by Fernando Tassi Salati
Spinal adjustments (or spinal manipulations) have risen to fame thanks to chiropractors, as they were able to market these techniques very well because of their quick executability and effectiveness.
Spinal manipulations are a type of manual adjustment known as High Velocity Low Amplitude (HVLA) techniques.
So, who has never had a spinal manipulation nowadays?
There is a high chance that, if you are reading this, you have received a manual adjustment or spinal manipulation at least once in your lifetime. If you are in that small group of people who have never received a spinal manipulation and want to know more, you are in the right place.
People are usually split on spinal adjustments: some people love them and others are scared of them. The question is, why? If they are safe and effective (and they are), why are people afraid?
The truth is that it’s misinformation. Misinformation is the only word to explain this fear.
In a way, it’s understandable. Due to the quick movements involved, it is sometimes possible to hear a popping sound as the joint is manipulated, and this can be startling.
You might also be worried about the safety of these techniques. Some people erroneously claim they are unsafe or dangerous, but years of experience have shown that they are not only safe, but effective.
In fact, the “pop” sound is actually just air leaving the joint, nothing more; there is no cracking of the bones and there is no actual movement of the vertebrae. The adjustments release bones from the dysfunctional position they were in by stimulating the surrounding muscles, ligaments and tendons. Eventually, over multiple sessions, the vertebrae will find their right place in the spine.
Secondly, the chances of injury with these techniques are very low as long as they are performed by trained professionals like naprapaths, osteopaths, chiropractors and some physiotherapists. The movements used are not complicated, but the practitioner needs to be skilled enough to be able to understand where a dysfunction is present. Manipulating a structure that does not need to be manipulated is ineffective, but not dangerous.
Last but not least, spinal manipulations are very effective in the treatment of acute pain, injuries and dysfunctions, and they are also very useful for overall wellness and maintenance. They are also great in case of stress and anxiety: the “pop” sound and the stimuli given to the central nervous system by the techniques trigger the release of endorphins and serotonin, which leads to increased feelings of happiness, well-being and overall good mood.
While spinal adjustments are excellent for acute pain, overall wellness and mental wellbeing, they are not so effective in cases of chronic pain or visceral problems, despite what some gregarious professionals may claim, and this is also confirmed by scientific and clinical evidence.
In order to properly heal chronic problems there are a number of other manual techniques which we also use at Vibrant Life, such as fascial and visceral manipulations.