The chiropractic manipulation is also known as an adjustment or spinal manipulation. There is ample evidence-based research to show the procedure to be a safe and effective form of treatment for many musculoskeletal conditions. The adjustment allows the body to function at its highest level.
During the physical examination, the doctor will use observation and palpation to conclude if the pain is a result of inflammation or misalignment. In addition, the range of motion will be assessed to observe whether the pain is due to hypomobility (fixation) or hypermobility.
During the adjustment, the doctor will place her hand on the area to be treated. The doctor then applies a quick thrust over the joint and mobilizes it, often without discomfort. The mobilization realigns the vertebrae/bone that has moved out of place, which can be caused by trauma or regular daily activities or trauma.
The adjustment can consist of the entire spine or the movement of a single joint. The subluxation has an overall systemic effect on the neuromuscular system. Subluxation gradually puts pressure on nerves, blood vessels, and everything around the area, disrupting the natural flow of signals sent to the brain.
- The Chiropractic Manipulation:
- • Increases range of motion
- • Increases joint mobility
- • Increases joint function
- • Decreases pain
- • Decreases muscle spasms
- • Decreases nerve irritability
During a manipulation, often an audible release occurs, such as a “pop” or “click”, similar to when cracking your knuckles. This is caused by a joint cavitation, which is the release of gases, such as oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide, from the joint.
Most patients experience a relieving sensation. However, on some occasions, minor discomfort can occur for a short duration. Often, the discomfort can be the result of spasms in the surrounding muscles, which occur when patients are nervous during the treatment. Therefore, it is important that patients are calm and comfortable before the doctor begins the manipulation procedure.
If untreated, repetitive loading of the soft tissue and bone in the altered or injured state can cause further pain or injury. The spine and its surrounding structures, such as discs, can deteriorate and lead to spinal degeneration. Common causes for subluxation include poor posture, repetitive motions, stress, prolonged sitting or standing without breaks, poor sleeping habits, improper lifting, lack of exercise, sports, poor form during exercise, and poor nutrition.
Once normal joint movement occurs, muscle strengthening and coordination are essential for the course of proper treatment. If chiropractic manipulation is new to the patient, the doctor will discuss the risks and benefits to ensure a safe treatment.