top of page
  • Writer's picturealignchiropractic

Chiropractic Lingo: What Are They Saying?

Understanding Chiropractic jargon, and getting your "Power on!".

dog head tilt question what is Chiropractic

If you’ve had the pleasure of going to a Chiropractor before for relief of any problem, you’ll know they may use some Chiropractic and Medical terminology you don't hear everyday.

From turtle neck, degeneration, Subluxation, and “The power’s on!”, let's discuss what each of these phrases and terms mean.

Chiropractic Adjustment

Chiropractic adjustment to mid back thoracic hvla
A gentle mid-thoracic Spinal Adjustment

Often referred to in the scientific literature as a manipulation, an Adjustment is a specialized intervention where a Doctors hand or instrument is used to deliver a HVLA (or high velocity, low amplitude) movement onto restricted spinal segments and other joints.

This is the most common treatment utilized among Chiropractors because of the amazing and fast acting effects it has on the body.

“The Power’s On!”

Typically heard after a Chiropractic Adjustment is performed, it’s often used to summarize the neurological change rendered in the patient. Similar to debugging a computer, an adjustment helps to remove interference in the nerve system and allow the brain (computer) to better adapt and maintain its internal environment (and yes, decreased pain and stiffness since the musculoskeletal system is functioning better).

“How do you make a dimmed light bright again? Remove the interference. How do you increase health in a dis-eased person? The same way.”

B. J. Palmer

Subluxation (VSC)

The real name for it is even longer, which is formally called Vertebral Subluxation Complex in the research. Just as an uneven foundation of a house can cause the floorboards to creak or the doors to get stuck, a structural problem with your spine can create a complex of downstream problems.

A misalignment in your spine will cause:

  1. Joint fixation

  2. Inflammation and nerve irritation

  3. Lost imbibition (the discs ability to pump and heal)

  4. Soft tissue and muscle damage

  5. Muscle spasm and global body compensation

This is why it's easier to explain the entire process with only one word, Subluxation.

Subluxations are what Chiropractors primarily treat. By restoring proper joint, muscle, and nerve health, we help reduce pain and stiffness and restore optimal function within your body. Check out our unique approach to Chiropractic in treating the entire body here.

Sympathetic Nerve System (SNS) and Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS)

SNS PNS Nervous System chart on neck nerves
Exiting pathway of cervical-thoracic nerves

Your brain controls every organ, joint, muscle, and responds to the in-the-moment changes to your environment via your Nervous System. It has two main divisions that control different functions.

In short, the SNS is your fight-or-flight response needed for survival, but also helps to stimulate your body, glands, and stress response. Think of it like having your foot on the gas pedal of a car, pushing it forwards and driving your body to react and stay alert.

The PNS is your resting, digestion, and healing part of your Nervous System. Think of the brakes of the car, allowing your body to rest and recover internally.

Staying heavily on either side of this see-saw like system means health issues in the future. Most patients come in very SNS dominant due to their lifestyle, which shows how poorly their body is adapting to stress. Chiropractic care can help to balance these two systems and stimulate healing from the inside out.

“ADIO Brother!”, “Nerve Supply Is Life Supply”

Above Down, Inside Out. From your brain to your spinal cord, to your exiting nerves, to your organs glands and muscles, this is how the body heals and regulates itself.

Healing is like a background .exe program that you can’t directly control. If you cut your finger and start bleeding, you can’t willfully tell your body to not clot the cut or to heal it faster. But from a Chiropractor’s mindset, by allowing the body to have less nerve interference, any injury in the body can heal at its best, most optimal function.

“The power that made the body, HEALS THE BODY. It happens no other way.”

B. J. Palmer

Is it Chiropracting, Chiropractoring?

We always get a chuckle with this one, and yes we know it sounds odd as well. I (the Doctor) am a Chiropractor, and I practice Chiropractic as my profession.

-Chiro in latin means “by hand” and -practic is “to practice”, which is fitting for a natural, non-surgical and drugless profession like Chiropractic.

