Meet Dr. Vicko Ma!

Dr. Vicko Ma currently practices out of Sutherland-Chan's Women's College Hospital Clinic (Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays) and Sutherland-Chan's Yonge-Bloor Clinic (Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays). For contact information for either location, please click here or contact Dr. Vicko personally via

Hey readers!

I'm Vicko and I'm a chiropractor practicing in Toronto, Ontario. I was born in Hong Kong and immigrated to Canada when I was 6. Growing up here I developed an appetite for athletics that wasn't available in Hong Kong and really enjoyed swimming and volleyball. The latter is what initially introduced me to manual therapy. I threw my back out in high school going for a spike one game which led​​ me to try a few different types of therapies before finding a chiropractor through my coach. The ideas of human movement and the components that are involved became my interest.

I later graduated from Queen's University and proceeded to earn my Doctor of Chiropractic Degree at the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College. In most professions, learning never stops and manual therapy is no exception. I have taken a number of courses to continue to improve my skill set. I am certified in the Functional Range Release, Functional Range Conditioning, as well as contemporary medical acupuncture.

Since then, I've been in the fortunate position of helping people recover from their injuries and pains and working with them to optimize their movement. One of my favorite highlights so far is working with the Team Jamaica track team during the Penn Relays 2016 and seeing one of the highschool athletes you've treated win their event.

Outside of talking, reading, and thinking manual therapy, my other interests include : really good coffee, video games, technology, self improvement (seems common at this age), volleyball!

What is Chiropractic?

In Canada, Chiropractors are regulated healthcare professionals with an expertise in the musculoskeletal system (simply put, think muscles and joints). We provide the assessment, diagnosis, treatment and preventative care of biomechanical disorders originating from the muscular, skeletal and nervous systems.

What do Chiropractors do?

There are a lot of different approaches to manual therapy, even just within chiropractic. This means there are different techniques and methods for approaching a disorder that a client might present with. However, the general theme of diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal disorders are what chiropractors do.

For my practice, I assess and treat muscle and joint disorders and help you get back to moving well.

I achieve that through properly identifying the main causes of your disorder. For example, low back pain in a runner versus the same pain in a sedentary office worker can have different causes and should be treated differently. Making sure we have the mechanism for injury is most of the work.

For treatment, I employ a number of techniques to help achieve results. These include joint mobilization, joint manipulation (adjustments), soft tissue release (Functional range release), neurofunctional acupuncture, kinesio taping, Functional range conditioning, and rehabilitative exercises. Each of these techniques offer a way to address a certain issue in certain scenarios so a combination of them allow for adaptability. For example, some clients that are initially uncomfortable with joint manipulation might see me use acupuncture and joint mobilization instead to address their low back pain.

I also place a lot of emphasis on using movement as therapy. Majority of my clients see me when they realize they've lost their ability to move a certain way due to pain or injury. The goal then becomes getting them to move well again which cannot be achieved with passive treatments alone. All my clients understand that they need to put in their time to maintain their body. I'm there to show them how.

Who can benefit from Chiropractic?

Everyone will get something out of manual therapy. For example, the active population expose themselves to injury, the sedentary wear down their physical health with inactivity, the young and healthy are the best to teach preventative care, the senior population benefit from strength and movement based therapy, women during pregnancy experience continual change in biomechanics that can cause pain.

The main thing to understand is that the body is designed to move and adapt. Along the way, we can develop inefficient biomechanics (movement deficiencies) that greatly increase our risk for injury. These movement deficiencies rarely start off painful or might be slightly uncomfortable but goes away. Your body compensates as a result and that eventually leads to injury. A manual therapist can help you catch a movement deficiency and work with you to correct it before it causes any problems. Don't wait until it's painful.

How do you motivate your clients to do their homework?

That greatly depends on the client. My goal every visit is to have them learn something new about their body. For example, one of the things I like to do for low back pain patients is demonstrate how little control a lot of us have of our spine. No control means no protection of the area which often leads to dysfunction. During treatment, we would practice a few repetitions of my spine range of motion exercise and have them notice the difference in spine positions. Usually, on the next visit, they'll tell me that they've been paying more attention to their posture, what position their spine is in, and how they manage to correct it. That's a win.

I also try to have them experience a paradigm shift in their understanding of their body and how to take care of it. Understand what their daily physical habit is at the moment and show them where it can and should be. Clients really respond once they understand that their muscles and joints need to be taken care of daily with movement much like how our teeth require daily cleaning. Suddenly it's no longer a time set aside everyday to do your rehab exercise but moving your joints daily and properly.

How do you incorporate Acupuncture into Chiropractic treatments?

I am certified in Contemporary Medical Acupuncture through McMaster University. The approach is different than traditional Chinese acupuncture in that the method of point selection is base on our current understanding of muscles and nerves. This gives me a really effective modality to address conditions involving muscles and nerves that is different with manual methods. I don't separate acupuncture from my manual therapy. Instead, I make the decision during the assessment at the start of each visit to decide which modality to use. Some sessions may consist of only acupuncture because we need circulation for recovery or modulation of the nervous system for example. We may also use it to help activate certain muscles that we have trouble get moving, which would involve the use of electroacupuncture (acupuncture with a gentle electric stimulation aimed at modulating nerves) and rehab exercises. Even then, some cases may not require it at all.

I communicate my thoughts with my clients and work with them to figure out a solution that works. At the rare occasion that they are absolutely against having acupuncture done, we find other ways to achieve similar results.

What is your favourite part about being a Chiropractor?

Meeting and helping people, problem solving with each client, seeing results, and knowing there's still so much to learn.

Dr. Vicko Ma, BSc, DC

Contemporary Medical Acupuncture

Functional Range Conditioning (FRC)

Functional Range Release (FR)

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