Do Chiropractic Adjustments Actually Work?

Overview

The term chiropractic adjustment refers to the process of applying manipulation to the vertebrae that have abnormal patterns of movement or don’t function properly. Also known as spinal manipulation, our trusted Fairfax Chiropractor uses hands or small instruments to relieve pain or improve overall physical function. 

Why is it done?

The chiropractic adjustment is usually performed on back and neck pain (mostly chronic) and headaches. That said, people may opt to see a chiropractor for many other reasons, including fatigue or lack of energy, muscle aches, digestive problems, tingling, and numbness. 

Risks

Every procedure comes with certain risks, and chiropractic adjustment isn’t the exception. However, you’re unlikely to experience severe side effects. You may feel sore or tired, for example. Aching and soreness usually last for a few hours after the treatment and never last longer than 24 hours after the chiropractic adjustment. Ice packs can help reduce this discomfort. Rarely some people may have a mild headache. Severe adverse reactions are uncommon, including stroke, pinched nerve, and herniated disc. 

What you can expect

The chiropractor discusses medical history during your first visit. Besides medical history, the chiropractor also performs a physical exam and may order some tests such as x-ray to visualize internal structures, CT scan to create detailed pictures of internal body structures,  and MRI, which relies on radio waves and strong magnetic field images of your body. 

Information obtained through these tests and physical exams allows a chiropractor to create a treatment plan most suitable for your needs.

During the procedure

Before the procedure can even begin, a chiropractor needs to position you properly to treat specific areas. For example, you may need to lie face down on a chiropractic table, the most common scenario. To perform spinal manipulation, a chiropractor uses hands (or small instruments) to apply a controlled, sudden force to a joint or a specific “trouble spot” to push it beyond its usual range of motion to align your spine. During the adjustment, you may hear popping or cracking sounds.

After the procedure

A regular chiropractic visit lasts about less than 30 minutes, in most cases. You may experience mild fatigue after the procedure, but most people feel better. Since chiropractic adjustments are noninvasive, you get to go home right after the treatment. After the procedure, your chiropractor will make recommendations for follow-up care. Many chiropractors also remind patients about the importance of a well-balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle for good health and wellbeing. 

Results

Patients usually feel pain relief shortly after a chiropractic adjustment. Even a single session can bring substantial benefits, but several appointments are necessary for the best results in most cases. In addition, not everyone responds to chiropractic adjustments the same way, so that results may vary from one person to another. Further research on spinal manipulation is necessary to uncover the real potential of this practice. 

References

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