves) in the same way your skull protects your brain. Since the nervous system manages all the systems in your body, ensure that the spine plays its protective role.
Pain sensation is very subjective and is not a good measure to determine the health of your spine. Moreover, the human body has an incredible ability to adapt; tension often accumulates in the spine without any symptom present. When tension has accumulated beyond what the body can handle that is when pain occurs. A chiropractor will identify risk areas and help you correct the problem before symptoms are present.
Any good chiropractor will tell you about prevention or wellness. Preventative care for your spine can be compared to how most people feel about their dental care. We consult our dentist on a regular basis to ensure that our dental hygiene is good and to correct problems before they demonstrate any symptoms. With chiropractic, we want to ensure that the spine (posture, exercise, injuries, etc.) is healthy and that any subluxations are corrected before they cause symptoms. Whether for relief, or to maintain optimal health, the frequency of visits is a personal choice, like eating well and exercising regularly.
Infancy and childhood are periods that affect the development of the spine and nervous system. The first subluxation may occur during pregnancy or childbirth. As a result, the earlier a child consults a chiropractor, the easier it is to correct the subluxation.
The chiropractic adjustment is painless and safe when undertaken after a full examination by a doctor of chiropractic. As with any treatment, there are certain indications and Dr. Gagnon, Chiropractor, will change the treatment for these conditions or, if necessary, recommend another health professional.
Drugs are effective in controlling symptoms such as pain and inflammation. The effectiveness of chiropractic care is based on the fact that it treats the underlying cause of symptoms and it improves the function of the body. Chiropractic can, in some cases, be used as an alternative to medical treatments, but also as a complement: Chiropractic care can be done in conjunction with medication.
Following a comprehensive review of the patient, a chiropractor can determine the appropriate form of chiropractic treatment and establish a prognosis, ie a forecast on the results to be obtained following chiropractic care. It is appropriate to say that many of the neuromusculoskeletal diseases are well corrected with a follow-up chiropractic visit. Patients often have gotten not only relief of their symptoms, but also better overall health. However, we unfortunately can't guarantee to cure your pain, but we will do all we can to help you.
La Régie de l’assurance maladie du Québec (RAMQ) does not cover chiropractic care. However, most insurance companies reimburse a portion of these costs. Check your policy for details on your coverage of chiropractic care. Amounts that you pay out of your pocket for health care, including chiropractic care, can be applied to your income tax claim. There are certain insurance companies that accept direct billing, depending on the policy.
All chiropractors have similar university training, including learning several chiropractic techniques. Thereafter, during their professional career, chiropractors may favor the use of certain techniques or chiropractic approaches.
For example, some chiropractors are developing an interest in chiropractic care for special groups: athletes, pregnant women, children ... Or complementary approaches such as nutrition, exercise, etc. Dr. Gagnon, chiropractor, has additional training in pediatrics and has special interest to care for children and pregnant women.
During your first visit, it is important your chiropractor inform you of the techniques and approaches she uses so that they meet your needs and are appropriate for your condition. Feel free to ask how a technique or approach applies as part of your treatment.
The key is to discuss, ask questions and share your expectations with your chiropractor. This allows us to evaluate the response of your body to treatments.
All chiropractors must be members of the College of Chiropractors of Quebec. They are therefore required, regardless of the approach or technique used, to observe the standards of practice of their profession.