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What’s The Difference Between An ‘Adjustment’ And A ‘Manipulation’?

This is a question that has been debated and discussed ever since I learned of the terms, and it can be confused not just by patients, but even by doctors as well. But why? Isn’t it the same thing to call a chiropractic adjustment a ‘joint manipulation’?

No, it’s not.... But let me explain!

According to the Merriam-Webster definition, a manipulation is “to treat or operate with or as if with the hands or by mechanical means especially in a skillful manner”. Since Chiropractors often use their hands on the spine in a skillful manner, this definition makes sense… at first.

In order to understand the difference between a joint manipulation and a chiropractic adjustment, we need to understand the intent behind what is being done. The reason why a ‘joint manipulation’ does not equal a chiropractic ‘adjustment’ is because the definition is too broad and basic.

The question that needs to be answered is this: What is the doctor trying to achieve with their patient with this skilled hands-on movement of the spine? The key here is SPECIFICITY. If the goal is to arbitrarily cavitate or ‘pop’ any joint that will move, then a joint manipulation fits just fine.

However, Chiropractic is SO much more than that! We don’t just move any joint that will move. We move ONLY the spinal joint that needs repositioning in order to correct a nervous system altering subluxation.

That’s right. Your chiropractic adjustments have to be more specific because they seek to have a positive influence on your nervous system, and therefore your overall health. This is the reason why people seek chiropractors for natural healing of disorders like sleep apnea, asthma, allergies, digestive health problems, and more.

So how do you know if your chiropractor is adjusting your spine or manipulating it? Here is a simple way to know: When was the last time they discussed your nervous system with you, and tested it out? If they aren’t using some means of monitoring your progress (sEMG, Themography, X-Rays, posture screen, etc.) then how do we know we are influencing it?

Let that sink in...

...Then call your Kennesaw Chiropractor for a digital nervous system scan.


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