Here is an article from fellow chiropractor Joe Strauss which talks about a frequent yet natural occurrence when getting adjusted. I think you’ll find it interesting.
I’ve enjoyed western movies since I was a child. I was especially enamored by watching the cowboys break a horse. A chiropractic book that I was reading recently mentioned “bucking” and it piqued my interest in the “bucking bronco.” In a few movies I saw, someone put a burr under the horse’s saddle as a joke. Even a broken horse, who knew its rider, would respond to the pain when the weight of the rider would dig the burr into its flesh and buck. It was an old cowboy prank, a lot more dangerous than letting the air out of someone’s tires.
Bucking, in chiropractic, is the technical term describing a person tensing up when a chiropractor is getting ready to adjust. It is a natural, inborn reaction for the horse. But why do practice members do it? They know the chiropractor is not trying to hurt them. Sometimes practice members will actually become frustrated with themselves for “tensing up” for the adjustment.
The fact is that the practice member does it for the same reason that the horse does. It’s a natural, innate reaction. So why does it happen? More important, how can we stop it? It happens because the innate intelligence of the body really does not know that the chiropractor is trying to help. All it knows is that a force is being introduced into the spine and it is trying to protect you from that “invasive” force. Your educated brain knows that it is not going to do harm but it cannot communicate with your innate intelligence, and for a very good reason. Under most circumstances, the innate intelligence of your body knows better what to do than your educated brain. That’s why chiropractors correct vertebral subluxations only, remove interference to the expression of the innate intelligence and let it take over, to normalize function and do the healing. You see in this situation your innate intelligence does not know that the chiropractor is trying to help you and so it tenses up the muscles to prevent further injury to the body. That’s the reason why muscles tense up or go into spasm to start with. It’s an innate protective mechanism…the innate intelligence of the body trying to prevent further harm.
So what can be done about it? In the case of bucking, your body’s innate intelligence communicates to your educated brain the need to resist an external force (the chiropractor adjusting.) The trick is to fool the educated brain so it does not tense up the muscles. It may be done by letting out a deep breath or causing some other action to occur that overcomes the natural inclination to resist the chiropractor’s adjustment.
I have a variety of tricks in my bag that will work so don’t worry or get frustrated we’ll get you adjusted one way or another and turn on your body’s innate healing power!