A chiropractic adjustment is a form of joint manipulation based on a specific force in a precise direction. It is characterized by a high velocity and low amplitude thrust to restore full joint movement where the joint was locked or not moving properly.

Mortise talocrural adjustment

Beneficial effects of adjustment

  • Joint tissue stretching
  • Decreased muscle spasm
  • Breakage of joint or periarticular adhesions
  • Increased joint mobility
  • Reduced joint stress
  • Reduction of pain
  • Optimization of circulating nerve impulses in the body
  • Increase in energy

Adjustments (joint manipulations) provide an immediate mechanical effect and a neurological response that promotes neuro biomechanical harmony. As a result of injury, overuse or poor posture, muscles and joints become tense and restricted. The malfunctioning affected joint can cause pain locally, but also a decrease in function of the structures (organs, muscles, etc.) connected to the nerves emerging from the affected segment. The body will usually respond with muscle contraction to stabilize the painful area. This is why the chiropractor will perform chiropractic adjustments that ultimately restore joint function, reduce muscle tension and restore optimal function to the body’s systems and structures.

Using flexion / lumbar distraction

Quiz question: What’s the pop?

A chiropractic adjustment is associated with an audible sound: “POP!” This sound isn’t associated with a “bone crunch” or bones rubbing against each other. It’s caused by a phenomenon called “CAVITATION”.

Every joint in the human body is formed with a joint capsule containing gas bubbles and synovial fluid that allows the joints to slide better relative to each other. The increase in range of joint motion caused by the adjustment creates a change in joint pressure and a gas release occurs. Cavitation occurs in much the same way as when you open a soft drink bottle: “pishhhhhh! ” The goal of a chiropractic adjustment is not to crack, but to adjust the joints. Sometimes, there are audible sounds, sometimes there are not.