If you've been to a chiropractor, you've likely experienced manual adjustments (also known as diversified adjustments); it’s the classic adjusting style. Using our hands, we restore movement to the joints of the spine, pelvis, upper and lower extremities.

Joint Fixations

Low back pain, neck pain, headaches, ankle pain, knee pain, hip pain, shoulder, elbow, and wrist pain are often caused by joint fixations. Basically, the bones are not moving freely, the way they were designed to move.

Pain develops from these joint fixations due to inflammation, erosion of the joint surfaces, release of pain chemicals, and muscle spasms.

Restoring Movement

The purpose of the manual chiropractic adjustment is to restore motion to these joints. With motion restored, pain and inflammation subside, joint erosion stops, and muscles relax.

With a typical chiropractic adjustment, also known as spinal manipulation, your chiropractor uses their hands to make a very quick, low depth impulse into a joint.

Manual chiropractic adjustment federal way

What's That Popping Sound?

You may hear a “pop” or cracking sound during an adjustment. That’s the sound of nitrogen, oxygen, or carbon dioxide gas bubbles releasing when the joint gap passes its normal resting place. It can be a sign that adhesions, scar tissue, or muscle spasms that have kept the joint fixed are easing up - allowing your joint to move freely, the way it was meant to move. Often, you won’t hear any popping sound during an adjustment even though movement is restored to a joint. The popping sound isn’t of any importance. We mention it because it happens and, of course, patients are curious and sometimes concerned.


Chiropractic adjustments typically provide a great amount of relief to the patient; they should not hurt. However, if a patient is in pain, tense, or guarding their spine, their adjustment may be uncomfortable for a short period of time followed by mild stiffness or aching. If this happens, use ice and heat to encourage blood flow to relax your muscles. Apply an ice pack for 20 minutes then moist heat for 20 minutes a few times a day for a day or two. When these sensations happen, it’s usually only at the first adjustment and not at subsequent adjustments.

If you are in pain or if certain types of adjustments tend to be uncomfortable for you, let Dr. Owens know so she can use an alternative for your adjustment.

Contact us today to learn more or schedule an appointment.