While chiropractors may use a range of different treatments to provide patient care, there is one particular technique that most people associate with chiropractic medicine. This is the practice of performing adjustments to the spine and back.
With a spinal adjustment, the chiropractor works to restore the proper alignment of the spine. By restoring the alignment of the spine, the chiropractor can help to relieve pain, reduce inflammation, improve motion and address nerve dysfunction.
When you talk about chiropractic spinal adjustments, there are several different techniques that can be applied, but they generally fall into one of two categories. Some techniques are used for spinal manipulation, and others are used for spinal mobilization. Depending on the patient and the issues that need to be addressed, a chiropractor may use techniques that fall into one category or the other, and in many cases, they might use a combination of the two.
For spinal manipulation, the Doctor of Chiropractic will apply high-velocity low amplitude thrust to the joints that they are trying to address. In other words, the force is applied in a movement that is quick and sharp. With this, the chiropractor may position the patient’s body in a certain way to gain the correct leverage or to line the joints up in a way that is necessary for achieving the desired result.
With spinal mobilization, the adjustments are performed in a way that is less forceful. In spinal mobilization, the chiropractor use slower, gentler applications of pressure to realign and adjust the joints. Depending on the needs of the patient, it could be gentle movements that extend the joint to a certain degree or it could be an application of pressure that is intended to stretch the joint and relieve pressure.
Whether you are talking about spinal manipulation or spinal mobilization, the goal is to restore the proper alignment of the spine and improve joint function. Within both categories, you have a variety of different techniques that can be applied. Some chiropractors prefer different methods and they will select the techniques that they use based on several different factors that are unique to the individual patient.
Depending on the chiropractor, there are different things that you may expect as a part of your treatment. As mentioned above, the DC may need to position the patient’s body in a specific way to perform the adjustment, in addition to that, some adjustments may be performed by hand, and there are others that work better when specific pieces of equipment are used. A chiropractor may also have specially designed apparatus like tables and chairs that can be used to assist with certain types of adjustments.
Regardless of the type of adjustment or the reason for the patient’s visit, the first step in any spinal adjustment is to interview and examine the patient. Before a chiropractor can know which types of adjustments are needed, they have to learn about the individual that they are treating, their medical history and any pain issues that they may have.
Even if you have been to the same chiropractor before, they are likely to want to spend some time discussing your progress during the time between visits and get any feedback that the patient may have. However, on the first visit, the interview and examination is going to take more time. The DC needs to get to know the patient and become familiar with their history and any problems that they may have.