We believe the chiropractor's main tool for getting the patient well is called the adjustment. Some also refer to this as a manipulation especially when reading research studies. The adjustment is the gateway into the patient's neurological system. First the patient will be asked to give their history of chief complaint followed by an examination. This information will allow us to evaluate the patient's spine or other joints for subluxation. We define a subluxation as a minor misalignment in a joint where the motion integrity, physiologic function, and/or alignment have been altered however the joint surfaces remained intact. The altered physiologic function can have significant effects on the nervous system and create nerve interference. We use postural analysis, touch, and sometimes x-ray analysis to determine the location of the subluxation. Once located, we can use various techniques to reduce the subluxation and this is called the adjustment. Typically the tissues around a subluxation become tender to the touch and the joint feels blocked. It is not uncommon to hear an audible popping sound similar to when you crack your knuckles when the joint is adjusted.
Most of the time the adjustment is painless, however, if the particular joint is inflamed and tender to the touch discomfort can be felt. This discomfort will usually pass within 12 to 24 hours. Cold therapy applications applied to these painful joints will help to reduce the inflammation and therefore reduce the pain. We encourage our patients that feel significant pain after an adjustment to contact our office. This is usually rare.
Overall, adjustments are an excellent way to keep your body functioning at its highest level. When the nervous system is in balance and communicating with all the tissues in an optimal way, our body has the highest chance for optimal health.