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How do Chiropractic Adjustments Work?

What is a chiropractic adjustment, and how does it work?

Typically, chiropractic appointments will involve spinal adjustments to assist in reducing pain and restoring joint function. There is a common misconception that adjustment “push bones back into place”. The reality is that bones cannot be “out of place” – unless you have a dislocation.

The goal of chiropractic adjustments is actually to promote movement through joints. Injuries, poor posture caused by muscular imbalance and biomechanical stress can reduce the movement available in your joints which can manifest as spinal pain. A very controlled high velocity, low amplitude thrust is delivered to the joint which has restricted movement. Most people are aware that they may hear a “pop” when the adjustment occurs. Gas builds up in the synovial fluid between joints and restricts movement, and the popping sound that can be heard is the release of that gas into the joint space due to the sudden movement of the joint. This is similar to when you open a bottle of soft drink – before the seal is broken, the bottle is hard and full of gas but as soon as you unscrew the lid you hear the gas escaping the bottle.

Dr. Schiller performs a chiropractic neck adjustment

While chiropractic adjustments increase the range of motion within the joint, there is also evidence to suggest that they may also stimulate the nervous system to reduce pain signals coming from your joints. [2]

What you can expect from your chiropractic visit?

At Lakeside Chiropractic, our initial consults are 30 minutes to allow enough time for a thorough history taking and physical examination to determine the cause of your pain or discomfort. You may also be referred for further imaging if your chiropractor deems it important to their course of care for you. Our chiropractors devise an individualised treatment plan to suit your needs and to provide the best possible health care and outcomes from treatment.

What does an adjustment feel like?

Your chiropractor will first identify areas in the body which are restricted in movement. They then will place you in a specific position and with their hands apply a high velocity low amplitude thrust to the joint, which is when you may hear the popping sound.

It is quite common to experience post treatment tenderness, which is experienced by approximately 1 in 3 patients, especially those who may not have had chiropractic treatment before. This is simply because your joints may have been restricted in movement for some time before the adjustment. Experiencing headaches and fatigue following treatment, while not as common, can also occur.

chiropractic treatments to patient's back

Effects of chiropractic adjustments

Chiropractic adjustments can be effective in treating back pain, some studies suggest that spinal adjustments can be effective for headaches and other spine related conditions such as neck pain. Although chiropractic adjustments are given to an appropriate patient, no two people get the exact same one. Each chiropractic treatment is customized for each patient. 

Overtime, your body might try to return to the misalignment especially if you were in that bad position for a long time. Therefore, your chiropractor wants you to come back from time to time so your body hold onto its proper position and will be able to hold your joints in the correct position much more easily.

Dr. Schiller treats a patient with chiropractic adjustments

At Lakeside Chiropractic, we provide remedial massage therapy, manual chiro adjustment, cold laser therapy and more that may reduce your pain and manage your condition. Lakeside chiropractic is located in Joondalup in Perth’s north and has visitors from many different suburbs including, Padbury, Kinross, Mindarie, Sorrento, Iluka, Carramar, Currambine, Tapping, Pearsall, Hocking and Woodvale. HICAPS Facilities available on site for major private health insurers (NIB, HCF, HBF, AHM, HCI and HIF) and also a part of the Medibank preferred practitioner and BUPA Members first network. If you would like to discuss any concerns about spinal adjustments, have any enquires or wish to book an appointment; feel free to contact one of our friendly staff on 9300 0095 or visit our website at


  1. Gonstead Chiropractic Technique (GCT) - ScienceDirect
  2. Neurologic effects of the adjustment - Journal of Manipulative & Physiological Therapeutics (
March 28, 2022