What You Need to Know About a Chiropractic Adjustment and Exam

For somebody who’s never been to a chiropractor before, I think it’s great to walk through the process of getting a chiropractic adjustment. You want to have a proper examination first. We need to know where the problem is, where it’s coming from, how it’s affecting your body.

What we look for are these misalignments in the spine, what we call vertebral subluxations. As I’ve always said, they can be caused by stress, tension, poor posture, accidents, falls, and many different things that can cause the spinal bones to get out of alignment. When they are out of alignment, they pinch and irritate the nerves, and that can cause a host of different things anywhere from back pain or neck pain, to digestive issues. You will have a lesser functioning immune system when there’s pressure on the nerve system like that. It’s so important to figure out where these misalignments are and how they’re affecting the body.

The most important thing to determine is where those misalignments are and how long you have had them. So, when you come in we will do an examination. We’re going to look at things like your posture. We are going to check your range of motion, how well the joints are moving through their range of motion. A joint that’s misaligned or fixed or stuck in an abnormal position isn’t going to move the same way as one that is in great position and is moving healthfully. There are multiple adjustments being made to parts of the spine because the lower part of the spine can be misaligned and the upper part can be misaligned. They don’t necessarily have to be related, although the spine generally works as a unit, so if there is a problem in one area of the spine, it might affect the others.

There are ways to do a proper examination using motion palpation to see if the joint is moving. We look at the range of motion, we use x-rays and also static palpation. If a vertebra is rotated to the right, compared to the vertebra above and the vertebra below, we are going to see that as we run our hand down, we will feel the spinous processes or the transverse processes will be elevated or rotated to one side. So, learning how to palpate the spine is very important. Then we determine if we decide to take x-rays or not.

In my office, if someone is in pain or they’ve had any type of trauma or a problem is chronic, it’s a great idea to get an x-ray. I tell everyone x-rays are important because to see is to know, and to not to see is to guess. I don’t think anyone comes into my office for me to be making my best guess about their health. They want me to see, and they want me to know. So, x-rays are an extremely important tool in determining the alignment and where the misalignments or subluxations are. It also gives us a lot of information about how healthy the spine is, if there’s good bone density, if there’s any arthritic change, or also if there’s been any tumors, fractures, or infections in the joint. So, it’s important to clear the spine and make sure we are dealing with good solid bone structure before we start to make adjustments.

It is important to take in the person as a whole. Chiropractic is a holistic practice. We want to look at where those misalignments are, how they are affecting the body, the structure, and the function because structure dictates function. And so, doing a proper examination is vital because it increases the chances of finding where the primary subluxation or primary misalignment is, and that’s just going to help us help you better. And the quicker we can get you feeling better and back onto the happy trail, that’s what our job is.

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