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Do Chiropractic Adjustments Hurt?

Chiropractic adjustments, also known as spinal manipulations, are a procedure in which a joint is moved past its usual range of motion in daily life. The purpose of chiropractic adjustment is to improve your body’s functioning and alleviate pain.

Adjustments are most commonly made to joints in your back, but also to joints of the neck or other parts of the body, such as the shoulders. You may be treated by a chiropractor in order to correct such conditions as:

  • Neck, back, shoulder, arm, hand, chest, leg, or foot pain and stiffness
  • Headaches
  • Sciatica
  • Arthritis
  • Trauma, such as whiplash
  • Scoliosis
  • Sports injuries
  • Repetitive strain disorders such as carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia

Moving the joint beyond its range of motion sounds painful, doesn’t it? However, the joint is not moved beyond the range of motion it is naturally designed to move in the body. You may feel pressure or mild discomfort, and the discomfort may be greater if there is significant inflammation or tension around the joint being treated. However, chiropractic adjustments should not be painful.

If you are new to chiropractic medicine, you may have a harder time relaxing during the procedure than more experienced patients. If you stiffen or resist the adjustment, you may feel some discomfort. However as you get used to the procedures you should find not only that the discomfort decreases, but that you may feel relief and a sense of well-being after the adjustment I completed.

During the procedure, you will be placed in a certain position to treat the affected areas. Usually you will be lying face down on a padded table. There may be popping or cracking noises during the adjustment, as the joint is moved. These noises are the result of the release of tiny pockets of gas during the procedure, which is completely normal. In fact, it’s the same thing that occurs when someone cracks their knuckles.

After the procedure, you may feel some soreness or aching in the muscles or spinal joints. If it occurs, this kind of discomfort usually happens within the first few hours of treatment. It should not last longer than 24 hours (and if it does, be sure to contact your chiropractor for assistance). If you like, you can place an ice pack on the affected area which should help reduce the symptoms and help you recover more quickly.

In order to be sure you have as pain-free a treatment as possible, be sure you choose a board-certified chiropractor with good patient references. An experienced, competent practitioner will be able to give you the most effective treatment possible with the least amount of discomfort.

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