What is a Chiropractic Adjustment?
In fact, what most people are describing is just the sound effect of an adjustment. This sound is called a cavitation or, a more technical term, tribonucleation. Just like lightning has thunder, so does the tension release and position change of a joint. But unlike lightning, you can have an adjustment without the audible sound. How do you know if you have gotten an adjustment even if you don’t hear the sound?
What Chiropractors are trying to do is change the functional motion of the joint and to create correct joint play and mobility. “Joint play” is the bounce that is felt with assessing a joints freeness to move. Therefore, chiropractors place hands on the joint and move it around to feel for the joint play. While assessing that joint play, Chiropractors are feeling and taking note of lack of play and the directions that are restricted. That restriction of motion and lack of play in the joint is what indicates to your Chiropractor the direction that is needed to be adjusted.
Chiropractors are not only influencing the joint free movement but many more things when adjusting. Getting regular spinal adjustments can improve pain intensity, improve organ function, improve recovery time, reduce headaches, and improve overall well-being.
How do chiropractors choose where to actually adjust? Most use an acronym called PARTS.
P- pain: grading the pain of the area from 1-10. The higher the pain, the more likely there is a need for treatment. They also assess what the pain feels like; sharp, dull, achy, stabbing, shooting, sore, stiff, numb etc. All of these symptoms give indication of the nature of the injury — if it is acute to chronic and if there is positive indication that the patient will benefit from an adjustment.
A- asymmetry: looking and feeling for postural imbalances. Do they have a normal spinal curve, are the hips level, are the shoulders level, are the shoulders rounded, is their head forward carry, do their knees or elbows bow in or out? There is a tone of indications in posture that show where improper tension is held, or lack of motion is happening that causes another area to overcompensate with excessive motion.
R- range of motion: there is an average joint range of motion for each joint in the body. A decreased in range of motion can cause what we call hypo-mobilization that then creates areas of more range of motion with compensation or Hyper-mobilization. We can have pain with both.
T- tenderness, tight, temperature: this is a three-in-one where we are feeling the soft tissue of the area of complaint for changes or temperature in the skin, for tightness in muscle tension, and for tenderness of the muscle structure.
S- special tests: doing specific orthopedic tests to check if there is a more severe injury to the area, and to rule out any contraindications.
After the PARTS assessment, your Chiropractor takes that information and pinpoints the segment that needs an adjustment. Ultimately this takes your Chiropractor about two minutes to fully and accurately assess and adjust the area that needs to be adjusted. This makes change to the functional motion and decreases pain and discomfort to the patient without creating hyper-mobility in areas that are already freely moving. This also prevents injuring another area that is restricted.
So, the next time you have a unlicensed friend adjust you, think twice! There is a lot more that goes into an adjustment than just popping. Ask yourself: would you let your friend who is not a dentist pull out your tooth? Or, would you let your friend do your taxes when they don’t have a CPA? Probably not. This is the same with your spine! Chiropractors are trained to know the healthy boundary to adjust through and they are aware if there is a contraindication to adjusting someone.
Love your spine, you only have one.
Have an Empowered Day!!
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