The first thing you should know is that manipulation — also called adjustment — is safe. Because the spinal column is such a critical part of the nervous system, chiropractors believe that manual adjustments can promote and improve the overall health of a person. Such treatment can reduce pressure on the spinal cord, the chief neurological tissue.
Chiropractic care involves manually manipulating your body joints and adjusting your spinal column to bring a sense of balance back to your body. By using a highly trained manual sequence called chiropractic spinal manipulation, pressure is applied or forced to the joints that have been limited by muscle strain, inflammation, and/or pain. This form of manipulation can relieve tightness and pain of muscles, promote general health through restoration of the proper alignment of the body’s musculoskeletal structure (particularly the spine), and enable the body to heal itself without surgery or drugs. This manipulation is also used to gradually restore mobility to joints injured or restricted by trauma (falls, sports injuries, auto accidents) or by repetitive stress (such as sitting for prolonged periods without adequate back support).
During manipulation, the sounds you will hear when a chiropractor makes adjustments to your joints are not the sounds of bones cracking – these are sounds of gases such as oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide which have built up in your joints being released, and there is no need to become concerned. Please remember that tensing up during manipulation works against you and can diminish the positive effects of your adjustment. So relax, both mentally and physically, and look forward to a treatment that has helped countless patients of chiropractic recover a life that they thought was gone forever.
In short, spinal manipulation and chiropractic care is considered an effective and safe treatment for acute low back pain, and research has also shown that chiropractic is also helpful in treating neck pain and headaches. Although mainstream medicine has traditionally regarded spinal manipulation with suspicion, attitudes among a growing number of medical doctors continue to evolve to greater acceptance of this procedure. Please note, people who have spinal cord compression, inflammatory arthritis, osteoporosis, or who take blood thinning medications should not undergo spinal manipulation.
An expression of this greater acceptance was made by Anne Louise Oaklander, MD, PHD, an associate professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School and director of the Nerve Injury Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston when she made the following statement to WebMD: “I think chiropractic treatment works reasonably well for lower back pain. Studies have shown that it’s comparable to other approaches.”