Dr. Kapil Deswal is in private practice in Etobicoke, Ontario.  He has successfully treated low back pain, neck pain, nerve pain, headaches, whiplash injuries, and work and sports related injuries.  He believes in a holistic approach to patient care, and is committed to his patients in healing and recovery.
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CHIROPRACTIC Safe and Effective Health Care  Read More

Previous Columns:


A year after 9-11, a Chiropractor tells his story from ground Zero
Read More


Are you a candidate for orthotics???? Read More


More of your Questions????   Read More


A little insight to your questions Read More


Are you healthy? Read More



CHIROPRACTIC Safe and Effective Health Care 


There has been a lot of media attention about the safety and effectiveness of Chiropractic care.  The following information talks about Chiropractic vs. other treatment options and their risks.  This article also deals with the reason and the motive behind this media coverage.


Chiropractic care is widely recognized as one of the safest, drug-free, surgery-free therapies available for the treatment of back and neck pain, headaches, and other musculo-skeletal conditions.  Few other therapies can demonstrate a better safety record for the treatment of spinal pain syndromes.

Of course, no health treatment is completely free of potential adverse effects. Even common over-the–counter medicines carry a risk.  Fortunately, the vast majority of adverse effects associated with spinal adjustment are typically minor and short-lived.


 Questions and Answers:


 How safe is neck adjustment?


There is a rare risk of stroke or stroke-like symptoms associated with adjustment of the neck.  The most recent research published in 2001 in the Canadian Medical Association Journal puts the risk at one in 5.85 million adjustments1.  Reports on the subject over the past 40 years present a range of estimates based on different research methodologies.  However, all of the published studies to date agree that the risk is extremely low.  Overall, a ration of one to two cases per million neck adjustments represents a conservative and generally recognized estimate.2 That is less than your risk of getting struck by lightning or of dying while skiing or playing soccer.3  Most chiropractors do not have a single case of a patient experiencing serious   adverse effects during their entire professional lives.

How does that compare to other risk factors?

  There are many risk factors for stroke including blood clotting problems, hypertension, smoking, high cholesterol, use of birth control pills, heart problems and trauma such as sports injuries or blows to the head from accident.  All carry a greater degree of risk than spinal adjustment.

Strokes or stroke-like symptoms are also associated with many normal everyday activities such as cradling a phone between your ear and shoulder during a prolonged conversation, having your hair washed at a beauty parlour, dental procedures, painting a ceiling, and turning your head while driving.  Strokes occur spontaneously in some people for no apparent reason.

What are the risks for other therapies?

Spinal adjustment is significantly safer than other common therapies for back and neck pain and headache.  Long-term use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for pain cause 1,000 serious complications and 100-200 deaths per million cases.  Surgeries for neck and back pain cause 15,600 cases of paralysis or stroke per million cases, and 6,900 deaths per million.

Is neck adjustment a forceful action?

No, it is not.  Neck adjustment is done within the normal range of motion.  This normal range is less than what is required to turn your head when backing up a car.  Adjustment of a joint is a highly skilled procedure, which requires relatively little pressure.  This has been clearly demonstrated in studies to determine the degree of physical stress applied during adjustment.

It is skill, not strength, that is needed to conduct a safe, effective adjustment.  Chiropractic education in Canada is an intensive four-year program following three years of university undergraduate studies.  By the time they graduate, Canadian chiropractors are among the most skilled in the world.

Why has there been media attention focused on neck adjustment?

Attention has been recently directed to neck adjustment by a group of neurologists called the Canadian Stroke Consortium.  The Consortium has, on a number of occasions, publicized alarmist data from an incomplete survey based on a questionnaire.  The Consortium has never revealed what method it is using for confirming whether the cases of stroke it reports are in fact associated with neck adjustment, Until such time as the survey is published in a peer-reviewed medical journal where the survey design and conclusions can be evaluated by medical peers, it should be viewed with scepticism and caution.

Does the medical profession regard neck adjustment as safe and appropriated treatment?

Yes. Most chiropractors have excellent relationships with physicians and cross-refer patients on a routine basis.  Depending on a patient’s problems, their care may be co-managed by both a doctor of chiropractic and a medical doctor.  Further evidence of the respect which chiropractic has within the medical community was the presence of Canadian chiropractors on the health care team for Canada’s athletes at the 2002 Winter Olympic, as well as previous Olympics and Pan AM games.

