A chiropractic adjustment refers to a chiropractor applying a high velocity, low amplitude thrust to a joint that has an abnormal movement pattern or is not functioning properly (this is termed joint restriction). The aim of this treatment is primarily to increase range of motion, but it can also reduce nerve impingement, help resolve chronic joint inflammation (due to impaired movement), reduce pain, and improve the general function of a particular joint.

When the adjustment is performed, a cracking or popping sound can sometimes be heard (although it is not necessary to benefit from the adjustment). There are a few misconceptions about the sound; it is not bone being put “back into place” or bone rubbing on bone. The truth is that most joints in the body are synovial joints, which can be described as a fluid-filled sac that lubricates the joint. This fluid contains dissolved gases, which create bubbles that ‘pop’ when the pressure inside the joint is reduced below a certain threshold during a movement. These gases take about 20 minutes to reabsorb into the fluid afterwards, which is why you can’t “crack” the same joint again in a short space of time!

Depending on the problem being treated, chiropractic adjustments will be most beneficial if done at certain intervals which will be different for each patient. For example, acute low back pain might require 2-3 visits a week initially to provide pain relief and regain some movement, reducing to just one visit every 3 weeks to maintain joint movement once pain has improved. The point is, we believe in tailoring your treatment plan to what you need and what works for you.

If the idea of an adjustment is not something that you feel comfortable with, don’t forget that chiropractors are highly trained in many other treatments that will still provide a benefit. That might include soft tissue therapy (eg. massage & trigger point release), stretching, cupping, taping, and customized exercise programs to improve strength and range of motion.
Come in and see what chiropractic treatment is all about!