Is there more to Chiropractic than just cracks?
Chiropractic treatment looks at the overall function of the joints and the surrounding muscles. By detecting, mainly spinal joints, that are restricted and stiff and then applying an impulse in a precise speed and direction to improve and restore movement within the joint. When the chiropractic manoeuvre, known as the chiropractic adjustment, is applied to a joint it may create the ‘crack sound’. The crack sound is created when air bubbles within the joint are suddenly stretched and pop.
The spinal joints and the surrounding muscles allow movement and flexibility along the back whilst providing protection to the spinal cord that lies within the spinal column. Muscle, joint and/or nerve pain often get better when normal movement to the spinal joints has been restored as the need to adapt and compensate for the dysfunction is removed.
When addressing the overall function of the joints and muscles, chiropractors employ a range of techniques, both during the treatment and as home advice for patients. During the treatment session chiropractors tend to use specific tests to detect joints with a reduced range of movement and then apply chiropractic treatment; together with the adjustment the chiropractor may use some soft tissue therapy technique, such as trigger point therapy and muscle stretches , to allow better overall function. Some chiropractors may use other modalities such as dry needling to further reduce muscle stiffness and activator technique which involves a specific device that generates a specific localised impulse to a joint without generating the cracking sound. Furthermore there are other softer techniques that are designed to address the patients that are not suitable for chiropractic adjustments such as the elderly population and babies.
The chiropractic approach of detecting and correcting joints and muscles that are stiff and limited and by doing so allowing the free flow of the nerves from the spine which can increase the body’s natural ability to heal itself is not limited to a specific age group. All age groups, from birth to old age, can benefit from chiropractic care. Following the initial consultation it is possible to determine what type of techniques and modalities can be used to benefit the patient whilst considering the limitations and safety in deciding the line of care.
As a chiropractor I always enjoy being with my patients following their first chiropractic adjustment, although at times the patient may be a little surprised from their new experience. It is clear that in the majority of cases that this surprised feeling is associated with an almost instant relief of symptoms and the feeling of hope and excitement towards their journey of getting better.
By Dr. Roy Refael (D.C.)