(Reproduced from the Canadian Chiropractic Associations handout on “safety and effectiveness of Chiropractic Care”)



A year after 9-11, a Chiropractor tells his story from ground Zero


7:00 am, Tuesday, September 11, 2001, my fiancée Hope and I were safe inside our new apartment just two short blocks from the World Trade Center anxiously awaiting delivery of a new platform bed.  My fiancée’s daughter readied herself for school and at 8:10 o’clock left for the subway that ran from Rector Street beneath the World Trade Center to Greenwich Village Middle school.  Around 8:20 a.m., three deliverymen arrived with the bed and began assembling it, chatting all the while about grabbing a cup of coffee near the World Trade Center.  After they assembled the bed, they left.

Suddenly, I heard a loud explosion and shouted, “What was that? Was that thunder?”  Our air conditioner clearly shifted its position within the window.  A few minutes later we heard screams and looked outside from the third story window. People were running through the streets.  I hurried downstairs to see what was the matter.  Hundreds of people were racing toward me, and that’s when I looked up.  The top of the World Trade Center was on fire!


Someone outside said a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center.  Returning to the apartment, I told Hope I felt something bad was happening and that we should probably get going.  I ran back outside and waited with my chocolate Labrador as Noreen went to shower and got dressed. I watched as Police officers and Fire fighters rushed towards the tower.  Though unsettled, I sensed no immediate danger.  Then, as I stood amid the commotion, a huge fireball shot out of the other tower and I saw what looked like the tail end on airplane enter the other tower!  I watched with horror as fires now enveloped both towers.  I stood there for a while, my eyes glued to the horrific sight.  I went back to my apartment calling out to Hope: “We should really get out of here!”  As she came into view, we both heard a tremendous rumble.  It felt like an earthquake.  Darkness descended and our apartment began to fill with dust and dirt.  There was a deadening silence I will never forget.  Them the screams began to puncture an otherwise dead silence.

Outside our door, the hallway was thick with black smoke.  Downstairs the lobby began to fill with people struck dumb with terror.  A man in a business suit covered in white soot and hyper-ventilating looked at me and said, “The tower came down.”  I will never forget that look.  I’ve seen frightened people, and I’ve seen dazed expressions of disbelief; this was the first time I saw both on one mans face.

Assuming we were encased in rubble and trapped in our apartment building, I thought, “Should we run to the basement or to the roof top?” Smoke poured in and people panicked.  Immediately, we returned to our apartment to save our two dogs.  Hope grabbed paper towels, wet them and we put them over our noses so we could breathe.  Someone was yelling that our roof was on fire.

We headed toward the basement. Our superintendent’s wife, who was eight months pregnant, was screaming for her husband and son.  I tried to calm her and explained that everything would be fine, but she continued wailing hysterically. I seems her husband and son had set off for the World Trade Center earlier that morning.  She hadn’t seen them since.  Outside, we stepped into an apocalyptic wasteland.  People ambled about, dazed, and covered in soot and blood.  Debris showered down like confetti, obliterating the sun.  Hope put Mickey, our toy Pomeranian, under her shirt to cover her.  We then joined the crowd running down Greenwich Street toward Battery Tunnel.  A police officer waved everyone towards the South street. People in the crowd conversed in disbelief; others screamed.  Names were muttered. “Where’s Mike” “Where’s Rajan?” “Did he get out?”

As we continued toward the Fulton Street Fish Market we felt the ground quake, erupting into a booming rumble. I looked over my shoulder but could see only dirt and smoke, not quite sure what was happening. Then it dawned on me – I had heard that sound before.  The second tower was coming down!  A huge cloud billowed toward us- thick and black, folding in on itself as it raced outward and consumed everyone in its path.  I felt as though it were the end of the world.  We coughed and choked.  My dog’s head and tongue were caked with heavy black soot.


I wasn’t until we approached the fish market that I began to glimpse blue sky off in the distance.  Concerned about Hope’s daughter, we went to her school, and it was a mass of confusion.  The schools’ near the World Trade Center had emptied their students there.  Ultimately we found Hope’s daughter unharmed.


