Adjustment Etiquette: Do’s & Don’ts on the Chiropractic Table

By Dr. Molly Casey

Chiropractic Adjustment - Side Posture

Have you ever watched someone receive a chiropractic adjustment? Frequently, first-timers or those who have only seen an adjustment but not received one are full of questions. There’s some adjustment etiquette to be aware of if you want to score points with your D.C. and reap the full benefits of his/her chiropractic skill. Let’s go over a few things to squash any jitters and get you ready for your first adjustment. I’m willing to bet it won’t be your last!

The Adjustment

Most frequently, though not always, you’ll start out lying on your stomach on the chiropractic table in an open bay area. Your doctor of chiropractic will do some physical assessments that inform him/her of how your spine is moving. This may include looking at your feet, turning your head and inspecting the motion of the spine. During the adjustment itself, the doctor’s hands will move over different parts of your body—back, neck, shoulders, hips, etc. Often the doctor will use the weight of his/her body to assist in the adjustment. Each doctor is different in their setup (how they prepare you physically for the adjustment) and the technique in which they use their body or form to assist with the adjustment.

The Do’s

Do relax. Do your best to remain as relaxed as possible prior to, throughout and after the adjustment. Adjustments, as most things in life, go more smoothly when we move through the experiences in a relaxed state.

Do breathe. Consciously focus on your breathing. Breathing will help you relax and it’ll allow the greatest amount of movement possible in the joints, thus allowing you to get the greatest benefit from your adjustment.

Do receive. Adopt the attitude to be open to receiving all the gifts of the adjustment. The adjustment restores joint motion, proper spinal alignment and removes nervous system interference. If you are thinking about a million other things, conversing or worrying, you will not receive all the goodness that is intended and available for you.

The Don’ts

Don’t resist. Tensing up or fighting the adjustment works against the goal your doctor is trying to achieve by creating motion within restricted or stuck joints. Resisting also makes it more difficult for your chiropractor to achieve the proper contacts required to best adjust you. Adjustments don’t usually hurt. If you resist the movement, they can tend to be less comfortable than they might in a relaxed state. You seek the care and realize its importance—I know this because you are actually getting adjusted—so don’t resist. Instead, relax and allow yourself the opportunity to receive maximum benefits.

Don’t try to help. While we appreciate your desire to help by putting your body in the position you feel will assist the doctor, positioning for a chiropractic adjustment is very specific. Attempting to set yourself up on your own will actually create more work for the doctor, who will need to reposition your body.

Don’t worry. Although it may appear uncomfortable, adjustments do not usually hurt. In fact, most people enjoy the feeling of getting adjusted. If you find they create a slight discomfort, that can typically be circumvented with relaxation and conscious breathing. Worrying is a form of resistance, so don’t forget the first “don’t!”

The doctors of chiropractic at The Joint pay special attention to your individual needs and any concerns you may have about getting adjusted. Don’t hesitate to let us know if there is anything you are worried about that you feel might impede your ability to relax and receive the most out of your adjustment.

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