What is Chiropractic?

Chiropractic is a natural method of health care with the proven ability to relieve back pain, increase vitality, and promote well-being. For over a century, doctors of chiropractic have successfully helped millions of individuals recover from spine-related health problems. As a result, chiropractic has earned its place as the largest drugless and non-surgical health care profession in the United States and Canada.

How does chiropractic work?

The human body possesses a natural ability to restore itself. This ability depends on a healthy nervous system. Life’s events such as automobile accidents, sports injuries, repetitive work, and home stress are just some of the factors that can overwhelm the body’s ability to adapt. The joints of the spine ‘lock up’ when these sorts of events occur, limiting range of motion. Spinal joint restriction and/or misalignment results in irritation and/or pressure at the spinal nerve.

Chiropractic care can correct these structural distortions, known as subluxations, restoring the body to its optimal form and function. Local symptoms of subluxations may include pain, tenderness, swelling, tingling, numbness, or spasm around the joints of the spine, back, and neck. Many times these sensations extend further into the shoulders and arms, around the rib cage, or into the hips and down the legs. Subluxations can even lead to headaches, stomach and digestive problems, and loss of overall health.

Impaired nerve coordination causes the whole body to suffer. Vital instructions flow between the brain and the body by way of spinal nerves. These instructions inform and direct the body as to when, where, and how it needs to heal itself. By irritating nerves, subluxations interfere with the essential brain/body exchange, thereby compromising the normal function of the body’s organs and tissues. Chiropractic care clears the path for the body to maintain its own health.

How can a chiropractor help?

Doctors of chiropractic are specially trained in the evaluation and treatment of spinal conditions, which is why an increasing number of back pain sufferers are turning to them for fast, effective, and reliable care. Similarly, more and more hospitals and private practices are now working closely with doctors of chiropractic in order to ensure the best quality of care for patients who suffer from spine-related injuries and dysfunction.”

The benefits of chiropractic care have also been shown to extend beyond reduction of back and neck pain. In fact, chiropractic has proven itself as useful in the reduction of headache pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, jaw pain, sciatica, and tingling in the arms and legs. The rewards of chiropractic care are numerous. People under chiropractic care report better health and well-being and many families have realized the benefits of chiropractic care for their children.

Who should see a doctor in chiropractic?

Nerve interference can affect anyone, which is why people of all ages experience relief and improved health through chiropractic care. A qualified doctor of chiropractic will best determine the appropriateness of care for you or your family.

No method of health care has proven itself to be more effective than chiropractic in helping those who suffer from back and neck pain. Doctors of chiropractic are the most highly qualified professionals in evaluating and caring for these, as well as many other health problems.

Is chiropractic safe?

YES. Its non-surgical, drug-free approach to health places chiropractic among the safest of all health care practices. Remember, chiropractic takes nothing out of the body and puts nothing in. As a result, chiropractors enjoy one of the lowest malpractice rates of all health care professionals.

How are doctors of chiropractic educated?

Like all primary health care providers, doctors of chiropractic undergo extensive education and training before becoming licensed professionals. Students begin by fulfilling undergraduate degree requirements, with a strong emphasis on the core pre-med sciences such as chemistry, anatomy, physiology, and physics.

The professional program leading to the Doctor of Chiropractic degree is very demanding. Chiropractic students continue their study of the sciences, including pathology and biochemistry, at a highly detailed level.

Their education continues into the advanced clinical sciences including orthopedics, neurology, examination procedures, differential diagnosis, and X-ray/CTscan/MRI interpretation. During this entire process, aspiring doctors of chiropractic gain knowledge of the philosophy and practice of health care and chiropractic.

Doctors of chiropractic refine their technical adjusting skills in technique classes. During clinical internships student doctors perfect these skills. Finally, all doctors of chiropractic must pass the rigorous national board exams and provincial exams before entering the field.

What can I expect on my first visit?

Your initial visit will begin with a consultation. Your doctor will take a case history and ask about your present condition.

