Chiropractic Spinal Adjustments

Chiropractic adjustments uniquely restores muscle flexibility, joint motion and most profoundly, nervous system integration to the entire body, helping the body to heal and function better from head to toe and from the inside – out. While chiropractors adjust the spine to access the nervous system, we aren’t simply back doctors.

I have had the honor and privilege to help infants who before chiropractic failed to thrive, were constipated or had colic and reflux, toddlers with ear infections, children with ADD, as well as sports injuries. The fathers and mothers who brought these children were seen for hormonal issues, migraines, headaches, tendonitis, fatigue, insomnia, infertility, sciatica, shoulder problems and, yes, perhaps back pain.

There is no other profession that could allow me to help so many people and give me such joy. Call and schedule your appointment and see how Chiropractic Can Bring You To LIFE.

The unique tool of chiropractic health treatment is the spinal manipulation or “adjustment”. It may involve gentle pressure, a quick but gentle thrust, or mild traction and gentle stretching, to correct subluxations, i.e. restore normal motion to joints that have become restricted or locked or misaligned (subluxated). While manipulations are sometimes performed by other physicians, Doctors of Chiropractic have the most extensive education, training and experience in spinal (and extremity) manipulations. Performing 94% of all spinal manipulations or adjustments rendered in the U.S. Numerous scientific studies have proven the efficiency, safety, cost effectiveness, and high levels of patient satisfaction of chiropractic adjustments.
As a result, it is one of the only two treatment protocols given the highest recommendation for the treatment of low back pain by the Agency for Health Care and Policy Research (AHCPR) an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. But don’t be deceived, spinal adjustments remove subluxations and make corrections that address more than just back pain. By adjusting the spine and better aligning the spinal bones, the spinal cord and the full potential of the nervous system to monitor, control, and heal the body. Since the nervous system controls every function of your body, wouldn’t you naturally be healthier if your spine were free of subluxations?

Techniques Used

Activator Technique:  The Activator Method Chiropractic Technique® is a diagnostic and treatment system used by some chiropractors to treat many types of back pain, neck pain, and headaches (both chronic and migraine).  The Activator Method uses a small, hand-held instrument called the Activator Adjusting Instrument to deliver a gentle impulse force to the spine with the goal of restoring motion to the targeted spinal vertebra or joint.  More…

ArthroStim Instrument: is a handheld machine that aids your chiropractor in performing adjustments. This powerful tool delivers 12-14 incremental thrusts per second, making it much stronger and faster than a typical single thrust administered by a chiropractor. By dividing the energy of a single thrust into rapid successive inputs, the ArthroStim Instrument modulates the force your physician applies in treatment, but in a much more comfortable and effective manner.

In order to understand how an ArthroStim & Activator Instruments work, you have to understand how chiropractic adjustment works. A chiropractic adjustment produces precise movements which stimulate ‘neural receptors’ in an injured/affected area. These receptors will then produce nerve impulses that transmit important information to the brain. The brain will process this information and use it to update its awareness about the condition of an area. Once the brain evaluates the changes prompted by the adjustment, it can begin sending out self-correcting commands to the muscular system, and other systems, to bring about healing within your body. The ArthroStim or The Activator is just another way to administer these adjustments, but it is faster, more comfortable, and efficient due to its controlled repetitive input. This input produces a ‘snowballing’ effect on neural receptors and allows it to transmit more information to the brain with less effort, pain, and force.

Both Instruments allow your doctor to maintain the effectiveness of your treatment while greatly reducing the amount of force that is applied, which makes it easier to use on a wide variety of conditions and ailments. Individuals that may especially benefit from the use of the ArthroStim Instrument include:

  • Infants and young children
  • Individuals with acute or extreme pain
  • Particularly sensitive individuals
  • Individuals who dislike being “cracked”
  • Individuals who suffer from neck pain
  • Individuals who require adjustments to the extremities
  • Elderly individuals

Even people who are larger and stronger and therefore more difficult to adjust from a standard single thrust will benefit from the ‘neurological assist’ that the ArthroStim Instrument provides.

