What is a spinal adjustment?

A chiropractic spine adjustment, also known simply as a chiropractic adjustment or spinal manipulation, is a therapeutic procedure performed by chiropractors to treat various musculoskeletal and neuromuscular conditions, particularly those related to the spine.

The goal of a chiropractic spine adjustment is to correct misalignments or subluxations in the spine, which can be a source of pain, discomfort, and impaired function.

Here's how a chiropractic spine adjustment typically works:

  • Assessment: Before performing a spinal adjustment, the chiropractor conducts a thorough assessment of the patient's medical history, conducts physical examinations, and may use imaging studies (such as X-rays) to diagnose the issue and identify the areas of concern. They pay particular attention to the spine's alignment and any restrictions in joint movement.

  • Patient Positioning: The patient is usually asked to lie face down, face up, or on their side on a chiropractic treatment table, depending on the specific technique and the area of the spine being adjusted.

  • Manual Adjustment: Using their hands or specialized chiropractic instruments, the chiropractor applies controlled and precise force to a specific joint in the spine. The goal is to mobilize a joint that is not moving properly, correct misalignments (subluxations), and restore normal range of motion. The adjustment is often accompanied by a popping or cracking sound, which is the release of gas bubbles from the joint, similar to the sound produced when cracking knuckles.

  • Follow-up Care: After the adjustment, the chiropractor may recommend additional treatments, such as soft tissue therapy, exercises, or lifestyle modifications, to complement the adjustment and support the healing process.

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