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12 Signs You Need a Chiropractic Adjustment

Updated: Feb 6


Signs you need a chiropractic adjustment - The Dearing Clinic


Everyday occurrences and discomforts from pain and stiffness to eye strain and even irritability may be signaling your need for a chiropractic adjustment. Learn the top 12 signs below.


Have you been feeling stiff and achy lately? Do you feel a persistent pain or discomfort in your body that seems to only worsen over time? These are often signs that you need a chiropractic adjustment. But they’re just the few of the ways your body is signaling that you need to help resync your body and brain through alignment. 


Learn all about 12 most common ways your body tries to communicate the need for proper alignment — from symptoms in your eyes all the way down to your toes!


How Chiropractic Adjustment Works

The most important thing to remember is that chiropractic care takes a holistic approach to healing your body, rooted in the belief that proper alignment of your musculoskeletal structure enables your body to heal itself naturally. 


While it’s commonly sought for pain-related issues, having a chiropractic adjustment branches out beyond this popular benefit due to the interconnected relationship between your spine and nervous system. 


Chiropractic adjustments aim to correct misalignments in the spine, known as subluxations, that occur due to poor posture, repetitive stress, or injuries. When a subluxation occurs, it can put pressure on the surrounding nerves, which often disrupts the communication between your brain and body. And this disruption can lead to a variety of symptoms, including pain, numbness, and even organ dysfunction.


During a chiropractic adjustment, a chiropractor will carefully evaluate your spine to identify any misalignments and then apply a specific force to the affected vertebrae using their hands or specialized instruments.


The force applied during your adjustment stimulates the proprioceptors in your joints and muscles surrounding the misaligned vertebrae in your spine. (Proprioceptors are sensory receptors that provide information about joint position and movement to your brain.) And by stimulating them, the chiropractor helps your brain recognize the misalignment and initiate the corrective response.


Once your vertebrae are realigned, it relieves the pressure on the surrounding nerves, which helps to improve the communication between your brain and body. This improved communication then promotes optimal functioning of your nervous system, which in turn supports your body's natural ability to heal itself and restore balance.


12 Signs You Need a Chiropractic Adjustment 

Now that you know how important proper alignment is for whole body health, let’s take a look at the top 12 signs you need to see a chiropractor. 


1. You’re experiencing limited range of motion. 

Have you ever tried to reach for something on a high shelf but felt a sharp pain in your shoulder that prevents you from fully extending your arm? This limited range of motion is frustrating and can hinder your daily activities. But you don’t have to live with that frustration and limitation.


If you find it difficult to move your body as you wish or feel restricted in certain movements, it may be a sign that your joints and muscles are not functioning optimally. Fortunately, a chiropractic adjustment can help improve your range of motion and restore your flexibility.


By seeking chiropractic care, you can uncover the underlying cause of your limited range of motion and receive targeted adjustments that help alleviate the issue.


2. You feel stiff.

If you often wake up stiff and uncomfortable, you may be experiencing misalignments in your spine that cause tension in your muscles. While many chalk this stiffness up to the aging process, every movement shouldn’t feel rigid and painful or make it difficult to start your day on a positive note. 


Whether your stiffness is due to poor posture, sedentary lifestyle, or a previous injury, getting an adjustment is often the first step in alleviating stiffness, restoring your body’s natural flexibility, and improving your overall comfort. 


Additionally, you may be surprised to learn that chronic stiffness can lead to muscle imbalances and compensatory movements, which can increase your risk of further injuries. In this case, seeking regular chiropractic adjustments can help prevent these imbalances from worsening and maintain a healthy range of motion.


3. Your muscles or joints hurt.

Whether it's a nagging lower back pain or aching joints, chronic muscle and joint pain can significantly impact your quality of life, leaving you both mentally and physically exhausted. But it doesn’t have to. Getting a chiropractic adjustment targets the root cause of the pain and helps to provide relief and support healing.


For many, persistent lower back pain can radiate down the leg — a type of pain known as sciatica. It can be caused by a herniated disc or a misalignment in the spine. By alleviating the pressure on the affected nerves, an adjustment can effectively support pain relief and promote the body's natural healing process.


And just as with stiffness, chronic muscle and joint pain can lead to more muscle imbalances and compensatory movements, which can further exacerbate your pain. By seeking regular chiropractic care, you can address these imbalances and restore proper function to your muscles and joints so you can enjoy your life again.


4. You’re having back, neck, or shoulder pain.

Back, neck, and shoulder pain are very common complaints that can be caused by different factors, including poor posture and muscle imbalances directly related to our everyday life.


For example, think about sitting at your desk for hours, hunched over your computer, and feeling a dull ache in your lower back or between your shoulder blades. After a while, the pain turns into neck stiffness and overall discomfort. Have you felt this before? 


