6 Benefits of a Chiropractic Adjustment
by Dr. Cullen Fahey, DC, NKT
What is a chiropractic adjustment?
A chiropractic adjustment is when a chiropractor uses their hands (or a device) to apply a high velocity, low amplitude force in a specific direction to create motion in an otherwise restricted joint.
Recently, adjustments have become just another tool in the toolbox and no longer define what chiropractic is. While adjustments have many benefits, other therapies (such as soft-tissue work and rehabilitation) must supplement adjustments to achieve lasting relief.
Chiropractic adjustments can be explained under two umbrellas:
1. What is the adjustment DOING
2. What can it HELP with.
Umbrella #1: What The Adjustment Is DOING...
1. Decreasing Tension
When a joint is adjusted, there is a quick stretch of receptors (golgi tendon organs) that causes a neurological reaction, which allow the muscles connected to that joint to relax.
2. Increasing Range Of Motion
Thanks to the adjustment, when the muscles attached to the joint relax there is less restriction to the joint. Typically, this results in immediate, notable mobility as compared to before the adjustment.
3. Decreasing Pain
The adjustment has the ability to alter central sensory processing by removing mechanical or chemical stimuli from tissues, keeping them below threshold. In layman’s terms, that means pain relief for the body.
There is immediate, notable mobility post-adjustment and pain relief for the body.
Bottomline: The adjustment helps with pain and movement temporarily, but for long term benefit it must be combined with advanced intervention such as movement-based rehabilitation or active release. We understand this need at The Facility and ensure you get both manual manipulation PLUS movement-based care.
Umbrella #2: What The Adjusment Can HELP With...
1. Reducing Low Back Pain
This seems like low-hanging fruit and an obvious benefit, but it also continues to be a primary focus for the vast majority of patient care and research. Statistically shown, adjustments paired with exercise have higher outcomes as compared to back surgery alone, over a 5 year follow-up.
2. Relieving Neck Pain
A study from the Annals of Internal Medicine compared chiropractic adjustments to drugs and at-home exercises. Here are their findings:
OTC pain relievers gave relief to 33% of patients.
At-home exercise helped 48% of patients find relief.
The chiropractic adjustment group had the highest rate of relief with 57% of patients finding reduction in pain.
While research shows the capabilities of the adjustment, we believe that the adjustment paired with at-home exercises will improve the long term outcomes, by far.
3. Managing Headaches
Evidence suggests that an adjustment helps improve migraines and cervicogenic headaches. While there is no solid evidence to reducing tension headaches, there are other soft-tissue techniques we can use to effectively eliminate those, i.e. graston, cupping, etc.
4. Treating Sciatica
Sciatica is nerve pain that shoots from your low back down your leg. A controlled study from the journal Spine showed a chiropractic adjustment had more benefit than a placebo, along with no adverse effects.
There can be many reasons for low back pain that radiates down the leg. While an adjustment may help some of the reasons, its does not help all, so we tailor your treatment to the specific needs of your body and physical state.
5. Preventing Back Surgery
Chiropractic adjustments have shown to have great benefits to the spine while having very little risk. The President of the American College of Physicians stated, “For the treatment of chronic low back pain, physicians should select therapies that have the fewest harms and costs.” Most of the time, patients are now required to try chiropractic or rehab before being considered for back surgery.
6. Frozen Shoulder
Many people don’t realize a chiropractor treats more than just the spine. They can, quite literally, adjust you from your head to your toes. If there is a joint, i.e. the shoulder, a chiropractor can adjust it!
All of these benefits are great but the best part of the adjustment is it gives you a neurological window to MOVE. If you no longer have pain or stiffness, then you have the ability to do rehabilitative exercises.
This is how you progress from dependence on a practitioner that makes you feel better to having the freedom of helping yourself.
Here are a few things we can address....
• Chronic pain
• Inflammation, and other immune responses
• Muscle formation
• Liver function
• Motor control
• Reproductive system function
• Bone remodeling/growth
• Nerve function
We believe in whole-body healing from a root cause perspective. You are not your pain. You are not your condition.
Functional Medicine is rooted in daily lifestyle change that builds a healthy foundation. This foundation of good nutrition, an active mind & body, and proper sleep & recovery allows us to face challenges that inevitably come up in our modern world. Be it a virus, a stressor, or a physical challenge: we can weather it with minimal impact.
The time to build and solidify that foundation is now. (And you aren't meant to do it alone). We look at your unique biology (through functional lab testing) and support your habits (through nutritional guidance, mindfulness training, and physical medicine) to help you achieve a resilient state.
Maybe you need to step up one area of your life--> Book an online appointment!
We've all got the time to face it. Need more direction? Reach out! We'll get you on the right path.
Bronfront, G., Evans, R., Anderson, A., Svendsen, K., Bracha, Y., & Grimm, R. (2012). Spinal manipulation, medication, or home exercise with advice for acute and subacute neck pain: A randomized trial. Bronfort G, Evans R, Anderson AV, Svendsen KH, Bracha Y, Grimm RH. Ann Intern Med 2012;156(1 Pt 1):1–10. The Spine Journal, 12(5), 453. doi:10.1016/j.spinee.2012.05.026
Bryans, R., Descarreaux, M., Duranleau, M., Marcoux, H., Potter, B., Ruegg, R., . . . White, E. (2011). Evidence-Based Guidelines for the Chiropractic Treatment of Adults With Headache. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 34(5), 274-289. doi:10.1016/j.jmpt.2011.04.008
Gudavalli, M. R., Olding, K., Joachim, G., & Cox, J. M. (2016). Chiropractic Distraction Spinal Manipulation on Postsurgical Continued Low Back and Radicular Pain Patients: A Retrospective Case Series. Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, 15(2), 121-128. doi:10.1016/j.jcm.2016.04.004
Murphy, F. X., Hall, M. W., D'amico, L., & Jensen, A. M. (2012). Chiropractic management of frozen shoulder syndrome using a novel technique: A retrospective case series of 50 patients. Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, 11(4), 267-272. doi:10.1016/j.jcm.2012.07.001
Goertz, C. M., Long, C. R., Vining, R. D., Pohlman, K. A., Walter, J., & Coulter, I. (2018). Effect of Usual Medical Care Plus Chiropractic Care vs Usual Medical Care Alone on Pain and Disability Among US Service Members With Low Back Pain. JAMA Network Open, 1(1). doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2018.0105