How Do Chiropractors Know Where To Adjust?

March 8, 2023

There’s no window into the body…

…so how do chiropractors know where to adjust?


To a layperson, the human body seems like a mystery. All of your joints, muscles, ligaments, and organs are hidden under your skin. How could anybody possibly know what’s going on in there?

And yet, if you’ve ever been to a doctor, you already know that medical experts can diagnose and treat all sorts of conditions—including chiropractors.

But how do chiropractors know where to adjust?

The spine alone is made up of 24 moveable vertebrae stacked on top of one another. If you complain to your chiropractor about having back pain, how do they know which vertebrae is the culprit?

At Oviedo Chiropractic, educating our patients about their health is important to us. This article will walk you through the various methods chiropractors use to relieve your pain effectively.


Man holding elbow, which has been colored red


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1. Your Symptoms

Believe it or not, how you’re feeling can tell your chiropractor a lot about how to treat you.

Pain is the body’s way of letting us know that something is wrong. When your knee is injured, your body causes the surrounding area to become inflamed, which both increases blood flow (in an effort to heal it) and forces you to go easy on it.

Because it hurts to bend or put weight on that knee, you stop doing those things, allowing your body to start the natural healing process.

When you tell your chiropractor that you are feeling pain, tingling, numbness, or weakness in a certain area, they are able to translate those signals. For example, tingling in your elbow may mean that your shoulder joint is out of alignment. Pain in your lower back after a car accident is likely pointing to a herniated disc.


chiropractor looking at x-ray of spine

2. X-Rays

At Oviedo Chiropractic, your initial appointment typically involves an X-ray to get a peek “under the hood” at the areas of your body that are causing you pain.

We start by going over your medical history and symptoms, which helps to pinpoint the source of your discomfort. Then, we use our in-house X-ray to get a more detailed view of the affected joints.

Using an X-ray allows us to assess your current condition quickly and efficiently. In addition to misalignments, the images will show unnatural curvatures, healed fractures, or anything else that may be contributing to your pain.

Of course, the initial exam also gives your chiropractor valuable insight into how they should perform your adjustment.


chiropractor feeling patient's back

3. “Hands On” Treatment

Chiropractors use a lot of different tools in their line of work, but the most effective equipment at their disposal is their hands.

Like any medical doctor, chiropractors undergo many years of education and training before they enter the workforce. Because they are intimately familiar with how the body should be aligned, it is very easy for them to notice when something is “off.”

During your adjustment, your chiropractor may spend a lot of time palpating the area. In addition to the information provided by the X-ray, this “hands on” treatment provides a three-dimensional view of your joints.

You might not be able to diagnose or treat a joint misalignment, but to a chiropractor, it’s just another day at the office.


Chiropractor adjusting patient's spine

4. Standard Adjustment

Despite the vast range of conditions that come through their offices, chiropractors tend to rely on one standard adjustment for most of their patients.

So how are they able to customize their treatments if everyone is getting the same adjustment?

To understand this, let’s take another look at the human spine.

Those vertebrae are not stacked up willy-nilly. If you look in 100 different anatomy textbooks, the spine will look exactly the same in every one of them. Your joints may get themselves into a 1,000 incorrect configurations, but there is only one correct one.

Your chiropractor’s standard adjustment is developed to return your joints back to their correct alignment as quickly as possible. The information uncovered by X-ray, palpation, and your medical exam helps to fine-tune your doctor’s approach for maximum comfort.


Get the Relief You Need

At first glance, chiropractic care may look like a pseudoscience, but it is carefully crafted to bring you maximum healing relief.

Want to experience it for yourself? Oviedo Chiropractic is currently accepting new patients. We even have weekend hours to accommodate your busy schedule.

Schedule an appointment today with Dr. Cough or Dr. Chu and we will develop a treatment plan curated for your unique condition. In addition to chiropractic adjustments, we also offer medical massage and E-stim treatments in-house.

Justin Cough

Dr. Justin Cough, D.C.

Dr. Cough graduated from Palmer College of Chiropractic in Port Orange, FL after receiving his BS in Education from SUNY Oswego. Before becoming a chiropractor, he coached many middle and high school sports teams including football, lacrosse, basketball, and soccer. He is passionate about focusing on our bodies' natural healing mechanisms and helping his patients enjoy the utmost sustainability in their lives.

For some, chiropractic offers relief from pain. For others, it's about feeling and looking good. Call today and see what chiropractic can do for you!

*Unsolicited advertisements may not be sent to our fax number under any circumstances. Use of our facsimile to deliver unsolicited advertisements is expressly prohibited. Our fax number is reserved for faxes related to patient care only.

Oviedo Chiropractic

2871 Clayton Crossing Way Suite 1073
Oviedo, FL 32765
(407) 542-1614
(407) 542-1615*

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