Chiropractic Adjustment Restores Normal Motion and Positioning
A chiropractic adjustment, also known as chiropractic manipulation, manual manipulation, or spinal manipulation, is a common therapeutic treatment for back pain. A chiropractic adjustment refers to a chiropractor applying manipulation to one or more vertebrae that have abnormal movement or positioning or fail to function normally. The objective of the chiropractic adjustment is to restore normal motion and positioning, with the goal of increasing range of motion, reducing nerve irritation and improving function.
A chiropractic adjustment typically involves a high velocity, short lever arm thrust applied to a vertebra that is generally accompanied by an audible release of gas (joint cavitation or sound) which in turn, releases joint pressure. This is generally a good sensation with almost instantaneous relief. Infrequently, minor discomfort has been reported (and may last for a short time) if the surrounding muscles are in spasm or the patient tenses up during chiropractic care.
It should be understood that joint cavitation or popping does not occur all the time, generally as a result of significant muscle splinting or if the patient is not adequately relaxed during the chiropractic manipulation. At times like this, the chiropractor may choose to apply other physical therapy treatments including heat, electrical stimulation and massage before attempting a chiropractic adjustment.
There are many different manipulative techniques that can be utilized in chiropractic, and there is a certain skill level and “art” involved with high velocity, low amplitude adjustment or manipulation. At times, it may actually be more important for the chiropractor to determine when not to apply the adjustment.
The most common reaction to a chiropractic adjustment is aching or soreness in the spinal joints or muscles. If this aching or soreness does occur, it is usually within the first few hours post–treatment and usually doesn’t last longer than 24 hours after the chiropractic adjustment. Application of an ice pack may be helpful to reduce the symptoms more quickly.
(reprinted with permission)