Frequently Asked Questions
Should I see a chiropractor or have a massage? Are Chiropractic adjustments safe? Do you offer direct billing? Check our our frequently asked questions.
The answer to why see a chiropractor depends on you. If your life is disrupted due to back pain, neck pain, headaches, sprains or strains, or another problem involving your muscles, joints, and nervous system, chiropractic care can help you feel like yourself again. Injuries to the spine can happen at any stage of life and for various reasons including car crashes, workplace incidents and sports injuries. Even simple everyday tasks such as going for a walk or washing the dishes have the potential to cause pain or discomfort that many of us just decide to live with. Sometimes these aches and pains even prevent us from working or doing the things we love. You don’t have to live with the pain.
Chiropractic can help you recover from these conditions and addresses the underlying cause of the pain. It is one of the fastest and most effective forms of care available to address spine and spinal related problems. As an active participant in your health, you also have a role to play in your recovery outcome. From posture correction to stretches and even nutrition advice, your Doctor of Chiropractic will walk you through a comprehensive treatment plan to help you get well and stay well.
Chiropractors are primary healthcare providers that have the skills and expertise to address these concerns. You do not need a referral from a medical doctor to see a chiropractor. In many cases, coverage is available through ICBC, WorkSafeBC and extended health plans to help pay for your treatment costs. Visiting your chiropractor at the first sign of injury or pain will put you on the path to a quicker recovery.
What is Massage Therapy?
Massage therapy is the assessment of the body’s soft tissues and joints, and the treatment and prevention of dysfunction, injury, pain and physical disorders of the soft tiesses and joints. RMTs are licensed and registered with the Collect of Massage Therapists of BC (CMTBC) as well as the Registered Massage therapist’s Association of BC (RMTBC)
What happens during a Massage Therapy treatment?
On your first visit you will be required to fill out a health history form. The time allotted for your treatment includes an interview, assessment, hands-on treatment and self-care recommendations.
Why is assessment necessary?
Assessment helps the RMT narrow down a specific treatment plan that is custom to you and your treatment goals. By assessing your joints and soft tissue pre treatment the RMT has a base line to work with. This bases allows both patient and practioner to see progression post treatment or a need for treatment changes for the next appointment. When you have an assessment the RMT can zone in on your particular complaint resulting in a specific treatment with measurable results.
Do I have to remove my clothes during the treatment?
Clothing removal is not essential but often beneficial for the treatment. Wearing a sports bra and shorts for women and shorts for men is recommended. This allows for easy, comfortable positioning and treatment options. The RMT will proceed with treatment based on your comfort level.
Do I require a Doctor’s referral?
A Doctor’s referral is not necessary for treatment, but may be required by your health care insurance provider for re-imbursement. Please check with your provider for details.
What kind of massage therapy does our clinic offer?
The techniques that I use focus on rehab with attention to skeletal alignment, fascial restrictions and appropriate movement. The treatment is gentle yet deep and all areas of the body may be addressed. I am passionate about working with the temporal mandible joint (Jaw) and have thus conducted extensive research and a case study.
What if I am not comfortable lying in a certain position?
Your comfort is important and treatments can always be modified. You can be lying on your stomach, your back, your side or sitting up, depending on your comfort. Always let your RMT know during treatment if you need to move, So they can make the appropriate modification.
The best time to see your chiropractor is immediately after you suffer an injury or within two days of feeling pain that is not associated with a trauma. If you find that aches are limiting you from sleeping well, sitting or walking, it is recommended that you see your chiropractor as soon as possible. You never need a referral to see a chiropractor. The earlier you see your chiropractor, the greater chance there is for a full recovery. Sometimes small problems can escalate into big medical challenges that can impact your life significantly.
Chiropractors are primary care providers and can support your recovery from start to finish. Patients who suffer for a long time without chiropractic care may wish to seek out a second opinion from a chiropractic doctor if their current medical treatments are not effective.
Many patients get to know their bodies and can sense the need for a visit to maintain optimal spinal health. They may feel like something is “off”, unbalanced or tight in their posture and seek out treatment to correct it.
A visit to the chiropractor begins when you walk through the clinic door and are greeted by the receptionist. Visits are very similar to what you might expect at any health clinic.