On Thursday, my friend J. Vilkelis, D.C., associate Lisa Francey, D.C., ’00, and I travelled to the Red Cross Station an elementary school in China town. We climbed into a van along with some Red Cross workers who were delivering packages and wound up at a relief station near ground zero.  In Stuyvestant ‘high school there was a huge medical triage on the mail floor.  We announced to the staff that we were Chiropractors and we wanted top help.  We were directed upstairs, where several chiropractors had already set up tables.  We helped them adjust as many people as we could.


I ultimately obtained access credentials for Ground Zero and helped rescue workers and firefighters on site.  We adjusted their midbacks while they stood, and then worked on their necks as they squatted and sat on the ground.  As each person received their adjustment, others became more eager for theirs. We continued late into Friday evening.  W adjusted hundreds of people.  I visited my apartment building, which happened to be located next to a gym where FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) task force was headquartered.


The rescuers expressed great appreciation.  After one of the Chiropractors adjusted one of the commanders low back, another claimed it was the first time he had seen him smile in 3 days.  We continued to adjust thousands!!!  I recall twelve firefighters who were taking a short break and sitting on miniature chairs near the collapsed towers.  Bobby and I asked if anyone needed an adjustment.  They shook their heads entirely consumed in their efforts to find fellow firefighters.  Ultimately, I convinced one of them to stand for a moment.  I took hold of his arms and gave him a standing adjustment.    I then asked him to sit as I performed a seated cervical adjustment.  The others watched in amazement; many of them had never been adjusted before.  As we worked and as we joked, smiles replaced solemn faces.  As me and another chiropractic colleague walked away, we felt good that we could make them smile and laugh, even for a few seconds.


We came across DMAT, which is a federal disaster medical assistance team.  We asked them if they needed our help.  The place was set up like a huge medical triage but there were no medical survivors.   The captain said, “ We can use your help.  Your services have been requested!!!!”  We were given DMAT badges and give free reign to help all we could.


Chiropractic has come a long way.  We are in the front lines of every aspect of health care. Chiropractic is now a profession that stands at par to Medicine, and Dentistry in our Naval, Army, and Air force services.  I guess by many an organizations, Chiropractic now is deemed: “The Right Stuff”


Chiropractic is a new way of life.  Why are you scared about Chiropractic?  Call me if you have any questions.  I’m here more so to teach you about what I do, rather than harm you based on your fears. I’m a simple person who will always give you simple and straightforward answers to your questions.  Don’t trust me, ask me all the questions you want, and I’ll help you understand what Chiropractic is and how I can bring this wonderful health care to our community.


Please note, NYC experience was part of an experience talked about at the NYCC “Transitions” magazine.  All facts are real, authentic, but the names have been protected to ensure privacy of the participants. Any further concerns can be directed to Dr. Deswal @






The structure of your foot supports your entire weight.    Your feet are a complex system of 52 bones, 66 joints, 214 ligaments and 38 tendons and muscles, containing 25% of all the bones in your body.  In your lifetime, your feet will take over 100 million steps, with every step making an impact on your body. The slightest misalignment of muscles and bones can cause many different problems.

The symptoms of faulty foot mechanics may begin with any of the following:

  • Localized foot pain

  • Arch, heel pain

  • Burning on the bottom of feet (especially first thing in the morning that gets a little better with walking)

  • Leg, knee pain

  • Bunion and hammer toes

  • Hip or back pain

What can you do?

Your Chiropractor can prescribe foot orthotics to help correct your body/foot imbalance.


What are prescription orthotics?

Prescription orthotics are medical appliances that are custom made to correct your specific foot imbalance.  Orthotics work on feet in the same way braces work on teeth – by exerting a gentle consistent pressure to bring foot muscles and bones into proper alignment.  They fit comfortably in shoes and are usually made of flexible moulded thermoplastic.  The devices are always made from custom precise impressions taken of your feet.


How do they help? 


Your feet are the foundation of your entire body.  They do an incredible amount of work each day.  The smallest imbalance can cause a great deal of discomfort, but properly fitted prescription orthotics help restore the normal balance and alignment of your body and bring relief from fatigue and pain.  Orthotics are so comfortable and help your feet work so naturally that you will want to wear them as much as possible.


