I used to called it “cracking.” And every time, he’d correct me. “It’s an adjustment. We’re in the business of making adjustments around here.” That business, being healthcare. Chiropractic care, to be exact. I’ve since learned that you don’t crack your back, neck, knuckles, etc. You don’t break yourself. You just release the tension, and that’s called an adjustment.
A few weeks ago, I went in for some emergency adjustments for my back. “Your alignment is off by about an inch, you know,” he said. I knew something was off. And believed full well that my condition was simply a physical manifestation of the past few months. While I was in for treatment, I watched my chiropractor make an adjustment to a patient’s neck, injured from a recent car accident. I watched as he felt her neck, touching gently on the spine and underneath the skull. He rotated her head back and forth, back and forth, as he listened intently to the movement of the bone structure, even over the sound of his nonstop chatter. Some things can be heard without making a sound, I thought. Finally, with a swift move of his hands and sharp tilt of her neck, he made an adjustment.
When the patient left, I asked him, “What do you feel for when you do that?”
“Make an adjustment.”
He smiled at the proper terminology. “I feel for the weak points, where the muscles are tender.”
Body tissue is an incredible thing. It is unbelievably layered, webbed, connected and weaved that if you ever injure the bones below that, it will take a very long time to rehabilitate. More often than not, any time you make an adjustment at the structural level, it will take days, weeks and months to restore the path that cut through your body’s fabric. Hence, the tender muscles. They’re in repair mode, rebuilding and protecting at the same time, trying to avoid any further fundamental shifts. Of course, these shifts are necessary when you’re out of alignment. Because it’s way worse when you’re off by nearly an inch; muscles and tendons and hamstrings start overcompensating for whatever the obvious misplacement is. You become tight and your range of motion is severely limited. You have a tough time moving and standing up straight. Walking is problematic and sitting gives you sharp, shooting pains. Anything but the sharp shooting pains; signals fired directly from your nervous system. You’re a live wire. And it’s a weakness if you’re not properly aligned.
It is not, however, a broken disposition. That’d be cracking, a resounding blow that separates.