Frequently Asked Questions.
Having been raised in a teacher’s family, Dr. Houlgrave recognizes the importance of knowledge and education. He encourages all his patients to ask questions. Dr. Houlgrave regularly uses charts, diagrams, and spine models to educate his patients about their ailments, about how he can help them, and about what they can do to help prevent future occurrences.
At Houlgrave Chiropractic, we encourage you to educate yourself about chiropractic with our FAQs and Blog. If you have any further questions about chiropractic and what it can do for you, please contact us.
What is Chiropractic?
The word “Chiropractic” originates from the greek word Chiropraktikos, meaning healing by the use of one’s hands. Chiropractic is a non-invasive, natural form of health care that focuses on the health and function of your entire body, paying particular attention to your spinal column and its’ related structures.
How can I find out if Chiropractic can help me?
Schedule a consultation with Dr. Houlgrave or your local chiropractor. All chiropractors perform a case history, physical examination, structural examination, and possibly x-ray studies, to diagnose a patient’s condition and arrive at a course of treatment. If your diagnosis establishes your condition as being one that can be effectively treated with chiropractic, a treatment plan will be discussed with you. If other action is required, Dr. Houlgrave will discuss that with you.
How does Chiropractic work?
Dr. Houlgrave uses your history and examination findings to help identify disorders in your body and recommend appropriate treatment, be it nutritional counseling, exercise therapy, lifestyle advice, or chiropractic adjustments. Adjustments are the “backbone” of chiropractic health care and chiropractors skillfully perform them to joints of the spine and/or extremities that are “locked-up” or not moving properly. Removing your spine of fixations helps you to achieve optimal health by eliminating pain, improving skeletal mobility, and restoring optimal function of your nervous system.
Is Chiropractic care safe and effective?
Yes, chiropractic is both safe and effective. Chiropractic care is widely recognized as one of the safest, drug-free surgery-free therapies available for the treatment of back and neck pain, headaches, and other musculoskeletal conditions. Few other therapies can demonstrate a better safety record for the treatment of spinal pain syndromes. Of course, no health treatment is completely free of potential adverse effects. Even common over-the-counter medicines carry a risk.
What education and training do Chiropractors have?
Similar to your medical doctor, dentist, or optometrist, Dr. Houlgrave is trained as a primary health care provider. Chiropractors require a minimum of 3 years of university schooling before attending Chiropractic College. The chiropractic program is an additional 4 years resulting in the Doctor of Chiropractic degree.
Who should see a Chiropractor?
Many people seek out the services of a chiropractor when they are suffering with aches and pains. However, this is not the only time one can benefit from chiropractic. Have you ever asked yourself questions like: Why are my shoulders uneven? Do I have one leg that is longer than the other? Why is my hem line crooked? Why do I have so much trouble shoulder check-ing while driving? A chiropractic evaluation might provide you with the answers to your questions.
Much like a dentist who regularly checks your teeth for cavities, a chiropractor checks your spine for structural and functional disorders. Removal of such disorders before they have a chance to manifest, may prevent you from experiencing symptoms or injury in the future. All chiropractors are trained to be family doctors, capable of treating everyone from your newborn baby to your oldest living relative. Therefore, everyone in your family can benefit from chiropractic care.
What can I expect on my first Chiropractic visit?
On your first visit, you will be asked to fill out patient intake forms and Dr. Houlgrave will discuss your health with you and complete an examination. Afterwards, he will discuss with you what the diagnosis is and what is the best course of action. If chiropractic is recommended, then with your consent you will proceed with treatment. If other action is required, Dr. Houlgrave will discuss that with you.
What is an adjustment?
A chiropractic adjustment involves the use of a specific force in a precise direction to a joint that is fixated, “locked-up,” or not properly moving. The adjustment is a safe and natural procedure that has the purpose of achieving optimal health through eliminating pain, improving joint mobility and restoring optimal nervous system function. Treatment often includes soft tissue therapy, hot/cold therapy, lifestyle advice and home rehabilitative exercises.
Is everyone adjusted in the same manner?
No. While one patient may be receiving neck adjustments to help with tension headaches, another patient may be receiving neck manipulation to help with numbness and tingling in her hands. Though both patients present with neck related symptoms, both would receive substantially different treatment and counsel.
Every patient that presents to a chiropractic office has a unique health history. Individual cases demand individual treatment. There are hundreds of ways to adjust the spine, but each individual chiropractic adjustment is tailored to the patient’s age, size, and joint problem.
What makes the “popping” sound?
Sometimes, chiropractic adjustments produce a popping or clicking sound. The principle of this popping sound is similar to that of opening a “pop” can. When you open the can, you quickly decrease pressure within the can. This sudden decrease in pressure produces a popping sound as liquid transforms into a gas.
Structurally, a joint is composed of a capsule that traps fluid between two joint surfaces. When chiropractors adjust a joint, they quickly increase the joint space, which decreases joint pressure and allows liquified nitrogen within the joint to transform “pop” into it’s gaseous state.
Is it OK to adjust myself?
NO! If you are in the process of stretching, working within your body’s normal range of motion, and your body lets out a little clicking sound, that is acceptable. Applying force and strain to achieve the same result will produce a much different and more undesirable result. The more often you do it, the worse it will become. While it is possible to adjust oneself, therapeutic benefit and spinal correction can only be attained through an adjustment by a licensed chiropractor. Even Dr. Houlgrave must consult a colleague to benefit from chiropractic care.
Do I have a slipped disc?
The disc is structured much like a jelly donut – it has an inner jelly-like core surrounded by outer layers of tough fibrous tissue. Each disc serves as a connector, spacer, and shock absorber for the spine.
Technically, a disc cannot “slip” because of the way it is anchored to the vertebrate above and below. However, trauma or injury to the spine can cause a disc to tear, bulge, herniate, or worst of all, rupture. Such injuries have the potential to be quite painful, as the soft jelly center can leak out and impose pressure upon adjacent nerves and/or the spinal cord.
Do I have a pinched nerve?
A pinched nerve is quite rare. Researchers suggest that only 10-15% of spine related problems are caused by direct pressure on nerves. More often, nerves become irritated due to a loss of spinal curvature and/or malfunctioning joints. This irritation can produce the sensations of numbness, burning, and tingling (pins and needles) which people commonly misinterpret as being the result of a pinched nerve.
Do I need a doctor’s referral to see a Chiropractor?
No, similar to your medical doctor, dentist, or optometrist, Dr. Houlgrave is trained as a primary health care provider. MSP, ICBC, WCB, DVA, RCMP and extended health plans do not require a referral to provide coverage for chiropractic treatment.
Once I see a Chiropractor, do I have to keep coming back?
No. Ultimately it is up to you the patient whether you come back for further treatment or not. Chiropractic can be a solution to a present ailment, or it can become part of an active and healthy lifestyle. Dr. Houlgrave will provide you with his recommendations, but it really is up to you.