Back Pain

Straighten Up Canada! The Importance of Good Posture for Spine Health



Do you remember being nagged as a child to sit up straight at school or the dinner table? Do you still find yourself slouching at your computer or bending your head forward for long periods while using electronic devices? Canada’s chiropractors want you to Straighten Up! Good posture helps to prevent backache and muscular pain, allows your body to use less energy for daily tasks, helps to decrease wear on joints and prevent arthritis, and increases the flexibility and stress tolerance of your spine. Good posture also makes you look and feel great.

What are some examples of poor posture?

Hollow-backHollow back occurs when the natural curve of your lower back is increased, also called hyperlordosis. When your lower back is arched, it causes your ribcage to protrude and forces your pelvis out of the neutral position, causing your tailbone to point backwards. When these bones are out of alignment, it weakens your abdominal muscles, your hip flexors and your hamstrings. All this together may lead to uneven distribution of pressure on the vertebral discs.

Hollow back can lead to low back pain, deconditioned and weak muscles in the back and abdomen, and other musculoskeletal conditions, such as knee pain.

at-attentionPerhaps you are very aware of your posture and work hard to stand straight and tall. Be careful! Good posture shouldn’t be hard work. If you are standing “at attention” all the time (hypokyphosis), your head may protrude and your shoulder blades may tend to be forward and tilted. As well, this posture increases the natural curve of your lower back, pushes your hips forward, and probably causes you to stand with your knees “locked” or slightly hyperextended. This will weaken your abdominals and hamstrings and shorten your hip flexors, causing them to feel tight.

Hypokyphosis can result in low back pain, thoracic (mid-back) pain and possibly hip and knee pain.

So, remember to stand tall (but not too tall!). Keep your spine neutral and abdomen braced – imagine tensing and stiffening your abdomen to prepare for an incoming impact. Don’t lock your knees – keep them slightly bent and make sure you wear good quality shoes if you are on your feet a lot. It will probably feel awkward at first, but your body will adapt and soon it will be second nature to look and feel great!



Comparative Safety of Chiropractic

Chiropractic has an excellent safety record but no healthcare method is completely free of risk. If spinal manipulation were a prescription medica­tion, its rate of major adverse effects would justify calling it remarkably safe. The area of greatest controversy is vertebrobasilar accident (VBA), or stroke. Chiropractic students are taught best practices for recognizing impending strokes, appropriate care and caution are given strong empha­sis, and the profession endorses the use of informed consent.

Full understanding of this issue hinges on the question of whether the rare stroke that occurs following a visit to a chiropractor was actually caused by chiropractic treatment or occurred for reasons not associated with it. Only recently has large-scale, rigorous research addressed this issue, with two large reviews of all records in the Canadian province of Ontario. Because Canada has publicly-funded universal healthcare, this data is presumed to be comprehensive. Questions of a possible causative role for spinal manipulation raised in the first study, by Rothwell et al appear to have been fully resolved in the later Cassidy et al study.

Rothwell Study (Canada, 2001)

Rothwell et al reviewed all records from 1993-1998 and found a total of 582 vertebrobasilar accident cases in the province. Each was age and gender matched to 4 controls from the Ontario population with no history of stroke at the event date. Public health insurance billing records were used to document utilization of chiropractic services during the year prior to VBA onset. Slightly more than 90% had no chiropractic visits in the year preceding their VBA. Of the 57 individuals with VBAs who did visit a chiropractor in the 365 days preceding the VBA (out of 50 million chiro­practic visits during the 5-year period studied), 27 are believed to have had cervical manipulation. Of these, 4 individuals visited a chiropractor on the day immediately preceding the VBA, 5 in the previous 2-7 days, 3 in the previous 8-30 days, and 15 in the previous 31-365 days.

Compared to the controls, there was an increased association of VBA among patients who saw a chiropractor 1-8 days prior to the VBA event, but a decreased association of CVA among patients who saw a chiroprac­tor 8-30 days before the event. Rothwell et al found no association between recent chiropractic visits and VBAs in patients over age 45. However, patients under age 45 were 5 times more likely to have visited a chiropractor within the week prior to the VBA and 5 times more likely to have had 3 or more visits with a cervical diagnosis in the month preceding the VBA. Though Rothwell and colleagues explicitly cautioned against using their data to infer a cause-and-effect relationship between spinal manipulation and stroke, some used their data to make such a connec­tion. There were a total of 6 strokes within 7 days of neck manipulation in the under-45 group, out of approximately 15 million total neck manipula­tions during the time period evaluated.