The wearing of Orthotics?


In your shoes your feet rest comfortably on the orthotics.  Your feet are gently and consistently forced into the correct functioning position for walking, running and standing.  Pressure points, improper rotation of the foot, painful muscle strain, and abnormal forces on the legs, hips and spine are eliminated because orthotics enable your feet to function properly.


So, Does everyone need them?


The answer is NO!!!  You must be properly assessed by a professional, like a chiropractor with special training in orthotic assessment to see if you require the device.  As with any medical device, proper assessment for need and the correct prescription for the right correction is required.  After all, would you wear glasses if you didn’t need them?? and at the same time, even if you needed glasses, you would want the right prescription for them.

Email us at if you have any questions or to book your free consultation to see if you are a candidate for orthotics.




More of your Questions????


Some Chiropractors won’t really do an exam before treating me?  Is this safe?


No. All good chiropractors should perform an in-depth exam including a past medical history, a detailed look at your chief complaint, and an Orthopaedic/Neurological exam before offering you a diagnosis.  By looking at you past medical history and performing these and other tests is the only way a Chiropractor can advise you if you are a candidate for Chiropractic care.   Otherwise it’s like treating something blindly.  If your chiropractor does not do an exam on you and explain to you if you are/are not a candidate for chiropractic care, walk out of that office and find another chiropractor.


What is this Informed Consent form that I have to sign?


Informed consent form is something a good Chiropractor uses as a consent to treat form.  This form is used after the appropriateness of chiropractic care for the individual patient is ascertained and stated to the patient, and the alternative modes of care are also offered to the patients.  This allows the patient to be informed of the problem being addressed, and how it is being addressed.  All good chiropractors are informing their patients about the course of treatment and what to expect from chiropractic care.  Is yours?  If not, ask for an informed consent form from your doctor of chiropractic.  It is your right!


Is Chiropractic a new type of Health Care?


Not at all. Chiropractic care has been around for thousands of years.  Over the past 100 years or so, defining terms like “Chiropractic”, “Medicine”, “Dentistry” have brought together certain types of care under respective umbrella names.  As a matter of fact, manipulation as used by chiropractors has been documented as being performed in ancient Greek and Egyptian times.


Some of my friends have expressed some concerns about chiropractic safety and effectiveness.


Any health care procedure has the potential for things to go wrong.  This can range from very minor, such as soft tissue irritation, to something more serious.  You should remember, however, that when compared to other therapies/procedures, chiropractic is safer and more effective.  In fact, people usually undergo chiropractic care before moving onto something that might carry a greater risk.


I’d feel better if I knew that many people visited a chiropractor, are there any numbers?


Recent stats have shown that over 3 million Canadians see a chiropractor every year.  That is approximately 12% of the population.  The good news is that, the number are on the rise as more and more Canadians discover chiropractic and find out how good they feel when they include chiropractic in their health care needs.








What is Chiropractic?


Chiropractic is the science, art and philosophy that concerns itself with the restoration of good health by restoring and maintaining a properly functioning nervous system without the use of drugs and surgery. “Chiro”(hands)-“practic”(practice) is the use of hands to manipulate the spine and the soft tissues to restore proper function and balance between the neuromusculoskelatal system (“neuro”- nerves, “musculo” – muscles, “skeletal” – bones).


Can Chiropractic help me?


Chiropractic has shown very good success rates for many different types of conditions from back pain, foot pain, neck pain and even headaches.  It is important for you to realize that not all conditions have the same cause.  Back pain may be due to many different reasons ranging from strain/sprain, arthritis, to kidney problems like stones that are out of the scope of chiropractic.  It is important for a Chiropractor to examine you to find out if Chiropractic is for you and if not, then refer you to the appropriate specialist.


Is Chiropractic safe?


Chiropractic is one of the safest among the healing arts professions.  There have been thousands of reports and research done proving Chiropractic safety and effectiveness.  Due to the conservative approach to Chiropractic medicine, Chiropractic adjustments are safer than surgery, medications, and even aspirin.


Can Chiropractic prevent back surgery? 


