In the expansive chiropractic universe, there are two terms floating around in the “chirosphere” that describe what it is that we do. Those terms are an adjustment and manipulation. Take a moment and repeat those two in your mind and ask yourself, which is more appealing to you? Based on connotation alone, I believe you would choose the former rather than the later any day. I would too and I’d like to take a moment to explain why it matters.
ma·nip·u·late verb \mə-ˈni-pyə-ˌlāt\
: to use or change in a skillful way or for a particular purpose
: to control or play upon by artful, unfair, or insidious means especially to one’s own advantage
You never hear of anyone that relishes in the idea of being manipulated. There are no bragging rights, awards, kudos, or anything of the sort associated with the word. Synonyms of the root word manipulate include: exploit, bluff, beguile, shanghai (my favorite), defraud, swindle….and so on and so forth. You get the point. So no, although one literal definition means “to use or change in a skillful way or for a particular purpose”, you still, by all means, do no want to be manipulated. So when someone uses the phrase, “I had my neck manipulated”, I can’t help but cringe. It conjures up spine-chilling early memories of watching Linda Blair in The Exorcist, rotating her head a full 360 degrees at a much too early age of 6. I blame my older brothers for that one. A manipulation has merit when it comes to setting a dislocated shoulder, but it certainly does not elicit a pleasant, life-enhancing procedure that removes subluxations from the spine, thus restoring function.
ad·just·ment noun \ə-ˈjəs(t)-mənt\
: a small change that improves something or makes it work better
: a change that makes it possible for a person to do better or work better in a new situation
On the flip-side, and although relatively misunderstood, getting an adjustment is the clear choice of the two elucidations. An adjustment is unique. It requires a certain amount of skill and finesse that isn’t just learned but practiced. It’s an artful epitome of perfection that if delivered at the right time and in the right place, will change a life. An adjustment is a small, incremental correction that is intended to set your body on a course of proper healing and function.
Growing up, our family moved around often. With every new house and every new town, there was always an adjustment period for me. It took time to become familiar with the area, to make new friends, to feel like it was home again. Likewise, the physical act of getting adjusted is a process, not an event. The process of healing, it takes time too. How much time? It all depends really. If you were in a motor vehicle accident 10 years ago and have managed to live with the residual pain up until now, do you believe 1 to 2 adjustments will be all you need? To get out of pain, maybe, but to fully heal from that? Not a chance.
Unfortunately, there is no magic bullet and the amount of time it takes to “get better” will vary with each individual. For that, I say have patience. Remember, your body is innately intelligent. It knows how to take care of itself granted all of the interference is removed from your communication center or nervous system. At times it can be frustrating because you don’t immediately see or feel the results that you want, but to drop out of care too early would set you back to zero. Like going to the gym, brushing your teeth, or even your marriage, if you want to continue to make progress and maintain it, continued care and patience is a requirement.
I tell everyone that walks in my door that there are no guarantees. I really wish there were. It would be nice to over deliver AND over promise, but that’s simply not my department to make such lofty promises. I do know one thing, if we can restore function within your body, we’re going to see some fantastic things happen. Things that would never occur with a rudimentary manipulation, but only with a well delivered and specific adjustment. You may think it’s all semantics, but when it comes to expressing life to the fullest, it matters.