The term “adjustment” refers to the specific manipulation doctors apply to vertebrae that have abnormal movement patterns or fail to function normally. The objective of the treatment is to reduce the subluxation, which results in an increased range of motion, reduced nerve irritability and improved function.
The adjustment made by the doctor consists of a high velocity, short lever arm thrust applied to a vertebra, which is often accompanied by an audible release of gas (joint cavitation). The audible sound is caused by the release of oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide, which releases joint pressure (cavitation). The sensation is usually relieving, though minor discomfort has been reported (that usually lasts for only a short time duration) if the surrounding muscles are in spasm or the patient tenses up during the procedure.