Common Conditions

Low Back Pain

Low back pain is one of the most common conditions affecting people today; 80% of people will experience low back pain at some point in their lives. 

What causes low back pain?

The majority of low back pain episodes are due to very common postural stresses and mechanical changes.  This is often referred to as non-specific low back pain. This includes the type of pain that comes from simple sprains and strains, sitting for too long, sleeping in an awkward position, or bending and lifting something that aggravates your low back. These stressors cause joint restrictions, muscle tension and nerve irritation.  

Much less frequently, low back pain can be caused by other conditions that are more serious, such as an issue in the abdomen, disease, fracture, tumour or disc herniation. For this reason, your chiropractor will ask you about all aspects of your health to make sure your symptoms match the conditions we treat. If we are concerned about a more serious issue, we always refer to other professionals or for imaging as required. 

How can low back pain be treated?

Chiropractic care is the most effective and most researched therapy for low back pain! For most people with low back pain, there are treatments that can shorten the recovery time and reduce the likelihood that the pain will return.  

Treatment usually involves chiropractic adjustments, soft tissue therapies such as myofascial or active release techniques (ART) and an exercise rehabilitation program.  Acupuncture or laser therapy may be incorporated if needed.  Research shows that spinal manipulation achieves equal or superior improvement in pain and function than all other commonly used treatments. Chiropractic treatment is an effective alternative to medications or surgery, without any of the harmful side-effects.


Sciatica is a commonly used word for pain that travels down the back of the leg. However, many different joints, muscles and nerve irritations can give you pain down the back of your leg. Sciatica describes the symptoms you are having but not the cause of the problem. 

Your chiropractor is trained to assess your joints, muscles and nerves so we can determine what structure, tight muscle or tissue is causing these symptoms. We will assess your low back, the buttocks region, thigh, calf and feet to make sure we can pinpoint the problem area for treatment. 

There is often a simple solution to this complaint.  By using myofascial or active release techniques to these tight muscles, adjusting the joints that are not moving adequately, and releasing the irritated nerve, we can help relieve the pain.

Upper / Mid Back Pain

Upper and mid back pain is commonly associated with poor posture.  People who spend most of their day sitting, either driving or at work, often experience this complaint. Other common causes are carrying bags or heavy purses, lifting a child and holding a baby while breast feeding.  Upper back pain is often caused by muscular irritation and joint dysfunction. Your chiropractor will make sure to rule out conditions that can refer pain to this area and will ask you questions about your heart and lung health history. They will also look at your neck and make sure the problem is not starting in this area. 

What does treatment involve?

Treatment usually involves myofascial or active release techniques and adjustments of the upper back and/or neck if needed. Acupuncture is another modality that is useful in helping to reduce muscular tension. An important part of treatment will be discussing taking frequent breaks at work to stretch and perhaps assessing your desk / work station to see whether you are sitting in the most ergonomic way.

 Neck pain

 Neck pain is a very common condition, usually with a very simple cause, but it can have a significant effect on your daily activities. About one fifth of Canadians are experiencing neck pain at any given time and 70% will experience neck pain at some point in their lives.  Just because it is common does not mean you should have to live with it. Your chiropractor will do a thorough examination to determine whether your pain is caused by muscle strain, ligament sprain, arthritis, or posterior joint (facet) irritation, or whether another disease or condition is to blame, such as a disc injury or hypermobility. 

Your assessment will involve looking at all the muscles, joints, and nerves that could cause this pain and also determine why these structures are irritated. 

What does treatment involve?

Chiropractic care has been shown to be more effective than medication and exercise in treating neck pain.  Treatment usually involves myofascial or active release techniques and adjustments of the upper back or neck if needed. Acupuncture and laser therapy are other modalities that have excellent results in treating neck pain.  You will also be taught exercises to strengthen and stretch the muscles in your neck and upper back so they can support your spine and head in the movements that you do every day.


Headaches can be a very debilitating condition and interfere with your ability to participate in the work, leisure and family tasks that you need to do every day.  There are several types of headaches, and these include migraine, tension-type, and cervicogenic headaches.  Your chiropractor will determine what type of headache you are experiencing by asking you questions about the location and nature of the headache, what triggers your headache, and by feeling the joints and muscles in your head, neck and upper back. 

Head pain can also be caused by serious conditions such as vascular injury and tumours. Your chiropractor is trained to rule out these conditions and make sure you are a candidate for chiropractic care.  

What does treatment involve?

Chiropractic care has been shown to decrease how often headaches occur, their intensity, and how long they last. Treatments can include chiropractic adjustments including cranial work, myofascial or active release techniques, exercise rehabilitation and acupuncture, as well as education on how to reduce your stress levels and avoid the triggers that cause your headaches. 

