What is a chiropractic adjustment?
An adjustment (or manipulation) is a minor movement of the vertebrae in the spine. Think of it just like “popping” your knuckles. The purpose is to restore the vertebrae that have stopped moving, either due to daily activity or a traumatic event like an auto accident. The old wives’ tale that “cracking” your joints leads to arthritis has been turned on its head and it’s now been shown in multiple studies that it actually reduces arthritis.
Why get adjusted?
Not having a strong, and equally important moving, spine can affect a great deal of your personal health, including your muscular and central nervous systems. The results from the nerves in your spine being inflamed can vary, but pain, tingling, and even numbness are common. The effect of an adjustment is just as influential on your nervous system as on your joints.
How do chiropractors get your vertebrae moving?
A quick search of YouTube will give you thousands of results showing the process and effect an adjustment can have. The chiropractor will put pressure on your vertebrae, either with his hands or with an instrument. It is done quickly and often with little discomfort for the patient. When the adjustment is made, you’ll experience joint cavitation, which is a release of gases like carbon dioxide and nitrogen from your joints. When this happens, you’ll hear a noise similar to cracking your knuckles. This sound lets us know that the joint is depressurized and back to moving properly.
Safety of chiropractic adjustments
Numerous studies have looked at just how safe chiropractic adjustments are. If we consolidate the research from Europe and the United States, we find that the risks of stroke following a cervical adjustment are .5 per 1 million and the risk of death is 1 in 8 million treatments! To put that into perspective, your risk of dying from an ulcer after taking Motrin is roughly 100 times greater than the risk from a chiropractic adjustment.
Further, the chiropractic profession has a well-established record of safety with Doctors of Chiropractic Medicine having some of the lowest malpractice insurance rates among all health professions.