In today’s society, where innovations are always welcome for the betterment of the people, there are now several known ways to get rid of specific illnesses or ailments without the aid of medical treatments. 

These are complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), which refer to treatments used instead of the traditional medications we receive in hospitals. CAM is no stranger to Canadians. According to a survey, over 9% of Canadian adults aged 18-69 practice alternative medicine more than thrice a year in 2018. 

One of the most popular CAM is chiropractic care. Chiropractic treatments are a form of alternative medicine that uses spinal manipulation to treat body ailments such as back and joint pain. This hands-on manipulation is utilized to put part of the spine or joints back in its place, thus relieving the pain and allowing for better mobility. Benefits for this treatment also include immunity boost, increase in energy, and improved breathing.

Chiropractic care is a popular form of CAM in Canada, with thousands of licensed chiropractors all over the country. The following is how the practice came to be established in the country, what it takes to be a licensed chiropractor, and the typical services offered in the many clinics in Canada.

History of Chiropractic Care in North America 

Chiropractic practice is said to date back to the late 19th century, founded by a man named Daniel David Palmer, who owned a grocery store in Iowa, USA. 

In 1895, he had helped a janitor working in his building about his hearing, as he had been deaf in one ear for more than a decade. Palmer then examined him and noticed that there was a bone out of place by the top of his back. He offered to relocate the bone back to its place, and after two spine manipulations, the janitor could hear again.

The incident with his janitor led Palmer to seclude himself for six months studying spine manipulation and how it could benefit the body. He then founded the practice of chiropractic care as a profession, which spread all across North America. 

Iowa, the state where it all began, has founded a chiropractic association that serves to advocate the rights of both chiropractors and patients. Its neighbouring states also do well in this practice, with Nebraska and Illinois having its chiropractic association. There are even more than 600 chiropractor Chicago.

Chiropractic was able to enter Canada by the early 20th century. It gained public support and became famous when schools such as the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College opened in 1945. The word Memorial in the school name is in honour of Palmer. 

1973 was an important year for chiropractic in the country when the Ontario Council on Health issued the need to do more research to understand this field better. Currently, there are more than 9000 licensed chiropractors in Canada.

The Chiropractic Profession

Like most occupations, chiropractors need to have a license to perform the practice on patients. Strict regulations have been imposed for aspirants who want to be a professional chiropractor. 


The licensure for chiropractic care requires years of education at a university level. While several schools offer programs and courses in chiropractic, two colleges mainly cater to the practice. 

These are the previously mentioned Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College (CMCC for short) and Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, an institution which is a French-speaking program. Both educational institutions offer a full-time program for chiropractic practice. This program provides different courses, such as psychology, medicine, and of course, chiropractic.


An internship is part of the education for chiropractors. This course serves to provide students with hands-on experiences facilitated by faculty and experts. It helps students see for themselves the inner workings of practicing chiropractic, such as assessing, diagnosing, and treating patients. CMCC, in particular, requires a 1-year internship.

Licensure Examination

After graduating, students are required to take examinations facilitated by the Canadian Chiropractic Examining Board. Three exams are being administered: chiropractic knowledge, clinical decision-making and diagnostic testing, and clinical skills decision-making. 

Postgraduate Programs

Besides the university degrees one can gain in the chiropractic field, chiropractors can enroll in postgraduate programs to pursue more ideas in practice and to hone their skills. These programs often take four years to complete.

Chiropractic Services in Canada

Depending on the Chiropractic clinic you might visit, there are different treatments used by chiropractors. The Canadian Chiropractic Association mentions four methods of treatment commonly used by chiropractors to their patients.

  • Adjustments or Manipulations

The most common treatment that chiropractors use is spinal manipulations. These refer to applying force to the patient’s spine or joint to readjust a bone or a misaligned joint. 

The patient will typically be asked to sit or lie down for the treatment, and the manipulations will produce this popping sound similar to the cracking of knuckles. This method helps relieve pain and increase mobility. The chiropractor will only conduct the manipulation after a series of interviews and assessments.

  • Exercises or Stretching

The chiropractor will prescribe certain kinds of exercises or stretching depending on what part needs to be treated. It helps the body be ready for physical activities and improves muscle function, especially the affected part. Exercising can also help in achieving a healthier body in the long run.

  • Acupuncture

Acupuncture is the method of inserting needles to the skin of the affected area to relieve pain. While acupuncture is considered a different kind of alternative medicine, most Canadian chiropractors are permitted to use it as a form of treatment. 

  • Nutritional Counselling

Nutritional Counselling is a method where chiropractors advise the patient to take in specific foods or portions of it to help improve an affected area and other sorts of health practices. In other words, this is a kind of dietary plan that the patient is recommended to follow. Like exercising, observing a healthy diet can regularly improve the body for a long time. 


Since its introduction to Canada, chiropractic care has come a long way for more than a century. This practice has helped many people and will continue to provide ease and comfort for people who need it. Hopefully, more people will improve the practice and provide more ways to alleviate pain wherever in the body.

Author’s bio: 

Melissa Bell is a content writer and copywriter who specializes in fitness, lifestyle, and health. She’s known for being a health junkie, and is crazy about yoga, tea, biology, and self-help books.