How Do Chiropractic Adjustments Work?

The goal of a chiropractic adjustment is to improve the function of your nervous system — the one system of your body that is responsible for controlling and coordinating the function of all your other systems.

The health and function of your nervous system have a huge influence on your overall health.

Your body is pretty resilient most of the time, but every once in a while you might have an accident (sports injury, slip, and fall, car accident, etc) that knocks a vertebra in your spine out of alignment.


A vertebra that’s out of alignment can disrupt your nervous system function.

Not only does your spinal cord and all the nerves that branch off from it pass through and around your spinal vertebra, but there’s an important connection between the joints in your spine (where two vertebra touch each other) and your nervous system.
A misaligned vertebra can irritate (not pinch) the nerves that pass by it and the joints around the vertebra (that are now stuck because the vertebra doesn’t move normally) won’t communicate to the nervous system like they’re supposed to — all that can cause frequent or constant health problems.


Finding the vertebra that’s out of alignment and disrupting nervous system function can be difficult.

It and often requires special tests and equipment like computerized infrared thermography and x-rays. Then adjusting the vertebra back into its normal position requires an experienced chiropractor — it’s not as easy as they make it look!

The shape of the vertebra in your spine are similar to jigsaw puzzle pieces — they all have a similar design, but they only fit exactly right in one spot. Knowing the shape of all the vertebra and knowing how they’re supposed to fit together is why chiropractors are so good at aligning them up again.

Once the misaligned vertebra has been found the chiropractor will put the patient in a certain position (on their back, on their side, sitting up, etc) and then with a careful amount of speed and force will quickly push the vertebra back into its normal position. Often you’ll hear a little popping sound when that happens. The popping sound is simply a little nitrogen gas being released from the joint, nothing to worry about.


When done at the correct time on the correct vertebra the patient will usually experience an immediate sense of relief…

…and then a gradual improvement in their symptoms.

For instance, if you went to the chiropractor with constant numbness and tingling radiating in your hands and fingers and the chiropractor makes the right adjustment you’d get some immediate improvement and then over the next several days, the symptoms would continue to improve on their own without the need for further care. — Unless the vertebra gets out of alignment again.

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