Chiropractors Draw on a Repertoire of Techniques
The Chiropractic profession is unique in its approach to treating health problems. While medicine often employs only one major approach in treating a health problem, Chiropractic may draw on many different approaches in treating the same problem.
There is a wide variation of techniques used by different chiropractors. Chiropractors focus on dysfunctions that can result from irregularities spinal structure or movement. They rely heavily on hands-on procedures to determine structural and functional problems, and they use manipulation to promote normal bodily function correcting or preventing these structural deviations. The principal procedure used by many chiropractors is a form of manipulation known as adjustment that refers to a variety of manual mechanical interventions. There are about 55 adjustments in a chiropractor’s repertoire. Some of them are:
Manipulation is movement of short amplitude and high velocity that moves the joint beyond where patient’s muscles could move the joint by themselves but short of ligament rupture.
Mobilization is movements administered by the clinician within physiologic joint space in order to increase overall range of motion.
There are hundreds of ways or techniques to adjust the spine. Each chiropractor becomes highly skilled in a variety of adjustment procedures that are most suitable for your age, body type and condition. Some of the most common chiropractic techniques used today are:
This is standard osseous (bony) adjusting of the full spine. There are some 58 “set-ups” for correction of the spine (called Spinal Manipulation), and some 140 for correction of extremities (called Extra-Spinal Manipulation), such as used for knee, ankle, elbow, shoulder and wrist.
A full spine, specific technique using a particular protocol and very thorough chiropractic diagnostic procedures, including palpation, spinal X-rays, instrumentation, and the use of individual Gonstead tables.
Detects and corrects dysfunction using a small percussive instrument which delivers a light and measured force to correct misalignments. It is used to gently and painlessly move the vertebrae.
Bio-Energetic Synchronization Technique (BEST):
A non-force technique using subtle, yet precise pressure applied by hand to remove blocked nerve energy, eliminate physiological interference and balance sensory signals to the central nervous system.
Cox Flexion Distraction:
Involves traction or stretching of the spine designed especially to correct lower-back pain.
Applied Kinesiology deals not only with the placement of bones, but with the muscles that hold them in position. Chiropractors employing applied kinesiology use special techniques to help balance opposing muscles attached to a misaligned bone. Light massage is given to various reflexes and sometimes to acupressure points. This restores normal muscle function, in order to allow the adjustments to be more effective.
Thompson Terminal Point:
A table-assisted technique for the full spine with standard protocols, using a drop-piece on the Thompson table for the adjustment.
Palmer Toggle Recoil Technique:
A speed and precision adjustment in which the hands are placed over the subluxation and the elbows snapped to give sudden pressure. There is no joint cracking.
Sacro-Occipital Technique (SOT):
A system of challenges to specific locations on the spine to determine the exact locations needing correction. Padded blocks are placed under the patient in the pelvic area to allow the body to adjust itself, since muscle tension at the pelvis affects the neck.
Logan Basic Technique:
A gentle, sustained pressure is exerted at the base of the spine. Correcting the sacrum corrects the rest of the spine.
Application of simple pressure to tender areas to release muscles from localized spasm.
Custom-made devices placed in the shoes to treat posture problems, such as uneven leg length, spinal curvature and tilted pelvises.
Joints felt as they are moved to determine fixations.
Upper Cervical Technique
Originating with the famous “toggle recoil”, the technique concentrates on correction of a singular vertebra, the atlas, and sometimes the axis.
An advancement of the original work in Trigger Points, where the technique is extended so that spinal and other Trigger Points on the body are located while the patient is led through a range of motion, rather than while static.
In general, an adjustment consists of a sudden, short, controlled thrust against a joint. The chiropractor will move the affected joint to the limit of its range of movement and then make a rapid thrust beyond this point to stretch the joint capsule and surrounding tissues.
While undergoing adjustment, it is important that the patient remain relaxed for this to be effective. A certain speed of the thrust is employed to ensure that the patient’s muscles have no time to contract and so restrict the movement. Cracking or popping sound may be heard during the thrust: this is caused by gases in the synovial fluid (the lubricating fluid inside each joint capsule) and is harmless.