Next, the doctor will perform an examination to evaluate the nature of your problem. This examination generally includes a series of basic physical tests, as well as a specialized chiropractic evaluation of spinal movement and posture.

If necessary, your doctor may recommend X-rays or diagnostic tests to obtain further information about the mechanics of your spine and the details of your condition.

After completing the analysis, your doctor will explain your problem and map out an appropriate plan of action with you. If necessary, you may be referred to another health care specialist for further evaluation or treatment. Doctors of chiropractic work with a variety of health care professionals in the best interest of their patients.

Your doctor will discuss your care plan with you, taking into consideration your health habits, stress, and activity levels. Over the course of your care, your doctor will monitor your individual response and may also recommend changes to your lifestyle, work environment, dietary, and exercise patterns.

How does chiropractic correct my spinal problems?

Following consultation and examination, a program of care will be designed and customized to your specific needs. This program is centered around the chiropractic adjustment, a method of treatment unique to chiropractic, which corrects spinal subluxations and dysfunction. The primary goal of an adjustment is to improve spinal alignment and motion, thereby relieving nerve irritation, pressure, and pain.

You may feel immediate improvement after an adjustment, although most people experience gradual, progressive relief of symptoms. Since adjustments restore motion to previously locked joints, ligaments and tendons begin to stretch back to their normal length. This lengthening may cause slight muscle soreness similar to that brought on by rigorous exercise.

If you experience these sensations, be assured that within days you’ll likely be enjoying the benefits of improved spinal motion with less pain that results from a healthier spine. For the best results, follow the plan that your doctor of chiropractic recommends for you.

How much chiropractic care will I need?

The number of visits you make to your chiropractor depends on the nature of your condition and your personal goals. Many people use chiropractic as part of a preventive health care routine, scheduling chiropractic appointments on a regular basis to keep their bodies functioning at their best. Others seek care and treatment for specific conditions with the primary goal of treatment being pain relief. It is important for you to discuss your objectives with your chiropractor in order to develop a treatment plan that works best for you.

Keep in mind, healing rates vary from person to person. Children tend to respond more quickly to treatment, whereas adults and seniors may respond more slowly. A good rule of thumb is that the longer the spine has not been working properly, the more extensive the care plan may be to achieve desired results.

Do I need a referral to see a Chiropractor?

No. Chiropractors are doctors and primary care practitioners. They are licenced to diagnose and treat all conditions related to your neuromusculoskeletal system (nerves, bones, joints, ligaments, tendons and muscles). If necessary, they are trained to recognise the need of a referal to another healthcare professional.

Do I need to see a medical doctor first if I am injured at work or in a Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA)?

No. Chiropractors are licenced to assess, diagnose and treat these type of injuries.

What is the typical cost of care? What does Alberta Health Care/Extended Benefits cover?

Although fees can vary, most chiropractors follow the recommended fee schedule from the Alberta College and Association of Chiropractors (ACAC). Your initial consultation will usually cost between $55 and $100, depending on the extent of the initial assessment required. Treatments will usually cost between $25 and $45 per visit. Since chiropractic care does not involve drugs or surgery of any kind, it can be far more cost-effective than traditional medical care.

The Alberta Health Care (AHC) Insurance Plan covers a portion of each visit, to an annual maximum, and if you carry extended health care, your plan may also cover a portion of the fees. If you suffer a minor injury in a motor vehicle accident (MVA), chiropractic treatment (your initial visit plus treatment authorized by your chiropractor) is pre-approved for coverage under Alberta’s MVA minor injury reforms, which means your chiropractor bills the insurer directly for a specified number of treatments/visits. Workers injured at work will also have their treatment costs covered if approved by the Workers Compensation Board (WCB).

When booking your appointment, ensure you ask what fees will be charged.

FAQs spine 1

More than just a back doctor

Chiropractors are knowledgeable in matters of workplace safety, stress management, injury prevention, postural correction and nutritional counselling.

