Melvine Baird didn’t consult a school counsellor or attend a job fair to find her career calling. Instead, the Torontonian turned her youthful pain into her adult profession.
“I had quite severe back problems when I was younger, to the extent that they were considering orthopedic surgery,” said 32-year-old Baird.
“I started seeing a chiropractor, which completely negated the need for surgery and it took away the majority of my pain and disability.”
So satisfied was Baird with how chiropractic care alleviated her affliction that she opted to enter the profession herself. Already with an undergraduate psychology degree in hand, she enrolled in Toronto’s Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College. Today, she operates her own chiropractic practice at the Yorkville Centre for Integrated Health.
In a chiropractor’s line of work, Baird said practitioners are concerned with the body’s neuromuscular-skeletal system, which consists of nerves, muscles and bones, in relation to how the spine and central nervous system are functioning.
“Everything in your body is controlled through your brain and spinal cord. That spinal cord is housed in your spine. So, your spine is like the highway for your central nervous system,” she said.
“What chiropractic care does is works to ensure that your nervous system is functioning properly. That will promote the health and wellness of the rest of your body.”
So, for problems from lower back pain and carpal tunnel syndrome to headaches and jaw problems, Baird said chiropractic care can provide effective treatment. “Basically, anywhere where there’s joints involved, a chiropractor can be quite helpful.”
Chiropractors don’t have the ability to issue medical prescriptions like other doctors, said Baird, but instead use their hands and sometimes technologies like ultrasound and low-level laser therapy to apply treatment.
“There are hundreds of chiropractic techniques out there,” she said, “but ultimately, we’re all doing the same thing. Just how you get there might be a little bit different.”
To become a chiropractor in Canada, prospective students may attend one of two schools in the country that offer registered chiropractic programs — the Toronto-based Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College or the Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières.
According to the Canadian Chiropractic Association, students must complete at least three years of university to be eligible for entry to the four-year program at the CMCC, or a CÉGEP health science program before enrolling in UQTR’s five-year program.