How Do Chiropractors Know Where to Adjust?

If you’ve ever experienced joint or muscle pain, a friend may have suggested seeing a chiropractor. These healthcare professionals provide targeted treatment to the nervous and musculoskeletal systems to restore proper function and ease symptoms throughout the entire body. From headaches and hormonal imbalances to back and neck pain, an experienced chiropractor knows where to adjust your body for swift and long-lasting treatment. Continue reading to learn how these medical professionals determine the right treatment plan for you.

Why Go to the Chiropractor?

According to the American Chiropractic Association, more than 35 million people in the United States, including adults and children, receive chiropractic treatment annually. While back pain comprises a large majority of visits, you may also find a chiropractor helpful in several situations. This is because the spine supports the whole body both structurally and neurologically. It houses much of the central nervous system, which provides a communication pathway between the brain and the entire body. A misalignment in the spine can put pressure on the spinal nerves and reduce the body’s ability to function. In the same way, these subluxations or misalignments can impact your ability to twist, bend, and carry out basic movements comfortably.

Rather than simply treating the symptoms, your chiropractor will get to the root of the problem to reduce the chance of recurrence. This alternative medicine is rarely associated with side effects, making it an excellent, low-risk option for patients.

Here are three common reasons you may consider seeing a chiropractor:

Acute or Chronic Pain

More than 46% of chiropractor visits are due to lower back pain, making it the most common reason to seek treatment. Several conditions can cause chronic pain in the neck and back, including:

Lifestyle factors like sleeping in the wrong position or working at a desk can also contribute to acute discomfort. These situations can irritate the spinal nerves and inflame soft tissues, causing radiating pain. A licensed chiropractor uses spinal manipulation to restore proper alignment of the vertebrae and remove pressure on spinal nerves. This chiropractic technique provides instant pain relief that continues feeling better as the inflammation resolves. A 2019 study found that this manual manipulation stops the formation of inflammation-causing neuropeptides, which furthers your results.

Car Crashes and Other Injuries


Chiropractic care is a clear treatment route after full-body trauma caused by car accidents. Even minor collisions can lead to hidden injuries that cause complications throughout the body. Whiplash, a severe sprain or strain in the cervical spine, is common in most patients and can result in upper back and arm pain. Keep in mind that an adrenaline rush may mask your pain, so it is always a good idea to visit a chiropractor in the days following your car crash.

Sports injuries from repetitive movements, like tennis elbow and runner’s knee, may also benefit from this form of physical therapy. Athletes who have sustained more severe injuries seek chiropractic treatment during the healing process and continue regular care afterward for improved performance.

Manual manipulation increases blood flow and healing agents to the affected area to boost healing. At Total Body Chiropractic & Acupuncture, we also offer services that break up scar tissue from old injuries and restart the healing process to ensure total and complete resolution.

General Wellness


Chiropractic care fits seamlessly into a full-body wellness pain to keep you functioning at your best. An adjustment may provide improvements in these areas:

  • Sleep—Your body uses your downtime to repair the body. Poor sleep quality can affect your body’s ability to heal itself, impact your mood, and make you more susceptible to illness. Chiropractic care improves sleep by lowering the stress hormone cortisol, easing pain, and balancing your serotonin and dopamine, which are proven to help with insomnia.
  • Digestion—Misalignments in the spine can impact communication to the digestive system. The chiropractic manipulation techniques during your adjustment can also physically stimulate movement in the digestive organs to boost regularity.
  • Immune boost—Your nervous system and immune system work hand in hand to keep you feeling well. Chiropractic care improves communication between these systems for swift resolution and boosts the production of healing agents to help you fight off pathogens. It can also reduce stress levels, lowering your susceptibility to illness.
  • Stress—Chronic stress can affect everything from sleep to focus. Stress has been linked to several conditions, so controlling it is essential to feeling well. Fortunately, many patients report feeling more relaxed after their visits. This alternative medicine also rebalances stress hormones to improve feelings of anxiety.

Chiropractic care is a highly individualized treatment plan, so you may experience even more targeted benefits that boost your quality of life. At Total Body Chiropractic & Acupuncture, we are equipped to treat a number of conditions.