1. Information: Paperwork is provided to you to be completed including a health history form and information about your health complaint. You may also be asked for contact information for your patient file. The reception staff can also answer any questions you may have about what to expect.
2. Case History: Once in the exam room, your chiropractic doctor will introduce him/herself, review your paperwork and ask further questions about your condition and history. Further notes are made to your chart depending on your answers.
3. Examination: A physical exam is conducted which may mean touching or palpating areas of your body. Your chiropractic doctor will also look for neurological symptoms that could point to an injury involving your nerves. An x-ray or other imaging is recommended in some cases. This will also include some physical tests such as leaning your body to one side and then the other, checking your reflexes and or moving your arms and legs. Depending on your symptoms, you may be asked to wear a gown for examination and treatment purposes.
4. Diagnosis: The exam provides clues for your doctor as to what is causing the problem. After all of this information is gathered, your doctor will provide you with a diagnosis. If your doctor suspects that your problem is not caused by the spine, you may be referred to a specialist or other health care provider.
5. Informed Consent: Your doctor will discuss the informed consent form with you and request your signature before you continue treatment. Informed consent is about ensuring the patient is clear as to the diagnosis, treatment options and anticipated outcomes of the treatment.
6. Treatment: A treatment plan including the types of treatment and how many visits is proposed and discussed. Your doctor will make sure you understand what this means. Once you understand your treatment plan and feel comfortable moving forward, your doctor will perform the treatment, which may consist of a chiropractic adjustment. Adjustments are generally performed on a chiropractic table, similar to a massage table.
7. Prevention: How did you end up in this situation? Your doctor will help you identify the cause of your condition, whether it is from poor posture while studying, a repetitive strain injury from the workplace or anything else in between. Exercises and lifestyle advice will accompany your treatment plan. The goal is to get you well and keep you well.
After your visit you may feel some discomfort or fatigue but this should not last more than 24 hours. Many patients feel relief and increased mobility immediately after treatment while others notice changes more gradually. If you follow your treatment plan, you should notice a change in your level of pain or mobility within 3 to 5 visits and maximum recovery within on average 6-8 visits* depending on the nature of the condition or injury. Your Doctor of Chiropractic will review and discuss what you can expect from your treatment.
*Although the Provincial average is 6-8 visits, the range is large with some patients responding much quicker and a few taking much longer.
Chiropractic is effective and chiropractic does work. Countless studies document the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of chiropractic (1) (2) . Even more significant is that 25% of British Columbians regularly visit their family chiropractor to recover from workplace accidents, car crashes, sports injuries or aches and pains associated with everyday living. It is common for patients to report that range of motion improves, pain lessens and quality of life improves as a result of chiropractic treatment. Sometimes changes are immediate and in some cases depending on the condition, changes are slow to occur. Patients notice a difference in 3-5 treatments and full recovery after 6-8 visits on average* depending on the nature of your injury.
Chiropractors are licensed and regulated by provincially-based colleges that act in the interest of the public. The care delivered by chiropractors is supported by strong evidence. Extensive research done on the safety of Chiropractic adjustments have repeatedly shown that spinal manipulation is safe and that patient satisfaction is among the highest among health professionals. Although spinal manipulation is not without some risk, the risk of serious adverse reaction are extremely low and significantly lower that the risk associated with common painkillers like NSAIDS (aspirin, Ibuprophen, naproxin, celebrex) and opioids.
Depending on your condition and how you sustained an injury, there may be coverage for your chiropractic care. In fact, many British Columbians are eligible for treatment with little to no co-pay required. Our clinic is pleased to work with many different benefits providers to expand access to chiropractic and massage care and improve the patient experience when they have a need to obtain coverage.
Musculoskeletal conditions account for the highest number of worker’s compensation claims. Research shows that chiropractors get people back to work sooner than traditional treatment methods and with less chance of relapse. That’s why it’s no surprise that many British Columbians include a chiropractic doctor as part of their health care team.
If you are an injured worker and require chiropractic care, your treatment costs are covered. By law, all health professionals are required to report an injury that occurs on the job to WorkSafeBC so be sure to let your chiropractic doctor know ahead of time if this is the case. Conditions that involve any joint, nerves or muscles are eligible for coverage through WorkSafeBC. Your chiropractic doctor can help you to answer any questions you may have about treatment and coverage.
