“The adjustment is a universal force which the innate intelligence of the body changes (invests with new character) into an innate force. It uses that force to move a bone from the position in which the innate intelligence cannot move it to correct the vertebral subluxation and reduce the nerve interference to one in which it can and will correct the vertebral subluxation.” -Joe Strauss, DC

No, Chiropractic Adjustments should not hurt and the purpose behind the adjustment is to facilitate a small alteration or movement within the spinal joint that is not functioning properly so that the end result is the spinal dynamics is better adapting.

The misbelief about chiropractic adjustments hurting stems from a misconception about the purpose of the chiropractic adjustment.

Receiving chiropractic adjustments should only focus on the spinal joints that have a state of dysfunction-a joint interfering with the neurodynamics (vertebral subluxation).

Chiropractic adjustments facilitate normal function, they should not disturb normal function within the spine.

It’s important to remember that chiropractic adjustments follow two pivotal principles in health care ethics; nonmaleficence and beneficence.

Nonmaleficence is an ethical principle within health care that means do no harm intentionally. Chiropractors are all trained in their Doctorate of Chiropractic  to do no harm intentionally. Chiropractors have extensive knowledge and experience in anatomy and physiology along with proper protocols for delivering safe and effective chiropractic adjustments.

Not to mention that the along with the Chiropractor’s intention of not causing harm, a study in 2017 found that the most common adverse event that occurs with chiropractic adjustments are soft tissue soreness and same-day tiredness.1

Beneficence is an ethical principle within health care that means do good or contribute to their welfare. Personally speaking, I became a Chiropractor because I have an internal drive to help people. I would bet that most if not all Chiropractors share that similar internal drive that they want to to do no harm intentionally.

In chiropractic, each adjustment follows the principles of doing no harm and contribute to the good or welfare of the individual receiving care.

To address the misconception about chiropractic adjustments hurting, lets discuss the process of the chiropractic adjustment.

Chiropractors locate and facilitate the correction of spinal joints that have characteristics of misalignment compared to the joint above or below, loss of segmental range of motion, and neurological interference to the the surrounding nerve tissue. These dysfunctional joints are termed “vertebral subluxation.”

Subluxation can irritate the nerve tissue around the spine which can lead to a disruption in normal function within the neurological system. When subluxation is left uncorrected, it can disrupt normal function within the body, including the joint itself. When subluxation is located and the adjustment is facilitated, proper alignment, motion and protection of the delicate neurological system is accomplished.

Chiropractic adjustments allow the body’s innate intelligence to restore proper relationship within the spinal joints due to the proper delivery of constructive forces being delivered by the Chiropractor.

As Joseph Strauss, DC states;

“The adjustment is a universal force which the innate intelligence of the body changes (invests with new character) into an innate force. It uses that force to move a bone from the position in which the innate intelligence cannot move it to correct the vertebral subluxation and reduce the nerve interference to one in which it can and will correct the vertebral subluxation.”

The goal with chiropractic adjustments is to facilitate a process from adjusting to a negative functional state to a positive functional state with each adjustment.  This process of moving from negative to positive is engrained into our physiology since conception. In chiropractic we refer to it as the innate intelligence of the body, but you could also refer to it as the law of active organization that is demonstrated throughout biology.

The law of active organization within the universe applies to the human body as cells, tissues, organs and organ systems all show a level of order and structure.  The unique aspect of living organisms is the ability to actively stay organized.

In our body, there is an innate intelligence that is actively keeping us in a state of organization and vertebral subluxation is interfering with this principle. Since there is interference to this principle of active organization, there are built in mechanisms and reflexes that will attempt to self correct or self heal this dysfunction state of tissue. No different than cutting your finger, your innate intelligence will start the process of healing that tissue as soon as its damaged.

“In every living thing there is an innate intelligence guiding it on the path to health.” —Terry Rondberg, DC

This path back to health takes place within the spine and Chiropractors attempt to work with it to find exactly where the interference is and where they can facilitate the process back to health.

When the chiropractic adjustment is facilitated alongside this inner intelligence of self correcting or self healing vertebral subluxation-the process being adjusted feels restorative and assistive.

Chiropractic adjustments should not hurt, but sometimes healing and restoration requires change and change can be symptomatic. Feeling sore, tired or just different may not be what you are looking for if you’re currently compensating for stress right now-but similar to the old statement, “no pain-no gain” sometimes soreness and or pain is a sign that healing is occuring.

Our body’s active organization is always attempting to maintain an inner state of harmony and trying to adapt to the highest degree possible to those external or internal invasive forces that are breakdown cells and tissues.

This inner perfection is striving for a friendly state of health and structure. It’s striving for more cells and tissues that work together. Our body’s inner recuperative power or innate intelligence is constantly striving for making the body to be as good as it possible can be.

Chiropractors strive for working alongside this process and when moving you from a state of disharmony to harmony-the adjustment should and most of the time feels restorative.

  1. Adverse events in a chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy single-blinded, placebo, randomized controlled trial for migraineurs. Musculoskelet Sci Pract. 2017 Jun;29:66-71. doi: 10.1016/j.msksp.2017.03.003. Epub 2017 Mar 14. Chaibi A, Benth JRŠ, Tuchin PJ, Russell MB. Retrieved from <www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov>.2. Cassidy JD, Boyle E, Côté P, Hogg-Johnson S, Bondy SJ, Haldeman S. Risk of Carotid Stroke after Chiropractic Care: A Population-Based Case-Crossover Study. J Stroke Cerebrovasc Dis. 2017 Apr;26(4):842-850. doi: 10.1016/j.jstrokecerebrovasdis.2016.10.031. Epub 2016 Nov 21. Retrieved from <www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov>
Trent Scheidecker, DC

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Trent Scheidecker, DC | ChiroWay of Woodbury | Owner & Chiropractor
Trent Scheidecker, DC frequently visited his chiropractor when he was in high school and knew the benefits he experienced were worth the time and investment to become a chiropractor. He wanted to help his community experience a higher quality of life through regular chiropractic care. In 2010 Trent founded ChiroWay in Woodbury and since that time has served over 3,000 clients. He has been named “Best of Woodbury” in Woodbury Magazine seven times. Trent has also mentored colleagues in practice and franchised ChiroWay in 2012. Today, there are 8 ChiroWay locations throughout Minnesota.

The information in our articles are not intended to diagnose, mitigate or prescribe the use of any technique as a form of treatment for any physical conditions, symptoms or diseases. Directly consult with a qualified health care professional for any chiropractic or medical advice. In addition to the benefits of chiropractic care, one should also be aware of the existence of some risks. Risks associated with some chiropractic care may include soreness, musculoskeletal sprain/strain, and fracture. In addition, there have been reported cases of stroke associated with chiropractic care. Research and scientific evidence does not establish a cause and effect relationship between chiropractic care and the occurrence of stroke; rather studies indicate that people may be consulting chiropractors when they are in the early states of a stroke. In essence, there is a stroke already in process. However, you are being informed of this reported risk.