What is All is This “Noise” About Chiropractic Adjustments

Chiropractic Pun

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 spinal mobilization (CMT/SMT) and most importantly, give you the research as to why and how it can potentially play an important part of 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

Now, 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 helps patients leave feeling “aligned”.

What does the research show about people receiving Chiropractic adjustments?

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).

Chiropractic Mobilization
Chiropractic Mobilization Grade 5

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 muscles 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 spams
  4. Increases range of motion

What type of conditions do Chiropractic adjustments help with?

The research has already shown us some of the neuromusculoskeletal conditions, but let us make a quick list to show what else it helps 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 (see our blog on how to choose your chiropractor if you need help with figuring this out). 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 (schedule here).

We appreciate your continued interest in our blog. Please subscribe here so you can be notified for the up-coming series, which will give a detailed look at chiropractic services.

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