What Does an Adjustment Do?

This is such a common question, it is continually being researched and the answer refined.  It is so rarely answered well, that I thought it would be good to create a full page to answer.  I will also update it periodically?  When I do update it I will create a post about the update so that you can be kept up to date, and the information will be all in one place.

In my first post on this topic.  I decided to leave out some reasons for space limitations (I try to keep my blogs under 400 words, not that I’m always successful), and some for the lack of research, some for  them being controversial, and many others I just don’t know about.

So, here goes…

Chiropractic manipulation is not just joint popping. In fact the audible pop doesn’t even need to occur for a successful manipulation, though it often does, and some patients and doctors like to hear it. Research has found that pop or not, the same benefits are experienced and that trying repeatedly to get a pop can actually cause damage.

The mechanism of why manipulation works is not completely understood. One thing that is understood is that it does work. Most of the simple explanations are incomplete or just plain wrong. The most recent research points to a more complex reason for the therapeutic effects of chiropractic manipulation. It is suggested that many things are occurring at the same time that provide the benefits.

Here are some of the known things that can begin to explain why manipulation works.

1. Proprioceptive stimulation triggers the release of endorphins. These endorphins cause a near instant and temporary relief similar to pain medication making you less aware of the problem. This trick of the body can cause a secondary benefit, that of relaxing local tissues such as trigger points or tight musculature that may be pinching nerves.

2. Manipulation provides improved nutrient supply. The cartilage and other structures inside of a joint have no blood supply. These structures get their nutrients through motion. The blood supply goes to the outside of the joint and nutrients move into the synovial fluid of the joint. Joint motion moves this fluid around thus providing fresh nutrients to all parts of the joint, as well as removing waste. If a joint becomes locked down by muscle spasm, scar tissue, a cast, or any other means, for a prolonged period of time the joint begins to feel stiff. You know the feeling of needing to stretch after sitting in the car for a long time.

The facet joints in your spine are particularly vulnerable to this problemskeleton because they work in tandem and because of the body’s amazing ability to compensate. Your facet joints all work together, if one is injured it can become locked down to prevent further injury. When this happens you may get the desire to stretch or move your back. This usually works, but if all of the other joints compensate for the problem joint and take that added stress of movement on themselves then the problem joint stays locked down. Specific manipulation induces full range of motion and synovial fluid movement.

3. Manipulation can reduce pressure on the nerves. Your nervous system is the control center of your body, and it is not without weaknesses.  Nerves and nerve bundles are soft tissue.  They don’t function well under physical pressure.  In fact it has been shown that inflammation, a bulging disc, or fragment floating around can interfere with proper nerve conduction.  The stuck joint as discussed previously can also physically be stuck pressing on a nerve, or could be causing inflammation that is pressing on the nerve, or could just be moving in a way that rubs the nerve.  In any case.  The adjustment can cause a relief of this pressure. through movement of the joint to the correct position, or motion.

4. Proprioceptive retraining allows for improved function. The brain also records these proprioceptive signals from the joints motion. Especially for chronic conditions the brain is in need of retraining regarding the motion of that joint. Manipulation takes a joint through its full range of motion. This new input is then stored and replayed in the brain, similar to muscle retraining that physical therapists will do, or physical training of athletes, when the body has done the motion enough times it remembers it. This retraining provides a functional correction that may provide pain relief.

Here are some of the more controversial observations, benefits, and mechanisms of chiropractic. (I must note that just because we don’t know how it works doesn’t mean that it doesn’t.)

Somatovisceral effects – That they exist is not so much controversial as is the predictability.  We know that the spine can effect the visceral organs, but we can’t really say that if you adjust this level this often in this way that you will get the pancreas to produce this much more insulin.  The mechanism, more likely, is one of many things acting on the organs.  As with everything else in the body it is more complicated than one single interaction.

Reduced high blood pressure – WebMD research article more research needed, and mechanism unknown.

Improved immune system response – I have yet to see a great side by side study of people who receive chiropractic care next to a control group who doesn’t, to see who gets a cold and how long they last.  However there are articles and case studies out there.  Even if chiropractic does benefit the immune system, we don’t know the mechanism of how.

Decreased colic in babies – I’ve seen an association, and I’ve read studies that show that there is an effect.  I don’t know the mechanism, and I’ve not seen anything more than theories.

I have taken to recording my own observations and creating case studies of the effects of chiropractic that I have seen. Two new and relatively unstudied benefits that I have found are  an improvement in vocal performance, and a decrease in bed wetting with chiropractic manipulation.  A mechanism for these is not fully understood yet.

Many other benefits have been observed, and still others suspected. Research is still going on and much more is needed.  I will add them and any new or additional documentation as I find them, and as my time permits.

142 thoughts on “What Does an Adjustment Do?

  1. Pingback: Chiropractic Miracles « Chiropractic Discussions

  2. Pingback: Is Popping Your Knuckles/Back Bad For You? « Chiropractic Discussions

    1. cmnacnud

      That’s a very good question. I do not recall reading any articles on the topic, but I do hope to be doing some research on the topic in the near future. Perhaps I’ll create a post on the topic. Thank you for your question.

      Reply
  3. Dennise

    [Edited for clarity] A chiropractic tool was used on my back. My legs are affected and do not look the same. The knee area looks deformed, my legs do not look the same as they had. Will this go away? It was a chiropractic adjusting tool, like a pogo stick. My legs are bent on the inside of my leg (INward) by my knee area .I am a former model and my legs do NOT look the same.

    Reply
    1. cmnacnud

      Dennise, I the tool your referring to sounds like an activator tool. If you were not touched on your leg then I don’t see a way that your knee being bent could have been caused by the adjustment. I’ve heard some odd things in my life so without an in depth study I can’t rule it out, but I’ve never heard of anything like it. The mechanism of chiropractic adjustments just do not lend them selves to deforming areas that were not treated, or even areas that were treated for that matter. I would love to have your chiropractor take a look and if possible post back on here to see what he has to say about it.

      Reply
  4. Jonathon

    @cmnacnud and @Dennise I am no professional in chiropractics, but i have been going to a chiropractor for most of my life, and do have somewhat of an understandng of how it works. One thing I am sure of, is that when specific vertebrae in the spine, particuarly in the Thoracic section, are manipulated, the hips and legs can be affected. This is why a GOOD chiropractor always checks the alignment of the bottom of the feet to ensure that the alignment was successful.

    Reply
    1. cmnacnud

      You ask a simple question Nancy, and I will try to keep my answer simple. The term “hold” is an understood term and not a technical one. Anyone who has been adjusted in the past can understand it, but it doesn’t really explain what is going on. The answer to the question is really that the ability of a body to maintain a proper homeostasis (normal) is affected by many things.
      Let me give a couple of possible examples. Say you’re pregnant and have the hormone relaxin causing hypermobility or are extra flexible for some other reason. If a chiropractic adjustment is made the joints are still hypermobile and may rapidly return to a less than desirable function because of the hypermobility. The opposite can also cause problems. Say you have a long term injury and muscle spasms. Your body has adopted that state as it’s normal so the adjustment works fine, but then that muscle spasm causes the joint to return to that normal that it is used to.
      Chiropractic adjustments are a cumulative effort to get the body to return to a proper function. They are not an instant fix, and usually will “hold” much better with additional exercises or treatments. Over time and multiple adjustments and training your body is re-trained to maintain or hold an improved function. If you injure yourself or through lifestyle, weak posture, or outside stresses fail to maintain proper function then the adjustment doesn’t hold.
      The adjustment is just the starting point of wellness, and some don’t “hold” because the body is unable to “hold” it for what ever reason. Find and fix that reason and then the correction can become as permanent as the person is willing to maintain. Wellness is a lifetime goal.

      Reply
  5. luke

    why do chiros manipulate/adjust areas of the spine that are already hyper-mobile? As well as acute lower back injuries which involve possibly injured ligaments, joint capsule etc? and why do chiros manipulate/adjust symptomatic disc herniations ie with tve neural findings ( decr power/reflexes/sensation etc.) + prolapsed discs? Personally I do not see the benefit in a manipulation in the above cases? in fact I can see many reasons how this can be quite detrimental to recovery and down right dangerous. your thoughts would be appreciated.
    regards luke

    Reply
    1. cmnacnud

      Well, Luke, you ask very interesting questions. People who have serious questions tend not to ask, because within your question is implied that chiropractors are doing things wrong and endangering people. It’s kind of like asking someone when their going to stop beating their children. There is no answer that will satisfy. In an effort to educate however, I will provide some information on this topic.

      One of the first things that chiropractors are taught in school is the contraindications of chiropractic manipulative therapy, in other words, when not to adjust a patient. Most of those things you’ve listed are contraindications, some are absolute, meaning chiropractors never adjust when it is present, and some are relative contraindications, meaning that there may be some clinical justification for manipulation. (For specifics see the World Health Organization guidelines on basic training and safety in chiropractic section 2.1 Absolute contraindications to spinal manipulative therapy. http://www.chiroeco.com/50/bonus/WHOguidelines.pdf) Chiropractors should not be adjusting people with absolute contraindications.

      I’ll take your questions one at a time.
      Q – “why do chiros manipulate/adjust areas of the spine that are already hyper-mobile?”
      A – They usually don’t, however it is not an absolute contraindication, increased joint motion in a fixated direction of an otherwise hyper-mobile joint, reduced pain as well as improved blood flow, lymphatic drainage, and proprioception which can lead to improved healing times are a few of the reasons that a chiropractor might choose to manipulate a joint initially seen as hyper-mobile.

      Q – “…acute lower back injuries which involve possibly injured ligaments, joint capsule etc?”
      A – I assume you mean possibly torn or ruptured ligaments, joint capsule, etc… because a generic “injury” doesn’t contraindicate anything. History, orthopedic testing, and MRI are used if a soft tissue injury is suspected and treated accordingly. Of course a chiropractors scope of practice extends beyond just manipulation, and if you rupture a ligament I would surely perform mobilizations and manipulations during the rehab phase of your treatment to improve proprioception and assist the musculoskeletal retraining.

      Q – “why do chiros manipulate/adjust symptomatic disc herniations ie with tve neural findings ( decr power/reflexes/sensation etc.) + prolapsed discs?”
      A – The terminology regarding intervertebral discs is not yet universal and so I will not address a prolapsed disc directly, but disc injuries with neurological findings are treated by relieving the pressure on the involved neural structure. This can be done surgically, chemically or with manual therapy. If a direction of relief is found upon examination then motion in that direction is indicated. If the case is not emergent then conservative care is warranted and should be performed in ways that reduce symptoms. That can be done with traction, passive motion, active motion, High Velocity Low Amplitude thrusts etc… It all depends on what is indicated based on the examination.

      I hope that provides some answers each particular treatment and injury has multiple volumes of further info and I will provide further references if you would like to read them.

      Reply
  6. luke

    hey there, just read your reply and thank you for replying so quickly. yes I would appreciate further references so could you please forward them on this thread, the more facts I have the better. what are your thoughts on chiros claiming to treat medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes etc with spinal adjustments and do you have any evidence/material to support these claims? Secondly how well trained are chiros in diagnosis? And thirdly is their a large portion of your degree course that is devoted to strategies at hooking patients in and getting them addicted to treatments like there is in some countries? sorry I wanted also to ask if in your opinion chiro will ever be a main-stream medical profession that is (evidence-based) suchas medicine, dentistry, optometry, physio, pharmacy etc… or will it always remain an ‘alternative medicine’ due to its lack of solid/valid and reliable evidence to support its efficacy?

