By |Published On: December 8, 2022|6 min read|

How A Chiropractor Knows Where To Adjust

When you visit a chiropractor for back pain relief, you may be wondering how they know exactly where to adjust. It’s true that chiropractors are highly skilled professionals who have devoted their lives to learning the science of the musculoskeletal system. But what goes into locating and targeting specific areas of the body? Let’s take a look at the science behind chiropractic adjustments and why it is so effective.

The Role of a Chiropractor in Pain Relief

Chiropractors are trained in manual manipulation of the vertebral column and other joints to correct misalignment and restore proper function. This type of adjustment is known as an adjustment, mobilization, or manipulation. Adjustments are intended to reduce pain, improve range of motion, and improve overall well-being. Chiropractors also use various forms of physical therapy to further support healing and movement.

How Do Chiropractors Know Where To Adjust?

Before a chiropractor can make an adjustment, they must first perform a physical examination and take a detailed medical history. This helps them understand the patient’s symptoms and determine what type of treatment will be most effective for them.


After examining the patient, the chiropractor will use their hands to detect areas of misalignment in the spine called subluxations. This technique is known as palpation, which involves feeling for points of tenderness, tightness, heat or other sensations along different parts of the body. With experience, a skilled chiropractor can detect subtle changes in muscle tone or joint movement that indicate an area requiring adjustment.

Muscle Testing

Another tool used by some chiropractors during an adjustment is muscle testing, which is used to assess how well certain muscles are functioning throughout the body. The practitioner applies pressure on different parts of the body while asking questions about how it feels or if certain movements are easy or difficult to do. This helps identify areas that need further attention so that adjustments can be made accordingly.


They also use x-rays or MRI scans if necessary to see deeper into the body and determine which bones may be out of alignment or causing problems. The doctor will then apply gentle pressure to the area by hand or with specialized tools such as blocks, wedges, and drop tables in order to manipulate the tissues back into proper alignment.

Benefits Of Chiropractic Treatment

Chiropractic adjustments have multiple benefits for those suffering from back pain or other musculoskeletal issues. Not only do adjustments provide immediate relief from pain and discomfort but they can also help realign the spine over time thereby reducing long-term chronic pain issues while improving overall joint health and mobility. In addition, regular chiropractic care can help improve posture which can lead to better balance, increased energy levels, improved digestion, enhanced flexibility, greater mental clarity, improved breathing patterns, better sleep patterns, decreased stress levels and improved overall mood!

Let’s discuss the differences between a chiropractic adjustment, mobilization, and manipulation. Below, we’ll dive into what each treatment is and when it might be used.

Chiropractic Adjustment

Chiropractic adjustments involve applying a controlled force to a joint in order to restore movement and proper alignment. These adjustments can be done manually or with an instrument such as an activator or tool. The goal of a chiropractic adjustment is to reduce subluxation (misalignment) of the spine. It is thought that this misalignment puts pressure on nerves which may be causing pain. By reducing this subluxation, the pressure on the nerves is reduced and the pain should be relieved.


Mobilization is a type of treatment in which gentle pressure is applied to joints in order to increase range of motion and flexibility. This technique helps to reduce stiffness in joints and muscle tightness which can cause discomfort or even limited mobility if left untreated. In addition, mobilization can also help improve posture by correcting imbalances in muscles and joints.


Manipulation is similar to mobilization; however, it involves applying more force than mobilization does in order for the desired results to occur. Manipulation is used when mobilization alone does not provide enough relief from stiffness or discomfort. Manipulation requires more skill and knowledge than mobilization since it requires precise timing and placement of force so as not to cause harm or discomfort during treatment.

What types of Injury Does Chiropractic Treatment Help?

1. Spinal Misalignment: Chiropractic treatment helps to restore proper alignment of the spine, relieving pain from nerve entrapment, disc inflammation, and muscle strain related to spinal subluxation.

2. Neck pain: Chiropractors can treat neck pain caused by poor posture, muscle tension, joint dysfunction, whiplash injuries and other traumas.

3. Headaches: Through manual manipulation of the cervical spine, chiropractic treatments can reduce tension headaches and migraines stemming from various sources including improper alignment of the vertebrae in the neck or stress-related muscular tension.

4. Lower back Pain: Chiropractors use gentle manipulations and adjustments to help patients with lower back pain due to herniated discs, sciatica, scoliosis and pinched nerves that cause chronic discomfort in the hips, buttocks or legs.

5. Shoulder Pain: Chiropractors treat shoulder pain caused by myofascial release due to muscle tightness, rotator cuff issues or tendonitis stemming from a previous injury or overuse of certain muscles in the arms or shoulders.

6. Sports Injuries: Chiropractic care helps athletes recover faster from sports injuries such as sprains and strains involving soft tissue injuries like ligaments and tendons as well as joint problems like tennis elbow or runner’s knee which can impede performance if left untreated.

7. Muscle Imbalance: Muscle imbalance due to overuse of one side of the body or postural problems resulting in asymmetrical tension can be addressed through chiropractic treatments involving active release therapy (ART), trigger point therapy (TPT) and stretching exercises designed by a professional chiropractor for maximum benefit.

8. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS): CTS is a common condition caused by pressure on the median nerve within your wrist that causes numbness, tingling and burning sensation in your arm and hand. Chiropractic treatment involving physical therapies such as ultrasound therapy reduces swelling around the tendons resulting in less compression on nerves alleviating CTS symptoms without invasive surgery when diagnosed early enough.

9. Plantar Fasciitis: Plantar fasciitis is a foot condition characterized by inflammation of the thick band of connective tissue that runs along the bottom of your foot. Chiropractors can provide treatments such as stretches, kinesiology taping techniques, laser therapy and custom orthotic inserts when necessary to relieve arch pain associated with plantar fasciitis. This may solve the pain quickly while also reducing the risk for reoccurrence down the road through preventive measures.

Chiropractic care safe and effective

Chiropractic care is a safe and effective way to relieve pain caused by misaligned joints in your body without relying on expensive medications or risky surgery. By using palpation techniques combined with digital imaging technologies such as x-rays or MRI scans when necessary, experienced chiropractors can target specific problem areas quickly and accurately resulting in immediate relief from acute pain as well as long-term benefits for overall joint health!

If you’re experiencing chronic back pain that does not respond to traditional medical treatment methods such as medications or physical therapy then consider scheduling an appointment with a qualified chiropractor today!

About the Author: Dr. Adam Rosoff, DC

Avatar Of Dr. Adam Rosoff, Dc
Dr. Adam Rosoff is a Chiropractic Physician at Total Vitality Medical Group. Dr. Rosoff has helped thousands of patients by utilizing the most current evidence-based approach. Dr. Rosoff earned his Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Central Florida and went on to earn his Doctor of Chiropractic degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic.
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