Releases joint restrictions allowing for improved movements of the spine with less pain.
Chiropractic adjustment and spinal manipulation are different words that describe the same therapy. Although chiropractic adjustment is commonly said, spinal manipulation is the more medically accepted term used in research.
Chiropractic adjustments (spinal manipulations) are a form of therapy in which a chiropractor precisely positions spine joints and then adds a small impulse to remove restrictions and increase mobility.
In the earlier years of chiropractic, it was thought that adjustments would help to realign the spine. The idea was that bones of the spine (vertebrae) developed subtle misalignments (subluxations). For many years, chiropractors believed they were putting bones back in place.
However, recent advances in research have given a more in-depth understanding of how adjustments relieve pain and enhance movement.
Spinal manipulation, aka chiropractic adjustment, is a therapy used to remove restrictions and release tension from the spine's joints. Because joints are beneath muscles, this therapy has the potential to address deeper levels than a stretch or massage. Additionally, by optimizing spine movement, adjustments enhance the synchronicity of the entire body.
The word chiropractic translates as "done by hands." Traditionally, chiropractors have focused entirely on spinal adjustments to promote a healing response.
More forward-thinking chiropractors combine several hands-on therapies such as myofascial release, stretching, and acupuncture. These modern chiropractors also emphasize a holistic approach to physical therapy and corrective exercises.
Chiropractic techniques are used worldwide for everything from pain relief to sports performance. For example, most professional sports teams utilize a team chiropractor for musculoskeletal health benefits.
The most up-to-date understanding of how chiropractic adjustments work is that they relieve pain, relax muscles, and enhance coordinated movement through nervous system reflexes and joint mobilizations.
Our joints, muscles, and tendons all have tiny nerve receptors that work like position sensors, letting us know where our body is in space. For example, if you close your eyes, you can still touch your nose with a finger. All along the spine are dense amounts of these position sensor nerve receptors. Spinal manipulations stimulate these receptors, causing a beneficial reflex in the spinal cord. These reflexes relax surrounding muscles, release pain-relieving chemicals, and improve muscle coordination. Many researchers have likened these reflexes to a reset or reboot for the central nervous system.
There are more than 50 joints in the spine column (backbone). When all of those joints move in unison, the body as a whole can move optimally. However, it's more common to have specific areas of the spine that become tense. When tension and restrictions occur in one area of the spine, it disrupts the coordinated movement of the entire spine. Spinal manipulations remove those restrictions, allowing for better movement in the spine and body.
There is a wide variety of techniques that chiropractors utilize to adjust the spine. Some traditional adjustments use more forceful movements that create cracks and pops within joints. Yet, other gentle mobilizations do not require aggressive movements at all. Ultimately, the goal is to reset the nervous system and enhance spine mobility. The amount of force used will depend on several factors, most notably the client's preference.
Select chiropractors are also performing new styles of decompression adjustments such as Y strap and cox flexion distraction. These styles of adjustments release joint restrictions from a different angle that some clients find more comfortable.
Our office is conveniently located in Saint Louis, MO, offering a variety of chiropractic treatments for chronic pain relief, healing, and improving performance. In addition to chiropractic treatment, our chiropractors perform myofascial release, stretching, acupuncture, and physical therapy. We customize personalized treatment plans with an emphasis on long-term success for patients.
Comprehensive chiropractic care is a holistic approach to health and wellness, focusing on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mechanical disorders of the musculoskeletal system, especially the spine. This form of care not only addresses immediate pain and discomfort but also aims to identify and treat the underlying causes of these issues. Chiropractors often employ a variety of techniques, including spinal adjustments, manual therapy, and exercises to improve mobility and function. Comprehensive chiropractic care may also integrate nutritional counseling, lifestyle advice, and stress management strategies to promote overall well-being.
There are three ways to utilize chiropractic care. 1. Pain relief. 2. Corrective care. 3. Maintenance. Corrective care is often the second phase of care after pain relief. The goal is to start the process of correcting and improving posture, movement, and function to be proactive in preventing future issues.
The cracking sounds associated with adjustments are not coming from the bones; they have more to do with stretching joint spaces. To understand what's happening, you need to know there is a fluid (synovial fluid) between the joints. When the joint space expands during an adjustment, the synovial fluid pressure decreases, pulling gas from the synovial fluid. Although some people think the popping noise is necessary for therapeutic benefits, that is not the case. Relaxation and mobility can still be acquired from an adjustment without the pop.
Chiropractors have developed specific palpation skills to locate areas of muscle tension and joint restrictions. When particular back regions lose sufficient mobility, it interferes with quality movement elsewhere. Chiropractors use palpation to check for the areas of restrictions (decreased mobility).
Chiropractic care is considered a safe and non-invasive therapy for low back and neck pain. The most common side effects are that a patient might feel sore after the first 1-2 treatments. The soreness is similar to the soreness experienced the day after a new exercise routine.
Some people's biggest fear regarding spinal manipulations is that they believe they can cause strokes. This fear is understandable, given that strokes have been reported after neck adjustments. However, the incident is so rare that many researchers believe neck adjustment may aggravate a stroke already occurring but not cause strokes.
There are risks associated with almost every type of medical treatment, including chiropractic care. However, to highlight the risk of using a chiropractor vs. other medical procedures, it is helpful to consider each profession's malpractice insurance. Chiropractors have some of the lowest malpractice insurance premiums compared to other health physicians. In our office, we make every attempt to minimize risks of injury, explain each procedure and give patients options every step of the way.
Most patients describe spinal manipulation as feeling therapeutic and helping to relieve pain. However, there are some instances in which a chiropractic adjustment may be uncomfortable or cause soreness afterward. Discomfort after an adjustment can be due to muscle guarding or an excessive inflammatory response. Pain after an adjustment can be treated with heat, ice, or OTC NSAIDs. Any discomfort from an adjustment should be resolved within 24-48 hours. Severe or concerning pain should be discussed with your doctor immediately.
A single spinal manipulation can be administered in less than a minute. However, a thorough chiropractor will usually warm the surrounding tissues first. Myofascial release and stretching before an adjustment can ease tension, reduce guarding, and make for a more comfortable and successful session.
The frequency of receiving adjustments depends on your condition and degree of joint restrictions. In some instances, only one or two sessions are necessary for a complete recovery. This is usually the case when someone has a kink in their neck from a sleeping position. Chronic neck pain or back pain with significant restrictions may respond best to twelve adjustments.
The best chiropractors combine several healing therapies to treat a variety of musculoskeletal conditions. For example, neck pain caused by arthritis, pinched nerves, muscle strains, and headaches can be treated with chiropractic therapies. Low back pain and sciatica caused by a disc bulge can be treated with decompression by a chiropractor. More forward thinking chiropractors are also excellent at treating extremities such as shoulder pain and hip pain.
Our chiropractors use a wide variety of adjustment techniques that can be applied to any region of the spine. We specialize in traditional spinal manipulations, Y strap adjustments, and Cox flexion-distraction. Additionally, we can mobilize, stretch, or even manipulate other body regions such as the shoulder, hip, knee, and ankle.
Whether you're a new patient looking for answers and solutions to a complicated condition, or just need a chiropractic adjustment, our office can help. Our chiropractors can help no matter if you are recovering from an injury or are experiencing chronic back pain or neck pain, so call O'Guin Wellness today!
We specialize in leading, non-invasive therapies that restore alignment, enhance movement, and promote healing.
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