A chiropractic adjustment also referred to as chiropractic manipulation, is a holistic, non-invasive therapeutic treatment where in trained medical practitioners use their hands to apply a sudden, controlled thrust to a joint in the spinal column. This manual manipulation is done in order to reduce joint, improve abnormal movement patterns, increase the range of motion, reduce nerve irritation, and ultimately, the body’s overall physical function.
A chiropractic adjustment usually involves the following:
- A high velocity, short lever arm force applied to a joint
- Joint cavitation or an audible release of gases including oxygen, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen. The pressure inside the joint is reduced when these gases are released.
- A relieving sensation in most cases, although minor discomfort can be experienced if the surrounding muscles go into spasm or the patient tenses up during treatment.
Bear in mind that joint cavitation does not occur at times, usually due to muscle splinting or the patient is not completely relaxed during the procedure. In such cases, the chiropractor may opt to apply ice, make the patient rest, or do massage and electrical stimulation before attempting the chiropractic adjustment.
Types of Chiropractic Adjustment
There are different types of chiropractic adjustment meant to treat various symptoms based on where in the body a patient is experiencing pain.
- Flexion-distraction manipulation – This is a low-force treatment which concentrates on the hips and the lower back. The chiropractor will stretch your spinal joints using a smooth and subtle pumping motion.
- Manual joint manipulation – This helps to ease the pain in the neck, mid-back, upper and lower extremities. The chiropractor will apply pressure using quick, controlled movements to push your joints apart and allow them to work properly.
- Low force manipulation – This involves a gentle approach and is used on infants, toddlers, elderly patients, or those with acute pain. Slower movements with less force are used to achieve the desired result.
Chiropractic Adjustment Benefits
If you often deal with symptoms like joint pain, headaches or stress, but have yet to see a chiropractor for help, you are missing out on a natural and effective treatment option. Across the globe, millions of people have reaped the benefits of chiropractic adjustment which has been proven to help treat a variety of health disorders.
One of the best things about this treatment approach is that it is completely drug-free. It offers dozens of positive benefits without prescription medications and the invasiveness of surgery or other more radical techniques. Chiropractic adjustments help to naturally treat health problems including the following:
- Neck and lower back pain
- Headaches (tension and migraine)
- Frozen shoulder
Chiropractic Adjustment for the Neck
Manual manipulation of the cervical spine is typically done in the supine position, and the chiropractor places over the articulating pillar of the joint involved. This affected joint is then moved to its end range of motion, with all joint play locked out. A high-velocity, low-amplitude force is then applied.
Certain techniques may be chosen that require a minimum of neck extension and rotation. For instance, the patient can be positioned prone on the treatment table with the heads lightly flexed. Contact is made over the facet joint, and counter-pressure is applied to the opposite side. The manipulative force is then applied through the facet joint without rotating the neck of the patient.
Cervical manipulation of the spine offers a myriad of benefits. It provides effective relief from pain and pressure in the neck. It also realigns the joints and therefore helps improve posture. In addition, having cervical manipulation triggers the release of endorphins which are the natural pain relievers of the human body. Pain relief will eventually have a positive psychological effect on the patient as he/she is able to function more efficiently.
Chiropractic Adjustment for the Lower Back
A lot of studies have come to the conclusion that the manual treatment approaches used by chiropractors are generally effective for the relief of low back pain. They are also of significant value when it comes to the management of lumbar herniated disc, among other conditions.
As a matter of fact, patients suffering from chronic low back pain are often treated by chiropractors. The prognosis is enhanced if the patients undergo spinal maintenance manipulation following the initial intensive manipulative therapy.
A number of reviews have surmised that chiropractic adjustment for the lower back is safe when performed by a licensed and well-trained practitioner. By far, the most common side effects are minor and include feeling tired or soreness, which generally go away after one to two days.
All aspects of treatment are based on precise diagnosis of what is causing pain or discomfort in the lower back. The chiropractor must be informed about your medical history, including traumatic/surgical history, ongoing medical conditions, current medications, and lifestyle factors. This will ensure that treatment will not worsen a herniated disc or cause spinal cord injury.
Chiropractic Adjustment Side Effects
The most common response to a chiropractic adjustment is mild pain or soreness in and around the spinal joints or muscles. If such pain or soreness occurs, it is normally within the first couple of hours post-treatment and typically eases in less than 24 hours. Application of an ice pack helps in relieving the symptoms faster.
Other reported side effects include nausea, dizziness, and headaches. Nothing really serious and all the aforementioned are what you can expect when you go for a chiropractic adjustment. They may not occur at all, but in case you experience any of them, there’s no reason to panic.
Chiropractic adjustment is a safe, holistic, effective and non-invasive form of treatment that has become increasingly popular, especially among people who have had minimal relief from more traditional medical treatment approaches. Just make sure that your chiropractor is duly licensed so you can reap the many health benefits that it has to offer. You may well be on your way to a pain-free, healthier and more functional life.