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Chiropractic Adjustments

Spinal adjustment.

Chiropractic Adjustment and Manipulation

Chiropractic care is a form of complementary and alternative medicine that focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal disorders, particularly the spine. This article seeks to shed light on various aspects of chiropractic care, including its techniques, benefits, and the conditions it can treat. Whether you are considering chiropractic treatment or just want to learn more about it, understanding the fundamentals is essential.

What is Chiropractic Care?

Many chiropractors advocate chiropractic care as a healthcare discipline that emphasizes the inherent recuperative power of the body to heal itself without the use of drugs or surgery particularly for patients with chronic pain. Chiropractors, trained in this field, use their hands or specialized instruments to perform chiropractic adjustments and spinal manipulation to restore joint function and support the nervous system. According to a systematic review, this form of manual therapy is commonly used to treat musculoskeletal pain, such as back pain, neck pain and particularly low back pain.

How does chiropractic care work?

Practicing spinal manipulative therapy, Chiropractic care works by applying a controlled force to a specific joint that has become restricted in its movement. This spinal manipulative therapy helps in restoring mobility, alleviating chronic and low back pain, and supporting the body's natural ability to heal. The adjustments carried out by chiropractors aim to optimize the function of the nervous system and enhance overall wellness.

What conditions can chiropractic care treat?

Chiropractic care can effectively treat various musculoskeletal conditions, including but not limited to chronic back pain, neck pain, headaches, and joint disorders. Additionally, it can be used to enhance the treatment plan for conditions related to the nervous system and overall health.

Is chiropractic care safe for everyone?

Chiropractic care is generally considered safe when performed by a trained and licensed chiropractor. However, as with any form of treatment, there are potential risks associated with it, especially for individuals with certain health conditions. To know about chiropractic care, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional to determine if it is a suitable option for your specific needs such as low back pain.

Benefits of Chiropractic Manipulation

Chiropractic manipulation, specifically spinal manipulation, offers several benefits for individuals suffering from back pain and related conditions. Through appropriately applied techniques, chiropractors aim to provide pain relief, improve range of motion, and enhance overall physical function.

How does manipulation help with back pain?

Spinal manipulation, a primary technique used in chiropractic care, can effectively alleviate acute and chronic back pain by addressing musculoskeletal issues and restoring proper alignment of the spine. By targeting specific areas of the spine, chiropractors strive to reduce pain and discomfort, ultimately improving the patient's quality of life.

Can chiropractic adjustments relieve neck pain?

Chiropractic adjustments can indeed provide relief for neck pain and related discomfort. By mobilizing the spinal joints through gentle manipulation, chiropractors aim to reduce tension, stiffness, and pain in the neck area, thereby enhancing the individual's overall comfort and well-being.

What are the benefits of spinal manipulation?

Spinal manipulation is associated with various benefits, including the potential to alleviate pain, enhance mobility, and promote natural healing within the body. Additionally, a systematic review highlights that it may contribute to reducing the need for medications and invasive interventions for chronic musculoskeletal issues, including low back pain.

Understanding Chiropractic Techniques

You should know about chiropractic care as it encompasses a range of techniques aimed at addressing chronic musculoskeletal pain like low back pain and related conditions. These techniques are designed to restore proper joint function and support the body's natural healing processes, often without the use of medications or surgery.

What are the different types of chiropractic techniques?

There are many chiropractic techniques utilized by practitioners, including spinal manipulation, spinal mobilization, and various adjustment techniques. Each technique is tailored to the individual's specific needs and the nature of their condition.

How do chiropractors perform spinal manipulation?

Chiropractors use their hands or specialized instruments to apply controlled force to the spine, aiming to restore proper alignment and function of the affected joint. The manipulation may be carried out with precision and care to ensure optimal results and minimal discomfort for the patient, according to a systematic review.

Are there specific techniques for lower back pain?

Chiropractors may employ specific techniques to address lower back pain, such as targeted adjustments and mobilization methods that focus on the lumbar spine. These techniques are tailored to address the unique needs and condition of the individual experiencing lower back discomfort.

When to Seek Chiropractic Treatment

Recognizing the signs that indicate the need for chiropractic care is important for primary care professionals dealing with individuals experiencing musculoskeletal and low back pain issues. Chiropractic treatment can play a significant role in reducing pain, improving range of motion, and supporting overall physical well-being.

What are the signs that indicate the need for chiropractic care?

Signs such as persistent back pain, neck pain, headaches, restricted mobility, and discomfort in the musculoskeletal system may indicate the need for chiropractic care. Individuals experiencing these symptoms can benefit from consulting with a chiropractor to explore treatment options.

Is chiropractic treatment recommended for musculoskeletal issues?

Chiropractic treatment is often recommended for individuals dealing with musculoskeletal issues, as it offers a non-invasive approach to addressing pain, improving function, and supporting the body's natural healing processes. It can be particularly beneficial for those seeking alternatives to traditional medical interventions.

How does chiropractic care help in reducing pain and improving range of motion?

