The Different Chiropractic Techniques Explained

There are several different chiropractic techniques that you should be familiar with. You can check out our guide here to learn more.

chiropractic techniques

You’ve heard that chiropractors can help relieve back pain, but did you know that a chiropractic adjustment can also support your immune system, increase your energy, and speed up your recovery?

The benefits of visiting a chiropractor are well documented, from the physical to the mental and emotional. But how do you know what chiropractic services are right for you?

Read below for a few of the most common chiropractic techniques and how they work.

What Does a Chiropractor Do?

Let’s start with the basics. A chiropractor is a type of health care provider that focuses on diagnosing and treating neuromuscular disorders. They work by manually adjusting or manipulating the spine and other extremities.

Most people seek out chiropractors if they are having neck pain, back pain, or experience challenges with mobility. In addition to physical adjustments, chiropractors may also advise patients to do specific rehabilitation exercises or make lifestyle changes to ensure a healthy spine, which in turn means a healthier self.

Chiropractors most often use their hands when performing adjustments, but they may also use equipment to assist in the process. Each patient’s treatment may be slightly different, but there are a few techniques that all chiropractors are familiar with.

Chiropractic Techniques 

Being familiar with the most common chiropractic techniques can help you feel more comfortable before your first interaction with a chiropractor. If you know what to expect, the experience is less overwhelming.

All chiropractors have their preferences and may use specific techniques based on what they know about their patient and his or her condition. However, the six techniques below are some of the most commonly used practices among chiropractors all over the country.

1. Flexion Distraction

Chiropractors use the flexion distraction is a technique for several lumbar-spine conditions, including lower back pain, disc injuries, and sciatica.

The goal of this technique is to increase overall spinal motion and fix any disc bulges or herniations. To use flexion distraction, there is a special table that allows the chiropractor to manipulate the position of the patient’s spine. Along with the motion of the table, the chiropractor will use manual techniques to remove pressure from the disc.

The motion also allows for essential nutrients to get into the spinal discs keeping them healthy and functioning properly. This technique helps to reduce pressure on the spinal nerves, which often causes pain or discomfort. 

Perhaps one of the most significant benefits of this technique is that it does not cause any pain.

2. Gonstead Technique

The Gonstead technique, named after its founder, is an adjustment method used to realign the spine. It is known as one of the most precise and effective methods to relieve pain and promote optimal alignment of the spine.

It is a manual (hands-on) technique in which a chiropractor adjusts the lower back or pelvis. It’s done while the patient is lying on his or her side. This position allows the chiropractor to realign joints that could be causing pain, stiffness, or limiting a person’s overall mobility. 

This technique is very common among chiropractors, and it taught in nearly all chiropractor education courses.

3. Activator Method

The Activator method technique is indicated for use to alleviate back and neck pain as well as pain in the extremities (areas outside of the spine). To use this technique, the chiropractor uses a specific activator adjusting instrument.

The benefit of this instrument is that it allows chiropractors to pinpoint certain affected areas with a short, low-force pulse. The speed prevents the body from tensing up, which is a typical response during other manual manipulation techniques.

The other significant benefit to this technique is that the pulse applies to a specific, localized area preventing joints from bending or being put in different compromised positions.

4. Extremity Manipulation

As the name suggests, this technique involves manipulating the joints outside of the spine. For example, extremity manipulation may require physical manipulation of the shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, knee, ankle joints.

This technique can be used for several conditions but is common for patients with carpal tunnel or posture-related issues. The idea behind this technique is that by aligning the joints outside of the spine and promoting healthy mobility, it will cause less stress on the spine.

This technique may cause some discomfort depending on your sensitivity and the condition of your joints.

5. Spinal Manipulation/Mobilization

This technique is what people often think of when they think about chiropractors. The goal of spinal manipulation is to restore and improve joint function in the spinal column.

Spinal mobilization uses a gentle thrusting motion along with stretching to activate the joints and improve their mobility. This technique is a gentle form of manipulation when compared to other, more forceful thrusting techniques. 

6. The Drop Technique

The Drop technique, also known as the Thompson technique, uses a unique table that can drop by tiny increments as the chiropractor applies pressure in a thrusting motion to adjust a person’s spine or other extremities.

The ever-so-subtle drop feels more like vibration to the patient reducing the likelihood of experiencing any pain or discomfort during the adjustment. Multiple thrusts may be necessary to achieve full spinal manipulation.

To use this technique, chiropractors often have to analyze the length of a person’s legs and how that correlates to the pelvis and spine.

Back to Comfort

These chiropractic techniques are known to reduce pain and discomfort as well as promote overall wellness through enhanced mobility and joint function.

Taking care of your back can be the difference between aging gracefully and constantly dealing with injuries and chronic pain.

Take advantage of the healing chiropractors can offer with these simple, but effective techniques! A good chiropractor will help you understand the importance of spinal health and will be able to walk you through each of the techniques.

If you’re looking for more information on chiropractors and spinal health, check out Fisher Chiropractic‘s other blogs!

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