    Reply
    1. cmnacnud

      Luke,
      I will be happy to provide educational information to the general public about chiropractic, but will not be providing an in depth discourse on this blog. For the particular topics I discussed in my last reply I said I would provide references if requested. In an effort to assist you in beginning your own search because you don’t likely have access to the text books that I have, I did a quick online journal search and found some, though not necessarily the best, references and encourage you to search out more. The first two topics regarding hypermobility and ligamentous injury are similar in nature. This reference addresses the benefits of manipulation for proprioception and as an treatment used in rehabilitaion of ligaments or related conditions. It is from the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association. Here is one from the VA related to the role of manipulation in rehab. The last topic was on disc herniation and you mentioned positive neural findings which may be termed sciatica. Here is one reference for you to review and a bonus. As I said I would provide further references here are a few tools that you can use for your further research PubMed, Medline or any other Peer Reviewed Journal database. I will continue to cite research in my blog topics when needed, and for those individual topics please feel free to review the citations.

      Your use of the term medical condition, simply for it’s obvious connotation brings up an interesting misnomer as neither of the conditions that you mention are cured by medicine, though it sometimes causes them. “Medical condition” is a term used to describe any illness or state of disease or disorder even conditions that are clearly non-medical such as a pregnancy, or an ACL tear. I assume you use it to differentiate and pigeon hole, but diabetes is often manageable with diet and exercise without the need of a doctor medical or otherwise. If you mean cure, I am not aware of a cure for either of the conditions you listed. If you mean treatment of symptoms related to a disease then back pain related to diabetes fits. I know chiropractors who help manage diabetes with patients and chiropractors who treat symptoms such as joint pain related to diabetes. Some things such as hypertension are shown to be effected directly by manipulation, but the reason is not yet clear and still being researched. My view is that if it improves health and quality of life then it is a worthwhile treatment.

      With regard to your question on training I refer you to a prior blog post which you have apparently not read. Chiropractors on average had about 4 times more training in diagnosis than most medical doctors, but less training in pathology. In this blog post which you also missed it discusses the relative education and comparison of some of the common health practitioners. I’m not shocked that you would imply (without evidence of your own, yet requiring evidence of me) that chiropractic schools teach “strategies at hooking patients” in any country, and would refer you again to the comparison of educations I’ve listed prior though they are for the USA only.

      Your final pseudo question regarding main-stream, and evidence base for chiropractic can be answered by directing you to another of my blog posts which you have failed to read. I would let you know that this is not the place for the type of close minded and purposefully deceptive questioning that you have brought. I suggest you read through all of my posts. Do some additional research, and then if you still feel as vehemently negative then I would recommend that you stay away from chiropractors and the discussion of chiropractic all together because that kind of bitterness and anger does not lead to improved health or wellness. I wish you happiness and health in life.

      Reply
  7. jane

    Good for you. I think you have answered all of the above questions quite well, and if I were you I would stick to answering questions from people like me who are just curious about chiropractic medicine and not entertain detractors. I have found the information you have provided quite useful. Thanks.

    Reply
  8. Di

    I was just adjusted for the first time today. This evening, my period started a full week early. It’s usually pretty regular. I was wondering if an adjustment can do something that might trigger early menstruation…
    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. cmnacnud

      There are many things that I would put into the classification of “chiropractic miracles” seeming side effects that cannot be explained at this time. I would not suspect that the adjustment had anything to do with your early menstruation.

      Reply
      1. Allison

        Hi! I have been seeing my chiropractor for about a month now. I started my period the first day I was adjusted, which was two weeks earlier than normal. I stop menstruating over the weekends, but every Tuesday,when I see the chiro now, I have light bleeding which has lasted through that week. Before this, I was treated by a massage therapist and the same thing happened, basically. What is this all about?

        Reply
        1. cmnacnud

          I’ve recently had a few comments on this topic. I’ve even gone back to research the topic to see if there was anything that I had missed, but I have been unable to find any correlation between onset of menstruation and chiropractic manipulative therapy. I have successfully treated patients for menstrual type pain and other related symptoms, but have not ever heard of onset immediately caused by adjustments. There are some great articles out there regarding chiropractic and the treatment of menstrual related symptoms. Here’s one nice summary type article: http://www.chiro.org/LINKS/ABSTRACTS/Female_Menstrual_Cycle.shtml I will continue to look into this issue and will create a post or get an expert to post on the topic if I find any good info.

          Reply
    2. Kim

      My back went out and I immediately called my chiro. At the time I was spotting for almost a month. I had several adjustments over a week and a half and now and the “flow” has increased substantially. This is a type of flow I haven’t seen in months. I have to believe that his adjustment to my lower back had something to do with it. I’m looking forward to any information you can find being that I cannot find any. Thank you.

      Reply
  9. Senthil

    There was a comment earlier about “alignment of the bottom of the feet”. Can you explain this in more detail? I was unable to find anything online about it.

    Reply
    1. cmnacnud

      We can check the alignment of the spine in many ways and there is no one perfect way, so your chiropractor will usually check multiple sites. One place to check that gives us a lot of information is the feet. A chiropractor may lie you on your back and check to see if your feet line up thus telling us if one leg appears longer than the other. That is probably what was being referred to, however you can also “align” or manipulate the feet if there are findings indicating the need to have your feet adjusted.

      Reply
  10. Senthil

    Can friends and family do adjustments on each other? I realize that chiropractors go through several years of study to obtain their degree, but if adjustments is all that someone requires, I would assume that several years of college may not be essential. Can you give your opinion on this? Is there any place where they will teach you to just do adjustments?

    Reply
    1. cmnacnud

      To answer quite simply, no. People who are not trained should not perform spinal manipulation. Now here’s the explanation. Motion is good for you and popping doesn’t really mean anything. The chiropractic “adjustment” is very specific. You can also cause harm by performing this incorrectly. Though it is highly unlikely you could break bones, or cause other serious complications when attempting to do spinal manipulation without training. More likely you would simply cause soft tissue injury such as a bruise, sprain or a strain of the area, thus just making the problem worse. It is also possible you could get lucky and provide some relief, but I don’t want to see you take those risk.
      There are some things that you can learn to do on your own, such as stretches and positions that will help you to get to your full range of motion. Your body does sometimes naturally “adjust” its self in some of those positions and you may even get a pop, but I would recommend avoiding spinal manipulation if you are not trained to do so. The answer to your last question is, only chiropractic school.

      Reply
  11. Katrina

    Is it normal to have to go to a chiropractor 3 times a week? I just started going to one a few weeks ago and they quickly do a few adjustments in about 2 minutes and send me on my way. It doesn’t really feel like they are doing much but dropping a table under different parts of my body. I always thought that each adjustment session took time and you could feel some relief even if it wasn’t permanent.

    Reply
    1. cmnacnud

      Every chiropractor practices a little different. Research has not come up with an exact formula for how long and how often a patient should be adjusted. There are some guidelines out there from what studies have been done, but they don’t all concur it may be appropriate for you to begin your treatment with sessions 3 times per week. Within a few weeks the doctor should be assessing your progress and either seeing improvement and so decreasing the frequency of your Tx or seeing no progress and referring you or changing the treatment provided. There is no point in continuing a treatment that isn’t working.
      Once your chiropractor knows what is wrong and has explained the diagnoses and the proceedures to you the actual treatments can be very quick. You just come in for the treatments and then your done. Your chiropractor should be doing brief assessments each time and answering your concerns and questions, but other than that just the treatments don’t take long at all.
      I hope that helps.

      Reply
  12. Senthil

    I have a similar question that Katrina has. I have seen a youtube video on adjustment that took 20 minutes. The Chiropractor took his time to adjust and check alignment everywhere. Considering that the treatment costs about $50 to $70 per session, I can only imagine a session to be at least 10 minutes. $50 for 2 minutes and give it another 2 minutes to walk in an out, is a billing rate of about $750/hr. As a consumer I find that rather appalling. And while I respect your answers here, the defense of “Research has not come up with an exact formula for how long …” for a practice that has been in existence for over 100 years is not quite an acceptable response – not personally, but from Chiropractic Community as a whole. Chiropractors now claim we require weekly adjustments based on “research” rather than monthly. That seems to have come quicker than how long it should take and what should be precisely done in a typical adjustment.

    All said, I still believe in the practice, but it feels like you have to watch out for yourself to not get siphoned off. When you have that lack of trust, your overall healing suffers.

    Reply
    1. cmnacnud

      I can understand your concern for both cost and quality of care. I’ll answer in the hope of providing some clarity and will try to create a full post on this soon to address it more completely.
      There is lots of research out there and as I’ve stated in recent posts it all needs to be accepted with a grain of salt. Some researchers have tried to determine what number of Tx and frequency is best, but even when they did they came up with an average, not every person in the study responded the same. Some research has even indicated that yes some people may benefit from a chiropractic adjustment every week. Other studies show a different picture. The problem is that every person is different. The same thing goes for all health care. Medical doctors have guidelines on how many pills and how often to take them, but some people respond differently and the dosage has to be adjusted. It is my opinion as a chiropractor that because everyone responds differently I need to check every patients response to care and set their plan to be individual to them. That takes time.
      Your underlying concerns seem to be feeling ripped off in both time and money. You are right about a lack of trust. If you don’t trust that your doctor is giving you either quality time or quality care for the cost, then you need to find another doctor because I can promise you there are good chiropractors out there that you can trust. Seek them out.
      On the issue of time my average new patient appt. takes 30 min. For patients who are established in a treatment plan and we already know what is going on with them I average about 12 min. Keep in mind, some treatments take longer than others. Massage treatments take 50 min. Wellness care as thought of by allopathic medicine is an immunization and that takes about 30 seconds and the only person you see is the tech doing it. Taking a pill takes 2 seconds and no provider even needs to be there. And think about how much that pill cost.

      Reply
  13. Al Roho

    I went to a chiropractor a few weeks ago for a consultation because of constant lower back pain that feels siatic… he gave me the traditional “3 times a week recommendation after finding my spine misaligned and upon stepping on two scales, we discovered that my left leg is carrying 17 pounds more than my right.

    I was in a car accident 2 years ago but today, I am able to work out vigorously and often have limitations because of my lower back.

    Because the chiro’s office is far from my home address, so far, I’ve been doing physiotherapy, but the pain is recurring and extends all the way down to my legs. I am going to start chiropractic treatment this week and will keep you all posted from a patient’s point of view.

    Reply
    1. cmnacnud

      Thanks for your willingness to help out others. If you’d like to, I invite you to submit your experience to me in an email form and I’ll post them as full blog posts. Perhaps you could write a paragraph or two after each treatment session. If the chiropractor wants you can even tell them and have them submit their perspective also and you could have a great back and forth with your chiropractor. Let me know if you’re interested.

      Reply
  14. Matt

    I’ve been seeing a chiropractor twice a week for 3 months. I’ve been feeling great since the second session. My chiropractor says I still have 10 sessions left. He has not taken a scan since the start. At the end it will have been over 4 months. Is he just now filling his pockets with my money? My friend who had a broken spine in an accident did not even see the chiro this much. Infact the difference is so big it’s sent these alarm bells. My damage was basically just from poor posture so no major accident.

