Understanding Chiropractic Adjustments: What Does “Popping” Your Joints Actually Do?

If you suffer from back pain or any type of joint problem, you may be considering visiting your local chiropractor for care. However, many first-time patients can be intimidated by the quick and deft motions of a skilled chiropractor -- and even more so by the audible "pop" sometimes elicited from a patient's bones. Fortunately, you can put your fears to rest by coming to understand just what is going on when a chiropractor performs an adjustment on his or her patient.

What Is An Adjustment?

Virtually every stiff joint or painful back will require one or more chiropractic adjustments to fix. However, if you're a new patient, you might be curious about what exactly having your bones adjusted entails.

For most chiropractors, adjustments are performed by hand. A swift, firm push or twist is applied using both hands to a particular bone or joint in order to correct misalignment or stiffness. While this motion typically appears rough and may be painful in some cases, adjustments have been proven to reduce pain and improve mobility overall. The speed and firm force of an adjustment are vital to its efficacy.

In some cases, speed and precision can be increased with the use of tools in order to lessen the force required to perform an adjustment. Tables with fast movable parts or quick hand tools can deliver speedy adjustments while being gentle enough for use with young children and elderly patients, who may have more sensitive bones.

What Is The Goal Of A Chiropractic Adjustment?

Typically, adjustments are performed for one of two reasons: pushing a bone back into proper alignment and increasing the flexibility of stiff joints.

Realigning Your Bones

Over time, chiropractors believe bones can become slightly out of joint, pressing on nerves and causing pain that starts at the joint and radiates outward across the body. Injuries and manual labor can hasten this process and result in more severe misalignments. In some cases, bones may require frequent adjustment due to healing poorly or being strained by difficult tasks every day—lifting heavy items, professional sports, bending and standing repeatedly, etc. 

Bones in the back are especially painful when misaligned, as back pain may spread up the torso and down through the legs thanks to pinched spinal nerves. Pinched nerves can not only be painful, but can also cause muscle spasms, which result in fatigue and deep muscle pain over time.

One of the key roles an adjustment plays in fixing this issue is returning the offending bone to its rightful position in the joint. This can not only relieve the pain caused by misalignment itself, but can also remove pressure from sensitive nerves. Pain and muscle spasms diminish greatly when a patient has adjustments performed regularly.

Enforcing Joint Flexibility

As you age, your joints will naturally become more and more stiff, which reduces their range of motion and can make it painful to exercise them. Old injuries can result in inflammation of the joints or joints that heal improperly and do not fit together correctly as a result. 

Stiffened joints in the back can result in back pain brought on by common acts like sitting up, bending over, or turning your torso to face a different direction. Inflammation from stiff or damaged joints can also pinch nerves in the back, causing even more pain and sometimes bringing on muscle spasms.

Adjustments help to loosen up stiff joints by forcing them to quickly move out of their reduced range of motion. When done expertly, a chiropractor's adjustments can be combined with suggested exercises to restore almost all of a joint's flexibility. This increased flexibility not only allows patients to enjoy a fuller range of motion, but also to avoid the pain that comes with moving stiffened joints.

Don't be scared of letting a chiropractor help you. With a skilled hand and years of experience fixing joint problems similar to yours, your chiropractor may be able to get you moving more easily and less painfully than you have in a long time. Check out sites like http://cochiropractor.com for more information.