Cervicogenic Headache

Pain is at the base of the head or behind the eye


Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ Disorder)

Pain in your jaw with chewing, opening/closing your mouth, or even with speaking could be due to TMJ Disorder. You may also hear clicking or popping near your ear as you move your jaw. TMJ Disorder can cause headaches; ringing in the ears; jaw, face and neck pain. It can be caused by trauma to the jaw, grinding of the teeth, stress and tension.

How can chiropractic help?

The mechanics of the TM joint is closely related to the stress on the neck, head and upper back. Chiropractic care usually involves myofascial or active release technique to the jaw muscles, both inside and outside the mouth; release of the tight muscles in the neck and upper back; and potentially adjustments of the neck, head and jaw.  We make sure to communicate with your dentist if this condition is related to grinding of the teeth or a mouth brace.

Rotator Cuff Impingement and Tears

The shoulder is designed to move in a large range of motion so we can reach overhead, to the floor, and behind us. However, for all of these movements to occur pain-free, many muscles need to contract with the right force and in the right sequence. This means that all the muscles need to be healthy, strong and functioning properly. Often, due to poor posture, some muscles become tight and some muscles become weak and this changes the mechanics of the shoulder. This can overly stress the muscles and create a tear, or it can cause one of the muscles to be pinched when the arm is raised above shoulder height. 

What does treatment involve?

Correcting poor posture is very important in treating this condition.  Your chiropractor can teach you how to strengthen your muscles to support your shoulders properly and stretch the tight muscles in the chest, neck and shoulders that are causing stress on the shoulder.  Treatment also often involves myofascial or active release techniques and adjustments of the upper back or neck if needed. Acupuncture and laser therapy can also be very beneficial and speed up the healing of these tissues. 

Tennis Elbow / Lateral Epicondylosis; Golfer’s Elbow/Medial Epicondylosis

This is a very common overuse condition involving the muscles and tissues of the outside of the elbow (tennis elbow) or the inside of the elbow (golfer’s elbow).  Through repetitive strain, the muscles and tendons of the forearm become tight and irritated. Pain comes from tiny tears in the muscles and tendons. As the body tries to heal these tears, scar tissue forms, which causes the tissues to become tighter, weaker and more pain sensitive. 

Your chiropractor will make sure that this is the correct diagnosis and that the problem is not bursitis, a radial or ulnar nerve entrapment, or another condition.

 How do we treat epicondylosis?

Your chiropractor will work on the tight muscles with soft tissue therapies such as Active Release and Graston techniques.  They will educate you on resting your wrist and elbow, icing and stretching exercises, and possibly recommend a brace. Acupuncture and laser therapy are also very effective treatments for this condition.  

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is a common nerve entrapment that causes tingling, pain, and muscle weakness in the hand.  This could be caused by repetitive typing, writing, or strain to the wrist. Your chiropractor will make sure that these symptoms are coming from the wrist region by examining the path of the nerve from the neck into the arm to make sure it is not irritated in any other region. 

What does treatment involve?

This condition responds well to a combination of therapies such as myofascial or active release techniques, acupuncture, laser therapy, nutritional advice, kinesiotaping, and stretching of the surrounding musculature. 

Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome 

This condition affects many people who are involved in sports or running.  People experience pain around the kneecap, especially when walking up stairs, squatting or crossing the legs. A catching sensation could also be present. 

This condition is usually caused by an imbalance in the strength of the quadricep and gluteal musculature which creates tension through the iliotibial band (ITB) which runs along the outside of the thigh.  This causes pulling on the tissues surrounding the knee. 

What does treatment involve?

With this condition, stretching and releasing the adhesions along the quadriceps, gluteals and ITB is important; this is done through myofascial or active release techniques. Acupuncture can release tension in the tissues around the knee and stimulate the muscles in the gluteal region to function properly. Your chiropractor will also look at your whole body and determine if there are any other biomechanical changes that are causing stress on your knee and work to correct those through manual therapy, custom orthotics and exercise prescription.  

Ankle sprains 

Ankle sprains are one of the most common injuries in the body and happen when running, jumping, playing sports, tripping or just walking on uneven ground. Most commonly, the outside region of the ankle is affected by what is called an inversion ankle sprain, which causes partial tears in the ligaments that support and stabilize the ankle. 

What does treatment involve?

Your chiropractor will educate you on icing protocols and activity restrictions; use laser therapy or acupuncture to speed up healing; use myofascial and active release techniques as muscles and ligaments heal; and adjust any joint restrictions. An important component of treatment will be exercise rehabilitation; you will learn exercises that will strengthen the surrounding muscles to stabilize the ankle and protect you from further injury.

