Chiropractic Adjustment; Definition, Techniques & Benefits

Chiropractic types and techniques used for patients are different based on each person's condition.

Chiropractic adjustment is an alternative treatment and a profession that considers the body as a whole and believes the body is a system with all parts working together for optimal alignment and function.

If the root cause is not addressed, the body’s misalignment in one area may cause issues in another area and, delay healing and recovery.

There are multiple techniques chiropractors use to help your body alignment and bring back your balance.

Here in this article, we will discuss chiropractic adjustment as a whole, learn its different techniques, and how each one works.

What Is Chiropractic Adjustment?

Chiropractic adjustment (also called chiropractic care) is the science focused on assessing, diagnosing and treating neuromuscular disorders of the body, especially those related to the spine and the nervous system.

In other words, chiropractic care is a hands-on therapy that uses mechanical joint adjustments and gentle mobilizations to restore the proper biomechanics of the affected joint, reduce tension and improve movement at the affected site.

Chiropractic adjustments are extremely effective at relieving joint discomfort, restoring proper joint function and reducing pain.

They are the choice of treatment for many people who suffer from various types of body pains, neck pain, headache, lower back pain and more due to their fast acting response and alleviation of pain.

Fulcrum Therapy professional and experienced chiropractors provide condition-specific treatments based on your initial thorough assessment.

Who Is a Chiropractor?

Chiropractors diagnose and treat body conditions related to muscles, bones, joints, nerves, and ligaments.

The techniques used by chiropractors are hands-on and one-on-one, including approaches that help with muscle tension and joint stiffness and rehabilitative exercises to build strength and muscle mass.

Their objective is to reduce pain and promote overall health by improving the structure and function of the body’s musculoskeletal system.

Chiropractors believe in the importance of the nervous system and its impact on all bodily functions.

The spine is the most crucial part of our body as it contains the spinal cord and the nerve roots that carry important signals to the rest of the body. Therefore, ensuring this area is fully functional and free from tension and resistance is critical to our overall well-being and health of the body.

Is Chiropractic Adjustment the Same as Chiropractic Care?

These two terms are usually used interchangeably; but with a subtle difference:

The term “chiropractic care” is more general and includes various techniques chiropractors employ to treat patients. In contrast “chiropractic adjustment” is a specific type of treatment that involves applying force to the joints to improve spine alignment and reduce pain.

What Conditions Does Chiropractic Adjustment Treat?

Chiropractic adjustments are helpful for many conditions that can cause pain and discomfort in the body.

The adjustments can be made to almost any body part, such as the knees, hips, wrists, elbows, and more. Some conditions that a chiropractic adjustment can help treat are:

In particular, it is important to note that not all patients respond to chiropractic adjustments similarly.

Furthermore, not all conditions also respond similarly. For example, some conditions may need one adjustment for a quick fix, and other more chronic conditions may require ongoing care to manage symptoms to provide long-term relief.

Some people may have immediate relief; others might need to see a chiropractor for several weeks or months before any improvement can be seen.

Read more: 10 Common Conditions Chiropractors Can Treat

When choosing a chiropractor, it is important to do your due diligence and look for licensed professionals.

Furthermore, it is helpful to inquire about their extra certifications and areas of focus, as chiropractors can have niches of practice and specific practice styles.

Evidence-based chiropractors are recommended as they use techniques and treatment styles that align with recent scientific literature and can prescribe home care exercises to keep you engaged with your care.

How Is Chiropractic Adjustment Done?

To detect any alignment issues, the chiropractor will assess and observe your body as it relates to the movement of your spinal joints and your muscle tone and tension.

Once it is determined what the issue is and which specific parts of your spine or other joints are compromised in movement, they will apply a rapid and controllable force to the joint with their hands or specific tools.

This force is intended to correct the joint’s normal range of motion, reducing any nerve pressure or joint stiffness affecting the area.

Below are the steps of the chiropractic adjustment procedure and how it is performed:

  • Observation, palpation, and assessment.
  • Patient positioning and creation of tension in the joint.
  • Relaxation of the patient through inhalation and exhalation.
  • Quick and specific thrust delivered to the affected joint.
  • Post-adjustment checkup and re-assessment of the joint.
  • Monitoring and follow-up.

What is a Body Misalignment?

A misalignment is any part of the body feeling “off balance” or “off center” or may be present if there is persistent chronic pain that is not resolved with other manual therapy modalities.

A misalignment may or may not be painful.

It may also cause pain or discomfort in other parts of the body. A misalignment is best identified by a trained chiropractor or other trained healthcare professional with extensive manual therapy skills.

If you feel “off balance”, feel like you are walking unevenly or can’t get rid of persistent pain or pull in your body, you may have a misalignment, throwing your center of gravity off balance.

How Chiropractic Corrects the Misalignment?

As a common modality, chiropractic adjustment is used by chiropractors to correct misalignments along with other chiropractic techniques.

However, modern evidence-based chiropractors are trained in extensive manual therapy techniques such as Active Release Technique, Cupping, Instrument assisted soft tissue tools and stretch and exercise therapy to assist patients who may be apprehensive of a manual chiropractic adjustment.

The combination of these therapies has helped thousands of patients feel better and regain their full optimal health.

Common Chiropractic Adjustment Techniques

There are various techniques used for chiropractic care. From this list, we will discuss seven different chiropractic types with detailed information about each.

