What does a Chiropractic Adjustment do?

17 January 2022

Chiropractic Neck Adjustment

The human body is a complex structure with many interconnected systems. That’s why making sure you get the right care for your body is important. So why do you want to visit a Chiropractor and what does a chiropractic adjustment do?

What is a Chiropractor?

You can think of a Chiropractor as a physician who helps relieve you of your pain through adjustments.

What should you expect from your Chiropractor?

On your first visit, your Chiropractor will talk to you about your medical history and will perform a physical exam. This helps them to find out what is causing your pain or discomfort, and how they can help you to alleviate this. 

Once your Chiropractor has all the information they need, they can then start with your plan of care. Plans depend on your individual circumstances, so they will be different between patients.


There are different techniques that Chiropractors can use. These are most common, but there are many others:

  • Adjustments
  • Activator Method
  • Mobilisation
Chiropractic Adjustment in Bristol


This is where your Chiropractor applies a controlled, specific force to a spinal joint. Hands, and sometimes small tools are used to do this. The main purpose of an adjustment is to reduce the interference in your nervous system, which increases the awareness in your body. This will then improve spinal motion and reduce joint stiffness. 

Adjustments can be used for different types of pain, such as low back pain, neck pain, and headaches.

Activator Method

This method uses a hand-held tool instead of hands. This is an Activator adjusting tool. This will provide a low-force impulse targeting specific areas. The goal is to restore the motion of the target joint.

The activator is most commonly used for neck pain, back pain, and pain in the extremities (ankles, wrists, shoulders etc).


Motion palpation is a technique that your Chiropractor might use to evaluate the movement of your joints. If a joint is missing some range of motion, then this will help identify the problem. Your Chiropractor will then use mobilisation techniques to reduce the stiffness in the joint.

What does Evidence Based Research say about Chiropractic Adjustments?

There is a large body of evidence that indicates Chiropractic care is safe and effective. Evidence based research has been growing. For example, a large randomised trial (study) looking at the effect of adding exercise classes & spinal manipulation was conducted on patients who were struggling from back pain. Evidence from the study showed that all patients noticed improvements. However, for manipulation therapy followed by exercise, there was additional improvement seen, respectfully in the 3 and 12 month periods. It also found there was no significant difference between manipulation treatments being administered in NHS premises and private practice.

It has been shown that adding spinal manipulation therapy alone is probably better value for money than manipulation followed by exercise, a study by the UK Beam Trial Found.

Finally, a review by Professor Scott Haldeman & Professor Martin Underwood looked into the effectiveness of manual therapies. The review looked into several robust randomised controlled trial (RCT) evidence, and found that Chiropractic therapies are effective at treating many different types of musculoskeletal pain, joint pains and some types of headaches.

Chiropractic treatment at Willow

Chiropractic adjustments are great for pain relief, but you do not have to be in pain to see one of our Chiropractors. It’s a great tool for being proactive with your health. Simply think of it as an MOT, you want to ensure your body is functioning to its optimum.

Are you living in Bristol, and would like further information on how you can begin chiropractic care? Feel free to contact us by simply clicking the link here!

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