Cassidy Study (Canada, 2008)

Several years after the Rothwell study, Cassidy and colleagues completed a review of the same Ontario records evaluated by Rothwell’s group and extended the time period covered in the review by three years. They performed additional analyses to determine whether patients who had seen a chiropractor were more likely to have had a stroke than patients who had seen a medical physician. This question, which had not been part of the earlier Rothwell review, was crucial because patients in the early stages of a stroke commonly experience symptoms (headache, neck pain) that may lead them to consult either a chiropractor or a medical doctor.

Cassidy’s group found that it was no more likely for a stroke patient to have seen a chiropractor than a medical physician. In fact, those visiting a medical doctor rather than a chiropractor were more likely to have had a stroke, although this difference was not statistically significant. The authors concluded, “The increased risks of VBA stroke associated with chiropractic and PCP [primary care physician] visits is likely due to patients with headache and neck pain from VBA dissection seeking care before their stroke. We found no evidence of excess risk of VB stroke associated chiropractic care compared to primary care.”

Rothwell DM, Bondy SJ, Williams JI. Chiropractic manipulation and stroke: a population-based case-control study. Stroke. May 2001;32(5):1054-1060.
Cassidy JD, Boyle E, Cote P, et al. Risk of vertebrobasilar stroke and chiropractic care: results of a population-based case-control and case-crossover study. Spine. Feb 15 2008;33(4 Suppl):S176-183.

What if I’ve been injured in a car accident or on the job?

It is important that you consult with your family chiropractor as soon as possible regarding treatment for your injuries. The longer you wait, the longer it can take for treatment and recovery time. Remember, no referral is necessary from your family physician, and your visit is covered by MSP.

For more information contact your local chiropractor or the BC Chiropractic Association

How long do Doctors of chiropractic go to school?

Your chiropractor is a primary contact provider just like your family physician, optometrist or dentist. You do not need a referral from your medical doctor to see a chiropractor.

Today’s graduating Doctors of Chiropractic have studied and trained in a post-secondary college or university for at least seven years. Just like medical or dental students, they must first complete undergraduate study before applying for admission to a chiropractic college.

Becoming a chiropractor is a demanding and highly rewarding path that includes a minimum of 4,500 hours of intense academic study including classroom learning, clinical science and internship training. During the course of their training, he/she will have studied the following three areas:

  • Basic sciences, including anatomy, physiology, pathology of the study of disease, biochemistry, clinical sciences and X-ray diagnosis.
  • Specialized training in the philosophy and practice of chiropractic.
  • Clinical internship with emphasis on hands-on practice.

Reprinted with permission by the BC Chiropractic Association.

How does a chiropractor become licensed to practice?

By law, every province requires chiropractors to earn a license before they can practice. Graduating chiropractors must attain passing scores on national and provincial board exams administered by the Canadian Chiropractic Examining Board (CCEB).

Chiropractic is a self-governing profession which means that doctors are bound to a professional code of conduct through national and provincial chiropractic associations, such as the British Columbia Chiropractors’ Association (BCCA).

This self-regulating and disciplinary process ensures that the public’s health concerns are the chiropractic profession’s highest priority.

Reprinted with permission by the BC Chiropractic Association.

Doctor of Chiropractic Training extensive

Dr. Wilson completed his Doctorate of Chiropractic at Parker College of Chiropractic in Dallas, Texas in 1999. Here is some background of the academics included in the training for being a DC.

Academic Curriculum

Together with training in the Science, Philosophy and Art of chiropractic, the program offers course work leading to the Doctor of Chiropractic Degree (D.C.) that covers the Basic and Clinical Sciences as well as Jurisprudence, Office Procedure and Business Management. Students are exposed to a selection of successful techniques increasing their versatility in the health and wellness field.
One of the most distinctive features of the curriculum is the influence of the College’s world-renowned founder and president, Dr. James W. Parker. For over 45 years, Dr. Parker, through the Seminars of the Parker School for Professional Success (PSPS) now called Parker Seminars, taught thousands in the chiropractic profession his success principles. These principles are included in Parker students’ education.

