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Chiropractic Adjustment

Reasons to Have One, What to Expect, Associated Risks & More

Key Points

  • The article discusses three primary reasons people seek chiropractic adjustments: back pain, neck pain, and tension headaches.
  • Chiropractic care is a drug-free option that improves spinal alignment and relieves pressure, which can alleviate these common ailments.
  • A chiropractic adjustment is a form of manual therapy that aims to improve spinal alignment, loosen tight joints, and increase flexibility.
  • Prior to treatment, patients must disclose their medical history and current medications, and the chiropractor may suggest alternative treatments if necessary.
  • Post-treatment, patients may experience mild soreness, but the chiropractor will provide guidance on managing these symptoms at home.

3 Reasons Why Would You Need a Chiropractic Adjustment

1. Back pain

Back pain affects millions of Americans each year, and it's a common reason for missed work.[1] Back pain is often triggered by chronic health conditions or past injuries. Chronic back pain can sometimes be hard to treat.

Chiropractic care is a drug-free option that is designed to improve spinal alignment and relieve pressure on the spine.[2] Chiropractic adjustments also help decrease muscle tension that can cause back pain.

2. Neck pain

Neck pain can result from muscle tension, neck injuries, or a chronic medical condition. Chiropractic adjustments may restore proper joint and muscle function throughout the neck area.

3. Tension headaches

Tensions headaches are often linked to stress or anxiety. You may tense up your muscles when you're feeling stressed. Over time, this type of muscle tension can affect your posture and the alignment of your joints. Muscle tension can also trigger intense pain in the head, neck, and shoulders.[3]

Chiropractic care may reduce the symptoms of tension headaches and improve spinal alignment. Better spinal alignment can relieve pressure on your bones and decrease muscle tension.

Understanding Chiropractic Adjustment

A chiropractic adjustment is a form of manual therapy.[4] During manual therapy, your chiropractor uses their hands and arms to apply sudden force to specific areas of your body. Your chiropractor may also use small instruments to apply targeted pressure.[2]

Chiropractic adjustments can help improve spinal alignment, loosen tight joints, and increase flexibility. These adjustments are also used to treat joints that have shifted out of alignment. The goal of chiropractic treatment is to restore your joints to their normal alignment.[4] Your chiropractor will also work to loosen your joints to increase your range of motion.

Risks of a Chiropractic Adjustment

Most chiropractic adjustments don't cause any pain, but some people may feel mild soreness after their adjustment. These side effects generally disappear after a few days.[2]

Your chiropractor may suggest using an ice pack or hot pack after treatment. Drinking plenty of water or engaging in special stretches can also help limit discomfort and keep your body limber.

Serious complications caused by chiropractic care are rare, but they can sometimes occur.[2] Before undergoing treatment, tell your chiropractor about all your medical conditions. Disclose which medications you are currently taking, including supplements or over-the-counter drugs. Some of your medicines may increase your risk of injury or bleeding.[5] Your chiropractor may suggest alternate treatments in these cases.

Talk to your family physician before seeking chiropractic care. Let your chiropractor and regular physician know if you have any of the following conditions:[2]

  • Osteoporosis
  • Nerve damage
  • Compressed nerves
  • Bone cancer
  • A history of stroke
  • Bone abnormalities
  • Herniated disks

These conditions may increase your risk of injury or complications from chiropractic care.

What to Expect with a Chiropractic Adjustment

During your initial visit, your chiropractor gathers information about your medical history. He or she then examines your neck and spine. Your chiropractor may suggest extra tests, such as X-rays.[2] These tests can help check for signs of long-term damage in your spinal column.

If your chiropractor decides to perform an adjustment, you will first lie on your stomach on the treatment table. Your chiropractor will then use their hands or special tools to apply sudden pressure to the joints along your spine.[2]

Some patients hear cracking or popping sounds during treatment. This occurs when pockets of air or gas that have built up inside your joints are released.[4] These sounds are normal and usually not a cause for alarm.

Your chiropractor may ask you to sit up or change positions several times during treatment. You may receive adjustments to several regions of the spine or in just one area.

After your treatment, you may feel tired or achy.[2] Your chiropractor will let you know what side effects you may experience. They'll also provide guidance on how to manage these symptoms at home.

Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Chiropractic Adjustment

  • What manual therapy techniques do you practice?
  • Do I need X-rays or other imaging tests?
  • How many chiropractic adjustments do I need?
  • Do you recommend physical therapy or other follow-up care?
  • What can I do to prevent this problem from returning in the future?
  • Will my insurance plan cover chiropractic care?
  • If my insurance doesn't cover chiropractic care, do you offer payment plans?

Chiropractic Adjustment May Also Be Known As:

  • Chiropractic treatment


Frequently asked questions

  • What are the main reasons people seek chiropractic adjustments?

    The primary reasons are to alleviate back pain, neck pain, and tension headaches.
  • Is chiropractic care a drug-free option?

    Yes, chiropractic care is a drug-free option designed to improve spinal alignment and relieve pressure.
  • What is a chiropractic adjustment?

    A chiropractic adjustment is a form of manual therapy that aims to improve spinal alignment, loosen tight joints, and increase flexibility.
  • What should patients disclose prior to treatment?

    Patients should disclose their medical history and current medications. The chiropractor may suggest alternative treatments based on this information.
  • What can patients expect after a chiropractic adjustment?

    After treatment, patients may feel tired or achy. However, the chiropractor will provide guidance on managing these symptoms at home.
  • Are there any potential complications with chiropractic adjustments?

    Serious complications are rare but possible. Mild soreness is a common side effect.
  • What happens during the initial visit to a chiropractor?

    During the initial visit, the chiropractor will gather medical history, examine the neck and spine, and may suggest additional tests like X-rays.
  • Can chiropractic care help with stress or anxiety-related tension headaches?

    Yes, chiropractic care can reduce tension headaches linked to stress or anxiety by improving spinal alignment and decreasing muscle tension.

Solv has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references.

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