How Long Does a Chiropractic Adjustment Last?

4 min read

Chiropractic adjustment (also called a spinal adjustment or chiropractic manipulation) is performed by a trained chiropractor who uses their hands or a small instrument to apply controlled force on the joints of the vertebrae in the spine. 

The goal is to realign the spine into its natural position for better movement and blood flow. It’s also useful as a part of chiropractic treatment for conditions such as headaches, neck and back pain, and hip pain. Some people choose chiropractic manipulation as preventative care to avoid painful conditions from developing in the future.

Your First Chiropractic Appointment

When going for your first appointment, the chiropractor will need to understand any pain you’re experiencing and your regular activity level and your medical history, to develop an appropriate treatment plan. If you’re already in pain, some images may be needed to get a full understanding of the source of pain. You should plan enough time for an exam and a conversation about how you’re feeling during this appointment. 

If an adjustment can be done during the first visit, it will only take a few minutes after the exam and treatment planning process. In some cases other chiropractic treatments are needed during a few sessions before an adjustment is performed.

Future Chiropractic Adjustment Sessions

For those who are treating an injury or pain, there may need to be a few treatments given at each session which can make a visit last somewhere between 20 and 40 minutes. The number of sessions depends on the goals of treatment, ranging from a few times a week while treating an injury to a few times per month when you’re in maintenance mode. Maintenance visits for a spinal adjustment will take only 15 minutes or so.

How Long Does It Take for Chiropractic Adjustments to Relieve Pain?

It’s almost impossible to define the length of a treatment plan. We’ll start with the initial assessment and plan that might range from 4-8 weeks. Then we’ll check in to see how you’re feeling as we go through the treatment plan. You may also receive some stretches or strengthening exercises to do at home. Your success in doing the at-home work can have an impact on how long it takes to get to the results you’re hoping for. Try not to forget to do the homework, if given, so you can get to feeling better sooner. 

What Happens During a Spinal Adjustment Session?

During the session, your chiropractor will use one or more techniques for spinal manipulation.  The choice of technique depends upon the presence (or absence) of an injury, the tolerance level of the patient, and the way the spine responds to the treatment. The same person may benefit from different techniques at different times during the treatment. Some of the standard spinal manipulation techniques are,

  • Activator Method
  • Spinal Decompression
  • Flexion-Distraction
  • Drop-Table Technique
  • Gonstead Adjustment

 Related Read: 7 Types of Chiropractic Adjustments

What is the Sound You Hear During a Spinal Adjustment?

The adjustment allows the release of pressure from the joints in the spin with an audible "cracking" sound. It doesn’t hurt. The sound is very normal and is the escaping of gases (joint cavitation) from the spinal joints. Sit up slowly when you’re done being adjusted. The added blood flow can give you a head rush if you get up too fast! 

Sometimes we’re asked if adjustments are safe. They are definitely a safe and proven method when performed by a chiropractor.

 Related Read: Are Chiropractic Adjustments Safe?

Relaxing During Spinal Adjustment

Some patients may feel mild discomfort when lying on their stomach on the table but it will be over quickly! Pregnant patients will be placed in a position that doesn’t put pressure on the stomach area. 

Sometimes patients are nervous that the adjustment will hurt. Try to do your best to let your muscles relax when the adjustment is happening. Joint cavitation (the popping sound) may not be heard if you’re not fully relaxed. For some, massage is a good idea before adjustment to help the back muscles relax.

What Are the Benefits of Regular Spinal Adjustment?

Routine spinal adjustments need to stay on schedule just like getting your eyes checked or going to the dentist to have the most impact. By keeping a regular adjustment schedule you’ll see benefits such as:

Fewer Injuries

Routine chiropractic care can help catch misaligned joints that lead to injuries before they become too serious. Walking with joints that aren’t properly aligned can lead to pain and even injury. 

Better Digestion

Improper spinal alignment can cause increased acid production in the gut. Excess acid leads to heartburn and gas. Regular chiropractic adjustment along with a healthy diet can eliminate some stomach troubles.

Better Performance and Mobility

Sore muscles and inflammation are a part of an athlete’s life. Regular chiropractic alignment can improve recovery times, enhance the range of mobility, and keep the skeletal structure in proper alignment to help avoid injuries.  

Less Stress 

The regular rigors of life are stressful causing you to tighten your neck, shoulders and back. Adding adjustments to your regular routine are a quick way to help your body feel better and stay relaxed. This can help you avoid neck pain, headaches and other stress-related health conditions.

Better Mental Health

Regular chiropractic adjustment can really improve your mood. Research shows that spinal adjustment can improve levels of cortisol and neurotensin that lead to a good mood. Simply being more relaxed is also important for a better mood. 

World-Class Chiropractic Care in The Woodlands

Deciding on whether you should include chiropractic adjustments in your routine can also be a financial decision. We can talk to you about the costs and create a plan that works for your schedule and budget. We can also look at your healthcare plan to see if chiropractic care is covered.

At Village Chiropractic, our team will work with you to create a plan that’s right for you.  We’ll provide all explanations so you understand why you’re receiving various treatments and make sure you’re comfortable with the plan.  Contact us to schedule an appointment and get your plan started!

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