Has Your Chiro Ever Said “You don’t need adjusted today?”

When I was in chiropractic school trying to figure out HOW I wanted to adjust people, I had to ask myself some pretty hard questions. One burning question that always went through my mind was “How do I know that I NEED an adjustment?!” It seemed like you could walk into any chiropractic office on any given day, get adjusted, walk down the street to another chiro, get adjusted, and you could repeat that ALL DAY LONG! If an adjustment is helping to correct the problem, then why would every single chiropractor in that string of visits tell me I need an adjustment?! That makes you wonder: Are they lying to me? Did the first adjustment not do its job? Am I really THAT messed up?! I have to think that patients think this way, too….unless I am the only crazy one.😉 I did not feel comfortable with assessment methods that did not allow for the possibility that someone could NOT need an adjustment. There are absolutely moments in time when the body is doing a perfectly good job on its own and needs no intervention at all!

I had a patient come in yesterday that did not need adjusted after I did my assessment. It was “gold star” moment on their chart! Believe it or not, that patient was EXCITED to see that their body was holding their adjustment, and it was a good sign that they can go a longer time frame between adjustments! That is the entire goal in the adjusting process. I WANT your body to be adapting to the environment on its own, without assistance. However, if I did not have good, sound, objective measures to help me determine that, then I would probably just adjust you every single time I saw you! That’s often what gives chiropractors a bad name in terms of people thinking that they have to go five million times over the next 10 years.

While treating people in clinic, I worked really hard to find methods of evaluation that would allow me to KNOW when their nervous system was failing to adapt. There were times when I would see patients multiple times before they ever got a single adjustment. As a student trying to get my adjustment numbers in, that could be frustrating; however, I was positive that they were not being over-adjusted and that I was not influencing the nervous system when it was already doing a great job! I think it was important for me to develop that skill because it would be absurd for me to adjust every single person that walks into my office, every visit, and assume that they “needed” it. The body is an amazing creation, and most of the time, it doesn’t take much to put it on the right path for healthy function.

Having said that, there are tons of things that contribute to whether you need adjusted: posture, diet, work, stress, etc. If these sources of stress to the body are not kept in balance, then you probably need adjusted more often. Poor posture breeds bad patterns in your neurology, therefore, you are reinforcing a bad pattern in your body for 23 hours and 55 minutes when I only get 5 minutes to have an influence. What you decide to do in your own time makes a much bigger difference in how healthy you are, if you need adjusted, and how good you feel. Adjustments are meant to supplement a healthy lifestyle when the body needs a little help adapting. If you get both hips, both sides of the neck, 2 areas in the midback, etc adjusted EVERY SINGLE time you walk into the chiro’s office, I have to wonder if you needed every single area adjusted?

This is simply food for thought. I love chiropractic. I love adjusting people. However, I do find that people respond better to care when they are ONLY getting adjusted WHAT they need adjusted, WHEN it needs adjusted. People’s body’s have patterns, so it is very feasible that you will often need similar spots adjusted….just probably not every single time. Most people have no idea if their chiropractor is evaluating whether they need adjusted because it happens without you knowing it most of the time! They check your leg lengths, they may scan temperature, they may have you perform actions in order to elicit response. It is all part of determining whether or not a patient needs adjusted. However, it is also our job to address the underlying issues if someone is constantly needing adjusted. There is a reason that you are not holding your adjustment, and it could be anything from work to diet. These issues need addressed or you are just using chiropractic like an expensive aspirin. YOU have the biggest impact on your health and your chiropractor is simply there to help you along the way, not do it for you.

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