Dr. Craig Brue
Over the past 20 years, I have been using spinal adjusting instruments, the Activator and Impulse, where patients feel a light tapping sensation on their spine. The Activator is a spring-loaded instrument. The Impulse is an electronic device. You may ask, “How does that work, and how can that help me?”
After being in practice for more than 45 years, I can assure you that there is no single adjusting method that helps every spinal condition. Every patient has spinal problems and misalignments that are unique, and treatment must be dedicated to that person’s tolerance, strength, and age. I have told many patients that it’s not about how hard you adjust the spine; it’s about how correctly you adjust the spine.
A chiropractor does not have to snap, crack, or pop your spine to help relieve pinched and irritated nerves. As a matter of fact, aggressive spinal adjusting techniques are not always the best or safest adjusting procedures. Forceful spinal manipulation may be contraindicated with severe disc degeneration, osteoporosis, spinal fusions, and advanced osteoarthritis.
How does a doctor of chiropractic know which spinal adjusting technique is best for you? The answer is knowledge and experience. A thorough chiropractic examination will include imaging studies of your spine. X-rays will give a chiropractor a blueprint to assess the best method to correct spinal misalignment. This is my advice to patients: to see is to know and not to see is to guess. Your spine is too important for guess work. Don’t let anyone recommend therapy or perform a spinal adjustment unless that provider understands the underlying cause of your condition.
Chiropractic care is both a science and an art. With the aging spine, I usually find that a less aggressive spinal adjustment is safer and more effective. Many patients find that a very gentle chiropractic adjustment is both painless and provides significant pain relief.
To help you understand how a spinal adjustment given by an instrument works, consider a mosquito bite. When a mosquito bites you, you often don’t know it at the time. However, your body knows that something has happened because you will soon have a healing response to that little bite, an itchy, red bump. Similarly, your body will have a healing response to a very light spinal adjustment. Just like the mosquito bite, the healing response from an instrument adjustment takes place shortly after the procedure is performed.
My advice: Find an excellent chiropractor who has advanced training in many adjusting procedures, including instrument adjustments. It is very unlikely that you will ever experience pain or discomfort after a light, non-force instrument adjustment. You may have nothing to lose except the pain you are experiencing.
Dr. Craig Brue is an author, lecturer, and chiropractic provider in SaddleBrooke, Ariz. For more information on chiropractic care, go to bruechiropractic.com.