When you come into the office as a patient you will be evaluated for any vertebral subluxations (areas in the spine with restriction motion with interference along the nerves). You will be given a specific adjustment to realign those vertebrae and remove the subluxation. You may also be given some minor myofascial massage techniques or stretching in the corresponding areas to help maintain the adjustment. If necessary, work may be done on the extremities (arms, legs, hips, shoulders, etc...), adjustments and muscle work, as well to help maintain normal alignment.
The primary goal of chiropractic is to remove the vertebral subluxation to allow optimal communication between the brain and the body through the nervous system. This is accomplished by applying a specific force to the vertebrae to push them directly back into place restoring normal motion. There are a number of techniques used to accomplish this which depend on both the doctor and the patient and how their bodies work in accord.
In some cases, there is a need to adjust the joints of the limbs. If the foundation is unstable, it may be necessary to address the feet, ankles, knees or hips. In other cases, the upper limbs may need to be adjusted as well to restore normal function so the core of the body is not strained when using the arms.
Myofascial massage / stretching
There are a number of massage techniques which may be necessary to use on a patient, either before or after and adjustment. If muscles are hypertonic (too tense), it may be necessary to loosen them up before an adjustment simply to allow the vertebrae to put back into place. On other occasions, even after an adjustment is made, it is still necessary to help loosen muscle to prevent them from pulling the vertebrae back out of place before the body has a chance to re-adapt to the correct alignment again.
Chiropractic by itself is a powerful tool, but it is also necessary for the patient to take an active part in the healing process. In order to do that, sometimes, certain exercises are required to be performed at home to help stabilize your body. Without this additional help, healing can still proceed, but it will do so at a slower rate.