Unless you’ve been happily (or unhappily) living under a rock or in a cave for a while, you’ve at least heard the phrase “chiropractic manipulation.” You probably wondered what it was about and did a search online or asked someone you know for information. There is some confusion out there about what chiropractic manipulation is, so we’ll clear that up and then talk about the benefits it can bring.
What exactly is meant by the term “Chiropractic Manipulation”?
When you hear someone use this term, they are talking about a practice also known as spinal manipulation or chiropractic adjustment. It’s a common treatment for lower back problems and neck problems too.
Essentially, a chiropractor manipulates any vertebrae that are not functioning properly or have abnormal movement patterns. This is done with a mix of low amplitude and high velocity, applied to certain parts of the back as needed. There’s a certain level of skill and precision involved here. It is also far more important for a chiropractor to be able to judge when not to apply the adjustment.
What benefits does it bring?
Chiropractic manipulation is reported to bring several benefits. It reduces nerve irritability. A properly-done adjustment reduce subluxation, which refers to the altered position of vertebrae and the associated loss of function. Increased range of motion is another benefit of this treatment method.
It can also relieve headaches, and is something to consider if no other treatments have worked. People with fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis may find some relief thanks to the moderate pressure used (it’s the same pressure used in deep tissue massage).
Can it be dangerous?
As with anything in life, there is a certain amount of risk associated with chiropractic manipulation but it is certainly a far smaller risk than that involved with having spine surgery. There are factors which increase your chances of being injured. For example, it can worsen a herniated or slipped disc. Those who have spinal cord compression or inflammatory arthritis should not undergo chiropractic manipulation.
All in all, the success of chiropractic manipulation starts well before you go in for your appointment. An experienced chiropractor will always want to know about your medical history, including lifestyle factors and whether you are taking blood-thinning medication, have osteoporosis, or have a history of cancer before going ahead with the manipulation.
Please note that a chiropractor may refuse to treat you if they find something in your history that concerns them enough to say no. They may contact your medical doctor if they have questions and to see if they think you will benefit from chiropractic manipulation, but even then, they may not feel comfortable going through with it.