chiropractic technique

What’s the Difference in Chiropractic Techniques?

If you have seen multiple chiropractors throughout your life, there is a good chance that you have noticed that almost every chiropractor uses a different technique or style to adjust you.  The good news is, no matter what technique is used, you are likely to get good results from it.  In this post, I will discuss a few techniques, what makes them different and how they can successfully get you feeling better.

Manual Adjustments

The most common type of treatment provided by chiropractors is the manual adjustment, meaning the use of the doctor’s hands to adjust the spine.  This was the type of treatment that chiropractic was founded on in the late 1800s, however there is evidence that ancient civilizations performed manual manipulations thousands of years ago.  When people usually think of chiropractors, the manual adjustment, and the resulting “pops and cracks,” is what most people picture as chiropractic treatment.

The theory behind the adjustment is that vertebrae can move out of their normal position.  When this happens, the vertebra can put pressure on a spinal nerve, leading to neck or back pain.  A chiropractor that uses a manual adjusting technique will then use his hands to locate the misalignment, and apply a light force to properly realign the spine and relieve the nerve pressure.

The type of manual adjustment can also vary based on the chiropracor’s personal preference.  In chiropractic school, we are initially taught over 100 different ways to adjust the spine.  In a later class, we are told to pick just a handful of adjustments to perfect.  This is why almost all chiropractors use slightly different adjustments.

Instrument Assisted Adjusting

Instead of using their hands, some chiropractors choose to use instruments or a machine to make the adjustment.  Probably the most popular instrument used to make adjustments is an activator.  This is a small spring-loaded instrument.  An activator allows the chiropractor to make extremely gentle, and precise adjustments, without the pops and cracks associated with manual adjustments.

There are also a number of less commonly used instruments to adjust.  Some are connected to a computer that can detect where a misalignment is and the type of pressure needed to correct it.  While others are electric instruments that are hand held like the activator, but provide a firmer adjustment.

These types of adjustments are popular with patients who are either scared of the sound of a manual adjustment, or prefer a more gentle approach.  They are also efficient when working with older patients, who might had weakened bones associated with osteoporosis.

Soft Tissue Mobilization

Finally, some chiropractors choose to not adjust the spine at all, instead focusing on the muscles that surround the spine and other joints.  This type of therapy is usually compared to deep tissue massage, as strong  pressure is applied to different areas of the muscle.  This pressure can be applied either using the doctor’s hands, or by using a number of different tools.  The goal of this type of treatment is to loosen muscles to help achieve better joint motion.

For chiropractors that use this type of therapy, it is common that they also have patients perform some form of rehabilitation in the office as well.  This rehabilitation consists of exercises designed to help strengthen the muscles and support the spine and other joints.  This type of therapy is very similar to physical therapy.

As you can see, depending on what chiropractor you see, you can be treated in a number of different ways.  However, despite the type of treatment you receive, be assured that you should still be able to expect great results.

About the Author Dr. Kevin Wafer

Dr. Kevin Wafer was born and raised in Spring, TX. Since his mother worked as a chiropractic assistant, he spent much of his childhood in a chiropractic clinic and was adjusted for the first time at only 3 months of age. Click Here To Read Full Bio

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