The chiropractic adjustment methods discussed in this article include:

  • Diversified Technique
  • Thompson Drop Table Technique
  • Gonstead Method
  • Activator Technique
  • Flexion Distraction Therapy
  • Active Myofascial Release Technique
  • Articulation Technique

We are going to discuss each of these chiro techniques in more detail.

#1: Diversified Chiropractic Technique

This adjustment technique is the most common and well known technique used among chiropractors worldwide.

Diversified adjusting utilizes a combination of adjusting techniques that are hands-on as well as manual therapy and soft tissue release techniques to help alleviate muscle, ligaments and tendon pain.

This technique is suitable for most of the population that visits a chiropractor. It is safe, pain free and highly effective for alleviating neck pain, headache, low back pain, sciatica and more.

#2: Thompson or Drop Table Technique

In the Thompson Drop table technique, a specialized table with a lever is used that allows part of the table to lift and drop down using the patient’s body weight and the practitioner’s thrust.

The Drop Table is a chiropractic Technique that was first invented by Dr. Klay Thompson in 1950's.

The drop mechanism is very effective for treating certain conditions, such as Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunctions but also for patients apprehensive of manual diversified adjusting.

The drop table is gentle, pain free and effective when used by a licensed chiropractor and applied to restricted joints with a dysfunction.

This technique allows the doctor to restore proper joint mechanics and tension in the body and improve joint mobility using this simple yet highly effective drop table technique.

#3: Gonstead Technique

Gonstead Technique (website) is a specific technique that uses very specific contact points, sets up positions, and even utilizes its unique chiropractic table and adjustment set ups. 

Seated neck adjustments are common with this technique to help alleviate chronic neck pain and/or lower back pain.

#4: Activator Method

The Activator is a handheld device that delivers a quick impulse with the click of a button. The device is held up against the restricted joint and is in contact with the body.

The chiropractic activator technique is using a hand-held spring-loaded device to impulse pressure on certain spots.

The practitioner releases the spring and delivers a very quick yet gentle thrust to the restricted joint. The activator technique is another gentle, pain free and effective modification and alternative to diversified adjusting and is highly effective for individuals that may be apprehensive, elderly or children.

Activator adjusting can help restore joint mechanics and movement through a series of gentle clicks applied to certain specific parts of the body such as the neck, wrist, feet and rib joints.

#5: Flexion Distraction Technique

This technique is used in some chiropractic offices, and uses a specific table mechanism where the bottom part bends down, creating a gentle stretch and distraction force to the spine. The patient often lies face down on the technique. The table can be manual or electric.

This technique is gentle and pain-free for treating conditions such as lumbar disc herniations, scoliosis and spinal stenosis.

#6: Myofascial Release Technique

Myofascial refers to muscles, fascia and all the connective tissue layers. When treatment is done to stretch muscles and fascia, it is called myofascial release.

Myofascial release is a chiropractic technique which relieves tension and pain in the fascia.

Both our chiropractors incorporate Myofascial Release Techniques such as Active Release to help muscles relax and to improve the effectiveness of the chiropractic medicine types.

The combination of Myofascial Release Technique (MRT) and Spinal Adjustments is extremely effective in treatment of various body conditions such as neck pain, headaches, lower back pain and hip pain.

#7: Articulatory Technique

Articular refers to joints and Articular Technique refers to maneuvers that target the joint in an oscillatory way. This means, the chiropractor would apply gentle on and off pressure to a joint and promote movement to specific restricted joints to restore its proper mobility and function.

This technique is great for pain in the lower back, neck, hips as well as mid back.

What Chiro Technique Works Best for Me?

The different types of chiropractic care can be overwhelming when deciding what will work for your unique situation.

Although types of chiropractic care can vary, the most important is to do some research before choosing a chiropractor to see if their vision and method of care aligns with your personality and needs.

This is important because one step to healing is to trust your practitioners and know that they can take care of you, regardless of the technique they practice.

Ask yourself, what is the office vibe? Going through the website, how did it make you feel? Excited, nervous, overwhelmed, informed?

At Fulcrum Therapy, we utilize a wide range of different chiropractic techniques based on your symptom presentation, pain level, apprehension and comfort, and what we believe could get you better the fastest.

The first step to a successful visit is a thorough assessment and history to understand your main complaints. We take the time to explain our findings, suggest a treatment plan based on your comfort level, and even combine a few techniques that may yield results the fastest for your specific needs.

To book your appointment with your Coquitlam chiropractor, call us at 604-917-0777.

  • What Is the Best Chiropractic Technique?

    Diversified and Activator chiro methods are used more commonly amongst chiropractors with incredible results.

    However, chiropractors use a variety of techniques to treat musculoskeletal conditions such as back pain, neck pain, headaches, and other conditions. Some of these techniques such as Diversified are more popular and used more commonly.

    Ultimately, the best technique depends on the patient presentation, chiropractor’s skill and knowledge and patient preference.

  • How Many Chiropractic Techniques Are There?

    There are various chiropractic adjustment methods used amongst chiropractors each for certain patients. 

    These seven techniques are more common than the others:

    • Diversified
    • Drop Table
    • Gonstead
    • Activator
    • Flexion Distraction
    • Myofascial Release 
    • Articulatory

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