ROMSEY CHIROPRACTIC CLINIC
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Spinal manipulation involves a carefully applied, high speed, low amplitude thrust to the spinal / vertebral joint that moves it past its current end of range but not past its anatomical limit. While all the mechanisms of manipulation are not fully understood, substantial evidence demonstrates that spinal manipulation stimulate paraspinal muscle reflexes adjacent to the joint, reducing tension and restoring normal muscle activity, whilst also affecting the inflow of sensory information to the central nervous system, increasing pain tolerance or its threshold.
This serves to restore biomechanical function, in simple terms the joints and muscles move in a more natural, aligned manner, the local blood and nerve supply improve and the area functions better, moving the tissue towards a state of recovery. This may have an effect further up or down the chain of joints making up our spinal column, reducing compensatory muscle tension and joint dysfunction.
Chiropractors specifically use what are termed short lever techniques which enables them to be as specific as possible in terms of joint contact and line of drive, whilst limiting strain on surrounding tissue, and the term ‘adjustment’ is often used in practice when describing manipulation by a Chiropractor.
Currently, the understanding of the cracking sound or audible release from a spinal manipulation is a result of what is known as cavitation. When a joint is separated enough (within its natural range) there is a large reduction in pressure compared to atmospheric pressure. This causes gases to escape from the synovial fluid within the joint (synovial fluid provides for a friction free surface and nourishes the joint) forming a bubble; a momentary vacuum. The contents in this vacuum are water vapor, nitrogen, oxygen, and carbon dioxide. That bubble quickly collapses, causing the cracking sound.
Not necessarily. A small minority of people may find their symptoms change or increase temporarily after an adjustment, but the great majority of these go on to experience relief. Possible side-effects may include a temporary increase in pain, muscle stiffness and headache. It is important to remember that many people first seek care to relieve a painful condition, and are in a lot of discomfort at the outset. Your Chiropractor will always strive to make you as comfortable as possible both during the examination and treatment.
This is dependent on what your complaint is, how long you have suffered with it, and whether or not there are complicating factors such as disc or nerve involvement. Generally, most patients experience up to 75% symptomatic relief within 3-4 treatments (RCC Clinical Audit 2013), whilst more severe cases might require a bit more work. A recommended treatment plan would be discussed with you at your first appointment, along with expected outcomes in terms of recovery, and self-management advice to speed the process along.
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