The chiropractic adjustment is a safe, natural, and noninvasive procedure used by the chiropractor to restore alignment and improve function in the body. Learning the art of adjusting is a skill that requires years of study and practice. Chiropractors are the only health care professionals trained to deliver the chiropractic adjustment. Spinal adjustments by any other individual or health care professional have been shown to be dangerous and less effective. In other words, letting someone you know who is not trained in the spine to "crack your back," is not a good idea.
What is a Spinal Adjustment?
In basic terms, the spinal adjustment refers to the process in which the chiropractor skillfully applies a controlled impulse into one or more "subluxated" vertebrae of the spine. The adjustment is also frequently used in the pelvic region to normalize the sacroiliac joints. The adjustment is usually delivered using the hands or through the use of a specialized mechanical tool like an Activator or an ArthroStim.
When Should Adjustments be Given?
Spinal adjustments are applied to vertebrae of the spine which are no longer in their proper position and where functioning has become impaired. Vertebrae which lose their normal position or proper motion are commonly termed vertebral subluxations. The chiropractor uses a number of unique tests and procedures to determine which, if any, vertebrae are subluxated. If subluxations are found, immediate correction is generally indicated. Just like cavities, subluxations are not always painful during the initial stages. Therefore, individuals who are not experiencing back or neck discomfort should receive periodic spinal checkups.
What do Adjustments do?
Adjusting helps correct vertebral subluxations. Correcting subluxations in the spine recalibrates the brain and nerve system. This reduces pain and inflammation, reduces muscle spasm and tension, reduces the release of stress hormones in the body, and normalizes spinal biomechanics. More importantly, this can remove nerve irritation and interference which will improve overall health and wellness of the individual. As far as we currently know, chiropractic adjustments are the only way to eliminate vertebral subluxations. Only the doctor of chiropractic is trained to detect subluxations and deliver the chiropractic spinal adjustment to correct subluxations.
In addition to adjusting the spine and pelvis, almost every other joint of the body can be adjusted by the chiropractor. This includes the joints of the hands and feet, wrist and ankles, elbows and knees, shoulders and hips, ribs, and the jaw.
Like the joints of the spine, joints in the extremities can also become misaligned and fixated. Chiropractic adjusting techniques can restore and enhance extremity joint functioning, which can increase the life of the joint and keep wear and tear to a minimum. This is of special interest to athletes who generally demand optimal joint performance from highly stressed joints. Adjusting provides an immediate increase in joint range of motion and also supplies the joint with nutrients, as motion is the only way to bring nutrients into the joint cartilage and flush out waste products.