    Reply
    1. cmnacnud

      Matt,
      Any good treatment plan should include periodic assessments to be sure that you are progressing as you should and to make adjustments in the plan as needed. There is no one treatment plan that works perfectly for every person. I re-evaluate my plans 2 weeks after starting and then every 4-6 weeks. Not every doctor does it the same. With that said, the research does support the need to treat as often as you indicated sometimes. Every body is different and sometimes tripping down a curb will cause huge problems while another person falls off a balcony and is just fine. Poor posture over 20 years can do much greater damage than a minor car accident. I would not compare your treatment to a friend’s for a different issue.
      I would talk to the chiropractor and make him explain himself. You are in charge of your treatment and not him. You should understand what is being done to and what the end goals are. Your doctor should set short term goals with you and have regular assessments to show you that you are achieving those goals and a long term goal so you will know when your treatment is done. If you’re not achieving goals then you need to change up your treatment because it’s not working. I hope that if you talk to your chiropractor you’ll be surprised to see that he does have those goals and he might be happy to show you how much better you are doing.

      Reply
  15. nyasha

    l recently got in a car accident and l had xrays ,my chiropractor told me l had a misallignment spine. the thing is l go for adjustments every day and l am still in constant pain,is there a way that my pain can go away ,,does chiropractic care actually work

    Reply
    1. cmnacnud

      I don’t know how long you have been seeing your chiropractor, nor the condition you are in. There are times when treatment every day is called for for a short period of time. When it comes to car accidents delayed onset of symptoms can occur as long as 2-3 weeks later. For that first while you are usually just trying to keep the body from having any more serious problems, and then you can address the issues. I usually will do a re-evaluation after about 2 weeks and by that time you should be seing some results. You may not be in perfect shape, but you should be able to tell that the treatment is working. If not then something else should be tried or a referral made to another provider.

      There is no one answer that fixes everything. Chiropractic like every other tool does not work for every condition, but with the things that manipulation does work for it works great, and is the best thing compared to all other treatment options.

      Reply
  16. Juanita

    Thank you for taking the time to provide a simple and clear explanation to this oft-asked question. You’re right about it being such a common question yet getting a clear answer that is easily understandable can be a major problem. As for the ‘joint popping’ issue, you said that right. I have always thought that they get your joints to pop and only when you hear the sound, it means that the treatment was successful. In fact that is the general opinion most people I know have of chiropractic adjustment so I’m really glad I came across your blog. I think that about clarifies all the doubts I’ve had about this type of treatment. It’s a relief to finally get the right picture. Chiropractic Adjustment

    Reply
  17. Tom

    I recently went to a chiropractor because I am constantly in pain and I am unable to lift weights like I could only a couple of months ago. Turns out my hips were misaligned and my lower back (specifically my tailbone) was at an incorrect angle, apparently screwing up my whole spine. My chiropractor told me I need regular adjustments for a couple of months in order to fix my problems. Since I started getting adjustments last month, I have been experiencing pain in my hip, tailbone, neck, head, elbows, shoulders, and especially my wrists; my grip is severely weakened. Im not a doctor, but if I were to guess I would say that since my body has not been in alignment for so long (apparently almost 2 years) and now it is, this is adversely effecting the muscles in my body. I would greatly appreciate if I could receive an explanation for why I’m in so much pain. I think I have nerve damage in my wrists or something…they are in serious pain and the pain radiates through my hands. Please let me know if you can help.

    Reply
    1. cmnacnud

      Your description of pain everywhere but your legs is interesting. That type of pain is not likely related to a typical chiropractic treatment. With chiropractic care you may have some mild muscle soreness for a few days following Tx as your body adapts to the corrected motion or even some muscle strain, but your description would provoke a full evaluation. You mentioned also weakened grip strength. If this is just a sensation of weakness then it definitely needs to be reported to the doctor treating you, but if you have actual documented decrease of strength with a dynamometer or other device then you need a neurological workup to determine what is going on. Either way please bring your concerns to the provider treating you so that a proper referral or explaination can be provided.

      Reply
  18. Marcie

    Reading the previous questions and comments, I see you could find no correlation between seeing a chiropractor and onset of periods. However, could seeing a chiropractor (particularly around time of ovulation) delay a period? I have started seeing a chiropractor for back / leg pain that he feels is from giving birth to my daughter two years ago (she got stuck during birthing and ended up with a broken collar bone. He feels this was probably traumatic on my body). When I go in about every other month, my regular period gets delayed by two weeks, which is annoying and uncomfortable. OBGYN could find no reason for this and it seems strange I am normal on months I do not see the chiropractor.
    Thanks for any advice.

    Reply
    1. cmnacnud

      This seems to be a common theme. I am unaware of any research that has shown any change in timing of menstrual periods due to chiropractic manipulation, but obviously there is some anecdotal evidence as shown by the number of comments on the topic. I have also recently had a patient that I was discussing this with and she had mentioned the same thing. I have also discussed this with patients who reported seeing no change. So, it is possible, and I may create a post soon summarizing what ever findings I can. At this point though I am sorry to report that I have no information on this topic for you. I’ll keep looking, and good luck.

      Reply
      1. Susanna

        I started going to see a chiropractor just after my last period. I usually have a 24-day cycle (earlier than normal). Now it has been 38 days. I did an urine test and turned out negative. I have been thinking if there is any correlation between chiropractic manipulation and period. Now it seems YES. However, I ‘d better to see a doctor for a further check-up. Will like to hear more comments from others who experienced the same thing.

        Reply
  19. rosemary11278

    I went in for an adjustment for the first time today for neck pain. An x-ray was taken and my skull is off-balance from my neck, possibly from a car accident almost 15 years ago. An instrument was used in a very precise manner on my trouble spot – but the pressure is barely noticeable. My question is, how does such a tiny amount of pressure correct a mis-aligent? I trust that over the long term things will be corrected, but I can’t imagine how when I feel like I’m barely being tapped in the spot in pain. How does that instrument work?

    Reply
    1. cmnacnud

      When I first came accross these types of instruments I was also skeptical. They don’t feel like they do anything, and they just look like something from a tourture chamber. There are many such instruments, and I have posted on this topic before. http://chirotalk.wordpress.com/2008/05/22/whats-my-opinion-regarding-adjusting-tools/ That link doesn’t answer your question about how they work though. For that let me refer you to some research, and thank you for your question it’s always a good way for me to come up with new post topics. Here are some research links: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0161475405000023

      Reply
  20. Stacey

    I just bought one of the inversion tables a week ago. I have sciatica in my left leg, and was seeing a chiro for about 4 mos. I got alot of results the 1st 3 mos then the results stopped. I never had another xray check up done to see how things were going. I was tired of putting money out and seeing no more results. I was doing decompression for a bulging disc (which is the cause of my sciatica) 2x a week. Having the invertion has done wonders for me. I have had back problems for almost a yr and couldnt get up out of bed one morning. The week of using this table has completly change my life just in the last week. It is doing all the things the chiro was doing but i see the results so much better. I even feel and hear my back pop while on it. What do you think of the invertion tables, and why do chiros not tell you about them?

    Reply
    1. cmnacnud

      Stacey,
      Thank you for your comment. I have written about chiropractic tools in the past, but not about inversion tables specifically. I will try to remember to create a post about them soon, but to reply before then here is a summary.
      Traction is a great tool that chiropractors use. Inversion tables are one method of applying traction. Some of my patients love them and get good results. I do talk about inversion tables with my patients if I feel that they will benefit from them, but I don’t usually recommend them for 3 reasons. Cost, simplicity, and risks. First of all there is often a large cost to purchase an inversion table or gravity boots or what ever traction device you want to use. Second if you want to get gravity traction you don’t have to have an inversion table you can get a slick board and prop one end up on your bed and the other on the floor and lie upside down on it, or go to the local park and hang from the jungle gym or upside down on the slide. It’s cheap, easy and provides some good traction. The last reason I don’t recommend them is the risk. Anyone with hypertension or glaucoma or ear pressure issues should not be using inversion traction. A flat traction table is best for them. They are also more expensive, and I use them in my office, but they don’t have the risk that comes with all of the blood in your body rushing to your head. Also you can pass out if you hang upside down too long. I recommend to my patients that use them to never use them alone, and always use a timer. There is also the risk of worsening symptoms. If you run into a problem you aren’t in my office where it can be taken care of, you’re at home and may not be able to get to my office. With all of that said traction is a great tool, but it is just one tool out of many that may help. I’m glad it has worked for you.

      Reply
  21. Debbie

    About 10 hours after my last adjustment (this was my 3rd adjustment in 2 weeks and only just started seeing a chiropractor 2 weeks ago) I had bad “period pains” that lasted 2 days (had to take Tylenol every 4 hours to relieve the pain). The thing is, I’m in menopause and haven’t had a period in 6 years. What’s going on?

    Reply
    1. cmnacnud

      Debbie, your story does not seem to point to chiropractic being the cause of your pain. It may be the same type of pain that you experienced and even caused by the same organs, but having seen a chiropractor for 2 prior times and the pain coming on 10 hours after the third visit doesn’t really show a cause and effect relationship between your pains and the treatment. They may be related, but it doesn’t appear so from first glance. I would recommend an appointment with your OB/GYN, just in case. Good luck.

      Reply
  22. Kris

    Hi.
    I have a back pain at around s1 for 6 years now. A moderate central disc hernia said the MRI, but no neurological symptoms. It started after heavy lifting. I went through virtually all types of physiotherapy, plus all types of exercise. I also tried facet injections without effect.
    Do you think chiropractic manipulation could help?
    There is only mild back pain, which gets slightly increased with bending forward and backwards. No pain while resting on the side, but slight pain while resting on the back unless it’s the hard floor…
    Do you think if took adjustments 4, 5 times per week, I could see improvement in say 2 weeks…
    Thanks

    Reply
    1. cmnacnud

      Kris, The longer the problem has been the less likely your body is to respond to treatment, but yes I think that chiropractic manipulation may help you, and if you haven’t seen at least some noticable improvement in 2 weeks then I would say that manipulation is not going to help. Honestly if you’ve tried everything else, and what you’re talking about is the bread and butter of chiropractic give it a try.

      Reply
  23. patty manero

    Hi! Although I’d been to 3 or 4 chiropractors in america, I was very surprised by the visit I had in Japan. This chiropractor (who told me his school is “american-style” and not japanese style, which in fact doesn’t exist) started with rocking massage of the legs (laying on my stomach) and pressure ‘massage’ on the bottoms of my feet using his knuckles. Then he did some ‘normal’ manipulations (we had already discussed which areas needed attention and he checked the alignment from the heels) and then he asked me to open my mouth and proceeded to “adjust” the roof of my mouth (wearing gloves). In later appointments he also adjusted the right side cheekbone, near the jaw hinge. That was painful.

    He explained that the skull mirrors the skeleton and if equivalent adjustments aren’t carried out, the spinal ones won’t last.

    All I can say is that after 5 appointments with him my body felt 20 years younger… and indeed my menstrual cycle jumpstarted again (I was 50) (comment for the earlier Q&As about periods).
    He also manipulates organs in the stomach cavity and stuff in the rib cage (although that wasn’t my case).

