A spinal adjustment involves moving a joint just beyond its usual range of motion, to correct a vertebral misalignment that is causing pressure on the nervous system. When pressure is removed, proper nervous system function is restored to the body, resulting in pain relief and improved body function. Spinal adjustments are effective for reducing or eliminating acute pain and conditions associated with trauma or injury. They are also effective for maintaining optimum health and function, if injury is not a factor.
During a typical spinal adjustment, your chiropractor places you in specific positions to treat affected areas. Most often, you will lie face down on a specially designed, padded chiropractic table. The chiropractor then uses his hands to apply a controlled, sudden force to a joint. You may hear popping or cracking sounds as the joints are maneuvered. The noise is created by the release of nitrogen gas that has built up in the joints. Nothing actually cracks or breaks.
Chiropractic care is usually divided into three phases: Relief (or acute) care, Corrective (or rehabilitative) care, and Wellness (preventive) care.
Relief: Most patients come to a chiropractor to seek pain relief, typically in the lower back. During this phase of care, the main objective is to eliminate or reduce discomfort and stabilize the condition in the shortest amount of time. Progress is usually rapid during this phase of care. A patient may come in for treatment several times over a short period, depending on the specific condition. Relief may be experienced in as little as a week or up to a month.
Corrective: Once the initial condition has stabilized, the chiropractor typically seeks to correct any underlying injury or cause of discomfort, strengthen the soft body tissues and improve neuro-musculoskeletal function. Office visits are spaced farther apart than during the relief phase, and some procedures can be performed at home after proper instruction. Treatment can be aided by exercises, proper nutrition and modification of daily habits.
Wellness: Chiropractic care is designed to help you maintain your overall health and well-being, encourage normal spinal function and prevent the return of the original condition. Keeping your spine in proper alignment through regular visits can help you stay healthy and free from pain. Many patients treat their chiropractic wellness program like a dental check-up! It may take time and effort to maintain a healthy spine, but the benefits will be worth it in the long run.
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