The adjustment is a safe, natural, noninvasive procedure used by the chiropractor to restore and improve health. Learning the art of adjusting is a skill that requires years of study and practice. Chiropractic doctors are the only health care professionals trained to deliver the chiropractic adjustment. Spinal adjustments by any other individual or health care professional have been shown to be dangerous and less effective.
In basic terms, the spinal adjustment or spinal manipulation refers to the process in which the doctor of chiropractic skillfully applies controlled force into one or more "subluxated" vertebrae of the spine. The adjustment is also frequently used in the pelvic region to normalize the sacroiliac joints. The adjustment is usually delivered using the hands or through the use of a specialized mechanical tool.
Spinal adjustments are applied to certain vertebrae of the spine which are no longer in their proper position or where functioning has become impaired. Vertebrae which lose their normal position or proper motion are commonly termed vertebral subluxations. The chiropractor uses a number of unique tests and procedures to determine which, if any, vertebrae are subluxated. If subluxations are found, immediate correction is generally indicated. Since like cavities subluxations are not always painful during the initial stages, even those who are not experiencing back or neck discomfort should receive periodic spinal checkups.
Adjusting helps correct vertebral subluxations. Correcting subluxations reduces pain and inflammation, reduces muscle spasm and tension, normalizes spinal biomechanics and more importantly, can remove nerve irritation and interference which can improve overall health and wellness of the individual. Chiropractic adjustments are the only way to eliminate vertebral subluxations and only the chiropractor is trained to detect subluxations and deliver the chiropractic spinal adjustment to correct subluxations.
In addition to adjusting the spine and pelvis, almost every other joint of the body can be adjusted by the chiropractor. This includes the joints of the hands and feet, wrists and ankles, elbows and knees, shoulders and hips, ribs and the jaw. In fact, some chiropractors are even trained in techniques to adjust the joints (sutures) of the skull.
Like the joints of the spine, joints in the extremities can also become misaligned and fixated. Chiropractic adjustive techniques can restore and enhance extremity joint functioning which can increase the life of the joint and keep wear and tear to a minimum. This is of special interest to athletes who generally demand optimal joint performance from highly stressed joints. Adjusting provides an immediate increase in joint range of motion and also supplies the joint with nutrients, as motion is the only way to bring nutrients into the joint cartilage and flush wastes products out.
Did your mother ever warn you that "cracking" your knuckles would give you arthritis? If she did, we're sorry to say that she was wrong! Research has actually shown that individuals who habitually "crack" their knuckles over their lifetime actually lower the incidence of arthritis in their knuckles compared with those who do not. Researchers believe the knuckle "cracking" increases joint nutrition and maintains joint motion, both of which are essential for a healthy joint.