So Much More Than a “Crack” in Pasadena CA
A special thanks to Labib Damouni, D.C., a Pasadena, CA Chiropractor, for providing this article.
A chiropractic adjustment is much more than just a crack. Using the word crack in reference to a chiropractic adjustment is demeaning to a chiropractor worthy of praise and a master of his technique. There are many aspects to a proper adjustment that patients are unaware of. There is the thorough, initial consultation and introductory, x-rays, the set-up, the adjustment, and the continued aftercare. All these aspects affect the patient’s outcome and how quickly the patient recovers. This article is going to cover these specific steps and what happens when they are done correctly verses incorrectly. This article is intended to establish trust between patient and provider, in addition to removing any lingering doubt, you may have developed either through misinformation and/or a bad personal experience.
Prior to explaining how a proper adjustment is carried out, the concept of subluxation must be explained and conceptualized. A subluxation complex is present when a vertebra is misaligned and relatively stuck in that position (wrong position), regardless of how one moves their spine. This causes different degrees of injury to the intervertebral disc and can resultant in fluid buildup (inflammation) in the disc. The buildup of fluid then causes the disc to protrude outside of its normal boundaries. This disc protrusion causes pressure to be put on the nerves.
Fun Fact, the pressure created from the weight of a dime will alter nerve function. The reason being the pressure from the disc onto the nerves changes the way the nerve functions. As a result, there will be an increase in pain, change in muscle tone, and change in muscle use. If severe enough there might also be a change in systemic function, such as gut motility or hormone balance.
With a better understanding of what Subluxation Complex entails, moving forward, it is the job of the chiropractor to strategically locate them on the patient. This is done through many different forms of analysis. The chiropractor will have to use palpation, instrumentation, x-ray analysis, and patient feedback to correctly identify subluxations. Once these subluxations are located the set-up for the adjustment can begin.
The set-up for an adjustment involves the chiropractor, the patient, specific instruments relative to our treatment process and the environment to in which we work in concert. Like a beautiful orchestra, the process should be in synch for a proper performance. The chiropractor is the conductor and engineer of the set-up. He/she must find a way to use their body, the patient’s body, and the table being used to create the best possible scenario for the delivery of a proper adjustment.
Additionally, the chiropractor must also connect with the patient mentally and emotionally. Healing is intimate. Trust, a sense of ease and a calm state of mental awareness are all essential to this process. This will make the patient more receptive to the adjustment, accelerating their healing process. When done properly, the set-up should be a very comfortable and smooth process for both the chiropractor and the patient. In reverse, an improper set-up will never lead to a correct adjustment. Which means the patient’s condition will likely never improve and the probability for injuries are increasingly high.
Adjustments are so much more than just pushing or pulling on a patient’s spine. There are years of study and experience behind specific adjustments, as well as good intention and proper technique. An adjustment is more like a dance between two people. It is better to think of it as something that patient and chiropractor do together, not something the chiropractor does to the patient. It is important to understand that vertebras and discs are three dimensional structures and do not interact in straight lines. Vertebras and discs interact through arced movements. This is one of the main reasons why a proper adjustment cannot be delivered in a straight line, but in a curvilinear direction. It is important to isolate the subluxated vertebra or vertebras, to prevent manipulation of all the other joints around it. The more specific an adjustment, the better the response from the patient and the improvement of their condition and health. Acceleration and depth of the adjustments have an extreme impact and are the last component to a successful adjustment. The acceleration and deceleration of an adjustment must be quick to create a profound adjustment. To get a vertebra(s) moving you must create enough force to get past the subluxation’s tendency to not move. Otherwise known as inertia.
Upon completion of your initial visit, there is the aftercare. Aftercare is the ticket. The bodies’ ability to heal successfully is dependent upon the patient’s long-term commitment to self. Repeat after me, aftercare is self-care. Aftercare comes in many different forms: making time for crucial follow-up appointments, constant movement, nutrition, meditation, breath work, being mindful of yourself physically and mentally, and the most beautiful of all-rest! By rest, I mean full, quality, uninterrupted sleep. Healing is a daily commitment we gift to ourselves. The healing journey should never be something you dread but rather a new way of life that you welcomingly embrace with open arms.
In summary, exceptional chiropractic care can be the building blocks to which the foundation of your newfound health is built on. You are your best health advocate. Always do your provider research in advance and ask all the questions necessary to be comfortable and confident in the healthcare you are receiving. We are here to help!
By Dr. Labib Damouni, D.C.