Why does chiropractic adjustment feel so good?
Believe it or not, I had never been adjusted before I got to Chiropractic School. My family loves chiropractic of course, but before I went to school and understood what chiropractic truly does, we pictured it just as a way to get out of neck or back pain…which I never had.
So there I was, first trimester of school meeting with my student intern, Corey, for the first time. He adjusted me using Diversified Technique, the same technique that I use for most of my practice members here. I remember hopping off the table knowing something amazing just happened…not really sure what it was, just knowing I felt really, really good. I floated through the halls in euphoria and couldn’t stop smiling…excited that I would spend my career making people feel this awesome.
So why did my body feel so good right away after being adjusted? We know the long-term benefits of chiropractic: optimizing spinal structure and function allows the nervous system to work at the highest level…healing our bodies from the inside out. But we also know that this correction takes more than one adjustment to accomplish. The key to all of the amazing short-term effects that I felt from a single adjustment is mechanoreception.
The spine: The highway of the nervous system
Think of your spine as the nervous system’s very own highway. Billions of cars (or nerve impulses) travel up and down this highway every day transmitting data to and from the brain. When our spine is in a state of proper alignment these metaphorical cars can flow freely. However, when the spine is misaligned by injury or the simple ravages of a sedentary lifestyle, it can slow this traffic down to a crawl.
When this happens, it can have adverse effects not only on the nervous system but the endocrine and immune systems which it governs. This can result not only in stiffness and pain but less obvious symptoms like headaches, lethargy and even depression.
As such, chiropractic adjustment can feel like that wonderful moment where heavy traffic eases on the highway, and you’re free to resume your pleasant journey free of the stress and frustration of being stuck in traffic. Often we’re not aware of the wear and damage that have been done to our spine and the systems which are dependent on it until this has been rectified.
Tension and release
Another important factor is tension. All day, every day we carry tension around our bodies. Stress, strain, upset anger and frustration can lead to an increase in tension of the myofascial system. This is a system of fibrous connective tissues that extends all across our bodies and is intrinsically tied to the entire musculoskeletal system. We may not be aware that we are carrying this tension around with us until it is released by the skilled hands of a chiropractor.
Many of our clients compare the rush of wellbeing that comes after a chiropractic alignment to the same rush that comes after a really satisfying workout. It’s easy to see why. Both activities facilitate a rush of endorphins (the brain’s natural painkillers and feel good chemicals) that leaves us feeling happy, healthy and well adjusted in every sense of the word when we hop off of the chiropractor’s table.
Yes, You Will Probably Hear Some Popping or Cracking Noises
Occasionally, two opposing forces in a joint get “stuck” together. Perhaps “suction” would be a better mental image. If you have ever used a suction cup to stick something to a mirror or a piece of glass, you tried to pull it off and heard that popping sound, then you have an idea of what happens to joints during an adjustment.
When any joint in your body is adjusted, what you are actually hearing is the vacuum sound of gas being released inside the fluid that is found in every joint. It might sound like bones are being cracked or broken, but that’s not what is really going on.
This doesn’t mean that every adjustment will make sounds that you can hear. There are plenty of techniques that a chiropractor uses that produce no audible sounds.
Some people feel that if they don’t hear any noise, the adjustment wasn’t successful. This is simply a misunderstanding in how the process works.
Some adjustments are low force and don’t cause sound. Other times, the joint simply doesn’t have a buildup of gas, which also means it won’t cause a sound. Sound is not an indicator of “a job well done”.
Think about breathing as a case in point. You might not hear the person next to you breathing, but the chances that they are breathing are pretty good, right? (At least we hope so!) Now if they run up and down a flight of stairs, you would definitely hear them breathing!
Adjustments improve the quality of sleep.
Anyone who has ever had trouble sleeping knows that insomnia can ruin a person’s health. Sleeplessness can also cause depression, migraines, headaches, hypertension and other diseases. Since your chiropractic adjustment, you’ve probably been pleased to find that your sleep patterns have improved. According to one study, adjustments stimulate the thalamus, a neural structure that controls the sleep and wake cycle. This explains why you now sleep like a baby. And guess what? Better sleep means improved moods and all-round wellbeing.
It enhances body functionality and athletic ability.
If you’re an athlete, you might notice a boost in your athletic abilities. In fact, several studies have shown that chiropractic care promotes physical recovery and boosts athletic performance. That’s why many top athletes rely on specific chiropractors for stretches, chiropractic adjustments, injury care and exercises. Sorry, professional athletes. Someone had to leak your secrets. Whether you’re an athlete or a physically active person, your body will feel brand new after chiropractic care.
What cause these reactions?
- Some muscles are realigning the spine after an adjustment. These muscles often have not worked properly for years and may be in a weak state. The condition is temporary and will disappear after the muscles have strengthened themselves.
- Sometimes nerves that were impinged for years due to subluxations are now ‘coming back to life’ or healing or becoming re-sensitive.
- Nerves that begin to send nerve impulses or ‘life energy’ may give you a ‘high’ as may tension release from long standing stress fixations in your body.
Please remember that the true benefits of the adjustment are usually found below the conscious level such as improved energy, better sleep and better nerve system function. As the flow of nerve impulses over the spinal cord and spinal nerves is normalised, your body is beginning to renew and build itself.
Things that you can do to help yourself.
- Go for a 3 minute walk after each adjustment before you hop into your car. This will speed up your recovery by increasing spinal movement and nerve flow.
- Avoid rubbing or poking the areas of pain and where you have been adjusted.
- Avoid twists and turns. Do not bend too far in any direction. Where ever possible bend your knees to lift things, even small objects from the floor. This reduces the amount of pressure of the nerves to your lower back. Hold objects close to your body if lifting and do not twist your body – use your feet.
- Maintain correct posture, especially if studying, working at the PC and watching television.
- Sleep on a firm mattress and throw it out if it is more than ten years old. Old couches that let you sink down in the middle are not much better. Shoes without a good arch support are like a bad mattress.
- Make sure that your sleeping posture is correct – lie on your side with your knees bent or on your back and make sure your pillow supports the natural curves of your neck.