Spinal Manipulation/Adjustment

Spinal adjustment.

Very often, people first seek chiropractic care because they are experiencing pain in their back, neck or another part of the body and they wish to avoid medication and surgery. Chiropractors use a variety of natural treatments to restore a patient to optimal health and function. By far, the most widely known chiropractic treatment is an adjustment, also called spinal manipulation. An adjustment involves a type of movement done to a joint in the body that is not moving properly—notably to the spinal joints. Although there are many different spinal manipulation techniques, all adjustments share the goal of restoring spinal alignment so the body can function at 100 percent.

How a Chiropractor Decides to Make an Adjustment

Before performing a spinal adjustment, the chiropractor feels for joint motion along the spine by moving the joint gently in different directions. If the joint is not moving as it should, the chiropractor will detect restriction in a certain direction, which can happen when the spine is out of alignment. Normally, each joint in the vertebrae moves a tiny bit while remaining connected to its neighbors. But if it locks up, this may result in inflammation, pain, stiffness and a disruption of nerve flow. Since nerves travel from the vertebrae to the rest of the body, the lack of nerve flow may extend down an arm or leg or to another part of the body. This means that body tissues may not be getting the proper nerve transmissions they need in order to operate at peak capacity.

When the chiropractor makes an adjustment, nerve flow may be reestablished in part or in whole as the spine is brought further into alignment, and pain and stiffness should decrease. It may take one or several adjustments to bring the spine back into alignment, depending on the condition of the spine before treatment began.

During the Adjustment

For an adjustment, you will be placed in a particular position and you will often be lying on a specially designed table. Pressure is applied to specific vertebrae—either directly by the chiropractor’s hands or by specialized instruments—to help bring your vertebrae back into alignment. The chiropractor will deliver thrusts into a joint at a precise speed and force in order to restore the proper movement of the joint. At the moment of the thrust, you may hear a sound such as a popping or clunking. This occurs because gases (nitrogen, oxygen and CO2) are released within the joint.

Immediately after a chiropractic adjustment, there is often a feeling of relief and soundness within the joint and body. Adjustments typically cause no pain, but misaligned vertebrae can sometimes be tender. Rarely, there may be a little soreness after treatment, much like after exercise, but this is temporary.

Keep in mind that Doctors of Chiropractic are extensively trained in diagnosing and treating disorders of the spine, muscles and nerves. Adjusting your own back or having a friend or other untrained person adjust your back is very different than visiting the chiropractor for an adjustment—and it may be dangerous.

What Patients May Expect From Chiropractic Adjustments

Many people have experienced the following benefits after chiropractic adjustments:

  • Better range of motion: For example, if your shoulder joint was “frozen” when you sought chiropractic care, a series of adjustments should result in better joint function for fuller movement.
  • A feeling of wellness: Endorphins (feel-good brain chemicals) are released when a chiropractic adjustment is delivered.
  • Improved immune system responses: Research studies have shown that chemicals that regulate the immune system and fight infections—namely, anti-inflammatory cytokines and CD4 helper cells—are released into the blood after an adjustment. At the same time, pro-inflammatory chemicals are suppressed.
  • Better posture: It is much easier to stand up straight when your spine is in alignment.
  • Pain reduction: Joints that are in alignment should not hurt. Chiropractic treatment is well known for assisting those who are on worker’s compensation to return to work and to reduce the amount of pain they are experiencing during the healing process, often resulting in less need for medication—but you don’t have to be on worker’s comp for this to happen.

These are just a few of the benefits. You will likely see greater benefits the longer you see your chiropractor for regular chiropractic adjustments. If poor posture or pain in your body has been sneaking up on you over the years, chiropractic therapy, including spinal adjustments, can give your body a sense of rejuvenation and renewal.

