SHIFNAL CHIROPRACTIC CLINIC

Shifnal Chiropractic Clinic

01952 460 947

What is an adjustment?

24/10/2016

During the course of your treatment, your chiropractor is very likely to make use of a technique known as an adjustment or manipulation.  Now, I've mentioned these myself on various of these blog articles, and also elsewhere on this website, but I thought it wouldn't do any harm to have a refresher on this basic concept.

Put simply, chiropractic is primarily about the movement in your joints – or lack thereof!  A chiropractor uses their sense of touch, along with how you move and the information you tell them about what you are feeling, to establish which joints are functioning the way they should and which aren’t.

Once they have identified the joints which don’t seem to be functioning correctly, they will take steps to address this using this manipulation or adjustment.  The idea is to take the joint past the point at which it is sticking, faster than your body has time to react.  In much the same way as when a door is sticking in its frame, if you give it a quick shove it will often start moving and off you go.  Unlike the door though, your body will usually then allow the joint to continue moving freely, rather than re-sticking once it gets back to the original point.

Does it hurt?  Quick answer – no.  Your chiropractor will do everything they can to ensure that the adjustment is completely painless.  If at any point you are finding the process uncomfortable, then you can just mention this to your chiropractor and they will adjust what they are doing accordingly.  A good chiropractor will always have more than one way of treating any particular area, so if something isn’t suiting you, then they should be able to adapt their technique.

I’ve heard there’s a lot of crunching and clicking – is this true and what is it? Sometimes, your joint will let out an audible click as it is moved.  Remember when you were a kid at school, and there was always that one person forever crunching their knuckles? (If you’re anything like me, you were that person!)  Well, the click that is sometimes associated with chiropractic adjustments is exactly the same as that.  Small bubbles of gas will sometimes collect around a joint, particularly if it isn’t moving in the way it should.  When the joint is the adjusted, this bubble disperses elsewhere, and you hear that as a click.  It doesn’t hurt, and it can often feel like quite a relief!  However – it doesn’t always happen, and it isn’t necessarily an indicator of whether an adjustment was successful or not!  An adjustment could have maximised the movement in the joint, but if there happened to be no gas bubble around, then there will be no click.  It’s really is just a harmless side effect that can sometimes happen when a joint is manipulated.

So one adjustment and the joint is all fixed?  Unfortunately, not always.  The body has its own form of memory, and it will remember the joint wasn’t moving and think that this new movement is a bad thing.  It’s wrong, but how do you argue with a body?!  So over the days following your adjustment, the joint is quite likely to go back to not moving again.  Your chiropractor will anticipate this, and will ask you to come back for a further treatment – and do the adjustment all over again, as well as working with any soft tissue to try and maximise the chances of your joint staying mobile.  How long it takes to reprogram your body’s memory varies from person to person.  If the joint has only been stuck for a day or two, and you’re relatively young, fit and healthy then one treatment may be all it takes.  But the longer a problem has been around, and how it is being affected by other factors in your lifestyle, may mean it takes a few more treatments before it settles down.

In summary, an adjustment or manipulation is a very fast movement performed on a joint by your chiropractor in order to restore the joint to its optimal function.

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