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FAQ

Answers to Your Frequently Asked Chiropractic Questions

Q: How much does treatment cost?

A: Each treatment we provide takes a different amount of time and expertise and is performed with different equipment; therefore each treatment has a different cost associated with it, ranging from $53 – $199.

Q: Are treatments covered by Alberta Health Care insurance?

A: Alberta Health Care covers $25 per treatment to a maximum of $200 for seniors, through Blue Cross.

Q: How much will my private insurance cover?

A: Most private insurance companies cover a portion of exam and treatment costs. What and how much is covered depends on your insurance plan and they will not tell us, due to privacy issues. You would have to speak to them to find out details about your coverage. All we can tell you is what they pay when we submit it at your appointment time.

Q: Do you direct bill private insurance companies for exams and treatments?

A: We can direct bill the following insurance companies: Blue Cross, Manulife Financial, Great West Life, Industrial Alliance, Standard Life, and Maximum Benefit. However we cannot find out if or how much they will pay until we try to bill them through their website. Nor can we know, or be responsible, if any of their websites are down at any time.

Q: How long does a treatment take and how many treatments will I need before I see results?

A: Treatments we provide all take different amounts of time, depending on your condition, what type of treatment you are receiving, and individual factors that may apply for some treatments, but usually treatments range from 15 minutes or less to 45 minutes or more.

Q: Is the initial consultation free?

A: No, our initial consultation and examination is not free. We don’t do “free consultations” then try to hard sell you our services to make up for it.

In order to be thorough, we usually need about an hour with you, and we can’t work multiple hours every week for free, or we would have to charge everyone more for treatment.

As well, charging for our time and expertise weeds out the people who just want to “check us out,” so that we can focus on people who truly want to find out what’s wrong and what can be done to get relief.

Q: Are treatment results guaranteed?

A: No. It is unethical for a doctor to guarantee results, as everyone’s condition is different and everyone heals differently, and no treatment provides relief for 100% of people.

The treatments we provide are all evidence-based, so we can tell you, according to published medical research, the approximate percentage of people who will get good results with each treatment that is appropriate for your condition, and you can decide which treatment you would like to proceed with.

Q: What exactly is a chiropractor?

A: A chiropractor, or Doctor of Chiropractic, is an expert in the examination and diagnosis of neuromusculoskeletal (nerve, muscle, and joint) conditions and non-surgical treatments of these conditions. Treatments usually include loosening stiff joints, exercise to stretch and/or strengthen muscles, and/or the use of other treatment modalities required to stimulate healing as quickly and fully as possible.

Q: Are the doctors in your office experienced? What is their education?

A: Dr. Oliphant is a chiropractor, and he’s also a specialist in orthopaedics, and has a Master’s degree in the management of neuromusculoskeletal injuries. Therefore our office has many high-tech treatments not commonly used by non-specialist clinics. Dr. Oliphant and Dr. Reive have extensive experience with the treatments available in our office. In fact they are among the most experienced in the country in some of these treatments.

Q: How long does it take to recover from chronic/severe disc injuries and/or sciatica?

A: Most people get significant relief in 4 – 6 weeks.

Q: How many shockwave treatments does it take to heal plantar fasciitis, rotator cuff tendonitis, or Tennis Elbow?

A: Most people are essentially pain free after 3 – 6 treatments, although some people need 2 – 3 months for the pain to resolve.

Q: What can be done if my neck always hurts just sitting at my computer?

A: Very often it’s because your neck has become weak, and the muscles are not strong enough to support your head. Therefore your muscles go into spasm fighting to hold your head up.

Our MCU machine can measure your neck strength in 16 directions to see which muscles, if any, are weak and quickly rebuild the strength so they can hold up your head and relieve the pain.

Q: How does laser relieve pain?

A: Laser is a particular wavelength of light energy that penetrates into the injured tissues and acts like a catalyst, speeding up the chemical reactions occurring in the cells, therefore speeding up the rate of healing. It also increases the permeability of the cell membranes to reduce inflammation faster. Together these actions relieve pain faster.

