Chiropractic FAQ

Are chiropractic adjustments safe?

Chiropractic is the fastest growing health care profession in the world. Everyday, millions of people experience the health benefits of chiropractic care. Numerous studies in different countries including Canada, USA, New Zealand and Europe have consistently shown that chiropractic adjustments are safe and effective. Perhaps the best measure of safety is by looking at malpractice insurance premiums. Chiropractors enjoy some of the lowest rates for malpractice insurance compared to other health care professionals, a true testament to the safety record of the entire profession. For a more detailed discussion of the safety of chiropractic care please click here

Will adjustments make my spine too loose?

No. Only spinal joints that are locked up or restricted will be adjusted to restore their normal motion patterns. Any spinal joints with excess motion are not adjusted to allow damaged ligaments and muscles to heal and stabilize.

What is the popping or cracking sound during an adjustment?

During an adjustment there can often be a popping or cracking sound. This occurs because during the adjustment the smooth joint surfaces of the vertebra are moved apart from each other. This creates a slight vacuum in the joint space and when the vacuum is released a popping sound is heard. It’s the same sound made when you pop or crack your knuckles or when opening a carbonated drink.

It’s a common misconception that there must be a popping noise for there to be a good adjustment. The sound is interesting but it isn’t a guide to the quality of the adjustment. As chiropractors we’re concerned with the position of the vertebra, not the sound that may or may not occur. Over time these sounds may disappear or lessen. This doesn’t mean the adjustment has stopped working, it means normal flexibility is returning to the affected vertebrae.

How many adjustments will I need?

The number of adjustments required varies with every patient. There are many factors that come into play including how severe the damage is in your spine, how long the problem has been there for and how well you respond to the adjustments. At the beginning of care the visit frequency is typically higher, as care progresses the frequency can decrease as the spine starts to stabilize and your adjustments hold for longer. A chiropractic exam of your spine can help determine how many adjustments you will need.

Is it bad to “crack” or pop your neck a lot?

This is a question chiropractors get asked a lot because people often associate popping or cracking with a chiropractic adjustment. The two are very different! If a person feels like they need to pop their neck or back, it’s usually because one area of the spine is jammed or fixated causing another area of the spine to move too much and pop a lot, sometimes by itself. It’s the jammed or locked up areas that need to be properly adjusted by a chiropractor to restore proper motion in the spine.

When you crack or pop your neck you’re relieving tension in your neck for a little while but not giving yourself an adjustment. Often the urge to crack or pop your neck reappears because the cause of the spinal tension has NOT been corrected. If tension keeps building up in the joints because of spinal imbalance it may not be the popping or cracking that’s so bad for you but the spinal stress and imbalance causing it.

Isn’t it normal to get some back pain?

Whenever someone experiences pain, no matter the kind or at any age, it’s a sign that something isn’t right. Pain is your body’s way of telling you that a problem has developed. Our bodies have an incredible ability to adapt to stresses and so minor aches or pains may just be telling you to take it easy and get extra rest. Anytime pain or discomfort becomes severe, prolonged or keeps coming back in the same area it needs to be looked at. If the problem remains uncorrected it can worsen until it becomes more difficult and expensive to resolve.

Can I get adjusted after back surgery?

Yes, we are seeing more and more patients who have had back surgery and were not satisfied with the results. Surgery often causes instability above and below the involved area. The surgically modified regions of your spine can’t be adjusted but we focus on the other areas when problems are found.

Does my insurance or MSP pay for chiropractic care?

Insurance coverage varies for chiropractic care. The majority of extended health plans do provide coverage though amounts vary between plans and insurers. We recommend checking with your insurance company to find out how much they will reimburse you and for what services (i.e. adjustments, exam fees, x-rays).

In B.C. MSP will only provide some coverage if you qualify for premium assistance. They pay a portion of the cost of up to 10 adjustments per year. Fees for any other services like exams or x-rays are your responsibility. The government does provide some tax relief when you pay for chiropractic services. The CRA allows you to claim chiropractic services as a medical expense on your tax return.