Spinal adjustment is the hallmark treatment of a doctor of chiropractic. Also called spinal manipulative therapy, it is when practitioners use their hands or a device to deliver a controlled thrust to a joint of your spine. "Controlled thrust" simply means a specific amount of force or in a specific direction to achieve the desired results.
The evidence-based effectiveness of the spinal adjustment has made it a recommended treatment option by the American College of Physicians for acute/chronic low back pain (Source). It is a chiropractic treatment sought for several reasons:
Specific Health Concerns
Wellness & Disease Prevention
Improved Immune System Function
A common choice for pain relief
Spinal adjustment techniques are one of the most common complementary health treatments used in the United States (Source). In a 2012 study by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, 67 percent of participants used spinal adjustments for pain relief or treatment for a specific health condition.
Specifically, people chose a spinal adjustment for:
Treating a specific health concern
It’s focus on the entire body
Better immune system function
Improved memory or concentration
How spinal adjustments work
Your spine is made up of individual vertebrae stacked on top of each other with moveable joints between them. Sometimes the joints do not move properly and certain segments of the spine become fixed. A spinal adjustment restores movement to these areas.
Possible causes of these spinal fixations include:
Trauma and accidents
Muscle spasms or weakness
Poor posture or body mechanics
Chiropractors use manual therapies to deliver a high velocity, low amplitude thrust to move fixed segments of the vertebrae, and restore movement. This relieves acute low back pain and other complaints.
Additionally, spinal adjustment improves nervous system function and motor control. This is because the central nervous system is protected by the spine and can be negatively affected by joint pressure or constriction
Understanding the chiropractic adjustment
A chiropractic adjustment is a blanket term used to refer to any technique your chiropractor chooses for treatment, not just a spinal adjustment. A chiropractor is specifically trained to determine which methods and techniques are suited to you and which should be avoided because of certain conditions.
Is a spinal adjustment safe?
Yes, it is safe when performed by a licensed professional. Certain health conditions may pose risk of increased pain or complications, so it is important to share your medical history with your doctor of chiropractic before receiving treatment. Chiropractors customize their treatments, sometimes avoiding spinal adjustment, to suit the needs of their patients.
Common side effects of spinal adjustments include temporary muscle soreness, stiffness, or a temporary increase in pain. Serious complications are very rare.
Can physical therapists do spinal adjustment?
Yes. In addition to chiropractors, licensed professionals like physical therapists and osteopathic physicians can deliver spinal manipulation therapy. However, chiropractors specifically receive education and training based around this method of care and are arguably the most effective at performing it.
What can be treated with a spinal adjustment?
We can treat a number of conditions like:
Low back pain
Headaches and migraines
Sciatica and leg pain
Schedule an adjustment
If you are looking for pain relief or improved wellness, we are ready to see you for a chiropractic adjustment. A doctor of chiropractic will conduct a physical exam and medical history before determining the chiropractic treatment that is right for you.
Many insurances offer coverage for chiropractic care, and we are happy to review your benefits with you. Schedule your consultation today and discover why so many people trust a chiropractor with their body.