Chiropractic Neck Adjustments Explained
People go to the chiropractor for a multitude of reasons. Although chiropractic is rooted in the spine, chiropractic care treats all parts of the body, and the neck is at the top of the list. Studies show that ninety-five percent of all headaches are related to tension in the neck. As well, the neck houses the atlas – or, the top vertebra – which is, in theory, the primary determinant of alignment/misalignment of vertebrae down the entirety of the spinal column. For that reason, chiropractors must train to make special spinal adjustments in the neck, and because the atlas is set so far into the neck, underneath the skull and virtually buried by connecting tissue, reaching the atlas to adjust it takes a special skill set outside of the manipulation methods used for the rest of the spine. If you or someone you know plans on visiting a chiropractor for neck adjustments, then it is good to know the following basics:
What is a Neck Adjustment Like?
First and foremost, a neck adjustment does not move your neck outside of its normal range of motion, so do not expect to be painfully stretched or bent out of shape. Different chiropractors have different ways of performing a neck adjustment, so you should ask your chiropractor about the specific method that will be used on your neck. However, all neck adjustments involve manipulating the position of the atlas, which can be done by applying pressure to the atlas or by administering a sudden jerk of the head from one side to the other. You may be lying down on your side and using a raised headrest or you may be sitting up for the procedure.
Risks Associated with Neck Adjustment
There is very little risk in neck adjustments that are performed correctly. Statistically, neck adjustments are an extremely safe and effective way to relieve pain, pressure, and other types of discomfort in the neck. However, it is important for you to know that there are some risks, even if only minimal. For example, there is a slight risk of experiencing a stroke or stroke-like symptoms after a neck adjustment. However, odds are you will get struck by lightning or die while playing soccer first.
Going in for a neck adjustment is understandably an anxiety-inducing prospect. Fortunately, the process itself is not nearly as traumatizing as you might imagine. As a matter of fact, very few patients ever report any adverse effects, and most report experiencing relief from neck pain.