HOW LONG WILL THE ADJUSTMENT LAST BEFORE I NEED ANOTHER?
Before I answer this we need to know what a chiropractic adjustment does. There is no simple answer for this so bear with me. The chiropractic adjustment does several things. The first is a release of a hormone called endorphins. These are your body’s natural pain killers and can provide an immediate and temporary relief of pain much like an over the counter pain medication. This pain relief may even cause the surrounding tissues to relax relieving pressure on a nerve that is “pinched.”
The second thing a chiropractic adjustment does is increase nutrient supply to the area. Cartilage and other connective tissues inside a joint have limited or no blood supply and instead rely on the body’s natural motion to get nutrients. Think of cartilage as a sponge. You squeeze it and water rushes out. Submerge it and release the squeeze and the water will rush back in. This is how your joints work. However, if your joint is locked from muscle spasm, scar tissue, or any other means you do not have this natural motion and the joint will suffer. A chiropractic adjustment restores motion to the joint allowing the uptake of nutrients.
The third thing a chiropractic adjustment can do is relieve pressure on a nerve. Much in the same way I discussed above, if a joint is “stuck” it could be pressing on a nerve, or could be causing inflammation that is pressing on the nerve, or could just be moving in a way that rubs the nerve. Restoring motion to the joint can relieve pressure on the nerve.
The last thing a chiropractic adjustment does is allow for increased muscle function through proprioceptive retraining. Everyone has probably heard the term “muscle memory.” What that is, is your brain recording proprioceptive signals from your joints motion. We already know that a chiropractic adjustment restores motion to the spine. This new input is then stored and replayed in the brain, similar to muscle retraining that physical therapists will do, or physical training of athletes, when the body has done the motion enough times, it remembers it. This retraining provides a functional restoration that may cause pain relief.
So, now that we know how an adjustment works, how long do they last? Well, because every person is so different and no joint or injury is ever the same, each adjustment can last from 10 to 20 minutes or up to a month, sometimes longer. One thing we know is that chiropractic adjustments work and getting regular chiropractic adjustments is great for not only your spine’s health, but for overall health as well.
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