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Can Chiropractic help me?
What is an adjustment & does it hurt?
What is the sound heard during an adjustment?
What should I expect after an adjustment?
How many adjustments will I need?

Chiropractic care will benefit everybody in some way just as dental care will benefit almost everyone in some way. The reason being it is very difficult to go through life without having the stress of life affect the structure of your spine in some way. If a subluxation is diagnosed, chiropractic adjustments will be beneficial. The degree of response may vary due to the length of time the condition has existed, the lifestyle of the patient and one's compliance to the care plan.

A chiropractic adjustment involves using a specific force in a precise direction, applied to a joint that is fixed, locked up, or not moving properly. This adds motion to the joint, helping the bones gradually return to a more normal position and motion. The purpose of this procedure is to improve spinal function, nervous system function, remove muscle tension, and enhance health.

Adjustments typically do not hurt. If one is in so much pain that simply touching the spine hurts, the Chiropractor may apply ice for 15 or 20 minutes and that will reduce the discomfort for the procedure. An adjustment is felt and heard like cracking one's knuckles. There could be some stretching sensation felt when the lower back or pelvis is adjusted in the side posture position and that is normal.

Research on this subject shows that a gas (in this case nitrogen), which is normally dissolved into the surrounding tissues of the spine, rushes in to fill the partial vacuum created when the joint surfaces are

slightly separated.
Another example of this phenomenon would be the “pop” you hear when you take the cork out of a champagne bottle.
The carbon dioxide in the champagne rushes out of the bottle when the cork is removed. This phenomenon is called a cavitation.

It is not always necessary to cause a “clunk” or cavitation in order to gain the desired effect of an adjustment. The main aim is to increase movement at the specific segment of the spine to positively influence the surrounding tissues.

In fact, some chiropractic adjustment techniques use little force and thus produce no sound.

Often times after the first adjustment you will feel tired. The body often needs time to heal and wants to rest. This is normal. A subluxation causes pressure on the nerve and when this pressure is released the nerve may become overactive. About 3-5% of people may experience a sensation like their arms or legs are tingling. If this occurs it typically lasts a couple of hours or less and does not occur again. Some patients feel a little general soreness. When a joint has been subluxated, muscles and ligaments become excessively tight and contracted to prevent further misalignment of the bone. So when the correction is made, these muscle can now relax however as they have been working so hard they may remain sore for up to 72 hours.

The answer to this question will differ for every person, as each individual’s healing response is different. A comprehensive assessment from your Chiropractor is required in order to determine the most appropriate care for you. 


The amount of time it takes to be symptom free will also depend on a number of factors. Examples of factors that may influence the time taken for symptoms to resolve include:

  • The severity of your condition.

  • The tissue that is damaged – e.g. The tendon of a muscle will be slower to heal than the interior of the muscle due to having a poorer blood supply.

  • The length of time you have had the condition.

  • Age – Generally as you get older, your rate of recovery will decline.

  • Trauma or accidents – past or present.

  • Smoking – Decreases the rate of healing.

  • Nutrition – The healthier your diet, the more fuel there is available for repairing your tissues.

  • Stress – High stress levels can slow recovery.

  • Posture – Poor postural habits place increased stress on ligaments and muscles and can not only slow recovery, but also can be a major cause of symptoms.

  • Occupation – Your occupation may involve activities that aggravate your condition, e.g. lifting or sitting for extended periods.


We give each patient an estimate on how long his or her recovery may take after the initial exam and will have an even better idea after 2-3 visits. Once we have improved or resolved their initial complaint(s), most patients decide to come in for regular (one to six month) check-ups for maintenance of their spine to reduce future episodes and for better overall health.

In the words of the New Zealand Government’s Inquiry, chiropractic care is “remarkably safe.” Chiropractic has an excellent safety record. It is the result of a conservative approach to health that avoids invasive procedures or addictive drugs.1

In relation to the treatment of neck and back pain, studies have shown that a course of chiropractic care was 250 times safer than a course of anti inflammatory drugs. 2

Is Chiropractic safe?
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