Chiropractic care focuses on addressing the root cause of pain and limitations in range of motion by addressing musculoskeletal imbalances and promoting proper alignment of the spine and other joints. Through chiropractic adjustments and spinal manipulative therapy, individuals can experience a reduction in chronic and low back pain and improved physical function.

Types of Chiropractic Adjustments

Chiropractic adjustments encompass various methods aimed at addressing musculoskeletal pain and enhancing overall physical function. These adjustments are tailored to the individual's specific needs, with the goal of promoting natural healing and alleviating discomfort.

What are the different methods of chiropractic adjustment?

Chiropractors utilize a range of methods for chiropractic adjustments, including spinal manipulation and mobilization techniques. These techniques are applied with precision and care to best address the individual's condition and promote optimal results.

Can chiropractic adjustments provide relief for lower back pain?

Chiropractic adjustments are known to provide relief for lower back pain by addressing the underlying musculoskeletal imbalances and restoring proper function to the affected area. Through targeted adjustments, specifically spinal manipulative therapy, individuals can experience a reduction in chronic pain and improved physical well-being.

Are there specific adjustments for neck manipulation?

Chiropractors may employ specific adjustments for neck manipulation to address issues such as neck pain, stiffness, and restricted mobility. Many chiropractors, by applying tailored techniques, aim to alleviate discomfort and promote optimal function in the neck and low back area.

Very often, people first seek chiropractic care because they are experiencing pain in their back, neck or another part of the body and they wish to avoid medication and surgery. Chiropractors use a variety of natural treatments to restore a patient to optimal health and function. By far, the most widely known chiropractic treatment is an adjustment, also called spinal manipulation. An adjustment involves a type of movement done to a joint in the body that is not moving properly—notably to the spinal joints. Although there are many different spinal manipulation techniques, all adjustments share the goal of restoring spinal alignment so the body can function at 100 percent.

How a Chiropractor Decides to Make an Adjustment

Before performing a spinal adjustment, the chiropractor feels for joint motion along the spine by moving the joint gently in different directions. If the joint is not moving as it should, the chiropractor will detect restriction in a certain direction, which can happen when the spine is out of alignment. Normally, each joint in the vertebrae moves a tiny bit while remaining connected to its neighbors. But if it locks up, this may result in inflammation, pain, stiffness and a disruption of nerve flow. Since nerves travel from the vertebrae to the rest of the body, the lack of nerve flow may extend down an arm or leg or to another part of the body. This means that body tissues may not be getting the proper nerve transmissions they need in order to operate at peak capacity.

When the chiropractor makes an adjustment, nerve flow may be reestablished in part or in whole as the spine is brought further into alignment, and pain and stiffness should decrease. It may take one or several adjustments to bring the spine back into alignment, depending on the condition of the spine before treatment began.

During the Adjustment

For an adjustment, you will be placed in a particular position and you will often be lying on a specially designed table. Pressure is applied to specific vertebrae—either directly by the chiropractor’s hands or by specialized instruments—to help bring your vertebrae back into alignment. The chiropractor will deliver thrusts into a joint at a precise speed and force in order to restore the proper movement of the joint. At the moment of the thrust, you may hear a sound such as a popping or clunking. This occurs because gases (nitrogen, oxygen and CO2) are released within the joint.

Immediately after a chiropractic adjustment, there is often a feeling of relief and soundness within the joint and body. Adjustments typically cause no pain, but misaligned vertebrae can sometimes be tender. Rarely, there may be a little soreness after treatment, much like after exercise, but this is temporary.

Keep in mind that Doctors of Chiropractic are extensively trained in diagnosing and treating disorders of the spine, muscles and nerves. Adjusting your own back or having a friend or other untrained person adjust your back is very different than visiting the chiropractor for an adjustment—and it may be dangerous.

What Patients May Expect From Chiropractic Adjustments

Many people have experienced the following benefits after chiropractic adjustments:

  • Better range of motion: For example, if your shoulder joint was “frozen” when you sought chiropractic care, a series of adjustments should result in better joint function for fuller movement.
  • A feeling of wellness: Endorphins (feel-good brain chemicals) are released when a chiropractic adjustment is delivered.
  • Improved immune system responses: Research studies have shown that chemicals that regulate the immune system and fight infections—namely, anti-inflammatory cytokines and CD4 helper cells—are released into the blood after an adjustment. At the same time, pro-inflammatory chemicals are suppressed.
  • Better posture: It is much easier to stand up straight when your spine is in alignment.
  • Pain reduction: Joints that are in alignment should not hurt. Chiropractic treatment is well known for assisting those who are on worker’s compensation to return to work and to reduce the amount of pain they are experiencing during the healing process, often resulting in less need for medication—but you don’t have to be on worker’s comp for this to happen.

These are just a few of the benefits. You will likely see greater benefits the longer you see your chiropractor for regular chiropractic adjustments. If poor posture or pain in your body has been sneaking up on you over the years, chiropractic therapy, including spinal adjustments, can give your body a sense of rejuvenation and renewal.

More Chiropractic Techniques and Physiotherapies 

Dr. James Fraser

Doctor of Chiropractic