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I Am In Pain, Who Should I See?

Should I See A Chiropractor, Physiotherapist or Massage Therapist For My Pain?

After 5 years of practice I have had many opportunities to direct people towards the most appropriate practitioner who is best suited to meet their needs. Many people seeking help for their pain don't know who to see. Should I see a Chiropractor? A Physiotherapist? A Massage Therapist? These are very common questions that you might be asking yourself too. In order to help you with this dilemma, I have created a guide to help you best understand the difference between Chiropractors, Physiotherapists and Massage Therapists.

1. Chiropractors don't just deal with back and neck pain.

Chiropractic care can help with any joint or muscle problem you might have. When in school, Chiropractors learn to treat ankles, wrists, shoulders and every other joint in your body. Some go on to receive further training in soft tissue treatments that can help with conditions such as carpal tunnel, tennis elbow, shoulder impingement and plantar fasciitis, to name a few. Also by adjusting the spine many of these problems can be helped because your spine is like the foundation of your house. If it is out of shape then it can cause problems all over the place.

2. Chiropractors are able to diagnose.

If you are looking for an answer to why you have pain, then a Chiropractor should be your first stop, because Chiropractors are doctors who are trained to diagnose problems, much the same way your medical doctor does. The difference being that Chiropractors use natural, non-invasive treatments to help restore function and relieve pain, whereas Medical Doctors recommend medication or possibly surgery to correct the problem. Chiropractors are also able to refer you for imaging (x-rays) and interpret the results for you.

3. Physiotherapists focus on pain relief and return to normal function.

If you are experiencing acute pain from a recent injury then a Physiotherapist would be able to help with acute pain management. Physiotherapists use modalities such as therapeutic ultrasound and electric stimulation to help ease pain. Once the pain has been decreased, exercises can be used to help restore function and regain strength in an injured joint. Physiotherapy is especially helpful after surgery because they will work with you to develop an appropriate exercise program so that you can make a full recovery.

4. Massage therapists deal specifically with muscle problems.

Massage therapy is a great way to take care of any sore muscles. It is also great for reducing stress and tension that can build up over time. Massage therapy is often used in conjunction with Physiotherapy or Chiropractic and compliments both very nicely. Muscle issues are often found when someone has any kind of ache or pain so Massage Therapy is a great service to utilize when recovering from any type of injury or accident. Also, by receiving regular Massage Therapy you can help keep your muscles healthy and prevent injuries.

5. All professions are regulated and have certain standards of practice.

All of the above professionals we are discussing in this blog post are regulated and must meet a certain standard in order to maintain their license to practice. This includes keeping and storing proper patient records, continually participating in courses and seminars related to their field and performing only certain treatments that they have been trained in. This is all done to protect the patients and make sure that they are receiving a certain standard of care when they chose to see one of these professionals. If you are thinking of seeking help for your pain, be sure to seek a regulated health professional.

6. At the end of the day it comes down to the individual and their qualifications / approach.

The most important thing to remember is that even within a profession you will meet many different practitioners with many different treatment styles or approaches. This is why it is best to chose a regulated health professional whose approach will best suit your needs and goals. It is also best to chose someone with qualifications and techniques that get good results. Before choosing who you see, be sure to check out online reviews and videos that demonstrate their technique or approach. Also, choose an office that has multiple services under one roof and that uses a team based approach. This will allow for an easy referral to another health professional should you need one.

If you have any further questions about who you should see for your pain or problem, please do not hesitate to contact me at my office. You can call 519-304-5007 or email me at dr.spenser@brantwellnessandrehab.com.


6 Things to Know BEFORE Seeing a Chiropractor

6 Things To Know BEFORE Seeing A Chiropractor 

Hello, this is your Brantford Chiropractor, Dr. Spenser Dougley, here and I would like to teach you a few things before you visit a Chiropractor for the first time.  Many people are worried or concerned about seeing a Chiropractor so I have designed a guide that can ease your worries as you figure out which Chiropractor is right for you.  If you have any further questions about my guide, then please do not hesitate to email me at dr.spenser@brantwellnessandrehab.com.  I would love to help you find the right Chiropractor!

The following are 6 things you need to know BEFORE seeing a Chiropractor:

1.  Chiropractors are required to examine you before treating you.

All Chiropractors are required to do a full and complete exam of your spine and other areas of complaint before treating you.  This includes a detailed history, where the Chiropractor will ask questions about your pain or problem.  After the history a physical exam should be done that will include procedures and tests designed to figure out where your pain is coming from.  Bending forwards, backwards, side to side, raising your leg while you lie down and pushing on your spine are all examples of tests that a Chiropractor might perform.  The initial exam should take about 30minutes.

