How Does a Chiropractor Know Which Adjustments To Make?

Too many chiropractic patients think they are going to be adjusted the same way as the last patient, but that is not true. Chiropractors go through an examination with every patient to determine which adjustments need to be made and how frequently they should be done. There are a lot of steps to these examinations, though they typically don’t last very long.

Manual Examination

Chiropractors are experts at feeling different areas of the body and recognizing when there’s an issue. Their hands help them get the truth about the pain the patient is feeling. They also ask the patient to do some exercises so they can physically see the range of motion and other movements that might indicate which adjustments are needed.

Diagnostic Tools

Not every chiropractor, like from Mid-Atlantic Spinal Rehab & Chiropractic, uses diagnostic tools to determine a patient’s adjustment needs, but many do. These tools are meant to find points of pressure that will assist in recovery. They show which nerves are suffering and which will benefit the most from an adjustment. Some diagnostic measures might include diagnostic thermography, inclinometry, surface electromyography and more.


Palpation is a technique that gauges impeded motion in different parts of the body. Is motion impeded when the patient is still? How about when the patient is moving? Is the area tender? Does the muscle tone change? These are all things the chiropractor will look at when implementing palpation.

Other Tests

Depending on your situation, the chiropractor might enlist the help of other tests to determine your course of action and healing. These tests might include MRIs, x-rays, a urinalysis or a blood test. These tests are less common than the other steps mentioned previously, and are typically used when the patient is experiencing severe pain, has recently had surgery or has recently been in a serious accident.

Medical History

A patient’s medical history is always taken into consideration when the chiropractor is determining an adjustment schedule. If he or she has a history of back problems, the chiropractor might make different adjustments than he or she would for someone who has never had back problems before. If a patient has a family history of a certain disease, the chiropractor might not order some of the same diagnostic tests as he or she would for another patient.

Contacting Your Chiropractor

As you can see, chiropractic adjustments are very individualized. If you are experiencing pain and feel it may be properly treated with chiropractic care, contact a chiropractor today to schedule an appointment.