Pain Relief with Chiropractic | Geelong Chiropractor

The chiropractic adjustment, sometimes referred to as a joint manipulation, is a primary technique used in chiropractic care, which has been shown to have various scientific mechanisms that influence pain levels. 

While the exact mechanisms are still being researched, our Geelong chiropractors will discuss several key factors that have been identified:

1. Modulation of Central Nervous System Activity

A chiropractic adjustment has been found to modulate activity within the central nervous system, including the brain and spinal cord. Research using imaging techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has demonstrated changes in brain activity and connectivity following spinal manipulation. These changes may alter the processing and perception of pain signals, leading to pain relief.

2. Activation of Pain-Inhibitory Pathways

Chiropractic adjustments can trigger the release of endogenous opioids, neurotransmitters that act as natural pain relievers, within the central nervous system. These endogenous opioids bind to opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord, inhibiting the transmission of pain signals and inducing feelings of euphoria and well-being.

3. Reduction of Peripheral Sensitisation

Peripheral sensitisation refers to increased sensitivity of nociceptors (pain receptors) in response to tissue damage or inflammation. Chiropractic adjustments have been shown to reduce peripheral sensitszation by modulating the activity of nociceptive neurons and decreasing the release of pro-inflammatory mediators, such as cytokines and prostaglandins, in the affected tissues.

4. Alteration of Joint Biomechanics

Chiropractic adjustments can restore proper joint biomechanics by mobilising stiff or restricted joints and improving joint mobility. By reducing abnormal mechanical stresses on surrounding tissues and restoring normal joint function, chiropractic adjustments can help alleviate pain and discomfort associated with mechanical joint dysfunction.

5. Activation of Mechanoreceptors

Chiropractic adjustment can activate mechanoreceptors, specialised sensory receptors located within the joint capsule and surrounding tissues. These mechanoreceptors play a key role in proprioception (awareness of body position and movement). Activation of mechanoreceptors by chiropractic adjustments may modulate pain perception and improve joint function.


In conclusion, chiropractic adjustments exert its effects on pain levels through a combination of neurophysiological mechanisms, including modulation of central nervous system activity, activation of pain-inhibitory pathways, reduction of peripheral sensitization, alteration of joint biomechanics, and activation of mechanoreceptors. By understanding these mechanisms, chiropractors can tailor treatment approaches to address the specific needs of individual patients and optimise outcomes in pain management. Further research is needed to fully elucidate the complex interactions underlying the effects of a chiropractic adjustment on pain perception and relief.

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Luka Fantela