    I am trying to find someone that does this kind of treatment outside of Japan. Do you have any suggestions?

    thanks

    Reply
    1. cmnacnud

      While I do some intraoral manipulation and massage it is usually for TMJ disorders. Many theories discuss the balancing of one part of the body for the benefit of the whole. I don’t subscribe to any one theory or treatment method because every patient is different and may require adaptation, so I tend to use treatments from what ever theory that I find that works for that patient. I don’t know of any chiropractor personally who practices in the exact manner you described, but from your description it sounds like you may be looking for a chiropractor who practices Sacro Occipital Technique (http://www.sotousa.com/wp/). If that doesn’t help I would recommend contacting the state chiropractic association in your state. They will be able to give you a list of chiropractors in your area and may even know one that practices similar techniques. Good luck.

      Reply
  24. Nadia R

    I have been suffering from tingling and numbness in my feet and fingers for some time. I also would get chronic headaches along with random muscle twitching/spasms. I finally went to the chiropractor and pre-xray, she thought I may have ms. Post x-ray, it showed that my neck is curved the wrong way and my spin curves slightly to the right. After my first adjustment, the headaches went away, I slept so well and did not have any tingling or numbness. I went for my second adjustment and I am sore but I felt mild tingling and numbness. I’m not certain whether I should see a neurologist to rule out ms or if my body is so out of wack, its readjusting.

    Reply
    1. cmnacnud

      It will not hurt to get a second opinion, but if you are getting even some results after only one chiropractic treatment then I would recommend giving it a try. If after 2 weeks nothing is happening then definitely discuss it with the doctor and get an appropriate referral. If your chiropractor suggested MS in the first place as a possible diagnosis to rule out then it is already on her mind, and she is probably already watching out for red flags. If you discuss it with her she’ll probably let you know what she is watching for and thinking, and might even contact your neurologist if you have one already, or put you in touch with one she recommends. They can discuss your case and come to a joint conclusion. That’s what I do. Good luck.

      Reply
  25. Serina

    I got into a car accident almost a month ago. I hit a guard rail head on doing about 50 mph. Ever since, my back has been in a great amount of pain and so has my left side of my ribs. Days after the accident I went to the ER to make sure everything was ok internally bc the pain was so bad by my ribs. They were fine s. I’m going to a chiropractor today but my question is what happens in a car accident that causes your back to be in such a great amount of pain and can going to a chiropractor help for good in the long run? This will be my first visit to a chiropractor. I’m anxious to get my back feeling normal again.

    Reply
    1. cmnacnud

      I’m sorry that you are in such pain Serina. I don’t know exactly what is wrong with your back in this specific case, but one of the more common type of injuries in car accidents is whiplash. I’ve discussed it on a different post so here is the link. Essentially your body can be traumatized because of the initial impact, through tissue tearing during the quick rapid motion, or secondarily due to guarding, splinting, or otherwise stopping joint motion. The chiropractor cannot heal these things, but he can help create the environment that your body needs to heal itself properly and quickly. To answer your second concern, yes you can get back to good health for the long run, but anytime you have an injury you are more suceptable to future injury, so the chiropractor should give you home care that you can do to keep the area strong and mobile. I highly recommend you ask your chiropractor to explain this in more depth for your case. I hope you get well soon.

      Reply
      1. Serina

        Thanks for your response. I have now been to the chiropractor 4 times now and I have felt like a brand new person! I even sleep better and I’ve struggled with sleep my whole life. I cannot believe the immense difference I felt even after my first adjustment. I highly recommend anyone with back pain to goto a chiropractor!

        Reply
  26. Hayley

    Hi. I’m a 20yo old with the following problems : lower back pain, knee problems (the left one tends to get stiff), shoulder pains, back aches and my hips lock up (my hips have been a problem for about 8 years). I ride horses and think that it’s contributing and possibly the cause of a lot of my pain. I can’t afford to go to a chiropractor and am never going to give up horses or riding as its a massive piece of who I am but would like to know if there are cheaper alternatives. Does anybody have any suggestions? Thank you

    Reply
    1. cmnacnud

      Hayley, fortunately there is no cheap alternative to quality care. There are things that you can do for yourself, but Chiropractic has often been found to be the most cost effective treatment for musculoskeletal conditions. If you know the cause of your injuries, but refuse to remove yourself from it then I would highly recommend that you make the investment in yourself to enable you to keep living the lifestyle that you want. If you don’t take care of yourself then your body will eventually remove your ability to continue the damaging practice that you enjoy. On your own you can take the time to look up and do exercises and stretches for your painful joints. There are suppliments such as glucosamine and chondroitin that will help allow your body to repair itself, but suppliments are often expensive as well. Massage will also aid in soft tissue healing and overall wellness, but again there is a cost associated with that.
      My number one free recommendation is to move your body. Find some other form of exercise that allows you to keep your strength, flexibility and endurance up. But beyond that recognize that chiropractic is the least costly and most beneficial treatment out there. Here’s a link to a summary of some of the research on the topic.

      Reply
      1. Hayley

        Thank you very much. Massage I can get for free as my friend did a coarse in it :) I will most deffinantly look up stretches and excorcises that can help and will try to save for supplements. Thank you for responding so fast your help and advise is greatly appreciated :)

        Reply
    1. cmnacnud

      There was no one way to talk about treatment when I went to school. The terms manipulation and adjustment were interchangeable in school with no particular emphasis, but I think in clinic and in most of my classes people referred to chiropractic treatment as adjustments as I usually do with patients. With that said the coding guidelines here in the USA lists it as Chiropractic Manipulative Therapy (CMT). I am even open to a new word, as neither adjustment nor manipulation in my opinion quite describe what we do. In fact chiropractic overall has a pretty lousy vocabulary. Things like being, “Out”, or my personal favorite, how do we and patients describe a successful treatment, “It went.” It’s really difficult to describe some of the sensations within our profession, and I think we could use a technical vocabulary overhaul. Why do you ask, John?

      Reply
  27. Vesta L Porter

    I’d like to put in my 2 cents on the changes in periods after an adjustment. After my first adjustment 2 years ago. I actually could feel that something had happened right after he adjusted me. I experienced some cramping. My periods had just started to become irregular. After that first adjustment I had normal periods for about 6 months and then none at all. Menopause. (YAY!!) Before seeing him. I was experiencing night sweats and hot flashes. They all but disappeared after regular visits. I tell anyone complaining of menopause symptoms to visit a Chiro. Mine helped me glide through what could have been a difficult time for me. There is something to this. :)

    Reply
  28. Debbie Scott

    I recently visited a chiropractor who took Xrays. He said that my spin and neck are out of alignment and wants me to come in 3 times a week for three months and then once every three weeks for maintemance. Is this too much? I have been seeing various chiropractors over the past 10 years, but none has had a “structural” impact on my spine or neck, although I feel better. This chiropractor tells me he needs to see me this much to make a structural change. I’m concerned because it will cause me significant out of pocket dollars. Please advise.

    Reply
    1. cmnacnud

      To make structural changes that last you do need more frequent treatments and for a more prolonged period, however most patients don’t want or need them. I have read research regarding things like scoliosis where that kind of treatment frequency and duration did decrease the curve, but only a small bit and there usually is not significant change in symptoms over less frequent treatment. I don’t know what conditions you are being treated for, or if you are just seeking wellness care. If the other chiropractors met your goal of feeling better then I would discuss that with your current chiropractor and let him know that you understand his recommendations but have a different goal in mind for your treatment. Remember you are in charge of your treatment. He may change his recommendations based on your goals, or he may convince you that you should change your goals. Either way it is ok. If you have not gotten the result you want with the other chiropractors then you may consider that this recommendation may be what you’re looking for. Cost is always a factor and I can understand that. You should discuss what you want to get out of the treatment with the doctor and the amount that you are willing or able to put out by way of cost. I’m sure he will be able to work out with you what is most cost effective and meets your goals. If not then find a different chiropractor.

      Reply
  29. JJ

    Hi,

    I just started seeing a chiropractor for chronic back pain, and so I’m doing a little research and trying to learn more about treatment. I have a question maybe not directly related to treatment itself, but that is interesting to me and I wonder if you have any insight. I’ve noticed that there’s some pretty serious polarization in regards to chiropractics as a profession. I’m neutral since I’m just learning about it, but why are there so many people that seem to have such strong, emotionally-charged and negative reactions to chiropractics? Why do so many people see it as a “quack” science? I’m not saying that I think it is, because I’ve read just as many accounts of people who’ve said it has helped them. I just find it odd that the negative reactions people have are often so vehement. Do you have any ideas about why this might be?

    Reply
    1. cmnacnud

      Thanks for the question JJ, and yes I have some information. First let me point you to a great new documentary that covers this a little bit. It is called doctored. As with all documentaries it has a bias, but it does go into the core of your question very well. It starts out by showing how the American Medical Association (AMA) set out to demonize and destroy chiropractic as a profession. It covers the court case that found the AMA guilty, and began the recovery of chiropractic. That is where the term “quack” comes from. They didn’t want to label chiropractors as just alternative, they wanted the term they called us to provoke a negative reaction from the public. So they formed their “committee on quackery.” After years of this fight the AMA was defeated legally, but the animosity remained as did the influence on the public. Only recently has chiropractic begun to rebound into the mainstream. So, many of the older generation on both sides still fight, and try to teach the younger generation to carry on their grudge. Think of Romeo and Juliet. No one still fighting really knows why a feud got started, but that doesn’t stop people on both sides from having enormous hatred for the other side. As is so often the case these emotional responses are not usually based on evidence or logic, but emotion. It’s easier to manipulate, and both sides do it in every controversy.

      The reason you come across the opposite, accounts from people that are enormously positive about chiropractic, is because it has had such a profound impact on their life. Imagine having gone years to every specialist you can imagine with headaches so bad that you can’t function. You’ve lost your career, and are practically home bound, then after a few treatments you are able to go 2 days without a headache. You gradually improve more and more. You get your life back that was stolen by a little thing like a headache or back pain. These people are strong testimonials of chiropractic care. Every profession has them, and sometimes people will swear by a certain doctor or mechanic or whatever.

      I am a relatively new chiropractor having only been involved with the profession in this century. Thus I work freely with many different practitioners and have worked for the Navy in a Navy Hospital with many different health care professionals, and can honestly say that I don’t see a lot of the negative reactions unless I seek them out. I would be happy to discuss this more if you would like, but if so I will create a new post on the topic so that we can discuss it there. Let me know if that helps to answer your question.

      Reply
      1. JJ

        That was very helpful, thank you! I like watching documentaries, so thank you for the link. I’ll definitely watch it. I do think that it might be also helpful though to create a topic that specifically addresses this issue, since I feel that so many people hear negative things about chiropractics and might avoid trying it just based on that hearsay. It’s hard to find topics that specifically address why there is such negativity, so maybe talking more about it will help people to make an informed decision about possibly seeking chiropractic care instead of writing it off as something that’s not “real” medicine. Thank you for your thoughtful reply!

        Reply
  30. Jane

    Hi. I just wanted to say that you’re amazingly patient with some of these ‘questions’ and admire the way you answer them in a professional way (even when they are clearly designed to undermine you and chiropractic). I’m an osteopath and just started reading this expecting ‘salesman speak’ but have been pleasantly surprised. Great blog and useful for me when patients ask the ‘what’s the difference between chiropractors and osteopaths?’ question. Good Luck!

