Tuesday, April 26, 2011

What's the Difference?

Alright.  It's time for some Chiropractic Philosophy.  This time I'll be addressing a topic that's kind of a heated topic within the chiropractic realm.  That is the difference between an adjustment and a manipulation.

I just want to state right off the bat that the two terms, in my view, are NOT interchangeable.  There is a difference and a rather large difference I believe.  However, when it comes to insurance companies, there is no such difference. 

A manipulation of a joint is not what I do.  A manipulation is basically making a joint, or area, move for the sake of getting motion into that area.  There is no specific force, direction, or necessarily even specific intention involved.  You just get the area moving.  It's kind of like when you crack your knuckles.  You're not studying where exactly the joint is fixated, or stuck, which way it needs to move,and how much force to use.  You just crack your knuckles.

An adjustment of a joint is completely different.  Yes, with an adjustment, you get the joint moving again, but that's about where the similarity with a manipulation ends.  A chiropractic adjustment has years of book learning and physical training behind it.  There's a reason that I went to undergraduate college for three years then got my Bachelor's and Doctorate at chiropractic school during a rigorous three and one third years of year round schooling.  That's because there is a LOT to be learned about the human body, how it works, and how to fix it when it's "broken".

In chiropractic school we are taught to perform chiropractic adjustments, not manipulations to just get an area moving.  With every chiropractic adjustment that I do, I take into consideration which joint I am trying to move, why it needs to move, which direction it needs to move into, how much force to use based on the joint, body type, and fixation, and I have the intention of moving the joint to remove any irritation from the surrounding structures (ie: nerves).  As you can see, there's actually quite a big difference.

So if you've been hearing the two terms being used interchangeably, especially if you follow chiropractic laws or insurance jargon, just remember that there is a difference.  And, if you see a chiropractor who says that he/she uses manipulation, don't hesitate to ask why they don't call it an adjustment.  It's what chiropractors have been calling it for the past 125+ years.

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