What is a Chiropractic Adjustment?
A chiropractic adjustment is the manual manipulation of a joint, typically in the spine, to allow the joint to move more freely. The word chiropractic means “to be done by hand.” Chiropractic adjustments today, however, can be done either by hand or with a device called an ‘activator’.
Typically, a joint will have restricted movement as a result of a misalignment of the spine. The misalignment causes soft tissue irritation too. Together, the misalignment and soft tissue irritation, creates pressure and interference on the nerve lines of communication that exit the spine. Misalignments of the spine can be caused by simple repetitive motion or traumatic as car accidents or sports injuries. Generally, when a person experiences pain after something as simple as picking up a piece of paper, the stress on the joint misalignment had been building over a long time prior and picking up the paper was just the straw that broke the camel’s back. Spinal joint misalignment left untreated over a long period of time will cause osteoarthritis and degenerative disc disease.
The goal of the adjustment is to correct the joint misalignment, therefore removing the source of soft tissue irritation and nerve interference. The nerves are the body’s communication pathways between the brain and body. The body is an amazing healer as long as it has clear communication pathways. The removal of the nerve interference is what allows the body to heal at 100% from pain or even other organ function problems.
Chiropractic adjustments are safe when done by a chiropractor. It is possible to experience soreness after an adjustment, but soreness is common and will subside as the underlying joint misalignment is corrected and stabilized. This is like the pain felt a day or two after working out at the gym or the tenderness felt in your gums after having them cleaned.
Often when an adjustment is made you will hear a popping or cracking sound. This sound is the same sound you hear when you crack your knuckles. It is the release of gases in your joints and nothing to be concerned about.
Types of Chiropractic Treatments
There are close to 100 different types of chiropractic treatments. In our Rock Solid clinics, we use a variety of treatments dependent on what will work best for the patient and the pain being experienced. Some of common treatments used include:
Also called spinal manipulation, manual adjustments are performed by hand with a fast, short thrust or movement to help realign vertebra or the individual sections of the spine.
Drop Table Adjustments
Sometimes a special chiropractic table is used for manual adjustments. As the patient lays on the drop table, the chiropractor performs the manual adjustment by hand. As the adjustment is being made, a section of the table will drop down allowing the portion of the patient’s body that is over that section to also drop down. This method allows for greater movement of the joint being adjusted.
The Activator Method
Another type of manual adjustment, the activator method, is performed with a spring-loaded device called an “activator.” The activator is a small, hand-held instrument that delivers a gentle but quick thrust.
Spinal Decompression (Non-surgical decompression)
When a patient has a bulging or herniated disc, spinal decompression is used to stretch the spine so the bulging disc tissue can move back into place and heal. Spinal decompression can also be used to manage pain caused by degenerative disc disease and treat the causes of sciatica, diseased or injured nerve roots or worn spinal joints.
Spinal decompression is done on a spinal decompression table. The patient lies on the spinal decompression table and a harness is placed around the hips. The lower portion of the table slides back and forth to stretch and relax the spine. If the decompression is treating cervical herniated discs, the upper portion of the body moves. The decompression session is approximately 20 minutes long and multiple sessions are typically required for long term pain relief and healing.
Chiropractic benefits people of all ages from newborns to senior citizens. It offers relief from many different conditions including headaches, neck pain, low back pain, numbness and tingling in the fingers and toes, sciatica, and scoliosis to name just a few. It has also been found to offer relief from chronic conditions like fibromyalgia and body pains and peripheral neuropathy associated with cancer. In infants, chiropractic has successfully been used to help with colic, earaches, constipation and breastfeeding issues.
Chiropractic adjustments offer pain relief without medication. In a time when opioid addiction is prevalent, being able to reduce or relieve pain completely without the use of medication is a great benefit.
Another benefit of chiropractic is that it treats the cause of the problem not just the symptoms. When you take a pain medication it temporarily reduces or hides the pain. As soon as the medication wears off the pain is back. With chiropractic adjustments, the joint causing the problem is loosened allowing the pain to go away naturally.