A chiropractic adjustment involves the manipulation of skeletal and muscle tissue. The process is usually painless and can sometimes produce a cracking sound.
Chiropractors follow a holistic form of care that addresses the underlying cause of your pain. They will ask questions about your health history and your goals for treatment.
The Initial Consultation
Greenville chiropractic adjustments, or spinal manipulation, are manual therapy a chiropractor performs. While the practice once carried a negative stigma, studies suggest it’s a safe and moderately effective non-drug treatment for low back pain alongside standard medical care.
During the initial consultation, your chiropractor will evaluate your symptoms and ask about your medical history. Then, they’ll develop a customized treatment plan to address your needs and goals.
Chiropractors use a range of techniques to manipulate the joints and muscles. This may include massage, exercises, dry needling, joint mobilization, and electrical stimulation. In some cases, they may also refer you to an integrative medicine expert for guidance on diet and nutrition.
The first adjustment usually involves the chiropractor applying a controlled amount of force to one or more spinal segments. This can be done using the hands or with specialized equipment. The force applied during a spinal manipulation often results in a cracking sound. This sound resembles the cracking noise you hear when you break a knuckle. The release of small pockets of trapped air within the joints causes it.
The treatment involves lying face down on a chiropractic table while the chiropractor uses controlled force to realign your spine or joints. This is when you may hear the popping sound associated with this type of manipulation. The sound is caused by the release of gas pressure within the joint due to the chiropractor’s quick short lever arm thrust. The bones themselves do not pop, contrary to popular belief.
A chiropractor must do a thorough physical examination and consider your medical history before determining where to adjust your body. One of the most common ways they determine where to treat is by palpitating your spinal joints. This means that the doctor will pressure your vertebrae and feel for any joint movement restrictions, like flexion, translation, side bending, or rotation.
Often, chiropractors use the Diversified technique or Spinal Manipulation to free stuck spinal joints (and sometimes extremity joints). This technique involves applying a rapid thrust on the affected joint to correct alignment and allow your nervous system to function correctly.
The Follow-Up Visit
The chiropractor will palpate your spine to identify areas of restriction. Then they will use an adjusting tool to deliver a low-force, low-amplitude thrust to the joint that’s being restricted.
The resulting pop sound, known as joint cavitation, results from the rapid change in pressure and release of nitrogen gas in the joint capsule. However, the chiropractor may not generate noise at all and still perform an adjustment.
It’s thought that spinal manipulation resets the muscles around a joint, restoring normal movement and providing pain relief. Those muscles send information to the brain, which adjusts other sensory inputs and improves function.
Many people experience instant pain relief following chiropractic treatment. Others take a bit longer to respond depending on several factors. During your follow-up visit, the chiropractor will review your progress and adjust as needed to help you heal quickly. They can also provide advice on posture, diet, and exercise to keep you healthy in the long term.
The Post-Adjustment Care
When you come in for a chiropractic adjustment, your doctor will ask you questions about the nature of your pain and how it affects your daily activities. Then, they will perform spinal manipulation to free the affected joints of restriction and improve mobility.
During this treatment, some people experience an audible cracking sound that indicates the release of gases in the joint. This is very normal. However, it is also possible for your chiropractor to perform the treatment without a “popping” noise. It is possible because several techniques for delivering adjustments do not involve manual, direct thrust.
After an adjustment, it is important to keep moving. This will help the adjustment to hold and prevent your body from reverting to its old position. It would help if you slowly started exercising again, starting with low-impact activities and gradually increasing the intensity. It is also good to pay attention to your body’s signals and stop if you are feeling pain or discomfort.