“You have Turtle Neck/Text Neck/F.H.P.”

cervical curve deterioration, ideal curve to straightened fhp neck, to reverse curve
A: Ideal cervical lordosis. B: Large FHP and straightened neck. C: Reverse cervical curve, significant loss of function

Now-a-days, it’s common (but not normal) for most people to have terrible posture. A normal neck shape viewed from the side (with an X-Ray) should show a lordosis, or backwards facing curve. When patients reinforce their poor daily posture with lots of Forward Head Posture (F.H.P), the shape can change dramatically as seen above. Having a straight neck, or even worse a reverse curve neck, means structural damage has occurred on the joints, discs, and ligaments.

Structure dictates function, and the worse the structure is from normal, the harder it will be to recovery from any injury.

If you think you have a Text Neck (aka Turtle Neck) and rounded shoulders, get checked by one of our corrective Chiropractors to help regain your posture and lost health!

“It’s not how you’re feeling, it’s how you’re healing”

wellness continuum, progression towards health

With our Chiropractic care, most of our patients see great symptomatic changes within a few adjustments (feeling less pain, feel looser and lighter, feel more energy, etc). Although you may feel much better, it doesn’t mean your body is 100%.

Think about heart disease for example. You can’t feel your arteries become blocked until significant damage has already occurred (years in the making). Medication can help reduce the symptoms (feeling) of shortness of breath, chest pain, and numbness of the arm in the short term, but it does NOT remove the root cause of the problem.

Chiropractic done proper will often be prescribed past the symptomatic stage, depending on the level of unseen and unfelt damage to the body, spine, muscles, and nervous system. We’re happy you feel great! We just don’t want you to fall back into old habits and end up back at square one.

Degeneration, Spinal Decay, Spondylosis, and Osteoarthritis

degeneration phase 1, phase 2, phase 3, wear and tear
Phases of degeneration and spinal decay over the years

These are all the many ways to describe the process of “wear and tear” on your joints, bones, and discs. When your body has a Subluxation, it will start all of these processes very slowly. The speed of which it occurs depends on your lifestyle, posture, health status, nutritional status, whether you have active Chiropractic care or not, and so many other factors.

The more degeneration you have, the more slowly your progression with any treatment will likely be, and it may even limit your full recovery. This is important, so make sure to listen to your Doctor and ask about how good or bad each part of your spine is!

“Rome Wasn’t Built In a Day”

For some patients with chronic issues, lots of spinal structure change, higher amounts of degeneration, and poor repetitive lifestyle habits, pains and stiffness can be slow to change.

We have to remember, pain is usually a lagging indicator of health. Basing “getting better” solely on quick symptom changes is only part of the equation. We need to focus on correcting the root cause of the problem in order to make a long-term healthy adapted body.

Spinal Flossing

Dr Sai adjusting left pelvis low back pain
Thomson Drop Chiropractic Adjustment

Just as Dentist help remind you of general maintenance for your teeth after your visit (brushing, flossing, limiting poor dietary choices), Chiropractors also recommend spinal maintenance with every adjustment (and can teach you exercises, strengthening, lifestyle changes, and postural tips). Getting Adjusted regularly can also significantly help keep your body and joints limber and moving properly in the future.

Good rule of thumb: Be nice to your spine just as much (or more) than your teeth.

“Relax…breathe…let it go... drop your weight... are you relaxing?”

We often have to cue patients to relax a little bit more because they are not aware of certain muscle tension in their own bodies. When people come to the Chiropractor, they are bringing in more than just their aches and pains. The physical and emotional stress of our fast-paced living affects us deeply subconsciously and neurologically.

At Align Chiropractic, we always listen to the patient's body and rhythm and never rush the treatment process. Taking a few moments of breathing can help unlock even more healing potential because we are tapping into the Parasympathetic Nervous System.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”


For more information, or a free consult to see if your case is right for us, email us at



New Patient Offer

Consultation | Spinal Examination | Report of Findings

bottom of page