    Reply
  31. julie de paauw

    After my last manipulation, I had to pass water constantly and even that night I had to go 3 times which isn’t normal for me. Is it something that occurs after chiropractor work.

    Reply
    1. cmnacnud

      Frequent urination is not one of the common side effects of chiropractic manipulation, but if your body had not been functioning properly before and if you took the advice that most chiropractors give to drink more water then having a better functioning body and drinking more water can lead to more frequent urination. If you have lost the ability to control your bladder (being unable to hold it or not being able to go when you feel the need) then that is a serious issue, but just more frequent urination is unlikely to be directly related to an adjustment, but could be related to lifestyle changes recommended by your chiropractor. Discuss your concerns with him when you go back. I’m sure he’ll be happy to monitor the situation for you.

      Reply
  32. jeremy

    I have been using a Chiropractor who I am totally confident in. He is a also a body builder and very solid on Sports Medicine. On a visit In November a friend suggested I get a leg adjustment. I felt some pain after the adjustment but thought I had just tweaked something and it would get better with rest. Since then I have had a feeling of my knee giving out. I just looked online and found it could be a ligament injury. I work out regularly and have never had any knee issues. I fear the sudden tog of the adjustment may have torn a ligament in some way. Is this possible? Thanks.

    Reply
    1. cmnacnud

      It is possible to cause a minor sprain in weak ligaments with an adjustment, however to do severe damage to a strong ligament such as in the knee would take some extreme force. While I suppose possible in theory, I would not say that it was likely to tear a knee ligament with any chiropractic adjustment that I know of. If there was damage caused by your chiropractor I would recommend discussing it with him and giving him a chance to make it right. There are risks with any treatment, like the possibility of breaking ribs when performing CPR. Your chiropractor probably did not damage your ligament, but would be upset to know if they ever hurt you in any way. Tell him your symptoms and see what he says. Good luck and good health to you.

      Reply
  33. Ptran

    Hello, I was diagnosed with a subluxation on my neck and there is minimal growth of bone spurs.. Is there any way that it will dissolve once the subluxation is fixed? I heard of some remedies to help them and also some websites of DC that says the body could absorb them.. If the subluxation is fixed, will the spur cause me pain in the future? Thank you

    Reply
    1. cmnacnud

      Ptran, bone spurs are just increased bone tissue in an area of stress. Your bones are almost constantly remodeling themselves, taking away and laying down new tissue. Your body could possibly resorb the spurs, but often do not. They also don’t usually cause pain or noticeable symptoms. If your body is healthy and young you stand a better chance of them going away on their own. I don’t know of any cures for bone spurs, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any. My recommendation to you would be to take care of the joint function. Do your stretches and exercises and get that subluxation resolved. Then keep it away be staying healthy.

      Reply
  34. Ptran

    Thank you so much for your reply, I have been researching the net and found some alternative remedies to dissolve the spurs, supplements like acid-a-cal, magnesium, calcium, and also a plant called Hydrangea. Do you think I should give these a try? I am very worried about these spurs but my Chrio have told me once I have the subluxation fixed, it will not bother me in the future, but somehow I still don’t believe it will not cause a problem. Would you say that everyone will get bone spurs? Or if anyone gets an x-ray it will show spurs too? I am very worried about this and not quite sure if I’m just over thinking things. By the way, you mentioned that you will make a page post about this topic, where can I find that information ? Thank you very much again.

    Reply
  35. Ptran

    Hello, please disregard the part about you making a seperate post about bone spurs, I had read a certain section in my email that was not apart of your response. Thank you

    Reply
    1. cmnacnud

      I’ll add that to my list of topics to write about. Bone spurs is kind of a generic term. When on your heel or pressing into a nerve they can be serious complications to life, but growth of bone due to increased stress is kind of like a callous on your hand it is increased tissue designed to protect you. It usually doesn’t do any harm or have any symptoms, and is not a bad thing. When seen on an x-ray of the spine it can be a sign of degeneration, but can also be left over from a prior injury.

      Reply
  36. Ryan Schultz

    While I’ve read many love/hate “factoids” about chiropractic care, I have grown in curiousity whether or not it is possible for issues such as sinus build ups to be cured? Can chiropractic care help issues outside of the back/neck/legs? If so, what are a few outstanding cures (in your opionion / experience) have you seen or heard of? Being a new and current patient myself (injured lower back at work), I would love to gather and share information for both myself and anybody I can assist.

    From everything I’ve read, it seems that the commonon and very oft-overlooked fact that everybody’s body is different and will respond differently to different changes and stresses, makes or breaks one’s opinion on chiropractic care.

    Reply
    1. cmnacnud

      Ryan,
      It is true that every person is a little different and reacts differently to care. For example most people love to get massage, but for some people it is not only something they don’t care for, but can be painful for them. Much of what chiropractic is known for is what most people react well to such as low back care or headache treatment. There are some things out there that chiropractors treat often, but have a lower success rate. For example on one of my posts I discuss what I call chiropractic miracles. These are case studies that saw improvement or cure of a condition through chiropractic care for reasons unknown. In health care there are many treatments that may only have a 30% or 40% success rate. That means that less than half of the patients who undergo that treatment have success, but it also means that 3-4 out of every 10 patients with that problem do have success.

      I have seen some success with things outside of the back/neck/legs as you say. Some of the things that I’ve seen success with are breech babies, bed wetting, TMJ issues, Sinusitis, and carpal tunnel syndrome. That’s not to say that chiropractic cured these, but chiropractic is not a curative practice. I don’t set out to cure these things, but I help the body to function as well as possible, and it then is better able to cure its self. In the same way that a setting and a cast does not cure a broken bone, it just helps it to be in the best position to heal on it’s own.

      I hope that answers your question. Let me know if you wanted something more specific.

      Reply
  37. Tina Martin

    My family and I (4 children) having been seeing a chiropractor for over ten years now…. the children (all in their twenties now) since visiting the chiropractor once a month after the initial introduction have not suffered the usual round of coughs and cold in fact no visits to the GP in 10 years…One of the boys has dyslexia (which made him very quite and private didnt want to bring attention to himself ) within his first 3 adjustments we noticed a dramatic improvement in his self esteem and his whole demeanor.. he seemed to come alive!!! My daughter recently had a little baby girl … no trouble through her pregnancy and delivered her daughter without any intervention and labour was only 2 hours (not bad for a first baby… My first was 38 hrs!!!) and her baby is a complete angel (she too gets adjusted – her first at only 12 days old) she is a very relaxed and contented baby, she has not suffered any colic, sleeps well and is very alert. We all look forward to our visits…. people have mentioned the money side but we dont smoke or drink and feel its money well spent… being adjusted can only help your body to do the job it was designed to do and thats repair itself … I hope this helps others in their decision to go for Chiropractic care.

    Reply
    1. cmnacnud

      Thank you for your comments. If you’d like to write the story of each persons experience or just yours I’d be happy to post it with you as a guest blog author.

      Reply
  38. diane Fleming

    After birth of twins pelvis feels like locking severve pain in groin into kneww area, would this help?

    Reply
    1. cmnacnud

      Chiropractic does have a significant effect on pain in and from the pelvic structures especially following labor and delivery. I highly recommend giving it a try.

      Reply
  39. Kathy Mertzlufft

    I have been seeing a chiropractor for the first time for sacroiliac problems. X-ray determined that my neck was out alignment, curve in upper spine and hips were twisted. The chiropractor uses a drop table for adjustments. After my first manipulation, I was very sick and fatigued. The chiropractor said that was normal and was toxins leaving my body. I felt a little better after my 2nd and 3rd adjustment, but after my 4th adjustment I had extreme headaches, jaw pain, sore neck, problems swallowing and talking (severe TMJ symptoms). I was also extremely sick and fatigued (stayed in bed for two days). Chiropractor said my jaw was knocked out of alignment at the last adjustment and that the lymph nodes in my neck drained, which is why I was so sick. I have searched the Internet and cannot find anything on chiropractors knocking someone’s jaw out of alignment and lymph nodes being drained. Is this possible?

    I switched to a more experienced chiropractor at the same practice and I continue to have the severe TMJ symptoms after an adjustment. It takes about 3 days to recover. I have another appointment with my chiropractor and I am concerned about getting any further adjustments. Not to mention by lower back (SI problems) are not getting better. I have had 6 adjustments over a 3-week period…shouldn’t I be feeling better by now? Any input would be appreciated.

    Reply
    1. cmnacnud

      My first question would be have they been adjusting your jaw, and why? Your TMJ like any other joint can be damaged by force or adjusted as a treatment. There are common side effects of adjustments that include localized soreness that resolves within a couple of days, and even feelings of fatigue. I would caution you however that those that you describe, and particularly with that severity are rare. If you continue to feel worse after any treatment medical or chiropractic you should discontinue the treatment. Three weeks is an adequate amount of time to determine if a treatment is working. If you have not seen any improvement and only increased unrelated symptoms then I would say that something needs to change. Ask to discuss your concerns with this doctor on a day that you are not being treated, and be frank and honest. If he can not provide alternate recommendations for treatment or adequate explanation for the lack of results then ask for a referral. If however he is able to provide reasonable explanation then I recommend discussing the possibility of making changes to avoid the negative effects that you are experiencing. Good luck.

      Reply
  40. Melissa

    I was in a car accident 2 weeks ago…..I have back pain so I have been seeing a chiropractor. He said my muscles were way too tight to physically manipulate by hand. He used a adjustment instrument that looked like a mini pogo stick. It hurt a bit on each spot that he used it on but after it got worse. After the second time he used it I went home in worse pain. I am sore and last night had bad pinching pain causing me to take pain killers to go to sleep. I woke up with a some relief but still feel pain and alot of stiffness. What could this be?

    Reply
    1. cmnacnud

      I’m sorry to hear about your accident Melissa. The tool your doctor was using is probably what is called an “Activator,” and the pogo stick is a very accurate description. The newest version actually looks more like a ray gun, but for more info on it please refer here . It is very common that pain from symptoms resulting from car accidents peak at about 2 weeks. Your chiropractor’s difficulty adjusting you due to soft tissue injury is also common.
      Usually in the first few weeks after a car accident I try to minimize or manage injuries and pain until the body has calmed down enough to handle further care.

