Spinal Manipulation or Adjustment

A chiropractor is a health-care practitioner who focuses on the body’s structural alignment and overall functioning. Chiropractors use a variety of treatment approaches, including adjustments (manipulations) to help correct spinal alignment issues, reduce pressure on nerves, relieve pain, improve function, and boost the body’s natural ability to heal itself.

Chiropractic adjustments can help people of all ages, including elderly people and children with a variety of health conditions, particularly those who suffer from back pain, neck pain, and headaches. Chiropractors also counsel patients on exercise and healthy habits, as well as occupational and lifestyle modification.

What Is a Chiropractic Adjustment?

Chiropractic adjustment, also called chiropractic manipulation, spinal manipulation, or manual manipulation, is central to chiropractic care. During an adjustment, a chiropractor applies his or her hands or an instrument to vertebrae that are not functioning properly. 

The objective is to reduce “subluxation,” or the dislocation or misalignment of the vertebrae, to improve range of motion, reduce nerve sensitivity, and generally improve the function of the entire body.

While chiropractors achieve this with a wide range of techniques, a chiropractic adjustment often involves a high-velocity arm thrust applied to the vertebrae. This may be accompanied by a “popping” of the joints, and a sense of relief (occasionally accompanied by minor, short-lived discomfort in the joints or muscles).

The application of an ice pack after an adjustment often reduces any aching or soreness relatively quickly.

How Effective Is Chiropractic Adjustment?

A report conducted in 2010 in the United Kingdom examined the scientific evidence regarding the effectiveness of manual therapies. It found that spinal manipulation may be helpful in successfully treating several painful conditions, including:

  • Back pain
  • Migraine and neck-related headaches
  • Joint pain
  • Whiplash

Another study published that same year in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine found that the majority of study participants who used complementary and alternative medicine (including chiropractic) for back pain sought this type of care because “conventional medical treatment would not help.” Sixty percent perceived that they had received “a great deal of benefit” from it.

Are Chiropractic Adjustments Safe?

The majority of research surrounding chiropractic care has focused on the effectiveness and safety of spinal manipulation for back pain. When performed by a licensed chiropractor, spinal adjustments provide a safe alternative to more invasive treatment options such as painkillers or surgery. Injuries or other adverse effects from spinal manipulations have been widely reported as either temporary in nature or extremely rare.

Types of Chiropractic Adjustments

There are more than 100 types of chiropractic adjustments, although most practitioners focus on eight to 10 approaches. The high-velocity, low-amplitude (HVLA) technique is one of the first and most often used chiropractic methods. There are many types of HVLA approaches, including:

  • Diversified technique, which is the method most often correlated with chiropractic adjustment. With this method, practitioners apply a short (low-amplitude), quick (high-velocity) thrust, one joint at a time, to restore range of motion.
  • The Gonstead adjustment, which is similar to the diversified technique, except that specially designed chairs and tables may be used to position the patient.
  • Thompson Terminal Point (Drop) technique, which is a gentle adjustment approach that utilizes specialized treatment tables with sections that drop a short distance during the HVLA thrust to facilitate movement of the joint.

Patient Testimonial

How Can Chiropractic Adjustments Benefit You?

To learn more about how chiropractic adjustments can help you break the cycle of pain, please contact Tuck Chiropractic Clinic today to schedule an appointment, or pay a visit to any of our clinics located throughout the state of Virginia and in North Carolina.

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