Car accidents are one of the most common causes of spine and spine related conditions. Injuries from a collision often take longer to treat than other types of injuries. Even low speed crashes have the potential to cause significant damage to your back and neck. Your chiropractic doctor has the skills to assess and treat these types of injuries.
In most cases, ICBC customers are covered under a pre-approved flat fee program and are covered 100% to receive 14 weeks of care for their crash injuries. You don’t need to seek pre-approval either. Simply visit your family chiropractor as soon as you feel symptoms and advise them that you were involved in a car accident. Your chiropractic doctor will guide you through the process of obtaining coverage for your care.
Medical Services Plan (MSP)
British Columbians who receive MSP Premium Assistance are eligible for coverage of $23 per visit for a combined annual limit of 10 visits each calendar year for the following services: acupuncture, chiropractic, massage therapy, naturopathy, physical therapy and non-surgical podiatry. There may be an additional fee from the Chiropractor over and above this coverage. Advise your chiropractor if you are covered under MSP Premium Assistance.
Extended Health Coverage
Many British Columbians enjoy the benefits of extended health care policies through their employer or that they have purchased privately. The majority of these policies integrate coverage for chiropractic care into their plans and often times the patient does not need to pay for costs up front. If you are interested in learning more about your private health coverage, speak with your human resources representative at work or your benefits provider for more information.
Medavie Blue Cross administers the Federal Health Claims Processing System (FHCPS) on behalf of Veterans Affairs Canada (VAC), the Canadian Forces (CF) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).
Our office is able to utilize the BlueCross health claim processing system and are able to bill RCMP benefits directly. Members can access one or all of these services – acupuncture, chiropractic, massage therapy and physiotherapy – up to a combined maximum allowance of $4,800 per calendar years. Preauthorization is not required; however, prescription for acupuncture and massage therapy is required.
Veterans Affairs Canada
Veterans Affairs Canada offers health care benefits to eligible veterans under 14 Programs of Choice (POC). Chiropractic services are included among the “Related Health Services” under POC 12. Medavie Blue Cross of Canada administers the payment for treatment benefits through the Treatment Accounts Procession System (TAPS). Health identification cards identifying eligibility to services and benefits are issued to clients and must be presented to registered providers. Group A clients are veterans and civilians who have been granted a pension from Veterans Affairs Canada. Group B clients are veterans and civilians who are receiving an allowance under the War Veterans Allowance Act. As of December 2011, Veterans Affairs Canada has set the frequency limit at 20 sessions per calendar year for chiropractic services.
RMTs are regulated healthcare professional in B.C and the majority of extended health care plans covers Registered massage therapy appointments. Each plan provider will have different rules and coverage allowance so you will have to Inquired about those details. There is no medical doctor referral requirements to see a Registered Massage therapist- however, your extended health care plan or policy may required a referral before reimbursing the treatment. Try to contact you Human resources officer at work for information or your insurance policy provider directly for essentials of your coverage. Registered massage therapy in BC is a Regulated Health Profession.
Summary: To see a Registered Massage therapist (RMT) in BC you are not required to obtain a referral from a doctor or any other medical professional. Some insurance companies will require a Medial Doctors referral for massage therapy treatment reimbursement. Please check with your provider.
A doctor’s referral is no longer necessary for the first 12 treatments. Typically these re-imbursed a $23 per visit. At Clearbrook chiropractic and massage, We do accept ICBC-related claims. For Paige the Massage therapist, you are expected to pay for the treatment at the time of each visit. It is the responsibility of each post-MVA patient to submit receipts to ICBC for reimbursement. ICBC may or may not reimburse the full amount- please discuss this with you adjuster.
Patients eligible for MSP coverage- premium assistance
Please note that is includes any combination of treatments (10) from an RMT or other supplementary health benefit~ Chiropractic, physiotherapy, acupuncture, naturopath and non-surgical podiatry. At Clearbrook chiropractic clinic, the RMT will collect 23$ of your treatment from MSP. Eg. If the massage is $105/hour, you will pay $82 at the end of your appointment and the clinic will collect the rest ($23) from MSP.
Paige, the RMT is registered providers with the BlueCross PCMP health plan and are able to bill RCMP benefits directly. A doctor referral is required. Additionally, each officer will be required to fill out and sign and RCMP treatment form direct billing.
