Chiropractic Adjustments

The most common treatment for chiropractic problem is chiropractic adjustment, which is also known as spinal adjustment or spinal manipulation. Spinal manipulation is the movement of joint beyond its normal range but not beyond the range, the joint is intended to move.

The movement is done but not to damage the joint. An audible noise is released while applying a sudden force to the joint manipulation. Neck manipulations have a short lever with high-velocity of push with spin beyond physiological range of motion.

Spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) is a technique where manipulation, massage, mobilization, adjustment is done by using hands.

The chiropractic adjustment goal is to correct the spinal dislocation, thereby releasing pain and improving body’s physical function. The chiropractor put on pressure to the bones and reveals the dislocated bone from its improper position. Then the job of the body is to put the bone back in its correct position.

The muscles connected to dislocated spine have the tendency to pull the bone back out of its place, as it get used to its position. So, several adjustments have to be done before the bone settles into its proper position.

Adjustments Techniques

A chiropractor has a range of techniques to choose from. A doctor can make some of his patient to sit for some adjustment, to lie down to some or can use specially designed tables with moveable head or foot rests for other patients, depending on the chiropractic problem.

  • Diversified technique – Full-spine manipulation to restore proper movement and alignment of spine and joint dysfunction. It’s a high velocity low amplitude thrust technique.
  • Activator technique – It uses a spring loaded tool created by Arlan Fuhr, to deliver precise adjustments to the spine. It is a softer chiropractic treatment technique, in which the device is characterized as MFMA instrument. MFMA stands for a Mechanical Force Manual Assisted.
  • Thompson technique – It relies on a drop table and detailed procedural protocols.
  • Gonstead – It emphasizes on evaluating the spine along with specific adjustment that avoids rotational vectors.
  • Cox/flexion-distraction – It is a gentle, low-force adjusting procedure which mixes chiropractic with osteopathic principles and utilizes specialized adjusting tables with movable parts.
  • Sacro-Occipital Technique – It models the spine as a torsion bar.
  • Nimmo Receptor-Tonus Technique – It is also known as neuromuscular therapy (NMT). It is a form of massage. Pressure is applied to the skin in the quasi-static form, which stimulates specific areas of skeletal muscle.
  • Applied Kinesiology – This technique provides the functional status of the body. It is an alternative medicine method used for diagnosis and purpose of therapy.

Chiropractors select the techniques which will most effectively correct dislocation with a minimum of force. The “talent” of adjusting requires skill and training rather than brute strength. Few patients can feel any discomfort during the adjustment and some can experience audible sounds which are just tiny pockets of gas releasing with a pop, which is completely normal.


A trained and licensed Chiropractor can perform these adjustments. But some people can experience side effects for a few days like:

  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Continuing pain from an injury treated in the past

Possible complications in chiropractic adjustments include:

  • A herniated disk
  • Compression of nerves in the lower spinal column, a condition known as cauda equina syndrome, leading to pain, weakness, loss of feeling in your legs, and loss of bowel or bladder control.
  • A certain type of stroke (vertebral artery dissection) after neck (cervical) manipulation

The Chiropractic care recommendations are not for the people suffering with:

  • Osteoporosis or signs or symptoms of nerve damage, such as numbness, tingling, or loss of strength in an arm or leg.
  • If you’ve had spinal surgery, check with your surgeon before consulting a chiropractor.
  • If you have back pain accompanied by fever, chills, sweats or weight loss, see a medical doctor to make sure you don’t have an infection or tumor.