      There are a few phases of repair/recovery from any injury. People/texts list them differently. I’ll break them down into 5 phases for you today. Initial injury phase is when you get hurt. Secondary injury is when your body gets hurt due to the initial injury. Think of a sprained ankle the ligament is the only tissue that is actually torn, but all the swelling can crush other cells and soon your whole foot hurts. So the first thing you do is put ice on it to keep it from getting worse. Then once things have settled down a little you enter the acute phase of repair. In this phase your body has to clear out all the damaged tissue before it can lay down new stuff. All this time your chiropractor should just try to reduce the further damage and give you help and tips to manage the pain possibly with treatment modalities. Adjustments may be a part of your care at any time, but may also be uncomfortable or make you sore. Your chiropractor should discuss those risks with you to prepare you for possibilities and allow you to make an informed choice as to what treatments you want and when. After that acute phase is the repair phase, when your body begins to lay down scar tissue and repair the damage. This is also the phase when pain usually begins to go away. Like with a scab pain goes away long before the healing is done. Once the new tissue is laid down your body moves into a remodeling or clean up phase where it has to pull down the scaffolding that it used to lay down the new tissue and clean up the mess of repair.
      Your chiropractor throughout these phases is trying to speed up the process and provide assistance to make your body heal as best it can. He may draw on multiple tools such as nutrition, physical activities, adjusting, and physical modalities to name a few. Not all of those modalities are comfortable, but if you are unable to or just don’t like the possible side effects of a modality please voice your concerns. Your chiropractor should have other options to utilize, or may just wait to use that one. At times if a patient is just impossible to adjust due to pain I have referred them to a trusted MD for prescription pain relief, and on some cases manipulation under anesthesia can be a useful option if allowed in your state.
      Remember that most patients come to our office to get out of pain as a primary goal, but sometimes getting improvement involves a little discomfort first. Just like getting those six pack abs is going to cause a lot of pain and stiffness initially but the end result is improved health in at least that area.

      Reply
  41. Ptran

    Hello,
    I have been to three chiros and they said I had a subluxation in my neck, which I believe because Its obvious in my X-rays. What I am confused about is that when I went to the first Chiro ( which was the one who took my X-rays) he told me that I had a subluxation and my lower vertebrae the 3rd,4th,5th was shifted to the right. Then when I seen the second Chiro.. He said I had a subluxation and a 6th vertebrae. The third Chiro said I have a subluxation and he only see’s 5 and not a 6th vertabrae, same as the first chiro, he didn’t mention that either. So now I’m concerned if I do or not? And will that cause me any problems if I do have it? Thank you.

    Reply
    1. cmnacnud

      As with any diagnostic science there are differing opinions. Everyone will have their view of what is causing the problem, and how best to fix it. Usually they will all be similar or close in their recommendations, as you noted that the three chiropractors were all saying the problem was within a few segments of each other. The best thing for you to do is go with the one that you understood the best and will be able to communicate his treatment to you the best. The risk of side effects are low for chiropractic manipulation, which I’m sure they all recommended. The biggest problem I foresee in your case is that it may take a little longer to get better if the doctor takes the wrong approach and has to correct himself in the middle of a plan.

      Reply
  42. sarah

    As per a comment made by the gentleman who had wrist pain when trying to lift weights. Since my treatment started for lower back pain 3 weeks ago,(ive been cracked by the chiro on my hips, shoulders and neck) I feel much worse than before. I keep waking up during the night with numb hands and toes. My wrists are incredibly painful and tight and it hurts to put my chin to my chest. What might have caused this to happen? Ive never had wrist pain before. I feel way worse than when I started for a pain in my lower back.

    Reply
    1. cmnacnud

      Sarah,
      I’m sorry to hear of your negative experience. I’m not sure what caused your waking, numbness and wrist pain? Without further info it would be hard to even speculate. If you presented for low back pain, then I’m not sure why you had your shoulders, neck and hips “cracked.” Hopefully the chiropractor explained to you what he was doing and why in a way that you could understand and that’s why you consented to such a treatment plan, but with the limited info that you have given I don’t see why you had such a treatment plan. I would suggest that even if you don’t submit to further treatment that you sit down and have a discussion with the chiropractor so that you can understand the risks and benefits of each of the treatments that you received. Good luck and I hope you find some relief.

      Reply
  43. M Shull

    I know from experience that a chiropractor can do wonderful things. I was wondering though if they can do anything for foot pain? I have severe pain in the ball area of my left foot when pressure is put on both the inside and outside at once. I also feel this pain first thing in the morning when putting pressure on the bottom when I first get out of bed. In the morning it fades quickly thankfully. I don’t have a local chiropractor yet and if this isn’t something that can be helped in theory then I won’t look for one yet.

    Reply
    1. cmnacnud

      It sounds like some possible plantar fasciitis going on there, and yes a chiropractor will have many things to assist your body in healing your feet, from massage, to ice, to adjustments taping and orthotics depending on what is needed. I hope you find someone soon.

      Reply
  44. Philip

    Hello,
    My son has Dandy Walker Syndrome and was born at 28 weeks. As a result he has chronic health problems due to being premature. He is now 5 yrs old an fairly health. He is a bad toe walker and we have recently had heal cord lengthing done on both legs with Botox injections done to help loosen up his legs. The doctor says this will help him to walk flat footed along with braces. My question is do you know of any research done with ciropractic work to help kids that walk on there toes. Will ciropractic work to help loosen up the muscle rigidity. He will at times feel tight in his upper body with jerking movements. An websites or research you can provide is greatly appreciated.
    Thanks for your time…

    Reply
    1. cmnacnud

      I’ve never had the opportunity to treat anyone with Dandy Walker Syndrome, I’m glad to hear that he is doing better. Some manual therapy such as chiropractic and massage would be excellent for his condition as they both produce not only muscle lengthening but also positive neurological feedback. I would recommend that you seek out not just a chiropractor, but a chiropractic neurologist. Here is the site for the board of chiropractic neurologists: http://www.acnb.org/ They have a doctor locator that you can use to find one in your area.

      Reply
  45. maggie b

    I see a chiropractor monthly he manipulates my hips and back for slipped disc at l4 l5 but the relief only lasts a day or two. He checks my hip alignment but putting my feet together but standing up my left hip is higher than my right. Should he be measuring my hips and is this the reason my relief is short lived ?

    Reply
    1. cmnacnud

      Monthly treatment would be a wellness type treatment plan. I don’t know any condition that you can see improvement in with getting adjusted only once a month. If you have a condition that he is trying to treat he should explain his treatment goals and what he is doing to accomplish them. If you do get relief, but only for a few days then you should be seen every few days at least until he can get your relief to last longer.
      A slipped disc is not a real diagnosis. If he is treating a disc then the surrounding area such as the pelvis and hips can also be affected and benefit from treatment. I think you should sit your chiropractor down and ask him to really explain what he is doing, because he may know what he is doing, but you obviously don’t understand, and want to. If he cannot help you understand your care then you should find another doctor. You should never submit to care that you don’t understand at least on a basic level. If you don’t know what it is that you are getting and the benefits and possible risks then it becomes dangerous.

      Reply
      1. Clint

        Hello, I am quite concerned about my cervical spine. I’m 22 and about 2 years ago I had a fall this is before I knew much about chiropractic. So a year later I started to have pain in my neck and between my shoulders. My father recommended me to his chiropractor so I have been going for well over a year now. I have regained my curve in my neck but yet I still have clicks and pops during rotation, also some discomfort. Will this ever go away? It is quite stressful, 22 and feel like an old man. Lol, also I lift weights would that cause any problems during chiropractic care?

        Reply
        1. cmnacnud

          Clint, I’m sorry to hear that you are feeling like an old man. Clicking and popping can be normal at times with normal range of motion. Unless the click is also causing pain I wouldn’t worry about it. If you are seeing a chiropractor and have already seen good results then I would stick with it. Sometimes our bodies just can’t do any better, that point is called maximal medical improvement by insurance companies. It is when your body has healed as best as it can, and just won’t get any better with our current understanding. In order to state that you have reached that point you must have not seen any improvement in over a month and exhausted the possible treatment options. If you feel that your improvement has stopped with your current treatment I recommend you ask your chiropractor what else can be done if he has exhausted his treatment capability try a different doctor perhaps orthopedist. You may also look at other causes. For example if you have low back pain that have improved, but not quite gone away with manipulation perhaps you should examine your feet as they may be a source of imbalance and perhaps you would need treatment there.

          Reply
  46. Trixie

    Last summer I was seeing a chiropractor three times per week. I couldn’t afford to go anymore and stopped. He claimed I had an inflammation of the sacroiliac joint. I am now in terrible pain. I can’t sleep well, walk without limping after sitting for a little bit, sit on the floor…. It has taken a toll on my health. I am wondering if I should see a joint specialist or go to a different chiropractor? I must do something.

    Reply
    1. cmnacnud

      If you stopped for finances and not for a lack of benefit then I would say go back to this chiropractor and finish your treatment plan. You said that your treatment was a year ago and now after a year of discontinuing treatment has it gotten worse I would guess that discontinuing treatment was the cause of worsening symptoms. As always if you are concerned try a different doctor of chiropractic. Get a second opinion. Some new thing may have occurred that has increased your symptoms.

      Reply
      1. Clint

        I appreciate your feedback, I wouldn’t say I’m in pain but the clicking in my neck his quite distracting and annoying. This is probably a big no no but sometimes I have the urge to pop my neck. Are there any recommendable exercises I can do to help make my neck stronger?

        Reply
        1. cmnacnud

          There are exercises, but it’s not like free weight work. Most of the ones I give are just positional like chin tucks. It’s just like it sounds. Tuck your chin straight back, not down, and hold it for about 30 seconds. Do 3 sets of 10 and you’ll notice a burn.

          Reply
      2. Trixie

        Thanks for getting back to me. I wasn’t getting any better after 4-5 months. I started to, then things proceeded to get more painful. Thinking of going to someone else and interviewing them before I start services. It is hard to bend over or sit on the floor cross legged. What is a typical time of treatment for the si joint inflammation in your opinion? Thank you.

        Reply
        1. cmnacnud

          Typical treatments should show continued progress. With my patients I want to see obvious progress within two weeks and most patients I see have at least a significant reduction in pain by that time. I do evaluations and testing every 10-15 visits (2 weeks to 1 month or so initially). That way I can show the patient their improvement, and also know if my treatment is effective. If you’re not seeing improvement then you need to try something else. If the chiropractor hasn’t noticed that lack of improvement, call him on it so that he can learn, but then try someone else. Note this prior experience up front. Make sure you and your chiropractor have goals that you are achieving or that you’re modifying treatment according to results. Acute care for pain relief should be at most 10-20 visits (2-6weeks). Corrective care to assist in proper healing and prevent future injury can vary more depending on the case up to about 6 months. That’s a rough estimate for you and does not take into consideration wellness or chronic care cases.

          Reply
  47. Maryann

    If I have been receiving chiropractic care for a week and a half now and i would like to stop (even thought she has months more planned), how do i go about “closing the spine” and being able to run, jump, and exercise without damaging my spine?

    Reply
    1. cmnacnud

      I don’t quite understand the term “closing the spine.” To run, jump and exercise without damaging your spine you need to have a healthy spine. If you just started care then you have begun the process of returning your spine to health. I would recommend continuing. If you are out of pain and feel that is all that you want out of the care then you can end it. At that point I would recommend wellness precautions. Do everything that you should to take care of yourself. Regular cardiovascular exercise, core strengthening, healthy diet, and don’t smoke or use other drugs. If there is something specific the chiropractor told you and you disagree I suggest you discuss it with her and determine your best path. Good luck.

      Reply
    2. Kat

      It takes time for your spine to heal, so listen to your Chiropractic says or if you think its heal enough, go back to your doctor and tell him or her on how you feel on this situation with your spine.

      Reply
  48. Tara

    @Maryann – it doesn’t really work that way. You can’t make the healing go faster. It’s your SPINE, a delicate and fragile instrument, you can’t just cram months worth of work into a week!!