Effective January 1st, 2014 RMCP members will have $4800 to spend in total, per calendar year, for all of their supplementary health benefits including chiropractic, physiotherapy, massage therapy and acupuncture. This value does not include GST which can be billed in addition using the same code 0GST.
Veterans Affairs Canada
A doctor’s referral is required.
Effective January 15, 2015, the benefits will change from $800/calendar year to 15 one hour sessions per calendar year. (DVA pays up to $105 per 1 hour treatment)
Chiropractors are doctors trained in the diagnosis and treatment of the musculoskeletal (MSK) system, that is problems with muscles and joints in the body. Chiropractors are also trained to advise patients on corrective exercises, stretches, and healthy living.
Over 90% of MSK conditions treated by chiropractors include: back pain, neck pain, and headaches. However, at Clearbrook Chiropractic Clinic we also deal with disc herniations/sciatica, plantar fascia pain, shoulder pain, leg pain, sports injuries, and other muscle and joint issues.
The goal of Chiropractic care is to get you moving and feeling better so that you can get back to your normal activities.
Spine and related chiropractic care is safe and effective. Scientific evidence proving that the chiropractic care works is overwhelming and easily found today on the internet. Over the past 20 years, many controlled and independent research studies have shown again and again that chiropractic care is safe and effective for spine and related conditions including low back pain, neck pain, headaches and other conditions relating to the spine. Based on these scientific studies, the consensus is that chiropractic care is the treatment of choice for most spinal problems.
The extent to which a person can benefit from care and the length of treatment varies depending on their problem, the length of time you have had the problem, your age and the degree of your disability. Your chiropractic doctor should tell you the extent of treatment recommended, and how long you can expect it to last. One of the main reasons people choose chiropractic is that they often get quick results. Individual cases vary and chronic conditions obviously need more treatment, but Workers’ Compensation Board studies show that people with low back pain get back to work much faster with chiropractic care.
An adjustment is a highly-skilled and precise movement usually applied by hand to the vertebrae of the spine or other joints of the body. Adjustment to the joint restores proper movement and improves function. When a joint is adjusted, an air bubble may escape causing a popping noise, this is a normal occurrence that indicates your joint was moved.
Depending on the nature of the problem, your chiropractor may also utilize joint mobilization, muscle release techniques, muscle stimulation and therapeutic exercises to relieve your pain and get you moving again. Chiropractic manipulation is a highly controlled procedure that rarely causes discomfort. The Chiropractor adapts the procedure to meet the specific needs of each patient.
Yes, children do benefit from chiropractic care! Children are like mini adults, their spines are just smaller and more flexible. Children benefit from chiropractic care because they are twisting, falling, playing, involved in sports, carrying heavy backpacks, and doing the things kids do. These activities put strain on the body as it is developing and injuries do occur. Common injuries include: back and neck pain or stiffness, sprained ankles, headaches, wrist pain, scoliosis, and postural issues. Chiropractic care is always adapted to the individual patient; in the case of children, treatment is very gentle.
In general children heal faster than adults. Most children require only three or so treatments, but this is evaluated on a case by case basis.
The treatment a patient receives is related to the specific condition diagnosed by the chiropractor, and will vary from person to person depending on each persons unique situation.
If you have any questions on why your Chiropractor is choosing to treat you a specific way, don’t be afraid to ask why. We would be more than happy to explain.
At our clinic we refer patient out for X-rays and advanced imaging only if there is clinical reason to do so. The necessity for imaging is determined on a case-to-case basis after we’ve conducted a thorough history and physical examination.
Advance imaging can include: X-ray, MRI, CT, blood work, bone density studies, and bone scans. These can play an important role in the diagnosis of patients and can be used to make sure you are being treated safely and effectively. However, not all patient’s need it, in many cases imaging has high false positives in patients who have asymptomatic conditions that are irrelevant to their clinical presentation. Typically we refer patients for imaging in more severe cases such as trauma, or in the presence of unexplained or worrying symptoms- which we call red flags.
Chiropractors receive advanced training in diagnosis, pathology, radiology, and blood work interpretation. Governments in every province have recognized the training and competence of chiropractors to interpret imaging and make a diagnoses if it is in our scope of practice.