This type of pain is often a result of poor posture and prolonged sitting — natural occurrences due to our modern sedentary lifestyles. Neglecting chiropractic care means that you're not addressing the root cause of your pain and potentially allowing it to worsen over time. Conversely, considering chiropractic care for shoulder pain, back pain, and neck pain can help realign your spine, thereby relieving pressure on the affected areas, reducing pain, and restoring proper function.


5. You’re experiencing intermittent big toe pain.

If you frequently experience pain in your big toe, it may be a result of falling arches or flat feet. And did you know that chiropractic adjustments can improve the alignment of your feet to help relieve pressure on your toes and reduce pain?


So, how does it work? An adjustment can help realign the bones and joints in your feet, restoring proper arch support and reducing the strain on your toes. 


But be warned: Neglecting fallen arches can lead to imbalances in your gait and posture, potentially causing pain and discomfort in other areas of your body as well, such as your knees, hips, and even your lower back. By addressing the root cause of your toe pain through chiropractic care, you can prevent these secondary issues from ever happening in the first place.


6. Your shoes wear unevenly.

Take a moment and look at the soles of your shoes. Is one side more worn out than the other? This uneven wear can be a sign that your gait and posture are imbalanced. It’s one of the most common early signs you need a chiropractic adjustment yet also one of the most missed.


Fortunately, by keeping an eye on your soles, you can determine if you’re in need of an adjustment to help correct these imbalances. And being proactive is critical, because neglecting to address these imbalances can lead to additional issues, such as joint degeneration, muscle imbalances, and increased risk of injuries. 


7. You’re having difficulty sleeping.

Experiencing insomnia or difficulty falling asleep can have a significant impact on your physical health and mental well-being. And while there are several known causes of problems with falling and/or staying asleep, did you know that misalignments in your spine can disrupt your body's natural sleep-wake cycle?


Here’s how it happens: The misalignments in your spine cause distortions in your body maps and pain signaling to your brain. Then, when your body compensates for those misalignments and distortions, it creates diaschisis, or a sudden change in the function of specific portions of your brain that are connected to other areas in your body. 


Now, your body’s circadian rhythm (your natural sleep-wake cycle during a 24-hour period) is managed by your hypothalamus, which is also responsible for supporting your ability to handle stress, among other things. Any stress or imbalance in your body can create more burden on this part of your brain, therefore impacting your body’s ability to follow its circadian rhythm. The result? You’ll often begin to experience trouble falling and/or staying asleep.


Remember, getting a chiropractic adjustment helps to restore proper alignment in your spine, allowing for optimal communication between your brain and body. And by resyncing your brain and body, you can improve your sleep quality, reduce insomnia, and wake up feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.


8. You’re feeling irritable and/or moody.

As we discussed above, misalignments in your spine can disrupt the normal function of your nervous system — and this can lead to mood swings and irritability. While the physiological explanation revolves around brain circuitry and can be quite complex, the parts of your brain that perceive physical suffering from your body are your posterior cingulate gyrus and insula. The other side of your cingulate gyrus (the anterior cingulate gyrus) is located just underneath your frontal lobes and orbitofrontal cortex, which essentially manage your emotional states and perception of emotion.


Due to this close proximity, anytime ongoing or constant pain is perceived anywhere in your cingulate gyrus, it will most likely eventually lead to feeling hopeless and lacking motivation. In fact, this is the very reason research has shown that chronic pain is directly related to poor moods while pain relief is associated with improvements in mood. 


Interestingly, other studies have shown that the ability to improve your posture and maintain an upright position is linked to reduced fatigue, reduced anxiety, and a decrease in self-focus in those with diagnosed mild-to-moderate depression. This further supports the importance of maintaining proper spinal alignment for mood stabilization benefits. Essentially, by improving your alignment, you’re improving both your bodily awareness and the stimulation your anterior cingulate gyrus, which holds spatial memory awareness.


9. You’re fatigued.

If you constantly feel tired and lack energy, it may be a sign that your body is not functioning optimally. The great news is that you don’t have to depend on sugar-laden caffeinated drinks to get you through the day. Because chiropractic adjustments can improve the communication between your brain and body, they’re also helpful for boosting energy levels and reducing fatigue.


While many factors influence fatigue, getting a chiropractic adjustment is well known to help with reducing stress hormones, increasing immune balance, and improving blood flow to the brain, all of which positively impact energy levels and thereby improve fatigue.


Neglecting to address fatigue can lead to a variety of health issues and negatively impact your immune function, cognitive abilities, and risk of accidents. It can even affect your ability to maintain a healthy weight. But by making sure your brain and body are in sync through alignment, you can address the root cause of your fatigue and maintain optimal overall health.


10. You’re battling brain fog.

If you often struggle with brain fog, lack of focus, and making decisions, you’ll be excited to learn that getting a chiropractic adjustment is a great first step in regaining your mental clarity. Misalignments in your spine can impact the blood flow and oxygenation to your brain, leading to brain fog. 