Hands-on Spinal Manipulations or Adjustments:  The high-velocity, low-amplitude (HVLA) technique is among the oldest and most frequently used chiropractic techniques. Most chiropractic clinical research has focused on the evaluating efficacy of this form of spinal manipulation, particularly for low back, mid-back, and neck pain.
There are many types of HVLA manipulation approaches. This article describes just a few of the more common HVLA spinal manipulation techniques:

  • Diversified technique: This technique is the form of high-velocity, low-amplitude thrust that is traditionally associated with chiropractic manual adjustments. For this method, chiropractors apply a short (low-amplitude), quick (high-velocity) thrust over restricted joints (one at a time) with the goal of restoring normal range of motion in the joint. The patient’s body is positioned in specific ways to optimize the adjustment of the spine.
  • Gonstead adjustment: While the Gonstead adjustment itself is an HVLA adjustment, similar to the diversified technique, the difference is in the evaluation of (locating) the problematic joint and the specificity of body positioning. Specially designed chairs and tables may be used to position the patient, such as the cervical chair or the chest-knee table. This approach is sometimes also referred to as the “Palmer-Gonstead” technique.
  • Thompson Terminal Point (or Drop) technique: This technique involves specialized treatment tables that have sections that drop a short distance during an HVLA thrust, with the premise that the dropping of the table piece facilitates the movement of the joint. This adjustment approach is sometimes used in addition to or, in place of, a more traditional diversified HVLA adjustment. Here, the traditional “cracking sound” may or may not occur and therefore this type of manipulation may also be considered a form of mobilization, or a gentle adjustment approach.

An Evaluation Is Necessary

We often get calls from new patients who have never been seen or treated by me who simply want to be adjusted and do not want to allow me to review their health history or perform even the most basic physical examination.  I won’t do it.  Firstly, it doesn’t meet the standard of care of physicians and I am a physician.  Secondly, how am I to determine what is the best course of care or type of adjustment to render if I don’t first find out what is wrong and evaluate the situation?  If you are new to me as a patient, whether you have had chiropractic care in the past or not, you should expect me to review your medical and health history and perform at least a focused examination before receiving any treatment or treatment recommendations of any kind.  You should expect this of any Nurse Practitioner, PA or Physician you see.  Even your mechanic runs a diagnostic on your car to make sure they are fixing the right thing…why would you expect anything less from your doctor?

The Structural Chiropractic Exam

The structural system is virtually ignored in our health care industry until an injury actually occurs, but there are many structural findings that can be detected on a person, long before injury and ill health come about .  Just as an orthodontist can determine the positioning of the teeth on a child, so, too can someone trained in biomechanics determine  structural (skeletal and muscular) imbalances that are causing or may cause problems in an individual.  That’s why I perform a complete  Structural Chiropractic Exam on my patients.  It is a set of tests, which may include a comprehensive physical examination, x-rays, muscle testing, postural assessment, and gait analysis which help determine structural and postural    imbalances and identify the levels of the spine that are subluxated. Information collected from these tests is then combined with other data from your health history, such as daily habits and activities, current diet and previous injuries and interpreted to design a customized treatment and conditioning program.  Following your care plan can, heal    injuries, jump start corrections to structural imbalances, prevent future injuries, and maximize workouts and physical performance, all of which improve the function of the nervous system and enhance health and well-being.

It’s A Chain Reaction

Research has shown that 98% of lower back injuries and pain are mechanical in nature, not pathological.  Pain that you may feel in your neck or lower back could be caused by a misalignment in your spine which may be caused by an imbalance in your feet.  See?  It’s a chain reaction.

Poor alignment and biomechanics of the spine (subluxations) can do more harm than simply cause you pain.  Subluxations left uncorrected squeeze and irritate delicate nerve fibers and can cause a decreased function and regulation of your organs and internal systems.  Remember, your spinal nerves innervate (go to) all parts of your body, not just your back.  Think of your spine as the breaker box for your entire body.

Frequently Asked Questions


What conditions do chiropractors treat?

Doctors of Chiropractic (DCs) care for patients of all ages, with a variety of health conditions.  DCs are especially well known for their expertise in caring for patients with back pain, neck pain and headaches…particularly with their highly skilled manipulations or chiropractic adjustments. They also care for patients with a wide range of injuries and disorders of the musculoskeletal system, involving the muscles, ligaments and joints. These painful conditions often involve or impact the nervous system, which can cause referred pain and dysfunction distant to the region of injury. The benefits of chiropractic care extend to general health issues, as well, since our body structure affects our overall function. DCs also counsel patients on diet, nutrition, exercise, healthy habits, and occupational and lifestyle modification.

Are all patients adjusted the same way?