Active Release Technique (ART)

Who can benefit from ART?

ART can help everyone, from the athlete, office worker, to the home keeper. Many professional athletes have come to regard ART very highly for it almost miraculous treatment of serious injuries. Big names like Donovan Bailey, Olympic gold medalist and Gary Roberts, a hockey player, have benefited from ART and its ability to improve performance.

Gary Roberts was initially unable to return to hockey after two neck surgeries failed to correct his dizzy spells. He credits Dr. Leahy and ART with correcting the problem, and for allowing to return to Hockey. If you have any type of repetitive strain injury (RSI) ART should be your first choice.

Athletes, at all levels, can experience improved performance through ART treatments.

What is the treatment like?

ART is not a magic medical bullet or a cure-all. Active Release Techniques is non-invasive, very safe, has virtually no side effects, and has a record of producing very good results.

Treatments can feel uncomfortable during the movement phases as the scar tissue or adhesions “break up”. This discomfort is temporary and subsides almost immediately after the treatment. It is common to feel a duplication of your pain symptoms during the treatment (a good indication that the problem has been identified).

Treatments take about 8-15 minutes for area treated and may require 3 to 6 visits. Patients report that “It hurts good”.

What are Adhesions?

Our bodies contain special protein structures called Fascia (a type of connective tissue). Fascial tissue interconnects all the components of your body, and acts as a flexible skeleton. When this tissue is healthy, it is smooth and slippery, allowing the muscles, nerves, blood vessels, and organs to move freely and function properly.

Imagine a piece of scotch tape, the smooth side is healthy fascia, the sticky side is scar tissue or unhealthy fascia. Try rubbing both sides of the tape along your skin. The smooth side slips easily across your skin. The sticky side drags across your skin. The drag that you feel, the “pulling” sensation is how an adhesion affects the smooth functioning of your body.

Adhesions attach to muscles, decreasing their ability to work properly. You know you have an adhesion on a nerve if you get many abnormal sensations like numbness, tingling, or pain.

How does ART improve performance?

Performance of any task from golfing, typing, running, swimming, etc. can improve significantly with ART treatments.

Restoring proper muscle function and movement enables the body to perform at its most efficient level. Reaction times are also able to be improved as muscle function is improved.

ART allows the body to do what you ask of it, when you need it!

How do I know if someone provides Active Release Technique?

Proficiency at ART takes a long time to develop. Training is hands on. The right touch is the most difficult aspect learn, and takes a strong commitment of time, effort and resources. There is a small but growing number of ART providers who have been personally trained by Dr. Leahy. ART is rapidly becoming THE treatment choice for top athletes.

There are many people who claim to practice the Active Release Technique. However the only individuals who are legally allowed to to make this claim are those have undergone rigorous training and testing with Dr. Mike Leahy. Accredited individuals must have attend a 4 day workshop and passed both the written and practical examination with a greater than 90% proficiency . To maintain ART accreditation, providers must pass yearly evaluation.

Laser Therapy

What is laser

The word laser is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. A laser emits electron particles known as photons, which exhibit the characteristics described below:

  • Monochromaticity: In laser light, all electromagnetic waves have the same wavelength and therefore, the same colour.
  • Coherence: All the photons in laser light oscillate in the same phase.
  • Directionality: Laser emission is highly directional and can be collimated.
  • Intensity: The primary advantage of lasers is the high intensity directed at a small area (i.e. the focus of the pathology).

What is Low Intensity Laser Therapy?

Low Intensity Laser Therapy (LILT) is the use of monochromatic light emission from a low intensity laser diode (250 mW or less) or an array of high intensity superluminous diodes (providing total optical power in the 10 to 2000 mW range) to treat musculoskeletal injuries, chronic and degenerative conditions and to heal wounds. The light source is placed in contact with the damaged tissue allowing the photon energy to penetrate to various levels. Interaction with certain intracellular micromolecules occurs resulting in the restoration of normal cell morphology, function and the enhancement of the body’s natural healing processes.

