Spinal adjustment, according to authors Meeker and Halderman, is the one core clinical method that all chiropractors agree upon.
Chiropractic adjustment can only be applied to joints in the spine and correction of misalignment or subluxation that may occur in that area. 95 percent of all spinal adjustments in the world are performed by chiropractors. Chiropractic adjustment frees the vertebrae to adjust to its natural position. The natural state of the body knows how to correct itself once it is free to do so with the help of chiropractic adjustment.
Chiropractic adjustments can help prevent and treat many conditions such as the following:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome and other repetitive strain disorders
- Chronic muscle pain and stiffness
- Most musculoskeletal and sports-related injuries
- Nerve disorders
- Pain and stiffness in the back, chest, abdomen, neck, hips and shoulders, as well as extremities, such as arms, legs, and feet
- Sciatica pain
- Whiplash and other traumatic injuries
Some common adjustment methods include:
- Toggle Drop: This is when the chiropractor, using crossed hands, presses down firmly on a particular area of the spine. Then, with a quick and precise thrust, the chiropractor adjusts the spine. This is done to improve mobility in the vertebral joints.
- Lumbar Roll (aka side posture): The chiropractor positions the patient on his or her side, then applies a quick and precise manipulative thrust to the misaligned vertebra, returning it to its proper position.
- Release Work: The chiropractor applies gentle pressure using his or her fingertips to separate the vertebrae.
- Table adjustments: The patient lies on a special table with sections that dropdown. The chiropractor applies a quick thrust at the same time the section drops. The dropping of the table allows for a lighter adjustment without the twisting positions that can accompany other techniques.
- Instrument adjustments: Often the gentlest methods of adjusting the spine. The patient lies on the table face down while the chiropractor uses a spring-loaded activator instrument to perform the adjustment. This technique is often used to perform adjustments on animals as well.
- Manipulation under anesthesia (MUA): This is performed by a chiropractor certified in this technique in a hospital outpatient setting when the patient is unresponsive to traditional adjustments. Chiropractors take many factors—including size, weight, and muscle structure—into consideration when deciding on which adjustment to make. Sometimes, ice, electrical stimulation, or massage therapy (including traction massage) are used prior to a spinal manipulation in order to relax the muscles.
Patients with chronic pain may require anesthesia during their treatment. This procedure is safe and only reserved for patients with special circumstances. Chiropractic adjustments, when performed by a skillful professional, are significantly safe methods of spinal correction.
Craniosacral therapy (CST) is a form of bodywork that is focused primarily on the concept of primary respiration and regulating the flow of cerebrospinal fluid by using therapeutic touch to manipulate the synarthrodial joints of the cranium. This procedure is proven to often relieve symptoms of stress and tension.
The following are observed benefits from chiropractic adjustments:
- Increased blood flow
- Increased body secretion of melatonin and endorphins
- Increased pain tolerance levels
- Increased range of motion
- Reduced blood pressure
- Reduced tension
- Reduced muscle pain
Popping sounds heard during chiropractic adjustments are usually caused by pockets of air being released from behind the joints. Mild aching or soreness may be present after a chiropractic visit but is typically gone shortly after and easily relieved with the application of ice or heat.