How Do Chiropractors Know Where to Adjust?

The medical professionals at Total Body use a range of chiropractic techniques to find the proper places to adjust. During your first visit, you will undergo various examinations:

Symptoms and Medical Analysis

Your chiropractor will ask for your complete medical history, including injuries, surgeries, and other complaints. Providing honest and thorough answers is crucial to receiving the best possible treatment. Knowing your symptoms can help your licensed chiropractor find connections and underlying causes of your problems.

These medical professionals may recommend x-rays and other imaging to pinpoint inflammation and other ailments before providing treatment.

Motion Palpation

When you think of chiropractic adjustments, you likely think of palpation. This action describes the use of light of deep touch to identify painful places and misalignments. Your chiropractor will test your response to varying pressure and manipulation to find these trouble spots. They typically work across three distinct planes of motion:

  1. Frontal—Front to back
  2. Traverse—Upper and lower body or top and bottom
  3. Sagittal—Left and right sides

During this assessment, they want to see how pain hinders movement in these three directions. They use two forms of palpation: static and motion. With static palpation techniques, you will remain still while they feel for dips, prominent misalignments of vertebrae, and muscle spasms. During motion palpation, you will complete basic movements while the healthcare professional feels how the vertebrae move, flex, and glide. If movement is poor or restricted, it indicates dysfunction.

Gait and Posture Evaluation

Your licensed chiropractor will also evaluate your gait (the pattern of walking and movement) and posture (your position while sitting or standing). This physical exam offers insight into your musculoskeletal system and its ability to adapt to strains and stressors. Your chiropractor may ask you to walk, sit, squat, lean, stand, and run to assess these factors.

Range of Motion

If your complaint has impacted your mobility and flexibility, your chiropractor will ask you to complete certain movements to assess your range of motion. These movements help them pinpoint the areas affected the most and see the extent of your joint function.

Next Steps: Chiropractic Treatment

After a complete evaluation, your chiropractor will begin treatment. You will undergo manual manipulation in several positions, ranging from face down, face up, and on each side. Your chiropractor may also use small tools to loosen muscles and provide more targeted results.

Although you may hear a cracking sound known as joint cavitation and feel varying pressure levels, chiropractic adjustments are not painful. Chiropractic adjustments work by stretching joints beyond their normal range of motion. This action causes gas bubbles to form within the synovial fluid, and when the pressure is reduced, it results in the pop or cracks associated with this spinal manipulation.

Your chiropractic treatment plan may also include other forms of physical therapy, including acupuncture and at-home exercises, depending on your condition.

How to Find a Chiropractor You Can Trust?

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The Graston technique can benefit athletes of all ages.

It is important to research and find a licensed chiropractor you can trust in Bend. You should look for these characteristics when making your decision:

  • Credentials—Credentials are vital when it comes to chiropractic care. Your chosen medical professional should have received their Doctor of Chiropractic degree from an accredited institution. This licensure ensures they have the training, skills, and experience to provide the best treatment. Sites like can give you a snapshot of this information and any history of malpractice or disciplinary action.
  • Experience—If you are seeking treatment for a specific condition, you should try to find a chiropractor with ample experience in the particular procedure. More experience means better outcomes for you. Inquire about how many patients they’ve treated with the condition, their successes, and any complications or risks.
  • Great referrals and reviews—Ask the people you trust most for their chiropractor referrals. Your primary care physician, physical therapists, and even family and friends can provide recommendations. Website reviews offers insight into experiences with ease of scheduling, wait times, friendliness, and more.
  • Comfortability—You should always feel comfortable asking healthcare professionals questions about the process. During your first visit, come with any questions you have and take note of their willingness to respond and provide in-depth answers.
  • Insurance Compatibility—Chiropractic care is an ongoing process, so affordability should factor into your decision. Finding a chiropractor who takes your insurance can help reduce your out-of-pocket costs and make regular care more attainable for you.

At Total Body Chiropractic & Acupuncture in Bend, we take pride in our licensed and experienced chiropractors. Our chiropractors have been practicing for over 20 years and deliver excellent results. We are always happy to answer any questions and ease your worries about chiropractic care. Schedule your initial appointment with us today and get on the path to a healthy, pain-free life.