How long does treatment take?

Treatments are typically 15 minutes to one hour in duration for any particular condition or patient.

How many treatments are needed?

The number of treatments will vary with regard to the individual presenting problem. Just as every medical condition varies, so will the individual response to therapy. In a recent clinical report summarizing over 1000 patients treated with the BioFlex Professional LILT system at time of discharge, patients had averaged slightly less than ten treatments to resolve their condition completely.

How much does one charge for treatment?

Fee for treatment is established by individual clinics and varies from $35 to $60 for 30 minutes of treatment, depending on the clinic. At Meditech we charge $40 for a half hour treatment.

Is the treatment covered by OHIP, Medicare etc?

Insurance coverage varies depending on the professional designation and/ or qualifications of the therapist and the insurance plan.

What are the side effects associated with BioFlex?

Unlike many pharmaceutical options, BioFlex is non-toxic; unlike surgical procedures, it is non-traumatic and most important, it is non-invasive.

What about the negative effects of radiation?

Low Intensity Laser Therapy (LILT) produces radiation as photon energy in the visible and near infra-red regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. Worldwide research conducted over the past thirty years indicates that normally functioning cells are not adversely affected by this type of irradiation. Unlike other forms of radiation, i.e. x-ray, etc., this process is beneficial rather than harmful to tissue.

Where else is BioFlex in use today?

Across Canada, the United States, Europe, South America and Asia, BioFlex is being used by an increasing number of physicians, chiropractors and physiotherapists. In the twelve years that the therapy has been available at Meditech, more than 100,000 patients have received successful treatment with the BioFlex and its predecessor systems.

The technology is currently being utilized in thirty countries. The Toronto Raptors and The Miami Heat of the NBA, The Toronto Maple Leafs and the Toronto Blue Jays, have also used BioFlex for their injured players with excellent results. In addition, many athletes from the world of golf, hockey, tennis and increasingly ballerinas, figure skaters, gymnasts and other performers in artistic sports are experiencing the positive effects of this therapy.

Where has clinical research on BioFlex been conducted?

Ongoing clinical research of various disease entities is conducted onsite at Meditech’s two rehabilitation centres. Several controlled studies have been performed since 1996 using the BioFlex Professional System; two of these involved experimental models of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) and Rheumatoid Arthritis. The outcomes of both studies showed BioFlex producing significant and positive results. A synopsis of these studies is available on our website.

Meditech has also embarked on an extensive program of beta testing of the BioFlex user protocols. In January, 1997, two BioFlex Professional Systems were placed in beta sites, one at the University of Toronto in a teaching hospital and one at the University of Ulster. Additional research is being conducted in private clinics. Results from all centres have indicated that the benefits derived from the BioFlex Systems are both positive and dramatic.

Thermal versus Low Intensity Laser Therapy

High power or thermal lasers can produce a substantial amount of heat. This destructive potential makes high power laser a key component in industrial applications such as cutting and welding. Thermal laser combines power and precision and therefore has many beneficial uses in surgical and ablative procedures.

Unlike thermal lasers, the low intensity laser beam is ‘soft power’, athermal and can stimulate cellular regeneration and natural healing. Red and infra-red lasers with power outputs in the range of 10 to 250 mW belong in this category, in addition to superluminous diodes up to the 2000mW level.

Low intensity laser energy stimulates cellular function at many levels including metabolism; in essence it promotes the initiation of multiple physiological and beneficial effects in the repair and function of human cells. LILT is widely used in the medical and cosmetic fields, principally because it is non-destructive to the target tissue , while positively affecting many functions such as collagen formation, cellular metabolism, angiogenesis, lymphatic flow, etc.

