How Does a Chiropractic Adjustment Work?

Last updated May 10, 2024, by Shorewood Team

Annually, one out of four Americans seek the expertise of a Doctor of Chiropractic to address issues such as back pain, neck pain, knee pain, or other joint discomfort — a frequency twice as high as 15 years ago. This shift reflects an increasing recognition of the holistic benefits and effectiveness of chiropractic care in managing musculoskeletal conditions and improving overall wellness.

The National Library of Medicine has consistently published clinical trials showcasing the immediate and long-term benefits of chiropractic care. Unsurprisingly, a Gallup survey revealed that 94% of those who underwent chiropractic care reported a reduction in pain.

On a daily basis, a staggering one million chiropractic adjustments are administered to aid Americans across all age groups in achieving pain relief, enhanced functionality, and increased mobility. Many individuals find themselves more comfortable scheduling their initial adjustment after gaining a comprehensive understanding of how chiropractic adjustments work.

Chiropractic care has gained immense popularity in recent years as people seek alternative and holistic approaches to health and wellness. Among the various techniques employed by chiropractors, the chiropractic adjustment stands out as a cornerstone of their practice. But how does this seemingly simple manipulation of the spine work, and what benefits does it offer? Let’s delve into the mechanics of a chiropractic adjustment and explore the fascinating world of spinal health.

Unlocking Pain Relief: The Mechanics of Chiropractic Adjustments

Curious about how chiropractic adjustments work to alleviate pain? Chiropractic, derived from the Greek words meaning “done by hand,” involves a hands-on approach by Doctors of Chiropractic. Through a high-velocity, low-amplitude thrust, they target misaligned spinal joints or vertebrae, effectively relieving pressure on nerves and restoring motion, function, flexibility, and balance.

In essence, chiropractors unlock locked joints. When injuries, whether sudden or repetitive, cause your sophisticated neuro-musculoskeletal system’s postural and structural muscles to lock down a joint, it affects nearby joints, restricting your full and free motion. 

To understand this, try walking without bending one of your knees, and you’ll experience how a single locked joint can impact your entire body’s movement.

To address this, your Doctor of Chiropractic identifies the misaligned region and delivers a quick, gentle, and highly targeted adjustment. This helps the joint move through its full range and can break down scar tissue in joint capsules and surrounding soft tissue, promoting fluid motion.

These gentle thrusts gradually realign each vertebra, reducing:

  • localized inflammation
  • nerve irritation, 
  • muscle spasm 
  • overall pain and discomfort.

 Sometimes, the adjustments produce a popping sound known as joint cavitation—a pressure change in the joint capsule releasing nitrogen gas. This release brings immediate pain relief, improving spinal movement and overall mobility, though consistent maintenance visits are crucial for optimal function.

Similar to car alignments and oil changes, your body requires regular attention. A properly aligned spine ensures optimal functioning of joints, vertebrae, muscles, and organs. While a single gentle alignment can offer immediate pain relief, achieving long-term musculoskeletal health may necessitate multiple adjustments. The frequency and duration depend on the type and severity of misalignment, your age, and lifestyle. Treat your body like a high-performance vehicle—you deserve it!

Unlocking the Power of Chiropractic Care: 3 Key Benefits Explained

Your body’s foundation lies in a complex interplay of bones, ligaments, tendons, and muscles all orchestrated by signals from your brain. However, every fall or injury can lead to misalignments in your spine, adversely impacting posture and putting pressure on nerves, resulting in pain, tension, and disruptions in critical biochemical signals.

For those completing their chiropractic care plan, three distinct benefits emerge:

  1. Mechanical Advantages of Chiropractic Care
    Take a look in the mirror—subtle indicators like a tilted head, uneven shoulders, or slightly unequal leg length may reveal common misalignments. Targeted chiropractic adjustments can restore alignment in your spine, shoulders, hips, knees, and other joints. This proactive approach helps slow down or prevent premature degeneration and arthritis caused by years of poor posture.

  2. Neurological Gains from Chiropractic Care
    As your spine undergoes misalignments from various sources, it brings the spinal cord along for the ride. Postural misalignments in the spinal cord can affect different areas of your body. For instance, the upper neck misalignment in newborns can impact nerves traveling to the eyes, ears, nose, and throat. Similar to a kinked hose altering water flow, a dysfunctional nerve can disrupt the flow of messages between your brain and body. It takes time to restore normal function if the dysfunction has persisted.
  3. Biochemical Benefits of Chiropractic Care
    Many chiropractic patients report a mood or energy lift after an adjustment, along with improved sleep. These sensations are linked to biochemical responses triggered by realigning vertebrae and relieving pressure on spinal cord nerves. This, in turn, releases the hold on endocrine (hormone) system functions, leading to increased natural endorphins or relaxants.The result: enhanced relaxation, tranquility, and overall wellness.

