By WIN Provider: Dr. Lauryn Friesen, Chiropractor


As a chiropractor one of the most common questions I am asked is: “What is a chiropractic adjustment?”.

A chiropractic adjustment also known as spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) is a controlled act performed by a chiropractor.


Chiropractors spend 4 years during school learning how to adjust many different joints from necks to ankles. It is a form of manual therapy where a chiropractor applies a high velocity (quick) low amplitude (shallow) thrust to a joint, usually using their hands.

A chiropractor can perform a chiropractic adjustment to a joint that is not moving as well as it should, where there is a restriction in range of motion or musculoskeletal pain.


Nothing is cracking or being relocated during an adjustment. A chiropractor brings the joint to its passive end range of motion and provides a very rapid thrust over a short distance or rotational area.


To visualize this try to extend your pointer finger as far backwards as you can, if you are like most people you can probably only get your finger to stand straight up or slightly extended. Now use your other pointer finger to push your finger backwards gently as far as you can, this is your fingers passive end range of motion. Now at this passive end range quickly push your finger backwards. Notice how you can extend your finger further backwards with the help of a very quick push. Of course chiropractic adjustments are more skilled than this, but it is helpful to visualize the general idea.


Another very common question is: “What is that sound during a chiropractic adjustment?

The fancy name for the sound is a cavitation.

Inside most of our joints there is a joint cavity filled with fluid called synovial fluid. During a chiropractic adjustment the two bony ends within the joint partially separate🡪 increasing the size of the joint cavity 🡪 decreasing the pressure inside of the joint.

This local reduction in pressure creates a gas bubble within the synovial fluid; which causes an audible pressure wave. This is the sound you may here during a chiropractic adjustment but do not need to hear for an adjustment to be effective.


Patients often feel an immediate release and relief as joints are restored to their motion, and pressure is released from the joint and its surrounding musculature.


Chiropractic adjustments can help to:


  • Remove restrictions in joint movement
  • Improve range of motion
  • Facilitate a receptor response to reduce pain perception
  • Loosen tight muscles surrounding a joint
  • Decrease musculoskeletal pains
  • Increase the release of feel good hormones- serotonin, dopamine and endorphins
  • And more….


Please remember chiropractic adjustments are just one of the many forms of therapy chiropractors provide in their individualized patient treatments and are not included in every patient’s Chiropractic treatment at WIN altra Health Clinic.

If you would like more information about how chiropractic adjustments can help you, call our clinic to arrange a FREE 15 minute consultation (in-clinic or virtual) with one of our WIN Chiropractic Doctors, or get started by booking an appointment with them at either our Niagara Falls or Fonthill location.