Reviews By Our Satisfied Patients

  • "I've been coming to see Dr. Bob since 1984 for my back pain. After each visit, the vast improvement lasts about one whole month. Even after all these years, Dr. Bob continues to provide outstanding care for me, my children, and my grandchildren. I've referred several people to HealthWise Chiropractic, so they too can see the results I have. My favorite part of my visits is the friendliness and professionalism of the staff and doctors and, of course, the results I get that improve my daily living."
    Danny S.
  • "About ten years ago I was at the gym, I bent over and couldn't get up, the pain was horrible. I contacted Healthwise and Dr. Mike gave me an emergency appointment that evening. He did a complete physical and x-ray before he started any treatment. After my first treatment I was able to stand up and walk with minimal pain. With a few visits I was back to normal. I continued treatments as needed for the next several years.
    I see Dr. Bob regularly to stay fit and pain-free. He tests my strength and weakness to determine the best treatment. Our open discussion led him to help my acid reflux. I now exercise and walk as is essential for a septuagenarian.
    I told Dr. Bob that I was starting to get knee pain that I thought was arthritis; I didn't think chiropractic care could help. He told me about new equipment to help. I look forward to improvement.
    I was a skeptic of chiropractic care, now I would recommend HealthWise to anyone with chronic/simple pain. It worked for me. It can work for you!"
    Sherry B.
  • "I was very miserable with constant pain in my leg while knowing it had something to do with my back. My friend surprised me with an appointment with Dr. Bob. After being treated by Dr. Bob I knew right away it was exactly what I needed. I learned a lot through my conversations with the doctor. I am really thankful to Dr. Bob and his staff."
    Ed L.
  • "I had a very limited understanding of chiropractic care until I tried it for the first time 12 years ago. I came in with severe pain in my neck, which prohibited me from moving my head. I was greeted by a kind staff, had an exam and x-rays done on my first appointment followed by an adjustment. I felt so much better after my first adjustment and by following the treatment plan my headaches and migraines improved. My overall health has improved because of chiropractic care. Dr. Bob helps make sure that I am taking the right supplements to optimize my health and fitness performance. They have helped me with allergies, knee and shoulder pain, and earaches. I had no idea when I began my chiropractic journey just how much help the doctors and staff at HealthWise would be at improving my quality of life."
    Britt H.
  • "I have been a patient at HealthWise Chiropractic for over 20 years. In the past and currently I am seeing Dr. Bob, however, I have seen all docs at Healthwise. My general issues are usually seasonally related to sinus and allergies. Recently I have been receiving treatment for my hip and lower back. Dr. Bob zeros in on trigger points and quickly relieves my pain. He is a wealth of knowledge and offers help and suggestion on my health issues. The staff is friendly and helpful. I leave feeling better and I believe helps to keep my body aligned and energized. I have also come in after falls, injuries and surgeries. I truly believe my adjustments at the time added to a quicker recovery."
    Liz B.
  • "I have been a patient of Dr. Bob for two and half months. . I see him for an adjustment every two weeks. I started seeing a chiropractor for the first time in January 2021 while working in Florida for my continued lower back pain and chronic bilateral hip bursitis. Because my pain was mostly relieved with continued adjustments, I decided to continue with treatment when returning to Wisconsin. I have been very happy with my continued pain relief/adjustments at HealthWise. I highly recommend anyone with chronic back and neck pain to try chiropractic adjustments here at HealthWise. It will make your life better."
    Marianne V.
  • "Really enjoyed the different things that they can do for you and your pain management. Would highly recommend."
    Rhiannon P.
  • "I enjoy coming, getting readjusted and any additional therapies. It has made my life healthier and less stressful. If I have questions, they are answered at that visit. The staff is very professional, personable and friendly. I always look forward to my next visit with them. I am glad to be part of Healthwise Chiropractic family:)"
    Marcella L.
  • "DR MIKE IS A GREAT CHIROPRACTOR. HE TAKES THE TIME TO GIVE YOU A COMPLETE ADJUSTMENT IS TIME. HE IS ALSO A GOOD CONVERSATIONALIST. THANKS"
    RICHARD R.
  • "Dr. Mike is fantastic! He is very personable….will take time to really to your needs… I enjoy my visits…the maintenance has helped tremendously…..and he is there when the emergency pops up! Excellent Chiropractor!"
    Ann W.


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