The course of study is a 4-year academic program condensed to three (3) calendar years of nine (9) Trimesters. Many students attending Parker College have previously attained a B.S., B.A. or higher degree, prior to entry into the professional program. Demonstrating the high standards of academic and clinical excellence at Parker College, students consistently rank among top performers on state and national board exams and go on to maintain successful practices. Parker College also offers 2 Bachelor’s of Science degrees, one in Anatomy and one in Health and Wellness.

History of Parker

The Parker Beginnings
Parker College of Chiropractic is named for its late founder, Dr. James William Parker. For five decades, Dr. Parker’s professional passion, skills and love were directed toward chiropractic – from the day he began recuperating from childhood illnesses following chiropractic adjustments until his death in 1997.

While a senior in chiropractic college, Dr. Parker opened two successful practices in Illinois and published a book on chiropractic. After graduating from Palmer School of Chiropractic in 1946, he moved to Fort Worth, Texas and developed one of the fastest growing chiropractic practices in the history of the profession. In 18 months he established 18 clinics, one in almost every major city in Texas. From his experience operating these offices, Dr. Parker improved chiropractic care and developed methods for establishing and maintaining successful chiropractic practices.

A foundation was created in 1951 to conduct postgraduate chiropractic seminars. Over the last half century, the seminars evolved into PSPS (Parker School of Professional Success) and are now called Parker Seminars. Nearly 40,000 chiropractors have attended these seminars.

The Original Concept
At the urging of his colleagues, Dr. Jim Parker helped establish and fund Parker College of Chiropractic and consented to lend his name to the school. These chiropractors felt that students could benefit from Dr. Parker’s unique success, his healing techniques, his philosophy and his business training, which were not included in their other chiropractic school curriculum. These doctors believed that if students were exposed to Dr. Parker’s principles and teachings during their years of training, they would become more successful healers and practitioners after graduation. Thus, Parker College was founded to provide “The Parker Training” and was based on the premise of “Spreading Chiropractic Worldwide.”

The College Opens
Parker College was chartered by the State of Texas on March 8, 1978, and received its non-profit IRS status in October 1978. The original campus, located in Irving, Texas, a suburb of Dallas, officially opened on September 12, 1982, which was on Dr. Parker’s 62nd birthday. The first class of 27 students graduated in September 1985.

After the opening of the Irving campus, enrollment increased dramatically and the college moved to the larger main campus in Dallas in September 1989. In September 1993, enrollment reached 1,000 students. The original Irving campus was converted to a chiropractic wellness center where patients continue to receive chiropractic care.

Development of Chiropractic Wellness Clinics
The first Parker Chiropractic Wellness Clinic, for the training of interns, opened in May 1984 at the Irving campus. Within the first year, the center cared for over 1,000 patients. The Chiropractic Wellness Clinic in Irving has treated over 26,000 new patients.

By early 1992, the volume of patients and increased enrollment in the college necessitated the construction of a second outpatient facility. The second health care center was opened in the North Building on the Dallas campus in September 1993. the Dallas Chiropractic Wellness Clinic has cared for over 42,000 new patients. More than 750,000 chiropractic treatments have been provided to the patients at both centers.

In 1992, a three-acre parcel of land adjacent to the college was purchased for the new site of the Public Chiropractic Wellness Clinic and Student Chiropractic Wellness Clinic complex. With over 52,000 square feet and 200 additional parking spaces, the existing buildings on the site were renovated to create a 21st century wellness center. All patient services including examinations, chiropractic adjustments, laboratory tests, diagnostic X-rays, and physiotherapy modalities are self-contained in the center for the convenience of patients and the efficiency of interns, administrators and staff doctors.

Achieving High Goals
Parker College of Chiropractic is a truly diversified, international institution of higher learning. With students, graduates and applicants from every state, all Canadian provinces and approximately 100 foreign countries, The college continually seeks qualified men and women of all ages, races, creeds and national origins who aspire to the high honor of becoming Doctors of Chiropractic.