Defining Diodes

There are two types of diodes used in low intensity laser therapy:

  1. Superluminous Diodes (SLD) are designed for the treatment of a large surface area. Less powerful than laser diodes, these diodes are however applied safely in larger numbers over a wide area. These include red and near infrared diodes.
  2. Laser Diodes (LD) have higher power output and narrow beams, making them ideal ‘laser probes’ for deeper penetration and for targeting localized, focal pathologies. Again, this includes both red and near infrared diodes.

What is BioFlex?

BioFlex is a highly sophisticated therapeutic device that combines the potential benefits of low intensity laser with superluminous diodes for the effective treatment of many medical disorders. Developed and engineered by Meditech International Incorporated, BioFlex represents the decade’s most significant technological advancement in low intensity laser therapy.
Indeed, it is felt to be animportant ‘new therapeutic dimension’.

What does Low Intensity Laser Therapy do?

By affecting and reversing the offending pathology at the cellular level, laser optimizes the restoration of normal cellular morphology and function; therefore, as logic dictates symptoms disappear. The beneficial effects of laser therapy are cumulative over the course of a series of treatments.

How does BioFlex compare with other conventional treatments?

For many years, rehabilitation therapies including ultrasound, interferential current and TENS have been used extensively throughout the world to treat pain and stimulate the healing process. Unlike the BioFlex however, the healing effects of these treatments have been disappointing as they appear to modulate symptoms only. In contrast, BioFlex is able to influence the pathology directly at the cellular level, resulting in therapeutic benefits that are more profound and indeed curative. Frequently alternative therapies act as counter-irritants, creating a transient increase in arterial circulation and the release of endorphins, providing temporary symptomatic relief only.

Custom Foot Orthotics

Who needs orthotics?

Patient with foot pain or discomfort due to walking imbalance (biomechanical complaint) can benefit from orthotics. Imbalances such as Flat fee, heel pain, knee pain and shin pain are known to cause pain and discomfort.

Can you wear the orthotics during all daily activities?

People who stand or walk all day will benefit from orthotics. If you suffer from pain during any form of sporting exercise then orthotics can reduce the pain associated with your condition. For overweight individuals, orthotics will help to counteract the extra stress being placed on the feet.

What specific conditions may be helped?

Below is a list of all the conditions that orthotics can help. Achilles Tendonitis, Corns, Metatarsalgia, Sesamoiditis, Ankle Sprains, Flat Feet, Neuroma, Tendonitis, Arch Pain, Heel Pain, Pronation, Top of the foot pain, Bunions, Knee Pain, Shin Pain, Toe Pain. Imbalance in your feet can alter the bony structure of your feet and lower legs, foot orthotics may eliminate posture problems and foot and leg pain.

Do I need a medical doctor's prescription to get custom orthotics?

No. Chiropractors are primary health care professionals therefore do not need a physician’s referral. Custom orthotics are orthotics that are especially molded to your feet. Chiropractors can properly determine if you require orthotics. The best orthotics are designed by using a biomechanical assessment, gait scan, and neutral cast/mold of the foot.

While you do not need a referral from you MD to get orthotics from our office, you may want to check your health insurance plan to see if a referral is required. Many progressive plans have updated their benefits to recognize that chiropractors are qualified orthotic specialists. However, your plan may have not made this plan change so it is best to check beforehand. Our office staff can assist you with confirming your coverage. Simply bring your insurance booklet into our office.

Why do I need orthotics?

Imbalances of the bones of the feet can result in abnormal foot motion (over pronation). This can impair foot function which can result in abnormal rotation of the legs and sometimes affects the knees, hips or back. If we combine these tremendous forces with the need for precise balance, we can see how small structural changes in the foot can make significant differences. Orthotics help to improve those structural changes.

Does it take time to get used to orthotics?

Your feet need time to adjust to the correct biomechanical (walking) position. Orthotics should be gradually used to begin with. When your custom orthotics

are dispensed Dr. Tony or Dr. Ray will include specific instructions on when/how to wear them for optimal comfort and results. Remember, ask questions or express concerns openly to our staff – we want to ensure that you a pleased with your orthotics.