    Reply
  49. kidsbluefishie

    I have been seeing a chiropractor for about a year to treat residual symptoms from chronic lyme disease. A few weeks ago, it dawned on me that I had not shared with him there is a direct correlation between my menstrual cyle and an increase in all my symptoms he is treating. I didn’t purposely withhold this information, I have been living with it so long it didn’t occur to me to say anything. However, I am now embarrassed to say something. I fear that this may be information that isn’t relevant to his treatment plan, and it would be an “akward” conversation for nothing. I am not even sure how to bring up the conversation. Any help would be appreciated!

    Reply
    1. cmnacnud

      I hope that my doctor patient relationships are such that my patients feel comfortable telling me anything related to their health. As a doctor we have to deal with socially taboo topics. We have to tell people that they are overweight in order to help them with it. I have to tell women that their larger breasts may be the cause of their upper back pain. I have to ask people about their bowel and bladder habits to determine nerve function. You wouldn’t want to go to a doctor who was unable to deal with these topics, and you might think less of a doctor who couldn’t tell that you were overweight. Your information may or may not change your treatment plan, but the more information that you can give to your doctor the better decisions he can make. You are not a bad patient for omitting something that you didn’t realize was a symptom, but now that you recognize it you should add it to the list. Good luck stepping out of your comfort zone.

      Reply
  50. kidsbluefishie

    Thank you for your reply. Any tips for making this less akward? Or is it just best to be straight forward and talk about it directly?

    Reply
    1. Amanda

      I have been seeing a chiro that I love and trust for some post pregnancy adjusting (initially 5-6 sessions and now prn) I went today after doing some very heavy (totally not supposed to) lifting moving not only my sister but also my work office. After today’s adjustment, I rocked my daughter to sleep in the recliner and when I got up to put her in bed my right leg completely buckled at the knee and I went down to the floor. My daughter never left my arms and bless her heart even stayed asleep. (She is 10mo and around 25lbs) Could there be some correlation with the adjustment? Has this happened to anyone else? I know my leg was not asleep. I sat with my daughter on the floor for about 90 seconds and then I was able to bear enough weight to stand, though it was probably about 4 minutes before I could bear weight on it completely.
      It should be noted… I had lumbar fusion at L4-L5 in 2004. I have some residual nerve damage and weakness on my right side because my ortho surgeon shaved bone off my hip to fill my spinal “crack” for lack of a better term. The surgery was due to dangerous spinal movement due to spondolothesis (not sure if that is spelled right) my spine was impinging on my cord. Also the same right knee does like to “pop” frequently, so I may have some free fluid behind the knee or some tissue damage. But my leg has never given out and I have never dropped to the floor before. Any links or ideas would be appreciated.

      Reply
      1. cmnacnud

        Amanda, I’m sorry to hear that you are having such trouble. Typically weakness/paralysis is the worst of the nerve symptoms, and warrants a nerve conduction study to make sure that you don’t end up with any permanent damage. With prior nerve damage it is possible that this is related to your old surgical injury. It is not likely related to the adjustment as it would more likely have happened right afterwards with a sudden temporary nerve injury like bumping your funny bone. The timing to me points to your posture in the chair. Especially while holding babies we tend to do funny things to our body to make sure that the baby is comfortable and does not wake. My guess is that the nerve was being pinched due to an odd position and manifested upon standing.

        The good news is that you are probably fine. Occasionally things like this will happen and just be unexplained. In most cases that I’ve heard of this just happens and then never happens again. I still would recommend getting a referral from your Chiropractor to a good Neurologist or talk to your surgeon and ask about it as a possible complication from your surgery.

        Reply
    2. Amanda

      I would absolutely be direct. Something like “I have noticed that when I have my menstrual cycle that (this) happens.” Any doctor chiro etc is treating you based on the symptoms that you present. And your chiro may then say “ah that makes sense because…”

      Reply
  51. Dimitri

    I recently went to the chiropractor for the first time to treat a shoulder injury and he put this down to a spinal misalignment in my lower back region. I have had two injuries in the past which were a pretty severe right side lower back injury two years ago playing football (the same side as which is now under strain) and having foot surgery which involved local anaesthetic on my right foot (which occurred around 5 years ago). He feels that it is possible that the surgery has deadened my nerves in my right foot and played a factor in my misalignment. I am just wondering if this is plausible, although in my first session he was very throughout it just doesn’t seem that this diagnosis is all that convincing. Although I cannot provide you with specific details of my test results your general input would be appreciated.

    Reply
    1. cmnacnud

      My initial reaction is similar to yours. Shoulder symptoms are not usually caused by foot or low back injuries. However your body is well connected for example if you’re walking funny because of foot pain your body can balance the poor posture all the way up using your muscles thus causing a headache. It would be a more convoluted path to the shoulder, but I can think of at least a few possible relations and so without seeing you I won’t say that the other doctor is wrong in his diagnosis, but I would demand a great deal of explanation before accepting only lumbar treatment for the shoulder issue. Good luck.

      Reply
  52. Cherie C.

    I was having some issues in my back so decided to go to my neighbor’s chiropractor yesterday. He had an electronic adjuster adjust the places he felt were stuck and then put me on electric stimulation with cold packs for 10 min and then a water massage table that was lovely. I felt amazing when I left knowing that it will return as my body adjusts but I just know that it makes sense that it will be a process which I do not mind even with the money. We spend on nonsense but if it comes to our bodies, we suddenly become tight wads.
    My question is this.. is it common to experience a night sweat after being adjusted? I want to add that I felt like I had a better night sleep than I have had in a while and barely moved all night but then had sweaty sheets. It wasn’t a huge deal but wanted to hear if there was any relation to the adjustment.

    Reply
    1. cmnacnud

      I have never heard of night sweats as a side effect of chiropractic manipulation. It is more common with hormonal issues such as menopause, or infections which cause fevers.

      Reply
  53. Cherie C.

    Crazy thing is that I have an IUD and do not get a period regularly but today I started spotting. I wonder if this is similar to the other women that have posted and perhaps it does do something to get the hormones flowing. I have to say that I haven’t slept this soundly in a long while. I truly think I am going to continue to invest in my body’s wellness by getting adjusted regularly. I loved the explanation given to me that chiropractors solve the issue and not just throw a pill at it. The rationale behind the continued treatment to fix the issue that the body gets used to being in a position so it wants to go back to it even after an adjustment until it learns the correct position seems extremely logical. Kudos to you all.

    Reply
  54. Kat

    Hello, I am having a problem with my left leg. It has been like this since birth. (left leg is an inch shorter than the other). I went to my leg doctor the other day and he says that I need an alignment to be done on the left leg, does that mean surgery?

    Reply
    1. cmnacnud

      Terminology is so different from person to person that I’m not sure what he means by “an alignment.” If your leg is truly an inch short there are limited treatments. Most of the time you will just be looking to limit the effects that the short leg has on the rest of the body. There are surgeries that can be done, but they are not usually worth it. Usually the medical community will try surgery or a specialty shoe that raises one leg. Chiropractic cannot lengthen the leg, but can help decrease other problems due to the leg complaint. Good luck.

      Reply
  55. Kathy

    My chiro said my pelvis is twisted and she worked on me and I’m still in pain, I also have scoliosis, how long before my pelvis gets better?

    Reply
    1. cmnacnud

      Every person is different, and you have the complicating factor of scoliosis, so it will take longer for you than for someone who is textbook healthy. Depending on what else is going on it may take more or less time. My answer would be to ask the doctor who examined you. If you would like a second opinion you will also need a second examination. A general rule that I go by is that acute care can relief symptoms significantly withing 2-5 weeks about 5-20 visits, then corrective care can be anywhere from 10-60 visits. So, you can see how hard it can be to say exactly how long.
      What I usually do for my patients instead of giving them a timeline I have them set goals such as being able to lift their children, or mowing the lawn, or just getting dressed. I also measure their range of motion. Then every 10-15 visits I do a brief re-exam and see how well they are doing on achieving these goals. As long as they keep making progress we keep going. If they aren’t making progress then something about the treatment needs to change. Set some goals achieve them but most of all make sure your doctor is on the same page as you.

      Reply
  56. Crystal

    I just started seeing a chiropractor and wish I would have started sooner. I have been suffering from migraines for 6 months straight. After my first adjustment the pain was relieved. Is it safe to assume that my pain will continue to be relieved?

    Reply
  57. Amy

    I’m not sure whether to stay with chiropractic care or go to some sort of specialist. I originally started seeing a chiropractor 2 years ago for migraines. He adjusted my neck a couple of times and it was better, but he also started adjusting my back. One time he wanted to ‘try’ something and he pushed down somewhere around my mid back and the table somewhat dropped down underneath me. I know this is common practice but he didn’t warn me about it and it hurt, and I’ve been spiraling downhill ever since. Complete lower back pain, particularly on the left side, swollen around the SI Joint, pain down the left leg to the toes. An older more experienced chiropractor in the office took over my case but I only got worse. After a couple months I couldn’t wear shoes with any sort of heal at all, flats – completely flat with cushion (not easy to find, and always very expensive). I had a CT Scan and found a mild case of bulging disc and was ordered physical therapy. During this time my hip flexors started to hurt so bad I couldn’t hardly stand it. So I also went to an orthopedic doctor who found mild dysplasia left hip. He didn’t xray the right side. He gave me some stretches to do along with more physical therapy and orders to come back if the hip flexors didn’t feel better. After months of physical therapy I was only slightly better with my back. Whenever I mentioned the possibility of the SI Joint being out of whack to the chiropractor or physical therapist they would simply acknowledge it, but not really address it.

    When I got a massive migraine again that lasted all weekend, I went to a different chiropractor who did wonders for it, and also found a massage therapist trained in dealing with pain other than just muscle aches (unfortunately the massage therapist is not covered by insurance and I saw her 1-2 times/week). I went to the chiropractor often for continual neck adjustments (1-3 times a week), and still often do though not as much (1-2 times per week). I still get ‘zaps’ occasionally at the base of my skull right side. He believes this is from a disc in my neck pinching a nerve. Sometimes it settles down after one adjustment; sometimes it takes a few. Eventually it does come back and I go in for that. My bigger issue is the lower back. It was quite some time before I would let this chiropractor even try to stretch the lower back a little with his hands, now not trusting hardly anyone. Over the course of the last several months we’ve made quite a lot of improvement with movement finally happening and adjustment to the SI Joint(s). At one point, the only thing that bothered me was still some nerve sensation in my leg down through my foot. Tingling, some mild burning, nothing like it originally was though. I knew it would take some time for the nerves to heal, if they even completely would. The longest I’ve been able to go without some sort of adjustment between my neck issues or my back is 12 days, usually at least once a week though.

    However, within the last couple weeks it has all been coming back and I feel like I reverted back 4 months. Lots of stabbing leg pain, tingling, more burning sensations in the foot. I don’t know what I would have done to regress like that. Like others, I notice it is worse with monthly cycles but that isn’t the case right now. I will see my chiropractor later today and hope he can work some magic. I trust him, but I know there’s only so much that can be done. He says he’s had previous cases like this, though I don’t know if so severe. I don’t know whether to keep doing this, see someone else, or what? Are there other techniques I should try? The next nearest chiropractor I would see is 2 hours away, and a neurologist is almost 3 hours away and would take quite some time to see. Have you experienced any long term cases like this? And I don’t understand why this all came on when I never had issues other than mild back pain if I overdid things before I saw the first chiropractor.

