How do chiropractors know where to adjust our bodies? 

Chiropractor adjusting back

Chiropractic adjustments, also known as spinal manipulations, are a specialized technique used by chiropractors to relieve pain and improve the physical function of the body. This holistic approach focuses on the body’s musculoskeletal structure, primarily the spine, aiming to enable the body to heal itself without surgery or medication.

What is a Chiropractic Adjustment?

A chiropractic adjustment involves the use of hands or a small instrument to apply a controlled, sudden force to a spinal joint. The goal of this procedure is to improve spinal motion and overall physical function of the patient. Chiropractic care is commonly sought for back pain, neck pain, headaches, and problems related to joints and muscles.

The Process of Chiropractic Treatment and What to Expect

When you visit a chiropractor, the session usually begins with a thorough evaluation which includes a medical history review and a physical examination. In some cases, diagnostic tests like X-rays might be performed to determine the appropriate treatment plan.

During an adjustment, you may be placed in specific positions to target affected areas. Chiropractors then use their hands or tools to apply a controlled force to a joint, pushing it beyond its usual range of motion. You might hear popping or cracking sounds during the treatment, which is normal and indicates the release of gas bubbles from the joint.

How chiropractors know where to adjust?

When it comes to determining where to adjust during a chiropractic treatment, chiropractors rely on a variety of techniques and knowledge gained through their education. One method often used is palpation, where the chiropractor will use their hands to identify areas of misalignment or strain in the musculoskeletal system. In some cases, imaging such as X-rays may also be used to get a closer look at the spine and joints.

Another tool a chiropractor may use is motion palpation, which involves assessing the patient’s range of motion and gait to pinpoint areas of concern. By combining these techniques with their knowledge of the science behind chiropractic care, a chiropractor can determine where to adjust in order to provide relief from pain and address musculoskeletal issues.

Before making any adjustments, the chiropractor will ask the patient about their symptoms and perform a physical examination to evaluate tenderness, muscle tone, and soft tissue quality. By taking this comprehensive approach, the chiropractor can develop a tailored treatment plan to adjust your body effectively. This personalized approach sets chiropractic care apart from other forms of treatment, such as those offered by physical therapists. With a doctor of chiropractic degree from institutions like Palmer College of Chiropractic, chiropractors have the knowledge and skills to address a wide range of lower back and chronic pain 

Other Different Chiropractic Techniques and Their Benefits

Chiropractors employ various techniques tailored to the specific needs and condition of the patient. Some common methods include:

  • Direct Thrust Technique: Quick and direct application of force to a vertebra.
  • Spinal Mobilization: Gentle movements aimed at increasing the range of motion of spinal segments.
  • Myofascial Release: Focuses on releasing tension in the fascia surrounding the muscles.
  • Flexion-Distraction: A gentle, non-thrusting technique used for spinal decompression.

Each technique serves different purposes, from pain relief and increased mobility to improved nervous system function. The choice of technique is based on the patient’s health history, physical condition, and the chiropractor’s expertise.

Selecting a skilled and experienced chiropractor is crucial for a safe and effective treatment. Look for practitioners with proper certifications and good reviews from patients. It’s also important to have open communication with your chiropractor about your health history and treatment goals.

Following a chiropractic adjustment, patients may experience immediate relief, though some might notice mild soreness similar to after exercising. Long-term, regular chiropractic care can contribute to improved posture, enhanced physical performance, and pain management.


Chiropractic adjustments offer a natural, non-invasive way to manage pain and improve physical function. By focusing on the body’s innate healing abilities, chiropractors help patients achieve better health and wellness. Whether you’re dealing with acute pain or looking for preventive care, chiropractic adjustments can be a valuable part of your healthcare regimen.

Remember, a healthy spine is essential for overall well-being, making chiropractic care an important consideration for anyone looking to maintain their health naturally. Click here to book your appointment!