A chiropractic adjustment, also known as chiropractic manipulation, manual manipulation, or spinal manipulation, is the primary chiropractic treatment method for back pain.
The goal of a spinal adjustment is to restore proper joint function, and, in so doing, reduce nerve irritation. When the spine (or an extremity joint) is restricted in it's motion, there is interference to the nervous system. This can result in local pain, spasm, inflammation, weakness, numbness, or tingling. Depending on the specific nerve irritation that results, the proper function of associated organs can also be affected. Without proper spinal motion, the entire body cannot function at its best. Spinal adjustments are an excellent, non-invasive, drug-free way to support the body's highest level of health. Joint and disc degenerative processes are slowed or stopped when the spine is correctly aligned and moving properly.
Spinal manipulation has been a trusted form of treatment since the ancient Greek Hippocrates documented manipulative techniques in 1500 B.C. Modern day chiropractics was founded in 1895 by D. Daniel Palmer and developed more fully by his son, B.J. Palmer, in the early 1900's. Dr. Mary proudly acknowledges her great uncle, Dr. Frutiger, who taught with B.J. Palmer in the 1930's at the first chiropractic college, Palmer College of Chiropractic, in Davenport, Iowa.
There are well over 100 types of adjustment techniques used by chiropractors throughout the world. Chiropractors are known for using their hands to manually adjust the spine. The force applied is in the form of a light, quick, specifically-directed thrust. Chiropractors may also use low-force instruments to adjust the spine and/or extremities. For the most part, Dr. White treats patients using the following traditional chiropractic techniques: Thompson, Diversified, Flexion/Distraction, Activator, and Arthrostim. She also uses the Pettibon Chiropractic System for advanced spinal correction as appropriate. Traditional techniques are helpful to improve spinal motion and maintain overall joint and disc health as much as possible. To actually make long-term spinal curve corrections, the more advanced Pettibon protocol is appropriate. Decisions about the type of care and goals for care are discussed on an individual basis.
How does a spinal adjustment work?
In every joint there are various nerve endings--- for pain, for vibratory sense, for pressure, and for motion, among others. The motion detectors are called proprioceptors. They signal the brain when the joint moves. The brain then interprets the signal and sends an appropriate message back to the muscles that attach to the joint, telling the muscles how to contract. This is the basis of movement. If a joint is either completely or partially restricted in its motion, the brain doesn't get correct information. Since the brain is like a computer in that it only acts on information given, it is easy to seeing how poor info in means poor info out. Improper motion patterns and various imbalances can be the result. The job of the chiropractor is to find the areas of joint restriction and facilitate proper motion with one of the manipulative techniques. The brain actually does the "adjustment" by responding to more accurate information. The chiropractor is the facilitator of this process.
There is generally some repetition in chiropractic care because this healing process is actually a learning process for the body. The chiropractor is not "pushing a bone back into place". Chiropractic adjustments involve retraining the body to move and respond to gravity differently. Since it is a learning process, it can take some time and repetition. Overall health, age, nutrition, stress level, etc. are all factors that can either speed up or slow down this process. Dr. White will work with you to set goals and meet those goals as quickly as possible.
Overall, spinal adjustments are an excellent way to keep the body functioning at its highest level without discomfort. When the spine is aligned and moving properly, the nervous system and body are able to respond and perform as they were meant to do.