What is Chiropractic?

Chiropractic today is one of the largest primary-contact health care professions in Canada with over 6,000 practicing chiropractors. Approximately four and a half million Canadians use the services of a chiropractor each year.

Chiropractic is a regulated health profession recognized by statute in all Canadian provinces and American states. The benefits of chiropractic care are well recognized by other health care practitioners. In a 1995 survey, 44 per cent of Ontario and Alberta physicians indicated that they refer patients for chiropractic treatment.

Natural, non-invasive approach to health care

Chiropractors practice a drug-free, manual approach to health care that includes patient assessment, diagnosis and treatment. In particular, chiropractors assess patients for disorders related to muscles and joints of the spine, pelvis, and extremities. As a result of taking a physical assessment and patient history, chiropractors are able to provide a differential diagnosis for the patient’s presenting condition(s) and develop a comprehensive treatment/management plan. Chiropractors are also trained to recommend therapeutic exercise, to utilize other non-invasive therapies, as well as to provide nutritional, dietary and lifestyle counseling.

Chiropractic adjustment is the most common form of treatment utilized by chiropractors in clinical practice. Also known as spinal manipulative therapy, an adjustment is a non invasive, manual procedure that utilizes the highly refined skills developed through four years of intensive chiropractic education. An adjustment is a carefully controlled procedure delivered by a skilled practitioner to dysfunctional spinal or extremity joints. The primary goal is to decrease pain, improve areas of reduced movement in the joints and supporting tissues, particularly of the spine and decrease muscle tightness through the restoration of normal mechanics and improved functioning of the spine, extremities and supporting soft tissue structures.

Regulation & standards

Chiropractic is regulated by provincial statute in all provinces. Chiropractors along with medical doctors, dentists, psychologists, and optometrists have the legislated right and obligation to communicate a diagnosis and to use the title doctor. Each province has a regulatory college established by legislation in the same manner, and with the same structure and similar regulations, as the regulatory bodies for other health care professions. The regulatory colleges are responsible for protecting the public, standards of practice, disciplinary issues, quality assurance and maintenance of competency.