In many cases, YES.  The spinal cord is a very intricate part of your body that is very complex in its functions and its position.  A lot of orthopaedic surgeons are very hesitant performing surgeries as the risks outweigh the benefits of “poking” around in an area and performing a procedure in a highly neurologically complex region that may end up doing more harm than good.  There are many surgeons opting for conservative care such as Chiropractic and leaving surgery as a last resort.


Chiropractic education?


Lot of people are not sure as to what type of education is required to be a Chiropractor.  Chiropractic is a regulated health care profession in Canada and Chiropractors have the same level of education as your medical doctor or your dentist. Chiropractors go through an intensive science program involving extensive training in anatomy, physiology, diagnostic imaging, and general diagnosis.  Where the education differs is in the area of specialties.  In the 3rd and 4th years of a traditional medical program, students go into rotations for pharmacology and surgery and other rotations.  Chiropractors in that time frame go into specialized rotations in Diagnostics (Imaging and Diagnosis) and techniques specializing in neuromusculoskeletal care.


Do I have to go to a Chiropractor forever?


Some people go to their Chiropractor or their Medical doctor when they are sick or when they are in pain.  What lot of people don’t realize is that pain and feeling sick are just the symptoms of an underlying process and not the problem itself.  Unfortunately, a lot of people have a mindset that they will do whatever it takes to get rid of the pain and once its gone, they forget about it.  Having the cause addressed and treated is still a little strange to some but the mindsets are changing.  People are starting to realize that, if they have to go to their dentist every six months for a cleaning or to maintain their teeth so their teeth wont bother them as they get older, shouldn’t they have their spine and their joints maintained as well.  Same concept.






Canadians are constantly bombarded from the time they are born with false images of what it means to be healthy.  To many, the state of optimum health is merely an absence of the signs of symptoms that constitutes a disease.  Advertising giants and pharmaceutical companies have strived and to a great degree succeeded in convincing the large array of the population that “popping a pill” or “drinking some formula” will “cure” the disease.  That is why most of us don’t think twice about taking medication, or popping a pill, or even consider the side effects of any medications.


Do pills work?  Absolutely.  Medicine has come a long way in managing situations that require attention after we have misused and abused our bodies.  Many times environmental and genetic factors place a large role in our state of physical and mental health, but the key to anything in life is balance.  We all require a “ balance of care” to be optimally healthy in life.  If you think you may know what to do during those times when you get “sick”, don’t you think you should consider having a plan to make sure that you don’t!!  


Pain pills and “formulas” may mask the symptoms of a problem; in no way do they cure anything.  Pain is a body’s response to indicate a lack of balance and highlight a problem. If you numb the pain receptors in the body, then does the underlying problem go away? To illustrate this point, lets ask ourselves a question: Are headaches caused by an Aspirin deficiency?  Of course not!  But this is what the pharmaceutical companies would like us to believe.  Not only are headaches not caused by a lack of aspirin, but also continuous aspirin use can have serious side effects, including ulceration and bleeding of the lining of the stomach not to mention increased rebound headaches.  One needs to understand that headaches are a symptom of a disease process and not the disease itself.  We, as Canadians, are hiding our poor health with drugs.


I am a Chiropractor who is very passionate about what I do.  I am not going to tell anyone not to do something that doesn’t feel right to them.  My message through my articles and my practice will always be to help people attain a balance in life.  If you can take a minute in your everyday life to think about the type of gas you put in your car, don’t you think that you can take the time to ask your doctor and yourself about what exactly is this pill for? Do I really need it?  Side effects? Am I really sick?


My focus through my science, art and the philosophy of my profession is to try to make you think.  Chiropractic is not about your back. Chiropractic is not about your pain.  Chiropractic is about your life!! 


“The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will instead interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.”



* Dr. Kapil Deswal earned his Honours Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Toronto, and a Doctor of Chiropractic degree from New York Chiropractic College. He is certified by the Canadian Board of Chiropractic Examiners, College of Chiropractors of Ontario, and the National Board of Chiropractic Examiners (United States).

He is in private practice in Ontario.  He has successfully treated low back pain, neck pain, nerve pain, headaches, whiplash injuries, and work and sports related injuries.  He believes in a holistic approach to patient care, and is committed to his patients in healing and recovery.

Dr. Deswal's email address is:



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