No. The doctor evaluates each patient’s unique spinal problem and develops an individual course of care. Each chiropractic adjustment builds on the one before. The resulting recommendations are based on years of training and experience. Each patient’s care is uniquely different from every other patient.

Can a person who had back surgery see a chiropractor?

Yes. It’s an unfortunate fact that more than half of those who had spinal surgery discover a return of their original symptoms months or years later. They then face the prospect of additional surgery. This too common occurrence is known as “failed back surgery syndrome.” Chiropractic may help prevent repeated back surgeries. In fact, if chiropractic care is used initially, back surgery can often be avoided in the first place.

Can I adjust myself?

No. Since a chiropractic adjustment is a specific force, applied in a specific direction to a specific joint, it is virtually impossible to adjust oneself safely, correctly and accurately. It is possible to turn or bend or twist in certain ways to create a “popping” sound that sometimes accompanies a chiropractic adjustment. Unfortunately, this type of joint manipulation is usually counterproductive, often making an already unstable spine even more unstable, and can sometimes be dangerous. Adjusting the spine is not for amateurs!

Can I tell if I have a subluxation?

Not always. A subluxation is like a dental cavity—you may have it for a long time before symptoms appear. That’s why periodic spinal checkups are so important. Although it may be possible to know you have a subluxation, it is rarely possible to be sure you don’t. Regular spinal checkups are always a good idea, and they promote good health from the inside out.

Is chiropractic care addictive?

No. It is possible to get used to feeling more balanced, less stressed, and more energetic as a result of regular chiropractic care.  Chiropractic adjustments are not addictive, however, having good health is.  That’s why so many of our patients CHOOSE to continue with wellness care long after their original health problem is solved.

Is chiropractic safe?

Yes. Chiropractic has an excellent safety record. It is the result of a conservative and natural approach to health that avoids invasive procedures or addictive drugs. As proof, one merely has to compare malpractice rates between chiropractors and other healthcare professionals. Chiropractors’ malpractice premiums are a small fraction of those for medical doctors.

Is it OK to see a chiropractor if I'm pregnant?

Any time is a good time for a better functioning nerve system. Pregnant mothers find that chiropractic adjustments help with pregnancy discomforts, like sciatica, improve their pregnancy and make delivery easier for themselves and their baby. Also, certain chiropractic techniques can be used to help properly position the baby for delivery. Adjusting methods are always adapted to a patient’s size, weight, age and condition of health.

What causes the sound during an adjustment?

Actually, adjustments do not always produce a sound. Often, however, adjustments do create the sound of a spinal “release,” or “popping” sound. The sound is caused by gas rushing in to fill the partial vacuum created when the joints are slightly separated. This sound is painless and totally harmless.

Does chiropractic treatment require a referral from an MD?

A referral is usually not needed to see a doctor of chiropractic (DC); however, your health plan may have specific referral requirements. You may want to contact your employer’s human resources department—or the insurance plan directly—to find out if there are any referral requirements. Most plans allow you to just call and schedule an appointment with a DC.

Is chiropractic treatment appropriate for children?

Yes, children can benefit from chiropractic care. Children are very physically active and experience many types of falls and blows from activities of daily living as well as from participating in sports. Injuries such as these may cause many symptoms including back and neck pain, stiffness, soreness or discomfort. Chiropractic care is always adapted to the individual patient. It is a highly skilled treatment, and in the case of children, very gentle.

What type of education do chiropractic doctors receive?

Doctors of chiropractic are well educated. Chiropractic education and medical education are similar in many respects and different in others because chiropractors do not prescribe drugs or perform surgery, and medical doctors do not correct vertebral subluxations. After graduating with a doctor of chiropractic (D.C.) degree, each candidate passes the demanding four part National Board Examinations. Then, doctors apply to a governmental or professional licensing board and must pass a more difficult test before being granted the privilege to practice. A chiropractor’s education, however, never ends. Most doctors complete regular postgraduate instruction for license renewal and to stay current on the latest research and adjustment techniques.

How much is a spinal adjustment?

Adjustments  ->  $50 – 75

adjustments 4An Adjustment to any area of the spine is $50.  An adjustment to any of the extremities (hand, foot, knee, hip, shoulder, jaw) is $50.

Most people need their entire spine adjusted and not just one segment.  However, if only one segment is what needs to be adjusted, then that is what Dr. Hoch will provide.