In general, you will know you need a chiropractic adjustment if you are experiencing back pain or discomfort anywhere along your spinal column. You may experience a variety of symptoms of dysfunction, including nagging pain, pain with movement, numbness or tingling in the extremities, unbalance gait or other issues.
People often don’t know they have suffered an injury or condition that causes their spine to go out of alignment. You may have experienced an accident that affected spinal alignment, or you may have sprained muscles in the back that are causing the misalignment. Sometimes, degenerative conditions of aging affect alignment.
What Happens During A Chiropractic Adjustment?
During your first visit, the chiropractor will take a thorough medical history and will ask questions about your current condition. If you are experiencing pain or other symptoms, the chiropractor will make note of where the discomfort is located and how severe it is. You will receive x-rays of your spine to detect any problems in the spinal structures. The chiropractor will then explain what issues the images revealed and what treatment would best address the problem. When the adjustment is done, you will lie face down on a padded table that allows the chiropractor to manipulate areas of the body effectively.
Signs You May Benefit from a Chiropractic Adjustment
Discomfort or Soreness in Your Neck or Spine
Back or neck pain are common problems that can be the result of an injury, repetitive motions or degenerative conditions within the body.
Restricted Mobility in Your Spinal Column
Lack of flexibility in the spinal column is a common problem that can occur after an injury or a physical disorder. You may have trouble bending over, twisting to do tasks or have pain when walking.
Poor Stance or Weak Muscles
You may notice difficulty in maintaining a comfortable standing position or may notice that your muscles seem weak and unable to withstand constant strain.
Noticeable Signs of Skeletal Misalignment
In some cases, you may notice obvious signs of misalignment, such as curvature of the spine or one shoulder higher than the other.
Recurring Discomfort or Injury Not Getting Better
If you have had an injury that is slow to heal, you may be able to benefit from spinal adjustment to help relieve pressure on nerves and improve circulation throughout the affected area.
Reduced Flexibility and Mobility
Tightness or lack of flexibility during bending tasks are signs you might need a spinal adjustment. Problems with mobility can indicate that re-alignment is needed to facilitate normal movement.
Unexpected Changes in Your Range of Motion
You may notice that you are unable to lift your arms above your head or may not be able to bend your hips comfortably or lift your legs as you did previously. Turning your head to the side may be difficult or painful.
Getting Ready for Your Chiropractic Adjustment Appointment
Provide Your Medical History
For your first visit, you should be ready to provide your medical history, as well as an explanation of any injuries you have sustained that could affect your current condition. You should also provide a list of your current medications.
Physical Assessment and Mobility Testing
The chiropractor will give you physical examination, determining your current condition and any mobility problems you may have. How you walk, how easily you bend over and whether you are experiencing pain during these actions will provide information to the chiropractor on the nature of your spinal problem.
X-Rays, MRI, and Other Imaging Exams (If needed)
Imaging tests help the chiropractor to detect abnormalities in the skeletal system that may require treatment. X-rays reveal the hard structures inside the body, such as bones, joints and spinal vertebrae. MRI imaging shows soft tissue damage, in addition to any problems with the bones. Other tests can also be helpful in determining the right treatment for your needs.
Benefits of Chiropractic Care
Re-aligning spinal structures can result in significant reduction in musculoskeletal pain. A meta-analysis from the National Library of Medicine indicates that chiropractic treatment can be an effective method of relieving low back pain, neck pain and other types of musculoskeletal dysfunction. It can help to improve flexibility and extend range of motion, as well as improving nerve function and overall well-being.
Improved Mobility and Range of Motion
Chiropractic care can also relieve stiffness, which can aid in improved mobility and better range of motion.
Support Injury/Condition Recovery
Keeping the spine in good alignment can help to facilitate healing and shorten recovery time from an injury or disorder. Improved mobility can also help you to avoid future injury.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are the Symptoms of Needing a Chiropractic Adjustment?
Back pain and stiffness are signs you could benefit from a chiropractic adjustment. Similarly, pain and lack of normal mobility in the neck may require spinal adjustment. Shoulder, knee and hip pain can also indicate spinal re-alignment is needed.
How Do You Know If Your Back Needs Adjusted?
The discomfort could occur anywhere from the cervical area at the top of the spine down to the lower spine, where important nerves like the sciatic nerve meet the spinal column. However, referred pain in other parts of the body can also occur. Your chiropractor can do a thorough analysis to find the source of the problem.
How Do You Tell If You Need A Chiropractor or Massage?
Chiropractors deal with problems related to the spinal column and integrated movement of the body. Massage deals with soft tissue injury. The two issues may be related. Chiropractors often provide massage as part of their healing treatments.
Who Should Not See a Chiropractor
If you have been diagnosed with severe osteoporosis, you should not go for chiropractic adjustments. According to the Mayo Clinic site on chiropractic adjustment, individuals who have had a stroke should not see a chiropractor without discussing it with their primary physician. If you have cancer of the spine, you should avoid chiropractic treatment. Also, if you know you have any bone abnormality in the neck, you should not have chiropractic care.
How Do You Know If Your Spine Is Misaligned?
You may not have any indication that your spine is misaligned. Some people have no symptoms at first, but they may experience pain or poor flexibility over time. You may just have vague discomfort or poor mobility and not know exactly why. In other cases, you may have distinct pain that indicates something is not right.
How Do You Know If Your Back Is Misaligned?
You may experience problems with ongoing or intermittent back pain. Bending and twisting may be difficult for you. Nerves may become compressed and cause numbness and tingling in the legs. Neck discomfort can radiate into the shoulders or upper arms. Lower spine problems can cause dysfunction in the hips and legs. Any ongoing discomfort in the spine or extremities could mean a problem with alignment.
Can You Feel If Your Spine Is Misaligned?
Sometimes, individuals will be able to tell if their spine is out of alignment. They may have muscle weakness or poor flexibility when they move that indicates spinal structures are not in their normal position. They may know of an abnormality that has existed since childhood, or may have experienced an accident that has affected the function of their spinal column.
Can A Chiropractor Tell If Your Spine Is Misaligned?
Chiropractors receive extensive training in the anatomy of the spine and the mechanics of the human body. They can detect many types of spinal abnormalities and misalignment. Chiropractors generally use physical examination and imaging tests to pinpoint specific spinal problems.
Do Chiropractors Check Posture?
Part of what chiropractors investigate routinely is the posture of their patients, because posture can have a significant effect on body comfort, as well as being an indicator of some problems in the skeletal system.
Is Chiropractic Adjustments Good for Your Body?
Chiropractic treatment can be helpful for a variety of musculoskeletal problems, helping to relieve soft tissue discomfort and improving both flexibility and range of motion. Treatment can help your body function more efficiently during movement.
What Can I Do Instead of Going To A Chiropractor?
Individuals often try a number of healing practices to heal with musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction. Orthopedics is a medical specialty that deals with diseases of the bones, joints and spine. Physical therapy can help to strengthen muscles and improve range of motion. Massage therapy facilitates healing and improves flexibility. Exercise can help to improve spine and joint function, and can help improve stiffness.
What Toxins Are Released After Chiropractic Adjustment?
The manipulation of the spine relieves the subluxations that block normal blood flow through the spine and body. According to Dr. Jason Whealing, on his Physickle site, this action results in the release of chemicals such as substance-P neurotensin, interleukins, glutathione peroxidase and superoxide dismutase in the body. Some individuals may experience fatigue, headache or flu-like symptoms from the release of their toxins from the body. Drinking fluids, exercise and a healthy diet can help to reduce symptoms.