    Reply
    1. cmnacnud

      I’m sorry to hear about your difficulty. Yes, prolonged cases with multiple conditions happen frequently. Usually the person comes in with something that they want resolved and then as that resolves they remember that they’ve also had another problem, or we discover it in an exam or something, and if not careful we end up chasing symptoms around the body. What I usually do when I find something like that happening is, I do a full physical exam to try to see what all of the symptoms are. That way I can get my head around the whole picture often these symptoms are related or all caused by a primary issue. That issue may even be something like depression, anxiety or some lifestyle activity. Those are often hard to find because we don’t think about them, and doctors don’t see a running video of your life. The one thing that I would recommend is a more thorough exam with complete imaging. If there is an SI complaint that is not resolving or responding as expected then X-rays at a minimum are indicated (bi-lateral for comparison).

      While it is not likely that one drop table adjustment caused everything it may have initially contributed if done poorly. I’m curious as to why the doctor tried that if things were already working well.

      Migraines can last a long time, and are often not fully resolved. It is usually considered a success if I can reduce the frequency, duration or intensity of the migraines. Often my treatment becomes the alternative to medication. When someone had been getting 4 migraines a month and with treatment they are down to once a month and they don’t have to take medication that’s a win even if they still have to maintain treatment. They would be on the medication for the rest of their life anyway. While it is nice to be able to find the source and remove it. Sometimes we can’t find the source. Symptom management is never the desired outcome, but sometimes it’s the best thing we can find for now.

      One thing I would recommend if you haven’t tried it already is a headache journal. Every time you have a headache you record it and then write down what you ate, drank did and felt in the past 8 hours or so. Usually what happens is that you find a pattern or a trigger something that you do, eat, or something that triggers your headache. Then when you find that you try to remove it from your life. It’s not easy, but may help.

      I hope these recommendations help. Good luck.

      Reply
  58. Amy

    You have given the most information and the best so far, and I thank you for that. As far as the original chiropractor trying the drop table, I question it every single day. He had only adjusted my back maybe two times before he decided trying it. I had said well it bothers me but only slightly; next thing I knew he said ‘let me try something’ and then bam, that was it.

    I don’t have the migraines hardly anymore, thank goodness. But what I get are what I refer to as ‘electrical zaps’. Where it feels like someone electrocuted me at the base of the skull, right side. They may only last a second or two, but may repeat off and on over the period of quite some time, and sometimes wake me up.

    Your description of ‘chasing around symptoms’ is exactly how I feel. After my adjustment the other day after my original email made me feel better and I found a Bengay or Icy Hot patch near my back thigh at night helps. I still have the burning (almost tingling) sensation down my foot and/or on my toes. Drives me crazy but the pain is better. I can tell though that even though I’ve been wearing a hip brace my current chiropractor approved, it isn’t going to last.

    I appreciate all your help and willingness to respond to people. It is so hard to find anyone to at least listen and help guide patients in the right direction so they do not suffer further damage. Thank you!

    Reply
  59. Bea stewart

    Hi this is only from my experience but I had the same symptoms, I went to gp who said I had low vit d and calcium.. Took prescribed which worked for a while but then it came back, I did some research and you need magnesium to absorb the vits and the symptoms have really reduced. Have bloods taken though just to make sure..hope this helps

    Reply
  60. Ptran

    Hello, I started out with numb left leg and shocking down the same leg… Years passed by and one day I had a burning sensation in my lower back… I started to see some chiropractors and recently I have been having sharp lower back pain when I sit, stand, bend ect… Other then that it feels achy and sore. My left calve gets stiff and pressured. What could be going on? Did chiropractic care make my symptoms worst? I don’t feel better but much more worst.

    Reply
    1. cmnacnud

      Ptran,
      What your describing sounds like there is nerve involvement and probably some disc involvement to. If there is a disc herniation then an adjustment may possibly make it worse, though usually chiropractors will have good results with adjusting them if they are careful. I don’t know the whole situation, but if there is nerve root involvement and initial treatment has made it worse I would probably recommend an MRI next, as well as even more conservative care first, perhaps some decompression, or positional relief and exercises until you were able to tolerate adjustments better.
      I hope that helps.

      Reply
  61. Robin

    I winder if you can explain what something from a medical report means. To give you a broader picture, I go to a chiropractor every few months because my neck/upper back goes out, causing much muscular pain (usually the trap and deeper, and I think also the long muscles running the length of the spine). It’s usually resolved in one visit. I think my neck/upper back goes in and out very easily (a little too easily perhaps). I can twist a few millimeters or tightened a certain back muscle and I will hear and feel a pop and a change.

    Nine months ago I fell and broke my R patella, and in the fall I had a bad contusion of my L arm. I was in a wheelchair with limited movement, and once my arm healed, I briefly tried crutches, but they aggravated my neck too much. So I went to my chiro, who did the usual adjustment. But then he surprised me when the middle part of the table felt like it suddenly opened, I heard a loud bang, and I was jolted very hard, all at the same time. It hurt!! I didn’t think much of it except that I didn’t want that again. But a few hours later, my chest/rib/side area began hurting right below the breast area at the top of every breath. The deeper the breath, the more painful it was. Long story short: I was admitted to the hospital for possibly pulmonary embollism. After a CT scan and leg ultrasound, they determined it wasn’t PE. But could the pain have been due to the surprise jolting adjustment? I’m curious to know your thoughts on this.

    Also, on the final hospital report, it states:

    “Incidental SPECT/CT findings include left lingula atelectasis and sclerotic foci in the T8 vertebra, possibly bone islands.”

    I’m particularly eager to understand what “sclerotic foci in the T8 vertebra, possibly bone islands” means. Could this be related to my neck consistently going out every few months? Is it safe for me to get future adjustments? Please share any and all thoughts. Thanks!

    Reply
    1. cmnacnud

      Robin, that is quite the trauma that you are going through. I’m sorry to hear that you are having such a hard time. Also, sorry to not get back to you sooner. Labor day break kept me from answering questions on here.

      Incidental findings are things that are found on the test that isn’t what they were looking for but showed up. It is usually things that don’t cause a problem, but should be noted just for future reference. Bone islands are just that they are islands of extra bone. Not true islands as they are still surrounded by bone, but they are an extra density of bone in an area of normally distributed bone. Which is a good definition of a sclerotic foci, an extra dense centralized area of, in this case, bone. They are not a major concern and in the T8 vertebra are also probably not related to the chronic neck complaints.

      I would be more concerned about the reported atelectasis, which is essentially a collapsed portion of lung. It may have been an old finding which is why it would be incidental. If they were looking for lung related pain such as an embolism, this would in my opinion be significant and not incidental. Lungs are not a chiropractic specialty, but that finding is something that I would make a referral for. The only reason that I can think of for them not explaining that finding to you was if it was known and an old injury past the point of concern.

      From a chiropractic perspective, yes a sudden unexpected jolt as you described could lead to some rib and or muscle pain in the areas that you spoke of. This could especially be the case if it was an accidental mechanical malfunction of the table instead of a planned adjustment by the doctor. Having not been there I don’t know if that is what happened. I would ask him more about it and give him a chance to take responsibility for an accidental injury if one occurred or explain the situation if not.

      Good luck

      Reply
      1. Robin

        Thank you for your explanation! That puts my mind at ease. Yes, the pulmonary doctors were monitoring me closely and thought I may have had pneumonia. They discharged me once they ruled out lung problems.

        I saw my chiropractor yesterday and asked him about the jolting adjustment. He said it had been for my hips. (I agree that sitting in a wheelchair with one leg elevated caused an imbalance.) He also said that it would not have caused pain in the chest. I still asked him not to use that adjustment for me anymore. He denied that it would have been the cause of the pain, but I tend to think it’s connected.

        I wish he would use something gentler like wedges. Before I moved, my first chiropractor would slide wedges under my hips for a few minutes, and they worked beautifully and ever so gently. I miss those.

        Anyway, thanks for your thorough response! Much appreciated!

        Reply
  62. Jan

    Hi, I had been seeing the chiropractor about a year before I stopped(spine shifting,pinched nerves,back pain) and went to a physiotherapist. I found out the therapist can’t be much help either…I apparently have knots that are so bad when she works on them and sends me home, I return next appt. only to have had them worse then before or no change at all. I have them all around my shoulder blades where she can’t get them…can a chiropractor get them somehow? I’m in pain and cant get any relief. Help please? Thank you :)

    Reply
    1. cmnacnud

      Jan, I’m sorry to hear about your lack of success in treating this pain. Unfortunately I can’t answer your question without knowing exactly what is going on. If they are muscle knots or trigger points then a massage therapist combined with chiropractic may be of significant help. That way you would address both the soft tissue and the joint together.

      Reply
  63. Doreen

    Hi, I was seeing a chiropracter for lower back pain, I’d suffered about 5-6 months. Dr recommended one. After initial treatment the pain was eased but she insisted I keep up the visits. After 7 sessions, not needed in my opinion I have been diagnosed with piriformis syndrome. Something I’ve never had before. I have e mailed the chiropracter to ask her opinion but I fear her treatments have caused this? I am in so much pain my life is not worth living. GP has prescribed naproxen, which I’ve stopped as I felt they don’t work, and co coda mol. I don’t like taking them as they make me feel “hungover”. Please help, I’m going abroad in 10 days and fear the plane travel. Doreen

    Reply
    1. cmnacnud

      I’m sorry to hear that you are in such severe pain Doreen. I’m glad chiropractic care was able to help you with your initial complaint. To provide you some additional information on why a chiropractor wants to see you even when you are not in pain check out this post.
      I don’t know how it could and have never heard of chiropractic treatment causing piriformis syndrome, but it is an excellent treatment of it. Essentially it is a tight muscle pinching the sciatic nerve, the best treatment for it is stretching that muscle. I have written about it before here. That post even includes a stretch that you can do to help relieve the symptoms. Massage, chiropractic adjustments and stretching are the best treatments that I would recommend. Beyond the medication that you mentioned medical doctors will also occasionally recommend injections at the site to force relaxation. Since you have 10 days I’d say that you may be able to get the pain down and manage the symptoms with the more conservative options then address it further when you return from your trip. I hope that helps.

      Reply
  64. Karen

    I took a hard fall to the shoulder years ago. I visited chirpractors throughout the years. I finally got tired of the pain & saw a bone doctor who popped my neck & scarily about pulled my head out of the socket. However, I could then popmy shouders /arm bone for the first time. I still have problems with my arm hurting though. So, I went to a chiropractor. He popped it a couple times & then put his knee up on my collar bone (I was laying on my back & applied pressure. It sent burning pain & numbness all the way from my neck to my middle & 2nd finger. Now my arm hurts constantly above the shoulder – stinging. It even hurts when I’m laying down. Coud he have possibly ripped a muscle?

    Reply
    1. cmnacnud

      Ripping muscle takes a lot of force, so while it is possible, it is not very likely. What is more likely is a nerve root irritation. I was not there to witness the procedure, and so can’t speculate regarding the mechanism of injury, but it does sound like nerve injury. If it persists then the only way to really tell will be an MRI. At this point the question is what can you do to solve the problem. I would first ask that chiropractor to explain himself. If that explanation does not satisfy then a second opinion and an MRI would be recommended. Good luck.

      Reply

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