What is a Chiropractic Adjustment: Indications, Risks, Procedure, What to Expect after Chiropractic Adjustment

What is a Chiropractic Adjustment?

Chiropractic adjustment, also known as the spinal manipulation, is a procedure where a sudden and controlled force is applied to a spinal joint by trained specialists, i.e. chiropractors, using their hands or a small instrument. The aim of chiropractic adjustment is to correct the structural alignment of the spine and enhance the body’s physical functioning.

Chiropractic Adjustment

Indications for Chiropractic Adjustment

Chiropractic neck adjustment is done for neck pain. Low back pain and headache are other common problems in which chiropractic adjustment is done.

Chiropractic care believes in the following concepts:

  • The human body has a natural ability to heal itself.
  • The body’s structure comprising of nerves, bones, joints and muscles and the capacity for healthy function are closely related.
  • Chiropractic treatment helps in balancing the body’s structure and function and boosts self-healing.

Risks of Chiropractic Adjustment

Chiropractic adjustment when done by a trained and professional therapist is very safe and effective. Serious side effects of chiropractic adjustment are rare. Some of the risks involved with chiropractic adjustment include:

  • Disc herniation.
  • Nerve compression resulting in pain, weakness, loss of sensation in legs, and loss of bladder or bowel control.
  • Stroke (vertebral artery dissection) after manipulation of the neck.

Chiropractic adjustments are contraindicated in the following conditions:

  • Osteoporosis.
  • Tingling, numbness or loss of strength in an arm or leg.
  • Cancer or tumor of the spine.
  • If the patient has an increased risk of stroke.
  • If the spine is unstable or uneven.

Chiropractic Adjustment Procedure

At the initial visit, the chiropractor will ask many questions about an individual’s health history and performs a physical exam paying special attention to the spine. Other examinations or tests, such as X-rays may also be recommended by the chiropractor.

During a typical chiropractic adjustment, the patient is placed in a specific position in order to treat the affected areas. Lying face down is the most common position used. The patient is made to lie on a specially designed and a padded chiropractic table. The chiropractor uses his/ her hands to apply a sudden and controlled force/pressure to a joint which pushes it beyond its normal range of motion. Popping or cracking sounds may be audible as the chiropractor applies pressure on the joints during the adjustment session.

Other Additional therapies which are recommended along with chiropractic adjustment are:

  • Ice or heat application
  • Stretching
  • Massage
  • Electrical stimulation
  • Exercise
  • Losing weight

What to Expect After Chiropractic Adjustment?

Some individuals may experience minor side effects for some days after chiropractic adjustment such as headache, fatigue or pain in the parts of the body that were treated. This will subside in a few days.

Results of Chiropractic Adjustment

Chiropractic adjustment can do wonders in treating low back pain, headaches and other spine-related conditions like neck pain. Every patient may not respond positively to the chiropractic adjustments. The results depend on the patient’s condition. If the symptoms persist even after several weeks of treatments, then it is an indication that chiropractic adjustment may not be the best treatment option for you.

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:May 28, 2018

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