The Chiropractic Adjustment

Have you ever 'cracked' your knuckles, back or neck? Each of these is a type of 'adjustment'. In this article, we take a look at the 'chiropractic adjustment' that lies at the very heart of chiropractic treatment.

What is a chiropractic adjustment?

An 'adjustment', 'chiropractic adjustment' or 'spinal adjustment' refers to a method of manual manipulation in which a trained chiropractor applies pressure to a specific joint along the spinal column in order to realign, restore motion, relieve pain or improve function.

During an adjustment, the chiropractor applies a high-velocity (fast), but low-amplitude (shallow) thrust to the joint in question. The action is often accompanied by a 'crack' or 'pop' sound as fluid or gas is released from the joint. However, it is not necessary for an adjustment to produce a sound in order for it to be effective.

A treatment session typically consists of a series of adjustments to spinal joints relevant to the individual patient.

Are chiropractic adjustments painful?

For most patients, chiropractic adjustments are a painless and even enjoyable experience.

New patients may at first feel slight discomfort, often as a result of an instinctive tightening of the muscles, until they are able to relax during the adjustment. Regular patients often describe feelings of relief and comfort immediately after.

How can I prepare myself for a chiropractic adjustment?

Naturally, it may take a little time to feel truly at ease in the hands of your chiropractor. However, a good practitioner will talk you through the whole process during your initial consultation, which should go a long way to making you feel comfortable.

Here are a few tips for preparing yourself for a great adjustment:

  • Try to clear your mind of any issues from work and life.

  • Try to enjoy the physical sensations you experience - in much the same way as you might during a massage.

  • As your chiropractor is moving you into position, take a deep breath. As he/she starts to perform the adjustment, breath out slowly and continuously until the end of the procedure.


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