Chiropractic care may involve a chiropractic adjustment, otherwise known as joint manipulation.
The purpose of an adjustment is to restore motion to a dysfunctional joint, meaning the joint has lost some or all of its normal and necessary movement. Proper joint movement is essential to maintain the health and function of the body. A joint restriction is a common source of pain. Joints may become restricted from a number of factors, including trauma, poor posture, muscle or soft-tissue tightness, and overuse. When joints lose their normal motion several problems will occur including:
- pain and stiffness
- muscle tightness / muscle imbalance
- loss of joint health leading to joint breakdown and degeneration
- movement compensations leading to undue stress on other areas of the body
Joint manipulation involves applying a very specific, shallow impulse to the affected joint in the direction of fixation in an effort to mechanically restore the normal motion to the joint. This process is generally painless and the patient typically finds the process relieving.
If the chiropractor determines that the patient is not a candidate for a manual adjustment, a small instrument called an Activator, may be used to adjust the spine or joint without twisting or turning the patient.