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Chiropractic Adjustment in Scottsdale

If you have back pain, you may benefit from chiropractic care provided by Arizona Chiropractic & Holistic Health Center, serving Scottsdale, Arizona and the surrounding area. Chiropractic care is a traditional, non-medicated approach to health care that focuses on getting to the root of the problem. And at Arizona Chiropractic, we believe in taking a modern approach to the traditional.

Woman Receiving a Chiropractic Adjustment
  • Overview

Chiropractic care is an alternative medical approach that consists of a specialist correcting “subluxations,” which occur when the vertebrae in your spine shift, leading to pain and pinched nerves.

A chiropractic adjustment or alignment is a quick maneuver in which a force is applied to a joint in a specific vector or line. The joint is pushed past restricted ranges of motion but not far enough to cause any damage or dislocate the joint [1] . This dynamic thrust of sudden force may be accompanied by an audible release and is intended to increase range of motion [2] , reduce pain and improve performance.

The points of the body where two bones come together are called “Joints.” These joints have two main functions: allow mobility of the skeletal system and to provide a protective enclosure for vital organs. [3]

There are a variety of reasons why joints to lose their normal function and motion.
D.D. Palmer hypothesized that these small misalignments impeded the body’s functions; specifically, the ability to self-heal [4] .

Chiropractic care aims to prevent or reduce pain and injury, increase or restore range of motion, improve joint function, aide the nervous system [5] and increase performance; while keeping treatment conservative and trying to avoid excessive drugs, surgery or other more invasive measures.

Chiropractic has been in the United States, Canada, and Australia for many years [6] . In 1896, D.D. Palmer was working in his office in Davenport, Iowa when he came across the building’s janitor, Harvey Lillard. Mr. Lillard had severe hearing problems. Palmer had a theory that there was a connection between Mr. Lillard’s hearing problems and a lump in his back [7] ; so, when Palmer treated Mr. Lillard [8] , his hearing was restored and chiropractic was born [9] .

Typically, chiropractic care uses a combination of manual manipulation and exercise therapy to get to the root of the problem, so you no longer have pain and are able to move comfortably.

  • What does chiropractic care treat?

While chiropractic care is great for accidents, falls and trauma causes the joints to lose their normal function and range of motion, many everyday activities such as poor posture, desk ergonomics, poor sleeping habits, improper lifting technique, chemical imbalances, and emotional stress are also common culprits.

When the joints lose their function, they also affect additional anatomical structures including surrounding muscles, ligaments, soft tissues, bones, discs, and delicate nerves.

Chiropractic adjustments are great for treating conditions like:

  • Lower back pain

  • Neck pain (including whiplash)

  • Pain in the middle of your back

  • Headaches

  • Sports injury

  • Car accidents

Chiropractic care may also benefit:

  • Asthma

  • Dizziness

  • Disequilibrium

  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

  • Low energy levels

  • Headaches

  • Migraines

  • Ulcers

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or Request an Appointment Online

  • Risk factors

Since Chiropractic care is all natural, you won’t typically experience any side effects, except for possibly minor discomfort that goes away over time. This particular treatment works with your body to get to the root of your problem. It doesn’t mask it like pain relievers do.
Risks associated with chiropractic adjustments are listed below as summaries of both common and rare side-effects/complications associated with chiropractic care:

Common. [10] [11] (usually will self-resolve within 48 hours)

  • local soreness/discomfort (53%)

  • headaches (12%)

  • tiredness (11%)

  • radiating discomfort (10%)

  • dizziness

Rare [12] [13]

  • Fractures or joint injuries in outlying cases with latent physical defects, deformities or pathologies

  • Physiotherapy burns caused by some therapies

  • Disc herniations

  • Cauda Equina Syndrome [11] (1 case per 100 million adjustments)
  • Compromise of the vertebrobasilar artery (i.e., stroke) (1 case per 400,000 to 1 million cervical spine adjustments).

    This risk is additionally found with consulting a medical doctor for patients under age 45 and is higher for those over age 45 when seeing a medical doctor.

  • Make sure to let your doctor know if you have headache or neck pain that is the worst you have every felt [12]
  • How you prepare

There is no special preparation needed before a chiropractic adjustment; however, attire can be important.
While you can be treated in a variety of different clothing styles, there are some general guidelines. If you are getting soft tissue work done, the area of treatment should be easily accessible.

After your first few visits, you will get an idea of good attire.
You will have to fill out intake paperwork and you’ll need to schedule an evaluation.

General tips for what to wear include:

  • Clothes that are loose fitting

  • Sneakers or flats

  • thin/stretchy fabric (leggings, yoga pants)

  • sweatpants

  • gym shorts

  • shorts

  • pants

If possible, try to avoid wearing:

  • tight clothing

  • dresses or skirts

  • high heels

  • pantyhose or shape-wear

  • work boots

  • jewelry

  • a suit jacket or tie

  • tight belts

  • layered

  • bulky or delicate clothing

  • before the procedure

During the initial visit, your chiropractor will ask questions about your problem and do an exam.

After the exam, your chiropractor will give you a diagnosis, discuss treatment options, answer any questions you may have, or refer you out to another healthcare provider.
The initial visit is the longest due to the need for examination. Subsequent visits are much shorter.

The goals of the evaluation include:

  • Diagnosis of the problem
  • Identify anything that would be a contraindication to care

Specific tests/procedures you may undergo include:

  • Orthopedic testing
  • Reflex testing
  • Range of motion testing
  • Imaging studies such as x-ray
  • A general health exam
  • How are chiropractic treatments administered?

