Specific spinal adjustments are the hallmark of chiropractic care. An adjustment is a gentle force introduced into the spine intended to release a vertebral segment from its abnormal motion and/or position thereby reducing the vertebral subluxation.
The adjustment can consist of a light comfortable dynamic thrust, as in Diversified technique, to several ounces of sustained pressure, as found with the Toftness system. There are more than 20 adjusting systems utilized in chiropractic today. Each system has a specific adjusting rationale to restore the spine to normal function. This reduces the negative neurologic impact, and returns the body to more normal efficiency. Spinal adjustments, regardless of which system is utilized, are tailored to the patient's age and spinal condition.
Chiropractic analysis utilizes x-ray examination for visual assessment of the subluxated spine, to detect any possible contraindications to spinal adjustments, and to rule out bone disease or spinal pathologies. Other technologies used in subluxation detection include heat measuring, or thermographic, instruments. Since blood flow and subsequent skin temperature are indirect measures of autonomic nervous system function, abnormal temperature patterns measured along the spine can be a sign of autonomic nerve dysfunction. Non-invasive testing, such as surface EMG, is an up-and-coming technology that is being utilized in chiropractic to better analyze the impact subluxation has on spinal muscle function. The chiropractor may utilize these technologies in addition to traditional spinal palpation, motion palpation and orthopedic and neurological examinations.
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