Adjustments & Manipulation

Understanding Spinal Adjustments & Manipulation, Techniques, and Desired Results

Displaced vertebrae can cause serious issues that are accountable for affecting the muscles of the body and the central nervous system which can be debilitating and painful. In the absence of an appropriate alignment of the vertebrae, the communication between the brain and central nervous system can become interrupted which upsets a human’s ability to function at normal capacity.

Adjustments, also referred to as manipulations, are techniques used to realign the vertebrae of the spine that have become displaced as a result of various overexertion ranging from traumatic car accidents to something as simple as normal daily activity. The adjustment techniques apply pressure to the patient usually involving a chiropractor utilizing their hands or a special instrument to amend the vertebrae back into proper formation. These are rapid, sudden movements that—contrary to popular belief—cause very minimal or even nonexistent discomfort to the patient.

In many instances, patients will hear a dull noise that is comparable to the sound heard when someone cracks their knuckles, a common and harmless sound called joint cavitation. The sound is caused by the release of gases like oxygen and nitrogen from in between the vertebrae. In general, adjustments can be a very beneficial way of reducing spine discomfort caused by a wide range of injuries or even just as a way of relieving normal pressure caused by everyday stressors of life.

Chiropractic Adjustments can assist with treating conditions and symptoms such as:

  • Pain and/or stiffness in the back, chest, neck, etc.
  • Chronic muscle pain and/or stiffness
  • Scoliosis
  • Tendonitis
  • Nerve disorders
  • Sports-related injuries
  • Arthritis
  • Pain resulting from sciatica
  • Traumatic injuries like whiplash

There isn’t just one type of way for a chiropractor to administer adjustments to a patient. In fact, there are more than one hundred types of techniques for adjustments that are utilized by chiropractors all around the world. At most a chiropractor will limit themselves to around eight to ten different adjustment techniques for their practice because quality is far preferred over quantity when it comes to the spine.

While adjustment techniques are often varied and tailored to meet the needs of the individual patient, there are a couple relied upon techniques that are commonly used in many chiropractic practices. Most treatments involve high force and low force spinal adjustments depending on the severity of the patient’s condition and these treatments typically span the course of six to ten visits.

Spinal Manipulation

A High Velocity, Low Amplitude spinal Manipulation, also known as HVLA, is the most commonly used spinal adjustment by chiropractic practices. This adjustment technique is responsible for the audible noise that patients hear which is comparable to the sound heard when someone cracks their knuckles.

Spinal Mobilization

A low force or “gentle” adjustment technique used by chiropractors in situations where the patient requires a milder approach, usually in instances involving the patient’s size, comfort, or preference. Some even prefer this method over the HVLA adjustment technique because it doesn’t involve the body to be twisted or forceful movement.