Chiropractic Manipulative Therapy (CMT), also known as the Chiropractic Spinal Adjustment, represents the cornerstone of the chiropractic treatment. This refers to the minor movement of vertebrae in the spine or other joints within the body, to realign bones that are misaligned, or to induce motion into the joints that are fixed in place. Causes of these misalignments or restrictions could result from normal daily activities, to trauma such as a car accident, or overuse from repetitive motions at work.
Spinal adjustments are used successfully to treat a variety of different soft tissue disorders as well as a number of other health problems. Chiropractors tend to focus on the spine because it surrounds and protects your central nervous system (brain and spinal cord), which controls and regulates everything that takes place inside your body. But Chiropractors also have great success in treating neuromusculoskeletal conditions within the extremities including the shoulders, elbows, wrists, hands, hips, knees, ankles and feet. Chiropractic Physicians are the only health care professionals trained to deliver Chiropractic Manipulative Therapy. Many years of study and practice are necessary to acquire the skills of providing an effective and safe spinal adjustment. The process involves applying a quick but gentle pressure to "subluxated" vertebrae in a corrective manner, often a pressure from the chiropractor utilizing his/her hands or an instrument to move a vertebrae back into place. This happens with a quick movement and is often without discomfort. You may hear a noise that sounds like you're cracking your knuckles, referred to as joint cavitation. It is the release of gases such as oxygen and nitrogen from the joint, not bones cracking or soft tissues tearing or snapping. Most patients look forward to their chiropractic adjustments because they usually provide immediate relief from discomfort and increase one's sense of well-being. A bone in place is always better than a bone out of place!
Most joints within the body contain a viscous material allows each joint surface to slide across each other freely, called synovial fluid. When these surfaces slide across one another they create more fluid, decreasing the friction within the joint. If a joint becomes restricted due to misalignment or because it is fixed in its anatomical position due to inactivity for example, less synovial fluid is produced and joint movement is restricted. Joint manipulation is a passive technique that creates a separation of the two surfaces, causing the joint to produce more synovial fluid and move freely again. Movement is life!
Research has shown spinal adjustments to be the most effective treatment in numerous conditions including back pain. This is because spinal adjustments correct many of the structural, biomechanical and neurological abnormalities of the spine which cause or contribute to a high number of back, neck and other non-spinal ailments. Overall, adjustments are an excellent way to keep the body functioning at its highest level. When the body is in its proper alignment, the body is able to respond and perform as it was designed to.