Chiropractic adjustments are the foundation of chiropractic treatment. Chiropractors use adjustments to correct vertebral subluxations, or dislocations and misalignments of the bones of the spine (vertebrae). The word “subluxation” has its origins in the Latin words “luxare” (to dislocate) and “sub” (partial). Subluxations may put pressure on or irritate nerves and blood vessels in the spine, and cause musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction.
Adjustments, also known as “spinal manipulation” by some medical professionals, involve the use of a certain amount of controlled force, applied in a specific direction, to a joint that is not moving properly. Adjustments are carried out manually by the doctor, or sometimes by using a specially-designed instrument. Chiropractic adjustments help return a patient’s spinal vertebrae to their natural position and range of motion, with the goal of restoring health and normal functioning. In addition to restoring joint mobility, adjustments can also allow healing of tissue injuries involving inflammation and pain.
Before carrying out an adjustment, Dr Sooley will thoroughly evaluate your case through collection of a health history, physical examinations, laboratory tests, imaging (such as X-rays) and other procedures. During the adjustment procedure itself, you may be lying down on a specially designed chiropractic table. After a brief explanation, Dr Sooley will apply the adjustment in a controlled, sudden manner, pushing the affected joint beyond its normal range of motion.
There are many different methods in adjusting the spine; therefore, Dr Sooley will use his experience and training to select the best adjustment for your individual situation. Factors in this decision include how much force is needed, where in the spine the adjustment is needed, and what position the patient is capable of maintaining. For instance, a 3rd trimester patient will not be adjusted on her stomach, and a patient with recent knee replacement surgery will not be adjusted in the kneeling position.
Adjustments restore normal nerve flow and often result in relief and healing for back pain, neck pain, and pain in other areas of the body such as arms, legs, and shoulders. The procedure rarely causes pain; however if there is recent trauma or if you are new to chiropractic care there may be some discomfort during the adjustment. The noises that sometimes occur are due to the release of gas bubbles between the joints, and these sounds are perfectly normal. It is a similar phenomenon to knuckles being “cracked.”
In many cases, chiropractic care is all that is needed to alleviate the the presenting problem, such as lower back pain. Sometimes, adjusted will be complemented by other treatments depending on the individual situation.