After the exam is complete the Chiropractor should present to you what he or she has found and be able to tell you where your pain is coming from.

2. Some chiropractors will give incentives for signing up for long term care plans.

After your initial exam appointment the Chiropractor should present to you a reasonable treatment plan to help you recover.  At this point some Chiropractors offer you incentives for signing up for long term care plans that include discounts on care if you sign up for a year and pay per month.  Be very cautious when presented with something like this.  The prudent Chiropractor will examine you along the way and make recommendations for further care if necessary at that point.  It is very difficult to determine how much care someone will need that far down the road and you should only be presented with a care plan that includes the first 4-6 weeks, after which the Chiropractor should be re-evaluating you. This of course depends on the nature of your condition.

3.  Some Chiropractors only spend 3-5 minutes with each patient.

Depending on their technique, some Chiropractors might only spend 3-5 minutes with each patient. This would allow enough time to adjust someone's spine but does not leave enough time to talk to the patient about what has changed, or whether or not they have any new complaints or injuries that need to be addressed.  Usually these offices have open floor plans or adjusting areas where you can see and hear the Chiropractor with another patient.  Some people are okay with this but it does not allow for much privacy.

4.  There are many different techniques that Chiropractors use.

Every Chiropractor practices slightly differently.  There are hundreds of different techniques that a Chiropractor can use.  The truth is that while some people might find relief with a certain technique, others might not. This is because everybody is unique and responds differently to Chiropractic care.  The important thing is to select a Chiropractor whose technique is based on sound scientific evidence. If you are not sure then do a Google search for the technique and see what comes up.  Also Youtube videos can help you understand what is involved with certain techniques and whether or not it would be suitable for you.  Also be sure to select a Chiropractor who is trained in a variety of techniques.  "One size fits all" does not work when it comes to your health.

 5.  Chiropractors are able to diagnose problems.

A Chiropractor is a doctor who is trained in much the same way as your medical doctor.  The difference being what they use to help you get better.  They are also able to diagnose you and you should fully understand what your diagnosis is and what to expect on your road to recovery.  Knowledge is power when it comes to your health and your Chiropractor should also be your health teacher.

6.  Chiropractors must maintain their license to practice and can have this taken away.

Chiropractors must meet certain standards for practice in order to maintain their license.  This includes continually updating their education, maintaining adequate health records for their patients and billing insurance companies properly.  Unfortunately not all Chiropractors uphold these standards and usually get caught.  The licensing board may decide to suspend their license depending on what was done.  A simple search on Google for the Chiropractors name will reveal if any discipline action has been taken against them, what it was for and what the result was.  Always choose a Chiropractor who is in good standing and is fully licensed.  Be sure to visit the following website to check: www.cco.on.ca/English/Chiropractor-Search/Search/



Always do your research before choosing a Chiropractor. Not only is it important to choose someone who has good standards of practice, but also someone whose technique and style of practice suits your needs.  Lastly, you can always find honest reviews on ratemds.com.  This can be a valuable resource for finding out what the Chiropractor is actually like.

If you have any further questions about seeing a Chiropractor or are ready to get started with care, please call me at 519-304-5007.

Thank you,

Dr. Spenser Dougley DC, FR, FRCms


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Teri Brantford, ON

I have been for chiropractic treatment many times at Brant Wellness and Rehab. Lanna always gives a warm reception when you arrive, and Dr. Spenser Dougley is a doctor that you know is listening! I have had fantastic results! I couldn’t get out of a chair this morning without excruciating pain. Had a treatment this afternoon and wow, I am moving 10X better

5 stars

Becky St. George, ON

I have been seeing Dr. Spenser for a few years. When I started seeing him I was a mess. I was in constant daily pain that would often land me on the couch with ice packs. My ankles and wrists used to hurt so much, that after going on a class trip with my kids, I would get tons of pain in my feet and ankles for days. And even something as simple as making dinner would hurt my wrists to the point where I wore braces on them just to help the pain. Now I very seldom have ankle or wrist pain since Dr. Spenser has worked on removing my scar tissue in those areas. I also have much less debilitating headaches. We are still working on that area, but have made great progress! I highly recommend seeing him. Chiropractors aren't all about backs! They can help the pain in your joints too!

5 stars

Stephanie Brantford, ON

I love the gentle approach Dr. Spenser takes to his treatments as the typical “snap” and “crack” treatments have never been very comforting to me.

5 stars