Common Conditions That Can Be Treated with Chiropractic Adjustments

The demand for chiropractic care after sports injuries and whiplash has been high for decades. Today, however, these are the most common conditions that are treated with the help of chiropractic adjustments:

  • Sudden or persistent headaches 
  • Neck pain 
  • Back pain 
  • Stiff or sore muscles and joints 
  • Arthritis of osteoarthritis 
  • Fibromyalgia 
  • Sciatica 
  • Scoliosis 
  • Kyphosis 
  • Spinal stenosis 
  • Sprain and strain 
  • Slipped or herniated disk 

When enjoyed regularly, the benefits of chiropractic care also include reduced stress on your nervous system to improve your immunity and sleep hygiene.  

5 Effective Chiropractic Adjustment Techniques

Embarking on your chiropractic journey involves a comprehensive assessment, possibly including an x-ray, paving the way for a customized care plan tailored to your unique misalignments and pain profile.

Your chiropractor (DC) may deploy various adjustment techniques, depending on your condition and its duration. These may include the Direct Thrust Technique, Spinal Mobilization, Articulatory Technique, Myofascial Release, Muscle Energy Technique, Functional Technique, Flexion-Distraction, Gonstead, Activator, or Thompson methods.

Your personalized protocol may feature gentle targeted adjustments in forms such as:

  1. Toggle Drop: Applying quick thrusts with crossed hands on the affected spinal area to enhance joint mobility.
  2. Lumbar Roll: Realigning the spine by delivering a quick thrust to the misaligned vertebrae while the patient lies on their side.
  3. Release Work: Applying gentle manual pressure to separate compressed vertebrae.
  4. Drop Table Adjustment: Utilizing a specialized table with drop-down sections to target specific misalignments, apply quick pressure, and deliver gentle adjustments leveraging gravity’s force.
  5. Instrument Adjusting: Utilizing chiropractic instruments like the Impulse Adjusting Instrument and Activator Adjusting Instrument for precise, controlled adjustments without bending or twisting joints.

After Your Adjustment

After receiving an adjustment, it’s essential to amplify the positive effects with supportive in-clinic therapies and recommended at-home exercises. These prescribed exercises, when incorporated into your daily routine, not only enhance flexibility, mobility, and posture but effortlessly become ingrained wellness habits.

Your dedicated chiropractor (DC) is not just a healthcare provider; they are your guide to a healthier, more aligned lifestyle. Beyond exercises, your DC will personally guide you on adopting new ways of sitting, standing, and moving, fostering the spine alignment necessary for the lifestyle you aspire to lead.

The trust you place in your DC is a pivotal aspect of your wellness journey. Many patients choose not to wait until a misalignment leads to pain; instead, they opt for preventative care. This proactive approach not only safeguards your neuro-musculoskeletal wellness but also allows your DC to identify potential dysfunctions before they escalate into pain and disrupt your lifestyle.

Building this trust hinges on finding a reputable DC who resonates with your individual needs and preferences. Your well-being is a collaborative effort, and with the right chiropractor, you can confidently embark on a path of preventive care, ensuring a future of vitality and alignment. To learn more about chiropractic visit our website:

Ready to Join the 280 Million Americans Thriving because of Chiropractic care?

At Shorewood Elite Integrated Healthcare, we have a team driven by a shared passion for holistic wellness and dedicated patient care. Dr. Jesse Lang, with over 14 years of chiropractic experience, leads our practice. His commitment to helping others stems from a strong work ethic and a genuine love for people, animals, and music. Director of Operations Elizabeth Mooney brings a wealth of expertise in mental health counseling, focusing on trauma and crisis intervention. Our warm and welcoming clinic Manager, Alexis Castleberry, ensures a smooth experience for our patients. Additionally, Family Nurse Practitioner Lindsay Crawford, with a diverse healthcare background, specializes in integrative therapies, offering a range of services for a comprehensive approach to health and wellness.

Book your appointment today: 

De-stress, unwind and refuel at our rejuvenation station. The office of Dr. Jesse at Shorewood Elite Integrated Healthcare welcomes you. We are located at 900 Geneva St, Shorewood, IL 60404 🇺🇸.

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Dr. Jesse Lang

Holding a Doctorate in Chiropractic and a Master’s in Sports Science and Rehabilitation from Logan University, Dr. Jesse's qualifications alongside 15 years of experience has empowered him to help thousands of people to live better lives. Dr. Jesse has refined his diagnosis and treatment protocols across an array of clinical environments, catering to the health needs of a wide range of patients, ranging from infants to the elderly.

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