Recently, I met a chiropractor who offered to adjust me here at my office. Well rarely will I turn down an adjustment so I let her proceed. Keep in mind that I have been doing this a very long time, but despite that I really had no idea what she was adjusting. Her work was so non-specific and seemingly random that I know that not only did I not know what she was adjusting, neither did she. And there are too many chiropractors out there that operate just like that. So if you ever see a chiropractor besides me you must look carefully at what they do. Specificity is the key.
So when you sit in the chair I will use my palpation (feeling) skills developed over decades to feel for loss of motion, muscle spasm, and inflammation, but motion is the most important factor. Once I determine which bones in the neck are not moving properly I will compare my findings with the examination and the x-ray findings and make a determination what I need to work on today. Since I can only adjust 2 bones in the neck per visit I choose the most important 2 for that day and adjust them. During the adjustment I contact the specific bone that needs adjusting and move it in the proper direction to restore motion. Depending upon the level of the adjustment, you will typically hear 2 or 3 pops or audibles. Sometimes there will be more as extra bones have moved along with the one I wanted and sometimes there will be fewer due to a variety of factors including muscle spasm, scar tissue, and joint degeneration.
On the reddish hi-lo table while you are lying face down I will do the same type of motion palpation to your mid and low back areas, again comparing my findings to the exam and x-ray findings. Once I find the bone that is not moving as well as its neighbors I will adjust it and move on to the next. Most of the mid and low back vertebrae can be adjusted on this table, but the bottom 2 or 3 and the pelvis (sacro-iliac joints) are usually adjusted on the bench.
When I put you on the bench on your side I have already decided which bone is to be adjusted and what direction. So while the side-posture adjustments may all seem the same to you there are more than 2 dozen different adjustments in this position. Each one is subtly or tremendously different.
At the end of the visit some of the retraining that we spoke about in #40 has been done. It will have an effect for a limited period of time which is why the next adjustment must be done within a certain time-frame. And the process continues until the spine working a whole lot better than it used to. It’s just too bad that most of us couldn’t start care when we were kids to be able to prevent much of the damage we have as adults. Lesson learned.