Chiropractic adjustment, sometimes referred to as spinal manipulation, is a method by which a joint is adjusted in order to enhance its otherwise limited range of motion. Chiropractic adjustments often result in a "pop" or cracking sound. Ultimately, the intention of a chiropractic adjustment is to provide pain relief and address physical dysfunction.
Benefits Of Chiropractic Adjustment
Chiropractic adjustment is often sought for low back pain, neck pain and headaches. Pain relief has been described as mild to moderate after just a single treatment, though ongoing care is recommended.
What To Expect
Chiropractic adjustments may be applied to various joints of the back, neck, shoulder or other part of the body. Prior to the adjustment, a chiropractor will often conduct a brief health history intake and perform a physical examination of the spine. X-rays are sometimes recommended as well.
During the adjustment, the patient will be instructed to lie in a specific position to allow for optimal access to particular joints of the body. Sessions often take place on a padded chiropractic exam table. Sudden force may be used to "push" the joint past its current range of motion, resulting in a "popping" or "cracking" sound.
Specialized equipment: For low-force adjustments, special tools and techniques, such as the Activator Method for example, are available that may be considered less aggressive by some physicians.
Recommended sessions: A series of chiropractic visits may be required in order to successfully treat an existing condition and to maintain the effects of the adjustment thereafter.
A chiropractic adjustment should be performed by a trained and accredited physician. Chiropractic adjustments are performed by chiropractors, whereas spinal manipulations may be carried out by physical therapists and osteopaths. Possible side effects of chiropractic adjustments include headache, fatigue, continued pain and, in more severe instances, a herniated disc, nerve compression or stroke.
Who wouldn't benefit: Individuals with osteoporosis or nerve damage (including numbness, tingling or a weakness in the arm or leg) should forgo chiropractic adjustment. Those who have received spinal surgery should check with their surgeon before seeking this type of chiropractic care.