Chiropractic Adjustment

What is Chiropractic Adjustment?

A chiropractic adjustment is a type of alternative medicine or therapy that involves diagnosing disorders of the muscles and skeleton, especially disorders of the spine. It means manual treatment of muscles, spine, joints, and soft tissues. Currently, chiropractic treatment may also involve suggesting lifestyle changes such as incorporating exercise or proper nutrition into daily life.  

The goal of a chiropractic adjustment is full-body healing and to positively impact spinal motion and the function of the body. Chiropractic treatments often overlap with other supportive treatment options such as physical therapy, sports medicine, massage therapy, and osteopathy. Chiropractic practitioners are not medical doctors. 

The World Health Organization has described chiropractic to be complementary or alternative medicine (CAM). Thirty-one percent of chiropractic practitioners consider themselves as providing complementary or alternative therapy. 

The Early History of Chiropractic Adjustment

The chiropractic adjustment was invented in the 19th century. The first chiropractic adjustment was performed on a Harvey Lilland who suffered from partial deafness and had a possibly misaligned spine. IT was claimed that adjusting the spine was a cure for the partial deafness and that spinal manipulation was a cure for many illnesses. 

Early philosophy was rooted in vitalism, naturalism, and magnetism. Chiropractic also took from the principals of osteopathy, and osteopaths and Chiropractic practitioners were in fierce opposition until chiropractic adjustment was licensed as a separate kind of therapy in all the states.  

Chiropractic adjusters consist of a minority who adhere to original principals of chiropractic practices and eschew more modern innovations. They are known as straights. Chiropractic adjusters who mix contemporary therapy into their treatment plans are a growing majority and are known as mixers. They are open to adding heat, massage, ice therapy, and other treatment options as well as spinal adjustments to treatment plans. 

The mixers are also more likely to support treatment options that are supported by scientific evidence of positive results due to that treatment. The straights are more likely to support traditional treatment options that have been refuted by or have no evidence of positive results during scientific research. 

What Is the Procedure for Chiropractic Manipulation? 

A chiropractic adjustment is a procedure by which specialists known as chiropractors use their hands, feet, or an instrument to manipulate the body. The process is known as spinal manipulation and involves applying a sudden, sharp force in a controlled way to a specific area of the body. 

At your first visit, you may be asked for health history, and a physical exam will be performed. The focus of the exam will be on your spine, joints, and musculature. The chiropractor may also recommend tests such as x-rays. Chiropractic diagnosis may also be based on other kinds of skeletal imaging such as MRI scans, orthopedic, and neurological evaluation, as well as the tactile examination. 

The procedure is performed by the patient being placed in a particular position on a chiropractic table. The chiropractor uses his or her hands or a small instrument to apply a controlled force to a specific area. A popping sound may be heard as the joints are moved during the treatment. Some minor aches and side effects may be experienced after the procedure.

Chiropractic Treatment Associated with Back Pain and Neck Pain Management

Chiropractors focus on conservative treatment methods for pain without using medicines or surgical intervention. Chiropractors are involved in treating many musculoskeletal issues but are often approached to resolve neck and back pain. Up to 73 percent of American chiropractors described themselves as back pain/ musculoskeletal specialists. 

Most cases of back pain are resolved using spinal manipulation, which is a manual maneuver. The joints are physically taken past their point of normal movement, with the movement stopping before any damage can occur. It is accomplished by the exertion of a sudden force. Spinal manipulation also involves adjustment, stimulation, mobilization, and massage of affected bones, joints, muscles, and tissues. 

Effectiveness of Chiropractic Treatment

Available research has mixed claims about the effectiveness of chiropractic as a viable pain relief method. Some studies show that spinal and manual mobilization is useful in some kinds of pain management, such as headaches caused by tension, knee osteoarthritis, and sciatica. Studies show that results of research of spinal manipulation for migraine headaches, lower back pain, and whiplash are mixed. 

Studies have confirmed that there is moderate evidence to support chiropractic manipulation as a treatment for lumbar radiculopathy, disc herniation, and sciatica. It is also confirmed as being as effective as painkillers in the treatment of tension headaches and painful conditions of the upper limbs and legs. There is also evidence that proves that chiropractic manipulation brings pain relief and increased mobility when applied to patients with knee osteoarthritis. Full chiropractic treatment may be beneficial to people suffering from hypertension, cervicogenic dizziness, and neck pain. 

Risks of Chiropractic Treatment

It is recommended that chiropractic treatment be avoided by people with severe osteoporosis, numbness, weakness, or a tingling sensation in an upper or lower limb, cancer, and people at a high risk of stroke. People with a known bone abnormality in the upper neck should also avoid chiropractic adjustment. 

Serious risks are not generally associated with chiropractic manipulation when it is conducted by a trained, licensed, and experienced practitioner. However, risks do occur and may include disc herniation or worsening of an existing condition of the vertebrae. Compression of nerves in the spinal column may occur with radiating pains to the limbs and body, and this is known as cauda equina syndrome. Vertebral artery dissection, which is a kind of stroke, is a hazardous risk that is associated with neck manipulation. 

Educational Requirements for Practicing Chiropractic Manipulation

Chiropractic is a separate field of study from conventional medical practices even though it overlaps and supports some aspects of conventional medicine. The WHO has recommended three full-time paths to gain a qualification in chiropractic as well as other pathways for health care practitioners who wish to be licensed in this alternative therapy. 

Programs in chiropractic medicine vary with some colleges in Canada requiring about 7—8years of college education before a student can obtain a chiropractic degree. Chiropractors have to pass a state, provincial, or national board exam to be licensed to practice chiropractic manipulation.