Chronic back and neck pain can be debilitating. When left untreated, both can cause a “pain cloud” that hovers over you, affecting your daily life.
In most cases, these issues are alleviated by chiropractic adjustments. Spend some time reading our blog or visiting any chiropractor’s office, and you’ll hear the terms adjustment and manipulation regularly. But what exactly do these terms mean? How does an adjustment help with your pain and get you back to feeling like yourself?
A chiropractic adjustment (also called manual or spinal manipulation) occurs when a chiropractor applies sudden, controlled force, usually by hand, to the vertebrae. The adjustment corrects spinal alignment which helps to restore proper function and reduce nerve irritability. The result is a loosening of the joint which allows you to move freely and without pain.
The end goal of an adjustment is to reduce or eliminate pain entirely. Common issues that can be alleviated by chiropractic adjustments include:
Most people have questions when manual manipulations are presented as a therapeutic treatment option. Here, we’ll provide some answers to questions that we hear frequently:
Are chiropractic adjustments safe?
Adjustments are safe when delivered by a trained, certified chiropractor. Chiropractors know after performing a physical exam whether adjustments are the correct course of treatment.
Why is my spine being adjusted if that’s not where I’m hurting?
Pain commonly originates from somewhere other than the actual pain point. The spine serves as your body’s central foundation of movement, which is the reason why spinal misalignment causes abnormal movement in other parts of the body. This ultimately leads to discomfort. Once the spine is aligned, you know that your limbs have a proper foundation to work from.
What causes the popping sounds?
You may feel like human bubble wrap in the moment, but rest assured that popping noises are a good sign that the adjustments are doing exactly what they’re supposed to do.
An adjustment is necessary because two opposing surfaces that form the joint are stuck. When the joint suction is corrected by hand, it causes a popping sound. So what’s commonly mistaken as something cracking, is actually a release of air pressure.
Are there any side effects?
The most common side effects are soreness in the spinal joints and muscles. These aches usually appear a few hours following the treatment and should subside within 24 hours of treatment. However, most patients describe a relieving sensation once an adjustment is performed.
Serious complications are rare. You should avoid receiving manipulations if you have severe osteoporosis, cancer in your spine or increased risk of stroke.
Will my insurance cover adjustments?
Ahh, health insurance. Everyone’s favorite topic of discussion. We’ll try to keep it brief.
In most cases, chiropractic care (including spinal manipulation) is covered on health insurance policies. Contact your health insurance carrier or consult your plan coverage documents to see how chiropractic care is covered on your plan.
What type of outcome can I expect following adjustments?
Few things are worse than constant back or neck pain. An adjustment or series of adjustments can get your body back on track, leaving your mind free to focus on the things in life that you enjoy.