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To Adjust or not to adjust?

The If's, when's, and why's of adjusting

It's always fun to see people respond when I tell them I'm a chiropractor.  Some state they "Love" or "Believe in" their chiropractic.  Others politely get very quiet, and others still go on to tell a tale of a bad experience or just state they think it's all quackery.

But, chiropractors have been around for over a century, and I doubt there would be so many of us still in business if we weren't offering something positive.  Most chiropractors are known for treating the spine and related issues with a manual therapy known as manipulation.  This is commonly abbreviated chiropractic manipulative therapy (CMT) or spinal manipulative therapy (SMT), but is more likely to be called an adjustment or alignment.

But what is an adjustment? Are they safe? And how do we decide if it's appropriate?  These are common questions, and we're going to attempt to tackle them in this post.

You can read about what an adjustment is here. But, in short, we're helping joints move through their range of motion more easily, not realigning them.  We say we're hlping joints move, not moving them into a new position. Sometimes an adjustment makes a audible noise.  Noise is just vibration, and because the sensation of vibration gets more priority in your brain than most pain signals, it can often feel relieving when people are in pain.

When is the adjustment indicated?  Well, we utilize the principle of force and direction progression outlined by the Mckenzie method to have a good way to predict if patients will respond favorably to chiropractic adjustments. This means if the low level force of self mobilization of the spine feels good, higher level forces such as spinal manipulation may feel even better. 

Where do we adjust?  Well, as we stated earlier, the spine doesn't really get "out of alignment."  This is nice because it means we don't have to take x-rays to decide where to adjust.  Your doctor will simply use a process known as motion palpation to decide what, if any, areas of your spine are a little restricted and need to be freed up to move better. 

Do You have to get adjusted to feel better? Nope.  We have lots of tools in the toolbox to help people recover from spinal injuries, as well as aches and pains that seem to come on for no reason at all. They often are a great way to speed up recovery, but certainly are not required to get better.

Do you have questions about chiropractic adjustments?  Contact us on our website to set up a free consultation!





Dr. Todd Peterson, DC, Cert MDT. Dr. Todd Peterson Dr. Todd Peterson is a chiropractor and certified provider for Mechanical Diagnosis & Therapy (MDT, aka the McKenzie Method). Dr. Peterson played football at the University of Nebraska, where he was a 4 year letter winner and Academic All American. He briefly played professional football in 2009 before returning to Chiropractic School in 2010. He earned his doctor of chiropractic (DC) degree from National University of Health Sciences in 2013, graduating with Magna Cum Laude honors.

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