Doctor of Chiropractic Course Index

Following is a listing of the courses required in addition to a undergraduate bachelor degree for completion of the Doctor of Chiropractic Degree.

Basic Sciences

Department of Anatomical Sciences

Biology of Cells & Tissues
Clinical Biomechanics
Human Embrology
Human Gross Anatomy I
Gross Anatomy II
Neuroscience I
Human Neuroscience II
Systemic Anatomy

Department of Anatomical Sciences Undergraduate Program

Anatomy & Physiology I
Anatomy & Physiology II

Department of Physiologic and Pathologic Sciences

Biochemistry I
Biochemistry II
Pathology I
Pathology II
Physiology I
Physiology II
Physiology III
Puplic Health/Immunology

Department of Physiologic and Pathologic Sciences Undergraduate Program

General Chemistry I
General Chemistry II
Organic Chemistry I
Organic Chemistry II
Physics I
Physics II


Clinical Sciences

Dept of Diagnosis and Clinical Applications

Advanced Clinical Diagnosis
Case Management I
Case Management II
Clinical Neurology
Clinical Nutrition
Clinical Orthopedics
Clinical Psychology
Differential Diagnosis and Case Study
Emergency Care
Lab Diagnosis I
Lab Diagnosis II
Physical Diagnosis
Research Methods
Wellness Concepts

Dept of Diagnostic Imaging and Radiology Residency

Applications of Diagnostic Imaging
Bone Pathology I
Bone Pathology II
Fundamentals of Diagnostic Imaging
Normal Radiographic Anatomy
Soft Tissue Path


Chiropractic Sciences

Dept of Chiropractic Philosophy and Technique

Applied Kinesiology
Business Principles I
Business Principles II
Chiropractic Principles/Philosophy I
Chiropractic Principles/Philosophy II
Chirpractic Principles/Philosophy III
Chiropractic Principles/Philosophy IV
Extra Spinal Analysis & Technique
Legal Aspects of Chiropractic
Palpation/Skeletal Analysis
Physiotheraphy I
Physiotheraphy II
Practice Management and Marketing
Thompson/Upper Cervical


Health Care Centers

Health Care Center

Clinic I Lecture
Clinic II Lecture
Clinic V Lecture
Clinic VI Lecture


What is Subluxation?

A subluxation (pronounced sub-luck-say-shun) – short for Vertebral Subluxation Complex (VSC) – is an abnormal condition commonly involving several vertebrae. It occurs when vertebrae in your spine lose their normal position and/or motion.

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What can I expect from my visit to a chiropractor?

As a licensed practitioner, it is the duty of your chiropractor to do the following:

  • A thorough review of your specific problem is conducted, including relevant past history and overall health.
  • You will be asked to perform physical tests and movements to help identify the problem.
  • In certain situations, an X-ray may be used to determine the source of your problem and to investigate for the presence of any pathological developments.
  • The problem is diagnosed to help make certain choices clear. If it is not a chiropractic problem, a suitable referral is done. If it is, a plan of treatment is communicated.
  • A prognosis is made, taking into account your general health habits, occupation, stress and activity levels.
  • Your response to treatment is monitored by your chiropractor, who looks for an improvement to your specific condition, as well as for changes in your overall health. Two of the basis components of chiropractic care are wellness and prevention. Utilization of exercise, along with nutrition and lifestyle modifications are suggested to improve your overall well being and promote active, patient-centered care.

Introduction to Chiropractic

From the BC Chiropractic Association, we provide you the top 5 questions about chiropractic. If you have questions about chiropractic care and if it’s for you, please contact your local Chiropractor and they will help to give you more information.


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What is a chiropractic adjustment? Is it safe?

An adjustment is the main method of treatment used by your Doctor of Chiropractic. It is a specialized gentle, controlled and safe pressure applied to your spine to restore the proper motion and position of your vertebrae. It is a precise procedure that your highly skilled chiropractor has learned and perfected over years of Chiropractic College and clinical practice.

Every health procedure, from taking aspirin to giving blood, involves a level of risk. Chiropractic adjustments are among the safest of all health care interventions because they are non-surgical, drug-free and present an extremely low risk. And they work!