The first 6 weeks of chiropractic care at Shirley Rd Chiropractic is referred to as ‘Basic Care’. This is the time frame in which your body takes to heal injured tissue (muscle, bone, ligaments etc.). During this phase your chiropractor will identify any dysfunction within your spine and any injured tissue that may be causing discomfort.

What to expect from your adjustments

Spinal adjustments are considered overall to be gentle, safe and effective. They are used to specifically correct joint dysfunctions in the spine. Joint dysfunctions are identified areas of improper motion in the spine. There are many ways and different techniques to adjust joint dysfunctions that have developed in the spine. Any potential risks from adjustments will be outlined to you on the first visit by way of a consent form and an opportunity to discuss these very small risks.

At Shirley Rd Chiropractic we use a combination of styles. We do this because all patients are different and the technique or style, that may suit one patient may not suit another. With some techniques you may hear a small “crack”, with others you may not. The “crack” is not the goal, removal of the joint dysfunction is.

The “Crack”

The “crack” or cavitation as we like to call it is the release of gas (nitrogen predominantly) into the joint space from surrounding tissues. It is not the sound of bones breaking, ligaments snapping or muscles tearing! The surfaces of joints are very smooth with a fluid lubricating the joints surfaces. Under normal conditions the surfaces are held together by negative pressure (the fact the outside air pressure is different to that inside the joint). A rapid, well-measured force in a particular direction will momentarily separate this joint space and allow for correct alignment and movement of the joint.

As we commence on a schedule of adjustments, you may find the areas of joint dysfunction remain tender. In the acute phase we will often suggest using ice 10 minutes on and then 20 minutes off to help in reducing the pain of inflammation. In some cases, these areas may get slightly worse. This may occur as we are starting to retrain your body, which does take time to adapt. You must remember that the dysfunction is often present for a long time before initially causing pain. If at any stage people have any concerns we encourage them to tell us.

About 6 weeks after the original injury, the new healed tissue (in muscle, ligament and/or bone) can withstand near normal stress. Final maturation of tendon and ligamentous tissue may take as long as 6 to 12 months.1 Failure to heal within 6 weeks is probably due to poor blood supply, insufficient stimulus to repair or uncontrolled mechanical stresses exceeding the tolerance of the healing tissues.2


  1. Kannus (2000) Phys. & Sportsmed. 28:55-63.
  2. Mooney (1995) J. Musculoskeletal Medicine. Oct: 33-39.