A traditional spinal alignment, or high-velocity (quick), low-amplitude (short) thrusts done by hand and are a skill dependent upon the practitioner’s level of skill and ability to control duration and magnitude of the load [14] .

Alternative chiropractic adjustments include a “low force” category and may involve the use of a tool such as an activator or an arthostim.
There are a variety of adjustive techniques used by chiropractors. Our chiropractor uses the following chiropractic techniques:

Diversified technique.

the most common technique used by chiropractors [15] involving the chiropractor realigning the spine manually. As mentioned above, it is your “traditional” chiropractic adjustment [16] involving its signature high-velocity, low-amplitude thrust. The movements are forceful, but not hard and damaging. The deep thrusts often cause the “popping” noises people associate with chiropractic care. The technique was largely delineated due to Joe Janse, DC in 1947 when he wrote the book, Chiropractic Principles and Technic [17] .

Thompson drop technique.

uses a special treatment table researched and developed by Dr. J. Clay Thompson. The treatment table is segmented and has mechanisms that allow these segments to raise the patient’s body about one-quarter of an inch. Next, the chiropractor drops your spine back down to realign it. The drop segments of the table increase the speed of the adjustment as well as allow for some specialized adjustments. The table also eliminates the need to move you during your alignment, so you experience limited discomfort.

Activator technique.

uses a device-assisted technique known as The Activator Method. This particular alignment uses a tool known as the Activator Adjusting Tool developed by the creator of the technique, Arlan Fuhr, as an alternative to the traditional chiropractic adjustment. The Activator is a small, hand-held, spring-loaded instrument [18] . The activator method is also one of the most researched adjustment methods. Since the activator is a low force technique, it is a great alternative for people looking for a gentler adjustment or who prefer not to be adjusted by hand.


another handheld adjusting instrument. It varies from the activator in that instead of delivering a single thrust through a spring mechanism, it can deliver multiple incremental thrusts per second. The total energy of a single thrust of the instrument is divided over multiple smaller ones which modulates the force making it feel gentler.

  • After spinal adjustment

After your Chiropractic adjustment, you may experience some minor side effects such as headaches, fatigue or local pain at the treatment site. These symptoms are normal and usually last 24-48 hours.
There are typically no restrictions after chiropractic adjustments. You will be able to resume normal activities or go back to work after receiving a chiropractic adjustment.

  • Chiropractic adjustment success rates

People generally have a sense of relief, a decrease in tension, decreased pain and increased range of motion after chiropractic adjustments.
When chiropractic is coupled with additional therapies such as massage or soft tissue work people experience improved results.


  1. Keating JC Jr (2005). "A brief history of the chiropractic profession". In Haldeman S, Dagenais S, Budgell B, et al. (eds.). Principles and Practice of Chiropractic (3rd ed.). McGraw-Hill. pp. 23–64. ISBN 978-0-07-137534-4.
  2. Winkler K, Hegetschweiler-Goertz C, Jackson PS, et al. (2003). "Spinal manipulation policy statement" (PDF). American Chiropractic Association. Archived from the original(PDF) on 2011-07-20. Retrieved 2008-05-24.
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  5. Nelson CF, Lawrence DJ, Triano JJ, Bronfort G, Perle SM, Metz RD, Hegetschweiler K, LaBrot T (2005). "Chiropractic as spine care: a model for the profession". Chiropractic & Osteopathy. 13 (1): 9. doi:10.1186/1746-1340-13-9PMC 1185558PMID 16000175.
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  7. "D.D. Palmer's Lifeline" (PDF).
  8. Palmer D.D., The Science, Art and Philosophy of Chiropractic. Portland, Oregon: Portland Printing House Company, 1910.
  9. Martin SC (October 1993). "Chiropractic and the social context of medical technology, 1895-1925". Technology and Culture. 34 (4): 808–34. doi:10.2307/3106416JSTOR 3106416PMID 11623404.
  10. Thiel HW, Bolton JE, Docherty S, Portlock JC. Safety of chiropractic manipulation of the cervical spine: a prospective national survey. Spine, Oct 1 2007; 32(21):2375-2378; discussion 2379.
  11. Rubinstein SM, Leboeuf-Yde C, Knol DL, de Koekkoek TE, Pfeifle CE, van Tulder MW. The benefits outweigh the risks for patients undergoing chiropractic care for neck pain: a prospective, multicenter, cohort study. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. Jul-Aug 2007; 30(6):408-418.
  12. Cassidy JD, Boyle E, Cote P, et al. Risk of vertebrobasilar stroke and chiropractic care: results of a population-based case-control and case-crossover study. Spine. Feb 15 2008; 33(4 Suppl):S176-183,
  13. Boyle E. Cote P, Grier AR, Cassidy JO. Examining vertebrobasilar artery stroke in two Canadian provinces. Spine. Feb 15 2008; 33(4 Suppl):S170-175.
  14. World Health Organization (2005). WHO guidelines on basic training and safety in chiropractic (PDF)ISBN 978-92-4-159371-7. Retrieved 2008-02-29.
  15. Technique Systems in Chiropractic – Cooperstein & Gleberzon
  16. Christensen MG, Kollasch MW (2005). "Professional functions and treatment procedures" (PDF). Job Analysis of Chiropractic. Greeley, CO: National Board of Chiropractic Examiners. pp. 121–38. ISBN 978-1-884457-05-0. Archived from the original (PDF)on October 2, 2008.
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