• Misalignment: Are our bones “out of place”?

  • One of the biggest misunderstandings about chiropractic is that the bones are out of place and are being adjusted back into place. Allow me to clarify.

    Chiropractors often over-simplify the explanation of an adjustment or miscommunicate the idea of the “bone being out of place.” Frankly, this is not what is happening. Chiropractors often adjust areas of misalignment, as these areas are typically where the pain occurs. However, while an x-ray may show that your spine is misaligned, the idea that one or more bones can be realigned in one visit makes no sense.

    Joint Anatomy

    First, let us consider the anatomy of the joint. Strong joint capsules (made of ligaments) connect the vertebra bone-to-bone. Muscles are attached to bones by a tendon or fascia, and they cross over joints and connect to the next bone. It is the contraction of muscles that moves our body and joints. Muscles, ligaments, tendons, and fascia all have a certain amount of elasticity; that is the ability to stretch and return to normal length, just like a rubber band. Additionally, some of the tissues are more elastic than others, depending on function and location in the body.

    Try This!

    Bend your finger sideways; it is now certainly misaligned. Now stop bending it. Your finger returns to its original position. Why? The surrounding ligaments do not instantly change length. A similar example is constructed when considering an NFL football game. The players are not all bent sideways after the game. Their joints are inflamed and their muscles are sore, but the ligaments hold their bones in alignment.

    Now, attempt to do the splits; some people can but most cannot. How many yoga classes do you think it would take you to do the splits? Depending on your inherent flexibility, it could take years as soft tissue can’t change length instantly. The same is true for the tissue in and around the joints of your spine. It takes multiple adjustments and stretching/traction to alter the elastic qualities and the length of the soft tissue!

    Misalignment Adjustments

    So what IS a chiropractic adjustment doing? The adjustment is relaxing the muscles, breaking up adhesions, and allowing built-up chemicals to flow from the tissues. This allows the joint to move more efficiently, without actually changing the bones’ position. Ultimately, chiropractors are not pushing bones back into place. Rather chiropractors are increasing the joint’s range-of-motion!

    As always, check with your trusted chiropractor if chiropractic adjustments can help treat pain.  Choose chiropractic before medication and surgery and visit our website, like us on Facebook, Instagram, or call us for an appointment.