Whether its performed by hand or by an instrument the manual skills of a Chiropractor to perform an adjustment (manipulation) is a vital part of what differentiates Chiropractors from other professionals that deal with the spine.
As a profession we are always aiming to be specific. Meaning that through conducting a history and an examination we are able to decide exactly which parts of the spine are not moving or functioning properly. Once we have decided on the area of interest we use an adjustment to mechanically move the joints intended, this movement stimulates the receptors in the joints and surrounding muscles and sends information to the brain.
Usually this stimulation of the nervous system leads to 3 main benefits, pain reduction, increased joint movement and increased muscle strength1.
The benefit of the adjustment is also directly related to the exact joint being adjusted, meaning that if the incorrect joint is manipulated the stimulation of the nervous system won’t be as effective to treat the patients complaint.
So you shouldn’t just let anyone move your spine around or try manipulating it yourself, because the desired result is linked directly to the ability to decide the exact level of treatment.
This was recently demonstrated in journal article which measured the electrical activity from small muscles around the spine. The study showed that when a quick manual pressure was applied to one vertebra there was a significant discharge of electrical activity produced at that exact level, however when the activity of one bone above and below was measured the electrical discharge was significantly less.
This demonstrates that to produce the best response for the patient the adjustment needs to be performed at the exact level intended, any force applied to the spine at the incorrect level will produce a less than ideal response and therefore may not improve the patient’s condition.
So have your spine checked by a CAA NT Chiropractor today, we may be able to make an impact where others haven’t.
Fritz JM, et al. Preliminary Investigation of the Mechanisms Underlying the Effects of Manipulation. Spine 2011: 36; 1772-1781.
See comment in PubMed Commons belowReed, W.R. Neural responses to the mechanical characteristics of high velocity, low amplitude spinal manipulation. Man Ther. 2015 Mar 27.