10 Jan 2023

How Do Chiropractors Know Where to Adjust?

By Charles Herbert
Full body chiropractic adjustment

How Do Chiropractors Know Where to Adjust?

If you’ve never visited a chiropractor before, the whole process might seem like a bit of a mystery. You’re likely to have a lot of questions like, does it hurt? What’s that popping noise you sometimes hear about? And how can they know where to adjust without x-ray vision?

The average chiropractic degree is four years long (that’s three years of study and one year working under supervision), so they know a thing or two about what works! It’s a fascinating field, so if you want to know more about what a chiropractic adjustment is, and the methods chiropractors use to find just the right spot, read on. 

Full body chiropractic adjustmentWhat is a chiropractic adjustment?

Also known as spinal manipulation, chiropractic adjustment is a technique used to relieve back or neck pain, improve spinal motion and allow for greater overall mobility and flexibility. The process involves manipulating the spinal vertebrae with controlled, sudden force (from the chiropractor’s hands or a small instrument). You may hear a popping or cracking sound during treatment, but this is completely normal and you shouldn’t experience any pain.

“This ‘release’ also helps to reduce pain signals and allows for improved movement and flexibility.”

Adjustments begin with the patient lying face down on a chiropractic table, although you may be asked to change positions (e.g lying on your side or sitting up) so your chiropractor can perform a full, thorough adjustment. 

How do chiropractic adjustments work?

The controlled, sudden pressure applied during a chiropractic adjustment works to move the joint slightly, which sometimes causes that popping or cracking sound. This is known as cavitation, and it isn’t the sound of your bone cracking! It’s actually the sound of gas being released from the joint, which relieves pressure and reduces pain signals sent to your joints from the nervous system

This cavitation helps to remove any stiffness or restricted movement in the joint. This ‘release’ also helps to reduce pain signals and allows for improved movement and flexibility. 


So, how does a chiropractor know where to adjust?

Chiropractors are highly experienced (thanks to years of study and training!) and they often use several different techniques to determine where adjustments need to be made. This will vary on a case by case basis, depending on the patient, their medical history and the conditions being treated. 

At your first appointment, your chiropractor will ask questions about your medical history, symptoms and any conditions you may have. They may also use further diagnostic tests like gait analysis, posture analysis, x-rays or MRIs; this helps them analyse the spine and identify any areas that may need adjusting. 

Palpation is arguably the most common technique used by chiropractors when diagnosing which areas to adjust. It involves using the hands or fingers during a physical examination to pinpoint any stiff or misaligned areas of the spine. Once these have been identified, your chiropractor will know where to apply pressure to realign the spine and restore regular movement and flexibility. 

chiropractic adjustment

What to expect after a chiropractic adjustment

Most patients report feeling more relaxed and flexible immediately after adjustment, and you’re likely to have a great night’s sleep too! You may experience some minor soreness or aches after your first adjustment, as the body adjusts to its new position. We can get so used to being out of alignment, that it can feel a bit strange to be properly aligned for the first time! You can always speak to your chiropractor or doctor if you have any concerns, or if the original pain has not improved. 

Chiropractic adjustment brings many benefits, including reduced pain and discomfort, increased energy, more flexibility, improved overall movement and better posture. Most patients begin with a more intensive treatment plan (usually one to two sessions per week), before gradually reducing the frequency as your condition improves. 

Book a consultation at Kasa Chiropractic today 

If you’re looking for a chiropractor in Bristol, get in touch with Kasa Chiropractic today! We’re proud to offer highly effective chiropractic care, alongside sports massage and soft tissue therapy. To make an appointment with one of our skilled chiropractors in Bristol, or to manage an existing appointment, click here to use our online booking system or give us a call. We look forward to welcoming you to our Clifton Chiropractic clinic very soon! 

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