An adjustment is something that can only be performed by a chiropractor. It is a change or correction made to a joint that has been locked and restricted within its normal range of movement. It takes many years for a chiropractor to learn how to adjust a joint correctly. It is an artand a science and a highly specialized skill. It is also the reason why chiropractic very often succeeds where other forms of treatment do not.
Chiropractors work primarily on the nervous system, even though it appears that they're just treating joints and muscles. This is because the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) decides whether or not muscles will go into spasm. Long periods of muscle spasm (tension) may eventually lead to joint misalignments called subluxations which require adjustment.
Spinal origins of muscle and joint pain:
This means the joint is not moving as freely as it should. It's 'locked' within its normal range of movement.
Muscles around the area become tight and painful.
A chiropractic adjustment to correct and loosen up the area is the best way to correct this.
Liniment, pain medication, hot/cold packs will relieve pain temporarily but they will always be more effective if they're used with chiropractic treatment.
Once the acute phase is over it's a good idea to have regular chiropractic check-ups: for some people it may need to be every two months, for others a bit longer. It depends on your work, sports and other activities.
Spinal joint misalignment looks like this
2.Direct pressure on a nerve root (impingement)
Nerve roots emerging from the spine can receive direct pressure from bulging discs, bony spurs (osteophytes) or tumours.
Displaced spinal vertebrae (subluxations) can irritate nerves as well.
Symptoms can include severe pain, numbness (loss of sensation) or tingling/'pins & needles'. When severe, this can lead to muscle weakness.
Your chiropractor can assist with diagnosing this problem. It requires urgent attention.
Impinged (red) spinal nerve
Dermatomes related to spinal segments
(See dermatome diagram)
Pain from different spinal levels can be reflected in body parts that have originated in the same group of embryonic cells as those spinal levels.
Dermatomes are the areas of the body that have this common connection. For example, the lower lumbar spine relates to parts of the leg and foot.
This means that foot pain can occur when there is nothing wrong with the foot but rather the lower back.
How do chiropractors manage your pain ?
The steps involved in treatment
Diagnosis is made after getting a detailed medical history and examination.
Origins of pain are not always obvious (as explained above) so determining the real cause of pain is necessary for treatment to be successful.
Massage is an important part of treatment: it relaxes the outer layers of muscle (the large muscle groups). This not only helps you to relax prior to the adjustment but reduces pain.
The adjustment(s) restore movement to the joints, help the muscles to relax and reduce pain. Adjustments reach the inner, deeper layers of muscles.
Adjustments are nothing more than a controlled, targeted stretch designed to move a particular joint in a particular direction. You may hear a clicking sound similar to when you stretch yourself.
This treatment usually provides a degree of immediate relief and must be followed up as directed.
What to expect after treatment
This treatment is drug-free so your progress is not masked by the effects of medication. Any improvement you experience is real.
Muscular soreness (the same type you get after exercise) is common when you've had massage with the treatment. It is different to the original muscle tension and is easily managed. A hot shower will help.
If the treatment is not followed up in the suggested time period (based on the chiropractor's experience and observation of your condition), you may find that some or all of the original symptoms return. This occurs because after the initial treatment, there is still some residual muscle tension which may continue to irritate the joints in question.
Every patient and every problem is unique. Your chiropractor will answer any questions you may have.