A chiropractic adjustment is a manual manipulation of the spinal bones. Chiropractors call this an adjustment because the procedure corrects the positioning and alignment of the vertebrae.
Proper vertebral alignment is very important to a patient’s general health according to chiropractic theory. An unadjusted spine can develop subluxations, which can impinge on proper nerve functionality and set the stage for disease or injury to develop.
Correcting these subluxated bones is the primary reason for spinal adjustments and one of the universal ideals embraced by all chiropractic providers.
Most chiropractors use the spinal adjustment as their primary means of treatment. Chiropractors believe in many ideologies and their style of performing a spinal adjustment will vary greatly from doctor to doctor.
The one thing that all vertebral adjustments seek to accomplish is the proper alignment of the vertebral bones, allowing a free flow of life energy throughout the spine and body.
Chiropractors will use different positions and techniques to treat their patients. Most chiropractors have a “standard adjustment”, but will alter it to suit the needs of individual patients. Often, chiropractors will focus treatment on a specific and problematic area of the spine.
This holistic treatment is designed to correct the painful complaint now and allow for better general wellness in the future. Remember, the idea behind spinal adjusting is to allow the body to stay healthy and provide for its own needs, including preventing and healing disease or damage.
I have been treated by many chiropractors, over many years, and on several continents. Instead of writing some textbook examples of standard chiropractic adjustments, I will instead describe many that I have personally received:
Neck adjustments can be performed many ways. I have had direct downward pressure against my neck while lying prone (face down). I have had multiple sharp side to side twists while lying face up (supine). I have received similar side to side twists while seated. Sometimes the twists involved an upward jerking motion on the head. Occasionally it felt as if the goal was to decapitate me.
Upper back and middle back adjustments are almost always performed while lying prone (face down). The pressure is inward and slightly upward with the doctor using both hands against my spine. Once or twice I had a doctor use an elbow to perform an adjustment to this region.
Lumbar spinal adjustments have been performed many ways. I have received a similar type of adjustment to the middle back while lying face down. The pressure was inward and upward with both hands. I have also received a lumbar adjustment while lying face up and the doctor using the adjustments of the bench to drop my legs. I have received lumbar adjustments while standing back to back with the doctor and him using a Judo type lift and bump to create the lower back adjustment. This doctor would literally hook me by the elbows and lift me using his legs and hips. This was a powerful adjustment.
Lumbar, sacrum, and hip adjustments have been performed upon me while lying facedown. The doctor would use various inward and side to side pressures from one or both hands. I have also received this adjustment while lying on my side with one leg folded up in a fetal position. The doctor would use my elbow and folded leg as a fulcrum to torque the lumbar, hip, and sacral region. Sometimes, wedge shaped blocks were used under my hips to allow a slow gravitational adjustment of the pelvis.
Besides manual adjustments, I have had chiropractors use other healing and balancing techniques on my back. Sometimes the techniques were vigorous and other times they were gentle.
I found that the vigorous techniques looked and felt impressive, but often left me sore and in worse shape than before the treatment. Some of the gentle techniques seemed to have no effect, but afterwards, I did feel better.
I now feel that any temporary relief I experienced from chiropractic was a placebo effect. This is because the very conditions that were being actively treated were never the source of my pain. What a waste of time and money. But, at least I learned a lot about this interesting profession along the way.
If you have a case of physically-induced back pain, chiropractic might be a perfect treatment for you. The cost is low and insurance usually helps to cover the treatments.
Most chiropractors are caring and open minded. Many patients prefer them to medical doctors, since chiropractors are often more keen to listening to a patient’s needs and concerns.
Just remember that chiropractic is also a business. In order for one to succeed, the patient must return over and over and over again.