Chiropractic adjustment is often considered like putting in a bone out-of-place. In fact, an adjustment is essentially about increasing the mobility of a joint and releasing the surrounding soft tissues such as fasciae, muscles, tendons or the disc.
Most of mechanical back pains are due to a restriction of movement of one or several joints, what we call segmental dysfunction in medical term. This can be due to an injury, a sustained posture which overloads the involved segment of the spine or even a slipped disc. If there is any joint dysfunction or even worse, locked joint, the movement soliciting this level of the spine will cause pain when mobilising the structure which cannot adapt. So the nerve may be entrapped.
The aim of the chiropractic adjustment is to provide a gentle and very quick stretch to create a reflex of release. Thus, the quality of movement is improved and the spine can adapt in a better way to further strain. Repeating this a few times amazingly increases the function of the spine, free the nerve and so reduces the level of pain.
However, if the problem has been there for years, it may be needed more sessions. The reason is simple. The joint is designed to move; it’s even its definition. Therefore, if the joint has been locked for months or even years (it might even been there before you feel pain), it hasn’t moved. The rule in the nature is “if don’t use it, you lose it”. That means that the segment of the spine will degenerate including muscle adhesions, ligament thickness, cartilage softness or disc dehydration. Then, when we restore the function, it will take time to remodel the tissues which pull back to old habits. The joint will be unstable and will need reinforcement to reduce the discomfort and gain a lasting change.
Adjustments should happen before stretching and building up strength. If you have a rubber band with a knot in it, and you stretch it, you’re only going to tighten the knot.
Over time, muscles can develop trigger points or adhesions. What we aim to do with manual soft tissue techniques is break down or reduce the adhesions… the knots in the rubber bands. From there, we can teach the patient how to stretch properly, in ways where they are not going to hurt themselves.
Chiropractic adjustment is a safe, effective, efficient form of treatment and many patients respond well to it.