A lot of people ask, what does an adjustment actually do?
In this blog, we will discuss:
- The effects of an adjustment
- What the “pop” or “crack” sound indicates
- How long the effects of an adjustment last
- Who should receive adjustments
- Whether or not you should adjust yourself
The assessment is the first thing a chiropractor will do to decide where to adjust. At IHS, we are in search of joint restrictions. A joint restriction can be caused by posture, compensations, age-related changes, trauma, instability, or dysfunction. Why would a joint restriction lead to the need for an adjustment? A joint restriction can cause decreased stability, leading to the muscle becoming hypertonic or tense. More importantly, the restriction can cause feedback to that brain that leads to the sensation of pain.
What does the “pop” or “crack” that a chiropractor performs do the body? It gaps the joint which leads to decreased muscle tension and increased range of motion by recruiting muscle spindles and Golgi tendon organs, the two proprioceptors responsible for regulating muscle stiffness. By firing these two types of proprioceptors up, the muscle then relaxes. Without getting too in depth, the adjustment also inhibits your brains sensation of nociception aka pain.
In chiropractic terms, the pop or crack is considered a cavitation. Shockingly to most, this is not a sign that an adjustment has been performed, but moreso that a gas bubble has been formed. The cavitation itself has more of a psychological effect than an actual physiological effect. In other words, hearing the cavitation or “crack” gives the brain a sense of pleasure but is not necessary for a thorough, effective adjustment.
The adjustment duration depends on what other factors or aspects of treatment are incorporated. The body craves stability. Once instability becomes a factor, pain sets in. Abdominal breathing and bracing is the most important aspect of stability for the spine. With faulty breathing patterns, abdominal stability decreases and the adjustment will not “last.”
Who should receive adjustments? Anyone who wants to improve range of motion, reduce pain, and improve performance. Research shows that adjustments can increase maximum muscle contraction as well as increase your cortical drive to improve your motor, sensory and visual functions. In our opinion, “who shouldn’t receive an adjustment?” would be the better question!
Should you adjust yourself? The joints you are able to adjust yourself are hypermobile. This means the joint has too much motion. We want the body to be stable. Chiropractic degrees include an extra 5.5 years worth of education on top of undergraduate studies in order to finesse our skill set. Let us do the adjustments for you to get you back to an active, pain free lifestyle!
Content provided by Dr. Jen Brenneisen