chiropractor showing where to adjust

How Do Chiropractors Know Where to Adjust? A Brief Guide

Research has shown that 94% of patients who visited a chiropractor saw a 30% reduction in overall pain. Chiropractic techniques show a lot of promise in helping reduce pain and visits to the hospital. For many, it’s an excellent solution to pain.

However, it can feel intimidating when it’s your first time undergoing spinal manipulation. After all, how do chiropractors know where to adjust?

Is it just a guessing game? Can they end up doing more harm than good? Part of the equation is years of training and education.

However, there’s more involved, too. Keep reading to learn more about the chiropractic tools used to evaluate where to adjust.

How Chiropractic Adjustments Work

Chiropractic adjustments are a cornerstone of chiropractic care. They aim to restore proper alignment and function to the body’s musculoskeletal system.

These adjustments involve applying controlled force to specific joints or areas of the spine. This reduces pain, improves mobility, and enhances overall wellness.

Chiropractors use targeted manipulation techniques to alleviate pressure on nerves. They can also realign vertebrae that may have shifted out of place.

They use their hands or specialized instruments to deliver precise thrusts or gentle movements. These encourage natural healing processes within the body.

The primary objective behind these adjustments is to restore optimal nervous system functioning. Spinal misalignments can interfere with nerve signals traveling between the brain and various body parts. By correcting these misalignments through adjustments, chiropractors aim to improve communication within the nervous system and promote better overall health.

How Do Chiropractors Know Where to Adjust?

It’s not a guessing game or random trial and error. Chiropractors have extensive training. They also use various methods to determine the precise areas that need adjustment.

Chiropractors evaluate patients’ symptoms to decide where to administer chiropractic adjustments. They carefully listen to their patients’ descriptions of pain or discomfort. They also conduct thorough physical examinations to identify areas of misalignment or dysfunction.

During a physical examination, chiropractors use various techniques such as:

  • Palpation

  • Range of motion tests

  • Postural analysis

They may also use imaging tests if needed.

By considering all these factors, chiropractors comprehensively understand each individual’s unique condition. This helps them determine precisely where adjustments are needed most effectively.

Chiropractic Training

To become a chiropractor, extensive education and training are required. Chiropractors must complete at least four years of undergraduate study.

Then, they need an additional four to five years at a chiropractic college. During their training, they learn about the human body, anatomy, physiology, and biomechanics.

Chiropractic students gain hands-on experience through clinical rotations. They work directly with patients under the supervision of experienced chiropractors. These practical experiences allow them to develop the necessary skills to accurately assess and diagnose musculoskeletal conditions.

Additionally, chiropractors continue their education throughout their careers. They attend seminars and workshops to stay updated on advancements in techniques and treatments. This commitment to ongoing learning ensures they can provide care based on the latest research and evidence-based practices.

Imaging Tests

Chiropractors may utilize imaging tests such as X-rays or MRIs if necessary.

X-rays are commonly used in chiropractic care to visualize the bones in your spine. They can reveal fractures, degenerative disc disease, or spinal misalignments. X-rays are quick and easy to perform, making them an efficient tool for chiropractors.

MRI scans are another imaging test utilized by chiropractors. This advanced technology uses magnetic fields and radio waves to create detailed images of soft tissues. These include muscles, ligaments, and discs.

MRI scans can help detect herniated discs or other soft tissue injuries. These injuries may require specific adjustments.

CT scans may also be used to provide cross-sectional images of your spine. This allows chiropractors to get a more comprehensive view of potential issues. Then, they can determine where adjustments should be made.


Another technique used by chiropractors is walking and body position assessment. By observing how patients walk or stand, they can identify any imbalances or abnormalities. These may indicate areas needing chiropractic adjustment.

During this assessment, chiropractors carefully watch how a patient walks. They pay close attention to their posture, gait, and overall movement patterns. By doing so, they can detect any abnormalities or asymmetries in the body.

Additionally, chiropractors analyze how a person stands and holds themselves while stationary. This includes examining their spinal alignment, shoulder positioning, and pelvic tilt. Any deviations from proper body mechanics can signal areas that may require adjustment.

Range of Motion

Range of motion involves evaluating the extent and quality of movement in different joints and areas of the body. Chiropractors assess the range of motion to find any restrictions or pain-causing limitations.

During a range of motion assessment, chiropractors will carefully observe how well a patient can move their joints. They may ask the patient to perform specific movements such as bending, rotating, or extending certain body parts. This allows them to gauge the degree of flexibility and mobility in those areas.

Chiropractors use their knowledge and expertise to compare a patient’s range of motion with what is considered normal for that joint or area. Significant deviations from the expected range indicate potential underlying issues. They may require adjustment.


All these pieces of information are brought together through joint and body palpation. This involves physically feeling tightness or tenderness in different body areas. Through this hands-on approach, chiropractors gain valuable insights into precisely where adjustments should be made.

Chiropractors apply gentle pressure or movement to specific body areas during this process. They will assess for any tenderness, swelling, or restricted motion. They may also check for muscle imbalances and evaluate how well different body parts work together.

Chiropractors can identify potential problem areas contributing to a patient’s pain or discomfort by palpating these areas.

Chiropractic Care in Southwest Las Vegas

So, how do chiropractors know where to adjust? Through a combination of careful analysis, assessment techniques, and extensive knowledge of the musculoskeletal system, chiropractors can determine the optimal areas for adjustment.

Are you ready to address your concerns through a chiropractic adjustment? We’ve helped thousands of patients with a variety of conditions. We’ll tailor a plan that’s specific to your unique condition.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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