What happens when a chiropractor aligns you?

Wondering what is involved in a chiropractic alignment? This is one of the most common and frequently performed chiropractic procedures, but it’s still a mystery to many people. That’s why here we’re hoping to demystify this therapeutic procedure, so you’ll feel at ease and confident enough to experience its profound benefits for yourself.

At Oakland Spine and Physical Therapy, we often help patients by providing alignments as well as a host of other therapies such as deep tissue laser therapy, acupuncture and physical rehabilitation. We make it easy for residents of North Jersey to access pain relief therapies by having expanded to four convenient locations in Oakland, Wayne, Fair Lawn, and Closter, New Jersey.

We’re happy to answer all of your questions before you begin your treatment, so if you still have concerns after reading all about the details of an alignment, we’re happy to guide you through this and any other procedure in one of our New Jersey offices.

What is a chiropractic alignment?

A chiropractic alignment (also known as a chiropractic adjustment) is the name for a group of non-invasive, natural therapies that provide joint manipulation to various parts of the body, most often focusing on the spine. As a patient, you may lie on your back or your side, but an alignment can also be performed while you sit or stand. A chiropractor uses their hands or specially-designed instruments to manipulate joints back into the proper position.

Who performs alignments?

A chiropractor is trained to perform alignments. Because they require a deep understanding of the spine and joints, you should always make sure that you only visit a chiropractor for an alignment. For instance, here at Oakland Spine, our team includes many Doctors of Chiropractic, who are highly trained in such techniques. Because alignments involve quick thrusting movements that put joints back into alignment, these procedures should only be done by trained professionals.

What conditions require an alignment?

Although you probably are familiar with a spinal alignment being used to address back pain, there are other conditions that also greatly benefit from an alignment. These include:

With a proper alignment your joints will be placed back in the proper position which will also help better support the muscles around these joints. By addressing misalignments within the musculoskeletal system, a trained chiropractor can essentially “pop” your joints back into place, providing relief from aches and pains, helping to improve your posture as well as your range of motion.

What are some causes of a misaligned spine?

Our bodies undergo a lot of stress and impacts throughout life, all of which can cause small misalignments to form. Although traditional healthcare physicians will only treat subluxation (commonly referred to as a dislocation) which are evident over x-ray examination, chiropractors will focus on smaller, more subtle misalignments, which can still cause symptoms such as pain, stiffness and even migraines.

People of all ages can undergo an alignment (even children!) but most people seek out such care beginning in their mid-40s, which makes perfect sense when you think about it. At this age, your body has experienced years of hard work, strain and possible trauma. Incidents such as a fall, performing an exercise improperly, frequently sitting with poor posture, sports injuries, or  car accidents can all place the spine in misalignment. Performing a difficult task such as changing a tire or lifting a heavy item can also cause a misalignment.

Finally, you might not realize how stress has affected your body over the long-term. While physical stressors like childbirth can contribute to a spinal misalignment, emotional stress can also add undo tension to muscles and joints which can eventually result in a misalignment. As you can see, it’s quite easy for your body to go out of alignment, which is why a chiropractic alignment provides convenient relief to patients without the need for surgery or prescription pain medicine.

How is a chiropractic alignment performed?

The beauty of a chiropractic alignment is found in its simplicity. It doesn’t require invasive, potentially risky surgery or addictive pain medications that carry their own dangerous side effects. Instead, an alignment relies on the skill and knowledge of a trained chiropractor and employs manual techniques to pinpoint the location of small misalignments in joints. Once identified, these misaligned joints are pushed back into place with quick, short thrusting movements that apply sudden force, essentially “popping” it back into place.

This is very different from what some new patients think an alignment is. It’s far from just helping you to “crack your back.” Instead it’s a nuanced technique that requires the chiropractor to properly place the patient in the right position before applying short bursts of force to achieve realignment.

Does a chiropractic alignment hurt?

If you watch a video of an alignment, you may be intimidated to experience one for yourself. It looks like it could be painful given the quick and sudden force that is applied. But, in reality, a chiropractic alignment is safe, with minimal risks and is quite comfortable to experience. Just think, have you ever heard someone stress about going to the chiropractor like we do about the dentist? For most people, a chiropractic adjustment or alignment is as pain-free as going in for a massage.

And if you’re concerned about those notorious “popping sounds,” that can occur during an alignment, you can put your mind at ease. It’s simply gasses being pushed out of joints as they are put back into alignment. It’s the same sound that occurs when you crack your knuckles and is nothing at all to be concerned about. If you hear any noises during your alignment, you’ll know it’s working. But don’t fret if your alignment is silent! Noise level is not a sign of an effective alignment.

How often should I get a chiropractic alignment?

There is no one-size-fits-all recommendation for how often you should receive an alignment. That’s because each person’s body is different and has experienced its own number of stressors. Your chiropractor and you will decide on a customized treatment that works best for your goals and lifestyle.

As a general rule, you should expect more frequent adjustments during a new treatment, particularly when healing from an injury or incident. This can be as frequently as receiving an alignment multiple times a week. But relax, this is just during an initial phase. Once your healing process begins, you’ll be able to reduce your number of visits gradually from weekly to monthly. Some patients prefer to remain proactive with their alignment schedule and will come in for preventative treatments even if they are not experiencing pain. This is a testament to the positive impact such treatments have on patients’ lives. For this type of maintenance, you should plan to have an alignment every six months to a year to maintain proper alignment.

How will I feel after a chiropractic alignment?

Many patients report feeling instant relief after an alignment. Just like with deep tissue massages, it’s common to feel some muscle soreness the day after an alignment. Sometimes patients experience a temporary bout of fatigue after an alignment, which is nothing to worry about. It’s a sign your body is healing. Other temporary side effects which are less common include post-alignment headache or dizziness. Symptoms like these generally disappear in a matter of hours or days.

Ready to Experience Pain Relief? Schedule Your Chiropractic Alignment in North Jersey

Millions of people experience the relief from pain that a chiropractic alignment provides. By making it a regular part of your annual health maintenance, you can help to prevent new problems from forming and keep your body performing at its best. Our trained chiropractors at Oakland Spine and Physical Therapy perform successful alignments each day, while providing guidance to patients on everything from proper posture to stretching and nutritional advice.

If you’re ready to address your body’s misalignment and feel what true alignment feels like for your body’s benefit, visit one of our convenient locations in Oakland, Wayne, Fair Lawn, and Closter, New Jersey. Take the first step to healing and leaving behind pain by requesting an appointment today.