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is a condition that results in symptoms of pain under the heel. It is usually caused by overuse of the plantar fascia which is the thick tissue under the arch of the foot. Pain is usually worst first thing in the morning as the fascia tightens overnight. Stretching the fascia may be painful, and it can feel worse with standing or walking for a long time. Over time, a heel spur can develop from the tension of the plantar fascia on its’ attachment to the bone. 

If there is any shooting pain or tingling/numbness it may be a condition called tarsel tunnel syndrome, so your chiropractor will make sure to rule out this condition.

Plantar fasciitis can be caused by very tight calf muscles, from sports that involve running, dancing or jumping, and by overpronated feet or flattened arches. 

What does treatment involve?

Treatment can involve stretching the plantar fascia and calves, applying ice or cold therapy to reduce pain and inflammation; using Active Release or Graston techniques to decrease the adhesions or scarring in the tissue; wearing a custom orthotic; and/or using kinesiotape or athletic tape to support the plantar fascia. Laser therapy and shockwave therapy are modalities that may also be useful in treating this condition.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is chiropractic?
Chiropractic is a regulated, hands-on health care discipline that focuses on the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disorders of the muscular, skeletal and nervous systems.  Chiropractic offers a complementary and alternative therapy to the use of drugs or surgery. Treatment involves manual therapies, including spinal and extremity manipulation, myofascial release (soft tissue therapy), as well as nutritional, lifestyle and exercise rehabilitation recommendations. Some chiropractors are also trained to provide acupuncture, electrical and laser therapies.

Is it true that once I start seeing a chiropractor I have to keep coming forever?
Absolutely not!  Your chiropractor will discuss a treatment plan with you to address your primary concern and depending how quickly you respond to care, will modify that plan with you as needed.

Many people find that regular chiropractic care allows them to function at their best, pain-free.  It is important to understand that taking care of your health and your body is like maintaining a car. A car needs good clean fuel to run, regular oil changes and maintenance work. Your body is much more complex and needs attention regularly. It requires good nutrition, plenty of exercise and 7-8 hours of sleep a night to function well. For many people, regular chiropractic care is part of that maintenance program that keeps them feeling tension free, and addresses those minor aches and pains before they become real problems.

What is an adjustment?
An adjustment is a highly skilled and precise movement applied to a joint that is restricted, or not moving in its normal, physiological range of motion. An adjustment loosens the joint to allow it to move normally again. Sometimes you hear a popping or "cracking" sound. This is simply a gas bubble escaping as the joint moves.  An adjustment can have an excellent effect on muscle relaxation and restoring range of motion.

Who can benefit from chiropractic treatment?
From newborns to the elderly, most people and animals can benefit from chiropractic treatment. Whether you are suffering with pain; have an injury; are pregnant; or just looking for lifestyle advice to maintain your general health and wellbeing, we can help. A chiropractor can identify the areas that are not functioning optimally and provide treatment and advice to help you perform your job or sport to your best potential.

What happens on the first visit?
It is recommended that you arrive about 15 minutes early for your first appointment as you will need to fill out some forms about your past medical history and your current concern.  Your chiropractor will then do a comprehensive assessment and ask you about your current condition, as well as your personal and medical history. It is important that we get to know you as a whole person so that we can work towards your personal goals.  We will then do a physical examination to arrive at a diagnosis, after which we will give you a report of findings, discussing what was found and what we have determined as the best treatment plan. Once we are sure you are comfortable with our plan, and we have your consent, we will begin the treatment session.

What does treatment involve?
Each patient is unique and as such, no treatment plan is the same. Some of the treatments that we offer include Myofascial or Active Release Techniques; mobilizations and adjustments; Contemporary Medical Acupuncture; Cold Laser Therapy; Interferential Current and Ultrasound; Graston Technique; and Kinesiotaping. We prescribe orthotics or bracing as needed. Treatment also includes exercise rehabilitation prescription, nutrition and lifestyle counselling.

Is chiropractic covered by OHIP?
No, chiropractic is not currently part of OHIP coverage; however, most private health insurance covers chiropractic services. Check with your provider to see what is covered for each individual in your family.

Will I need x-rays?
X-rays can sometimes be an important part of making a diagnosis, but they are not usually necessary. Most conditions can be accurately diagnosed without any further imaging. If it is determined that you need x-rays, we will refer you to your medical doctor for a prescription. If you would prefer to pay for x-rays privately, approximately $45 for a series, we will refer you to a private imaging clinic. Chiropractors are trained to take and interpret x-rays.

Do I need a referral from my family doctor?
No; chiropractors are "primary contact" health care providers who are trained to accurately diagnose your condition and determine a treatment plan.  However, some insurance companies do require a referral from a family doctor for chiropractic treatment or custom made orthotics. 

Back to TOP