What Usually Happens during a Chiropractic Adjustment?

The first thing that happens when visiting any chiropractic clinic is an assessment of the injured area. It may be quick if the patient has been seen before for the same injury or it might be more thorough if it’s the first time or a new complaint. Once the cause of the problem is ruled out, many different techniques may be applied to obtain the desired result.

The most common method that people hear about is called an adjustment. It can also be termed “cracking”, as this relates to the noise that may accompany the procedure, but that doesn’t sound that appealing to most and in fact can be outright scary. An adjustment is a straightforward and safe procedure directed at restoring movement to a joint in the spine that is not moving correctly. It’s similar to when someone “cracks” their knuckles. The joint in the spine is moved a small amount causing a space or gap between the two bones making up the joint. It creates a small pocket of gas or air to be released, and sometimes we hear the resulting noise.

A common misconception is that bones are realigned from a position where they are deemed to be “out”. They feel they are crooked and that an adjustment is correcting this malposition. While this makes for a very simple explanation to the patients, it’s not really what’s happening. Think about it like a joint stuck or not moving well like a rusty hinge. An adjustment is a way to get that joint/hinge to start rolling again to allow proper movement in addition to allowing the muscles around that joint to function better.


There are differing styles of adjustments as well. While the most popular are the manual technique that we discussed above, there are more techniques that you have to know. Another well-known method of restoring motion to the spine is using an instrument (Activator/Impulser). These handheld devices have multiple settings and deliver either a single impulse or multiple in quick succession depending on the desired effect.

This technique is built on speed. The instrument can provide a very quick impulse to the spine/joint which can generate the force needed. This technique is often for specific demographics of people such as infants and small children, elderly, or people wishing not to have the more classic form of the adjustment.

There are many variations on these two most favourite techniques of chiropractic adjustments. A chiropractic treatment may not even include either of these interventions if it’s not applicable. A senior chiropractor Adelaide has many other tools to treat the patients and know the right technique for you. This why you need to make sure you are visiting the right chiropractor whenever you need such services.