A chiropractic adjustment or manipulation is the common therapeutic treatment used by chiropractic physicians or Doctor’s of Chiropractic.
An adjustment refers the procedure when a chiropractor applies a specific, gentle force either by hand or with an instrument to joints that have lost their normal mobility and alignment. This is primarily performed on spinal joints but also can be therapeutic for joints of the arms and legs.
When the adjustment or manipulation is performed on the spinal joints, the objective is to increase the joints motion, reduce nerve irritation and improve the overall mechanical alignment and function of the joint.
One of the more common types of chiropractic adjustment involves the chiropractor using their hands and applying a quick, gentle thrust to the joint. In many instances there is an audible popping sound or joint cavitation. This is due to the sudden movement causing a release of various gas bubbles in the joint fluid – thus the popping sound.
Two key points to worth mentioning regarding this popping sound include:
1. It is not a cracking of the bones
2. The volume of the sound does not indicate how many or far the joint has been moved.
Further, there are many different manipulation methods, called techniques that chiropractors can use. Some involve instruments, other special tables. Each is effective in restoring the normal joint function and thus relieving the pain.