A study published in 2019 showed that a deviation to the natural curve of the spine in the neck (a condition known as cervical lordosis) restricts blood flow to the brain and that correction of this issue is associated with an immediate increase in cerebral blood flow. Additionally, other research revealed that approximately three months of chiropractic adjustments significantly improved cervical lordosis and overall neck alignment.


But by realigning your spine, adjustments can promote improved blood flow and oxygenation, resulting in enhanced cognitive function.


11. You’re experiencing eye strain.

In our modern times, we often spend hours in front of a computer screen. At the end of a long work day, it’s common for your eyes to feel tired and strained. This eye strain can be caused by poor posture and tension in your neck and upper back, which can affect the alignment of your spine. 


Getting an adjustment can help alleviate tension in your neck and upper back by realigning your spine and reducing any restrictions on your spine and nervous system. And by ensuring your body is aligned and working in sync, you can avoid many of the common consequences of eye strain, including chronic headaches, blurred vision, and other visual disturbances. 


12. You get headaches frequently.

The average person gets a minor headache once or twice a week. But when it happens more often, frequent or chronic headaches can be debilitating and affect your daily life. And migraines, a common type of severe headache, is even more debilitating, resulting in nausea, extreme pain, and sensitivity to light and sound. 


So, how can a chiropractic adjustment help to eliminate frequent headaches? The pain you experience during a headache is caused from inflammation in the nerves that provide sensation to your head. And when you’re out of alignment, these nerves can be restricted, causing inflammation. Additionally, your joints aren’t moving through their normal range of motion, which causes muscle tension. As a result, your head sensation nerves can become trapped in between your muscle or myofascial layers as they pass from the spine and up over the head or into the jaw, causing further pain.


Fortunately, by receiving an adjustment, you regain your normal range of movement, your brain realizes the nerves are no longer inflamed, and the pain resolves. 


Signs you need a chiropractic adjustment - The Dearing Clinic

What to Know About Your Chiropractic Adjustment

At The Dearing Clinic, we perform a thorough examination to fully assess your individual needs prior to your adjustment. Due to our integrative approach, we focus on the whole body and place a priority on the connection between your brain and body. But if you’re wanting to know more about the actual adjustment process, here’s a quick overview of what to expect during a chiropractic adjustment for commonly treated areas such as your back, neck, and shoulders.


Back or Neck Adjustment

First, it’s important to know there are many different techniques to both a back adjustment and a neck adjustment. But the most effective technique that a chiropractor should use to adjust your back or neck is the one that makes you feel the most comfortable. 


During your first back or neck adjustment, the first technique should not come as a surprise or a trick with a big popping sound, especially in the neck. While neck adjustments are safe, a sudden movement or loud sound can cause unnecessary fear and apprehension for any patient.


Make sure to communicate with your chiropractor about your level of comfort and ensure that they’re treating your whole system properly. 


Shoulder Adjustment

Shoulder adjustments are different from most other joints, as your shoulder has the most range of motion of any joint in your body. As a result, it has less stability and is more vulnerable to injury, especially from wear and tear through repetitive movements or strains and poor postural control of your shoulder blade. 


When you receive a shoulder adjustment, you may be surprised to learn that your chiropractor is actually adjusting the joints of your spinal ribs and collar bone that succumbed to postural weakness in your upper back and neck or cervical spine. In order to maximize your shoulder function and stability, you must rehabilitate the muscle control of your shoulder blade and neck.


When done correctly, the adjustments of your upper thoracic spine and ribs associated with shoulder dysfunction provides the most satisfying feeling out of all the areas that can be adjusted on your body. It feels very relieving, like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders, both literally and figuratively.


Understanding the Importance of Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic care is not just about treating symptoms; rather, it’s about optimizing your body's natural ability to heal and function at its best. By addressing the root cause of your discomfort, chiropractic adjustments can provide long-lasting relief and improve your overall well-being. 

Now that you are aware of the signs that you may need an adjustment, consider scheduling an appointment to learn more about how a personalized treatment plan can address your concerns. Take the first step towards better health today!


Key Takeaways

  • When your brain and body are out of rhythm, your body sends signals to let you know that you need to help resync it with your brain through alignment. 

  • Some of the top signs you need a chiropractic adjustment include experiencing limited range of motion, stiffness, pain, trouble sleeping, fatigue, brain fog, moodiness, eye strain, headaches, and even noticing that the soles on your shoes wear down differently.

  • If you haven't had an adjustment before, some of the most commonly treated areas include your neck, back, and shoulders. Make sure to communicate with your chiropractor about your pesonal needs and comfort level to ensure the best experience.

  • Remember that chiropractic care isn't just about treating symptoms but optimizing the health of your whole body to ensure you're functioning at your best possible level.

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