Many of our new patients look at chiropractors on YouTube before coming in and are intrigued by the rice “crispy” (snaps, crackles, and pops) they hear. We are here to tell you what is going on with adjustment/spinal mobilization (CMT/SMT) and most importantly, give you the research as to why and how it can potentially play an important part in your health.

Here are 3 ways to tackle this blog:

  1. Quick Version: Skim through the list and bolded words for the big points
  2. Regular Version: Read the whole blog
  3. Science Study Session: Dig into the article links after reading the blog

Back to the noise of chiropractic adjustments

The noise you hear is gas being released from the joints and we have known this for a very long time (1,2,3,4). You can relax knowing it is not the bones. The re-aligned term most patients have heard came about due to muscular posture imbalances being corrected and patients being able to stand up and feel straighter after adjustments. This happens because of the stretching of the joints and corresponding muscles, along with a decrease in muscle guarding spasms. All of which help patients leave feeling “aligned”.

What does the research show about people receiving Chiropractic adjustments?

  • 73% pain gone, much better, or moderately better compared to standard medical care alone (5)
  • Combined with usual medical care for low back pain provides greater pain relief and a greater reduction in disability than medical care alone (6)
  • Provides greater short-term reductions in self-reported disability and pain compared with usual medical care (7)
  • Acute and chronic patients experienced better outcomes in pain, functional disability, and patient satisfaction (8)
  • Associated with significant improvement in headaches (9)
  • Medicare patients had cheaper costs of care and shorter episodes of back pain (10)
  • For headaches short term 57% of those who met with DCs and 48% who exercised reported at least a 75% reduction in pain, compared to 33% of the people in the medication group (11)
  • Effective treatment for tension headaches
  • Workers whose first visit was to a chiropractor had significantly lower odds of surgery (13)

How is a chiropractic adjustment performed

The adjustment, in reality, is a mobilization. The doctor takes a joint that has decreased motion and applies a gentle impulse. This is what is called a high-velocity low amplitude (HVLA) thrust. Any HVLA is done into the space of limited motion due to injury, dysfunction, and pain. See pictures below this paragraph of the different mobilization grades and where the limited motion area is. This is mainly targeted to the joints in the spine but can be utilized in other joints such as the extremities and the temporal mandibular joint (TMJ).

What does a chiropractic adjustment do?

It decreases pain due to changes in nerve cell signals through a process called temporal summation (14), as well as fights inflammation in the body and around the nervous system due to an increase in cells that regulate inflammatory pathways (15, 16, 17). The mobilization decreases muscle spasms, almost the same way as when you throw a breaker and need to flip a switch to reset it, through cell signal regulation (18). There is also a more pain-free range of motion achieved post chiropractic care (19). To sum it up, an adjustment:

  1. Decreases pain sensitivity
  2. Decreases inflammation
  3. Decreases muscle spasms
  4. Increases range of motion

What type of conditions do Chiropractic adjustments help with?

  • Pain in neck, shoulders, mid-back, low back, and hips
  • Pain in extremities related to the neuromusculoskeletal system
  • Back pain and muscle pain with referred tingling without loss of motor function
  • Sprains and strains grades 1 and 2 related to muscles, ligaments, and cartilage
  • Headaches: cervicogenic (coming from the upper neck joints), tension and migraine
  • Pain due to muscle spasms
  • Degenerative joint diseases
  • Co-manage inflammatory conditions
  • Tendonitis/tendonosis
  • Joint tracking pain such as patellar or scapular dyskinesia
  • BPPV forms of dizziness after MRI was performed by MD to rule out other causes

What should be done before getting CMT/SMT? You should always seek out a chiropractor to be cleared for treatment. The list above, though helpful for head knowledge, should not be used to self diagnose yourself or clear you for CMT.

We hope this blog will serve as a resource to help you expand your options for your nerve, muscle, and skeletal treatments in the future. If you would like to see if you are a candidate that could start receiving the benefits of chiropractic care, we would love to have you be thoroughly examined in our office.

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Dustin  Hendrix

Dustin Hendrix


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