What are the 5 Regions for Chiropractic Manipulation?

It’s easy to think of the back as one singular unit – the spine, but in fact, this region of the central nervous system can be segmented into multiple parts all of which can be isolated and targeted with specific manipulations and alignments. Such isolated adjustments focus on specific areas of the spine to help you achieve greater relief and alignment.

It’s helpful to look at spinal manipulation from the standpoint of the five major spinal regions, which cover the neck, mid-back, lower back, hip area, and tailbone. At Oakland Spine and Physical Therapy we provide such precision care thanks to a deep understanding of the back and how to bring it into balance. That’s why we do our best to make care accessible to as many patients as possible, with four convenient North Jersey locations in Closter, Fair Lawn, Wayne and Oakland, New Jersey.

Chronic back pain can impact all areas of life, getting in the way of your concentration at work, your ability to enjoy doing things you love, and even getting a restful night’s sleep. A spinal misalignment may be to blame, which is good news for long-time sufferers who are tired of taking pain medication without any solution.

But back pain isn’t the only symptom of a misalignment. From chronic headaches to difficulty walking, a misalignment in each area can cause its own issues, which can be addressed through adjustments that target a specific region of the spine.

The Five Regions of Chiropractic Manipulation

By understanding these five major regions of chiropractic manipulation, you’ll have a greater understanding of why you’re experiencing these issues. More importantly, with this information, you can feel empowered to seek out a therapy that addresses your unique circumstances.

When a specific joint is out of alignment, it can cause irritation and inflammation, which can lead to an array of painful conditions as well as loss of mobility and muscle function. Let’s explore each area more deeply to understand each type of manipulation and why each is important.

Cervical Region (atlanto-occipital joint)

A cervical manipulation will focus on the joint that connects your neck to your head. When out of alignment, the atlanto-occipital joint can cause chronic headaches or particularly painful migraines. It can also lead to neck pain, stiffness, and may even contribute to a reduced range of motion of the neck. In some cases, patients might even experience dizziness or vertigo due to a cervical misalignment.

Although most people think injuries cause such a misalignment, there are multiple reasons for this type of issue. Whiplash is a common event that can jolt the cervical vertebrae out of place. This type of injury frequently occurs during a car accident, fall, or sports injury. Other causes are less acute. Poor posture, particularly “text neck” can over time lead to this misalignment. Poor sleeping positions or high stress situations, that result in constant tight neck muscles, can also lead to a cervical misalignment.

Thoracic Region (costovertebral/costotransverse joints)

Consisting of the costovertebral and costotransverse joints, the thoracic region is located along the mid-back. A misalignment in this region might result in a feeling of difficulty or discomfort when attempting to take a deep breath. There can also be the feeling of pain between the shoulder blades. Of course, any issues with breathing should be checked out by your physician or emergency room staff, since immediate medical attention may be necessary.

If a medical emergency or lung issue is not the cause, a thoracic misalignment may be to blame. It can also cause reduced flexibility in this area and a feeling of a “stiff back.” Many common lifestyle habits can contribute to a thoracic misalignment, including poor posture, a sedentary lifestyle, injury, or improper lifting/carrying heavy backpacks.

Lumbar Region

The lumbar region refers to the lower back. Chronic pain in this region is one of the most common reasons people seek help from a chiropractor. From pain that can come and go to muscle stiffness and tightness, this type of misalignment can make everything from sleeping to working out more challenging due to the discomfort. You might also experience radiating pain from your lower back down through your leg or difficulty in bending over or twisting.

Adjustments to the lumbar region are quite popular due to their ability to improve mobility, reduce chronic back pain and allow for feeling of regained strength within the entire core region.

Pelvic Region (sacro-iliac joint)

If you run your hands from your hips to your back and feel the bone on your back between your hips, this can easily identify the pelvic region. The sacro-iliac joints are a pair of joints, with one on the left side and one on the right, which meet the hip bones. They act as shock absorbers, transferring weight between your upper body and legs.

This area is another common culprit of lower back pain and can be pushed out of misalignment by lifting heavy objects, poor posture, repetitive strains or a fall or other type of jostling accident. However, there are other causes for a pelvic misalignment. Did you know that the hormonal changes and physical stress of pregnancy and childbirth can cause a misalignment of the SI joint? This type of imbalance can even be due to being born with a leg length discrepancy which throws the pelvic region out of alignment.

Patients with a SI misalignment may experience lower back pain similar to that of the lumbar region as well as leg pain and discomfort in walking or standing for long durations. The SI joint is fairly complex and as you can feel when you move your back around, this region stays relatively fixed in place. Rather than direct manipulation, an experienced chiropractor will use indirect techniques that manipulate the surrounding areas of the lumbar region which can then allow the SI joint to naturally realign itself.

Sacral Region (sacrum)

While the sacral region and SI joint are related, they are two distinct parts of the spine. It is the triangular bone at the base of the spine sometimes known as the tailbone. Since this area is more fixed and doesn’t move, it doesn’t necessarily get out of alignment. However, it can be affected by other regions of the spine being misaligned. Pain, instability and loss of balance can occur when the sacral region is impacted by a misalignment. To improve balance in the region, a manipulation of other areas such as the lumbar region can improve the alignment of the area.

Experience the Relief that Comes from Targeted Spine Manipulations in North Jersey

As you can see, spinal manipulation is a very precise therapy that requires a deep understanding of the joints and vertebrae of the spinal column. By seeking the help of a highly trained and experienced chiropractor, you can potentially find relief from chronic pain and mobility issues which may have been seen as untreatable.

By bringing the joints of the spine into better alignment, you can help your body to heal from overuse, injury, and the stressors and strains of everyday life. If you live in Closter, Fair Lawn, Wayne or Oakland, New Jersey, help is close by. Oakland Spine and Physical Therapy offers a team of highly trained chiropractors skilled in addressing all regions of chiropractic manipulation. Ready to say goodbye to chronic pain? Schedule your consultation today!