Adjustments

Chiropractic adjustments have been shown to be a safe and effective treatment for pain and injury, and a preferred alternative to surgical treatments.

Chiropractors perform a range of adjustments to gently correct the subluxations, or misalignments, of the vertebrae in the spine caused by any number of conditions or lifestyle choices. Chiropractic adjustments are performed by applying gentle, yet firm pressure to a bone. The primary goal of any adjustment is to restore the bone to its natural, or original, position. The important thing to remember is the act the adjustment frees—not forces—a vertebra to allow it to find its natural position. This is accomplished by the body’s innate intelligence. While a single adjustment might initially help reduce pain, it is through the course of continued adjustments that the body can be retrained to align properly and feel better for a long duration.

Some of the conditions chiropractic adjustments are performed to treat may include:

  • Arthritis
  • Bursitis
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome and other repetitive strain disorders
  • Chronic muscle pain and stiffness
  • Headaches
  • Most musculoskeletal and sports-related injuries
  • Nerve disorders
  • Pain and stiffness in the back, chest, abdomen, neck, hips and shoulders, as well as extremities, such as arms, legs, and feet
  • Sciatica pain
  • Scoliosis
  • Tendonitis
  • Whiplash and other traumatic injuries

Adjustments may be performed while sitting, standing, or lying down. Some adjustments involve special instruments or tables to achieve maximum benefits, and may be combined with other therapies to assist the body in the healing process.

Some common adjustment techniques include:

  • Instrument adjustments, which involve a spring-loaded device.
  • Lumbar roll, in which the chiropractor applies a firm, yet quick thrust to a misaligned vertebra while the patient lies on his or her side.
  • Motion palpation, a hand technique the chiropractor uses to determine if your vertebrae are properly aligned.
  • Release work, in which the chiropractor uses gentle pressure with the fingers to separate the vertebrae.
  • Table adjustments, which entail lying on a specially designed table that drops when pressure is applied to a specific area. The dropping motion allows more gentle adjustments than some manual adjustments do.
  • Toggle drop, which entails firm pressure applied on a specific area of the spine by using crossed hands.

What Type of Chiropractic Treatment is Right For Me?

Chiropractors take many factors—including size, weight, and muscle structure—into consideration when deciding on which adjustment to provide for an individual. Sometimes, ice, electrical stimulation (STIM), or massage therapy (including traction massage) are used prior to a spinal manipulation in order to relax the muscles.

In some cases, it may be necessary to perform an adjustment while you are sedated. Spinal manipulation under anesthesia, which is considered a very safe procedure, is usually reserved for patients with conditions such as chronic neck, back, and joint pain, muscle spasm, shortened muscles, and fibrous adhesions.

Craniosacral Therapy

Another form of adjustment called craniosacral therapy, or “CST,” involves exerting very mild pressure to the body’s craniosacral system, which is comprised of the membranes and cerebrospinal fluid that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord. This includes the cranium—which is composed of the skull, face and mouth, and the “sacrum,” or tailbone.

CST has been shown to provide relief from chronic neck and back pain, scoliosis, brain and spinal cord injuries, migraines, chronic fatigue, nervous system disorders, jaw joint problems, and stress disorders. (Conditions such as aneurysm and intracranial hemorrhage may prohibit this kind of therapy.)

Will Being Adjusted Hurt?

Adjustments almost always do not involve any pain or discomfort. The important thing for a patient to keep in mind is to remain relaxed, because stiffening up may impede the adjustment process. Popping sounds are sometimes heard during adjustments; these are usually pockets of air being released behind a joint or other bony structure, and allow for tension to be released quickly.

Adjustments can leave you with a greater sense of well-being, and calm, but most importantly can put you on the road to a life without pain. Following an adjustment, some patients experience mild aching or soreness in their spinal joints or muscles, which can usually be relieved by an ice or heat pack.

Adjustments have been shown to:

  • Increase blood flow
  • Increase pain tolerance levels
  • Increase range of motion
  • Increase the body’s secretion of “good” chemicals, such as melatonin and endorphins
  • Reduce blood pressure
  • Reduce tension and muscle pressure

Leave a Comment