If you’ve heard about chiropractic care before, you’ve probably heard people talk about being ‘cracked’ or ‘popped’. That’s essentially the layman term for manipulation/adjustment, which is the primary tool we have in a chiropractic office.
There are adjunct therapies available like soft tissue and exercise. For the most part, however, we’ll assess the patient and specific regions of their spine. We’re looking for areas that aren’t moving, moving abnormally, or causing disfunction elsewhere. Those are the spots that we’re going to manipulate/adjust by applying force to the area in a specific line of drive. By applying the force in a specific direction, we’re trying to move the bone back and get it freed up. It’ll result in decreased pain, improved range of motion, and better biomechanical function.
Is Manipulation Painful?
If a patient comes into our office with pain on a scale of 8 out of 10, pressure to that area will be uncomfortable. However, manipulation/adjustment itself shouldn’t be painful. We’re upfront with the patient to explain if there will be any associated discomfort. The patient also has an opportunity to express any questions or concerns they have so that they won’t have any uncertainty. For the most part, patients are fine with a little bit of discomfort if it means that it’s going to provide them with relief.
There are certain kinds of patients that are not good candidates for manipulation. Osteoporosis, metastasis, or fractures are red flags that indicate that the patient should not be adjusted. It’s very important to know the patient’s entire history to figure out if there’s anything that will contraindicate that adjustment is the best form of treatment. If there’s anything that raises concerns, we’ll get some type of imaging before we decide to progress. We may recommend attacking the issue with a different type of therapy, like exercise for example. There are other options that are safe and effective which will not aggravate the patient’s condition.
Chiropractors tend to have different styles and techniques. While the majority of adjustment techniques are hands-on, there are some that use an instrument. Chiropractors may also use drop tables to assist with the adjustment. There are even techniques that don’t thrust on the patient at all. Some chiropractors do high-velocity low-amplitude, meaning that it’s fast and the patient doesn’t move much. All of these different styles will make a difference when it comes to the patient’s response.
A chiropractor’s unique style comes from a melting pot of several different techniques. They’ll mix them all together to come up with their own formula. Patients tend to develop a relationship and trust factor with their doctor. Of course, it comes down to having a chiropractor that communicates effectively with their patients. All questions should be answered in an clear and understandable way. There should be absolutely no uncertainty so the patient will know exactly what to expect.
To learn more about spinal manipulation and how it might be appropriate for you, contact us online or give us a call at (918) 743-3737.