Q: What is the best way to prevent back pain?

A: Research shows that the only way to prevent future episodes of back pain is to make sure the back muscles are strong enough. Our Medx Medical Lumbar Rehab machine can measure your back strength and compare the results with normal strength for people of your same age, height, weight and gender.

If your back muscles are weak you can usually rebuild your back strength within about 8 or 10 rehab sessions.

Q: What is joint dysfunction?

A: Joint dysfunction (a.k.a. subluxation) is when the joints of the spine, or extremities (arms and legs), lose their ability to move freely. Sometimes we say these joints are stuck, fixated, stiff, or out of place, just like a sheet of paper placed slightly crooked in a printer might get jammed, or stuck. These stiff or dysfunctional joints can create pain, and are always tender to touch and often surrounded by muscle spasm. The pain they cause can be local or can spread to other areas. For example, a stiff joint in your low back can cause pain down your leg, and a dysfunctional joint in your neck can cause headaches around your eye. A joint in your upper back which gets stuck can cause pain similar to heartburn. If joints are allowed to remain dysfunctional for a length of time the cartilage will start to break down – this is degeneration, or arthritis.

Q: What is a chiropractic adjustment (treatment) like?

A: Once the chiropractor has found the subluxated, fixated, or stiff joints, an adjustment or manipulation, is performed on that joint to restore normal motion, thus relieving pain. An adjustment is a quick, but shallow and gentle thrust on a stiff joint, which restores motion to that joint. The adjustment makes a popping noise as nitrogen gas in the joint fluid (like oil) forms a bubble, this process is called cavitation. This is similar to the popping noise of opening a can of pop, or a bottle of champagne.

To correct a subluxated or stuck joint it usually takes a number of adjustments, depending on how long it’s been like that, how much soft tissue damage/spasm is present, how strong/weak your supporting muscles are, and what you do during a normal day (i.e. bad posture, stress, etc.). We often use the analogy of a rusty hinge that has to be moved back and forth repeatedly to loosen it up. The number of treatments required can often be reduced by performing proper stretches, strengthening exercise, or ART.

Q: Does an adjustment hurt?

A: Adjustments do not often hurt. Many people report a feeling of immediate relief. Sometimes the first two or three adjustments are slightly painful for a few seconds. This is thought to be because of tearing of small pieces of scar tissue (adhesions) that have glued the joint together, but most people agree afterwards it is more the fear of not knowing what to expect rather than actual pain

Q: Will I be sore after my adjustment?

A: At Calgary’s Alberta Back and Neck Rehab & Sports Injuries Clinic, 11% of patients report increased soreness in the first few days of treatment. This has generally been thought to be a reaction to tearing of adhesions (scar tissue) which was preventing normal motion of that joint or part of the healing process. However, some studies show a similar number of people complain of increased symptoms following placebo treatments and therefore the increased pain felt by some may just be a normal fluctuation in pain intensity unrelated to treatment.

Q: What can chiropractic adjustments help?

A: Most people know chiropractors for their miraculous treatments of back and neck pain, and indeed this is where most of the research on the effectiveness of chiropractic is. Relief of back and neck pain, and headaches with chiropractic adjustments (spinal manipulation) has been researched extensively and has been found to be more effective, or at least as effective, for relief of pain; much safer than over-the-counter or prescription medication; more cost effective; gets people back to work sooner; and has a higher patient satisfaction than conventional treatment (medicine/physiotherapy). However, chiropractors are also very skilled in the treatment of other muscle and joint injuries like shoulder, wrist and hand, hip, knee, and foot problems. Some of our chiropractors are also trained extensively in the treatment of soft tissue injuries, like tendonitis and repetitive strain injuries. Treatment and prevention of sports injuries and nutritional consulting are also areas chiropractors excel in. If we can’t help you, we’ll send you to someone who can. Chiropractic first (including exercise, nutrition, and other non-invasive treatments), drugs second, surgery last.

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