Patients often come to me in pain. After discussing their problem, performing an evaluation and any needed x-rays, and diagnosing a patient’s condition, I have a talk with them about what is wrong, what I can do to treat them, and how long it may take them to get well. Before beginning any treatment, I will ask them if they have any questions, and the one that comes up the most is, “Does chiropractic hurt?”
Why would someone think that chiropractic hurts?
Most of my new patients here in the Memphis area are folks that have never been to a chiropractor. Because of the excitement and encouragement of friends or family members who have had great success with my treatment, they have finally made an appointment and come in to the office. But usually the decision is made with some degree of fear and trembling if they have had misinformation from some source that misrepresents what a good chiropractor does. Sometimes the media or the entertainment industry has its own ideas of what one would expect when he or she goes to a chiropractor. It looks scary! And I applaud my new patients for coming in for care. And I also allay their fears.
The truth is, chiropractic care for neck and back conditions is one of the safest and most effective treatments anyone can offer! After proper evaluation and assessment of the condition, the decision of whether or not to use chiropractic manipulative therapy or “adjustments” is made. Precautions for various other health concerns that may be occurring at the same time are taken into consideration.
The truth is, chiropractic care for neck and back conditions is one of the safest and most effective treatments anyone can offer!
So what is a chiropractic adjustment like?
When I do an adjustment on the neck, I use my hand to move a vertebra to a more normal functional position so that it works better. Since the neck is close to the ears, you can actually hear the “pop” that happens very loudly because of bone conduction of the sound. What is actually happening in that popping sound is what we call a cavitation from creating a vacuum in the joint. Nothing is breaking or snapping – just moving. When I work on a lower vertebra in the upper or lower back, you can often still hear a click, but not nearly as loudly. You may feel a little twinge of discomfort when the joint shifts, but it is very pleasant and gives a feeling of relief as the dysfunctional joint starts to move more normally. In addition, there is a release of endorphins that occurs with a spinal adjustment. Occasionally, if there is a significant amount of swelling or spasm, it may smart a bit more with your adjustment. But typically, it does not hurt any more than if you pressed on the muscles over your sore place with your thumb. I always try to use the most comfortable technique available to me to provide the correction that your joint needs.