What is chiropractic manipulation?
Chiropractic care focuses on disorders of the neuromusculoskeletal system; modern chiropractors use the best scientific, non-drug related treatments to treat muscles and joints. Chiropractic care is used most commonly to treat low back pain, neck pain, pain in the joints of the shoulders, knees and hips, and headaches.
Who is a good candidate for chiropractic manipulation?
If you experience chronic pain in your back, neck, joints, knees, hips, or head, chiropractic manipulation may be right for you.
When vertebrae become misaligned, they can place pressure on the spinal nerves and cause pain. This condition is known as spinal dysfunction, vertebral restriction, or subluxation. This can occur as a result of a tissue injury caused by a single traumatic event, such as improper lifting of a heavy object, or through repetitive stresses such as sitting with poor spinal posture for an extended period of time.
These type of injuries to the joints and surrounding muscles cause physical and chemical changes that can result in inflammation, pain, and diminished function for the patient. Manipulation of the affected joint and tissues restores mobility, thereby alleviating pain and muscle tightness and allowing tissues to heal.
How chiropractic manipulation works
The most common type of chiropractic treatment is known as spinal manipulation, also called chiropractic adjustment. The purpose of manipulation is to restore joint mobility by manually applying a controlled force into joints that have become restricted with the hands or use of specific tools. When your vertebrae are adjusted, tiny pockets of gas are released from the joints, sometimes making a popping noise. This is the same sound heard when knuckles crack.
How is care determined?
Careful history-taking and orthopedic and neurological testing are standards of practice in chiropractic offices. This helps to determine if chiropractic care is appropriate and to rule out more serious diagnoses like cancer or fractures. Based upon the exam, possible additional imaging may be ordered such as X-rays or MRI. If there are unusual neurological findings with advanced loss of strength or reflexes, the chiropractor will refer the patient to a spine surgeon or pain management specialist prior to initiating chiropractic care.