How chiropractic care can make a difference

'An increasing number of musculoskeletal problems have developed as a result of the working-from-home requirements'

How chiropractic care can make a difference

With many workers shifting to a home environment during the COVID-19 pandemic, and public health restrictions limiting access to care, chiropractic care can be a key way to treat certain injuries.

Canadian HR Reporter spoke with Caroline Brereton, CEO of the Ontario Chiropractic Association (OCA) in Toronto, to hear about how these health-care professionals can become an important part of treatment and benefits.

Q: What exactly do chiropractors do?

A: “Chiropractors are musculoskeletal experts. They are experts in the area of diagnoses, assessment and treatment of conditions that affect the muscles, bones, and then the spine and the related nervous system. The issue of disability related to musculoskeletal problems — which is now recognized as a global issue and a leading cause of disability worldwide — is something that chiropractors are specifically trained to address.

“Chiropractors work very frequently on a daily basis with patients who are suffering from chronic pain and disability related to musculoskeletal injuries and there’s a variety of treatment options and supports the chiropractors.”

Q: How has the pandemic had an impact?

A: “Our members tell us that, as a result of the pandemic, they are seeing patients come to their clinics for care in much more advanced stages of disability. Pain is intensified, dysfunction has worsened because we have reduced access to other supports in the healthcare system.

“An increasing number of musculoskeletal problems have developed as a result of the working-from-home requirements over the last couple of years.

“A lot of time and money and resources go into making sure people have the proper chairs to sit on, that they have ergonomic equipment, that they have education available: a lot of that changed during the pandemic and, at the same time, there was reduced access to other opportunities for care.”

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Q: What are the main benefits of chiropractic treatment?

A: “What we know about musculoskeletal issues, and disability related to it, is that frequently patients are misdiagnosed and they end up in emergency departments with no or poor diagnosis, and are often described painkillers to deal with it until they can get referred to somebody who can do a fulsome comprehensive assessment.

“Chiropractors’ first significant contribution to patients is a thorough assessment and an accurate diagnosis, and from the accurate diagnosis, you move into treatment modalities. Key treatment that they bring to patients with musculoskeletal issues is manual therapy; manual therapy involves spinal manipulation therapy, joint mobilization, muscle tendon treatments, and sometimes they use other modalities, laser and other techniques.

Caroline Brereton

“Then the prescription of exercises or changes in lifestyle that patients need to take on themselves to help with the plan of care and to make sure that their conditions continue to improve in between visits and over time, learn self-management technique for patients with conditions or chronic conditions.”

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Q: Why should organizations add chiropractic coverage?

A: “The inclusion of manual therapy is an evidence-based approach to chronic neck pain and low back pain, which are the majority of the musculoskeletal type of injuries that workers experience on the job.

“With the inclusion of chiropractic care, employees do return to work, not only recovering from their injury or managing a chronic condition to a greater degree, but also there’s a high level of satisfaction that employees have with accessing chiropractic care.

“Chiropractic care was shown in several studies to be a very cost-effective approach to these conditions and for many human resources professionals who are managing the benefit plans, they’re managing the return-to-work programs, the occupational health and safety programs, everybody wants to see a reduction in the very harmful impacts of the opioid pandemic, not only in the population in general, but on workers and so providing a therapeutic options that are non-pharmacological, not based on opioids, is very important.”

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