How Do Chiropractic Adjustments Work?

  • Posted March 3, 2022

Chiropractic Adjustment

Are you out of alignment?

Short answer: No. 

Your spine is much more resilient than this.  The spinal joints don’t ‘slip out’  from activity or lack thereof.

‘My back is out’ is something our chiropractors often hear (and we get what is being said with this), but it’s not true or accurate language. A chiropractic adjustment is not putting your back back ‘in’. Joints don’t go ‘out’. If they did, you’d more than likely be in the hospital from some pretty serious trauma.

(*Also note that a restricted joint does not “pinch” on a nerve, and these so called “pinched nerves” do not cause disease. This is the pinched hose analogy that is completely false).

So what is a chiropractic adjustment?

The key to understanding how a chiropractic adjustment works is to first understand that every joint has it’s normal range of motion, think a knee being able to fully flex (heel to buttocks), extend (fully straighten) and rotate (yes, it can rotate too). If you have lost some flexion in your back, that can be from things like tight muscles in the quads or a reduced amount of space in the spinal joint for it to move (among other things). A healthy joint has access to its full joint space, this space allows for proper range of motion. Movement through its full range regularly helps keep the joint healthy through improved circulation and other neat stuff.

A chiropractic adjustment is a high velocity (fast), low amplitude (force) and specific thrust through a restriction in the spinal joint to improve its access to the full range.  Adjustments can also reduce local pain and muscle spasm in the area – all allowing for better access to movement.

The key, then, is to reinforce this new found movement with some exercises that target full joint mobility. The old saying, “use it or lose it” kind of rings true. In other words, once you have mobility through a joint we can work with you can to improve your control over the range of motion and strengthen the tissue around the joints to protect and maintain the area.

“Do I need an adjustment” you ask?

Also, no. 
While adjustments are a very effective tool (and often feels very nice) to improve range of motion and reduce pain in a joint or area, they are not the only means to achieve this goal.

Not every patient needs or wants the same treatment.  Not every patient will respond well to the same thing.  This is part of what makes Ascent’s chiropractors different – we have a full toolbox of options (Dry Needling, Shockwave, Exercise Therapy, etc) to reduce pain, restore mobility and build resilience.

So know that your spine is strong, resilient, doesn’t ‘slip out’ and that adjustments are a great tool – but not always necessary. Our experienced team of Chiropractors in NW Calgary can provide you with evidence-based care that can help you feel better and have longevity in your movements.

Give us a call to get informed and progressive chiropractic care 403-764-1200

– Dr. Scott Fisher, DC

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