Chiropractic Techniques Explained

Chiropractor Near Me techniques are hands-on approaches that aim to improve spinal alignment and nervous system function. This can help alleviate pain, reduce inflammation, and enhance overall health.

Most chiropractors use spinal manipulation, which involves applying a rapid thrust to the spine or extremities. However, there are other options like flexion distraction which is a gentler version of spinal manipulation.


Activator Method

Unlike traditional manipulation, this method uses a device called the Activator to deliver a gentle force to correct misalignments. The Activator method is often used to treat lower back pain, neck pain, and chronic headaches. It’s also effective for those who are pregnant or have arthritis. The spring-loaded instrument allows chiropractors to apply pressure and move bones/joints with precision, and it’s more likely to elicit less resistance from the body than manual spinal manipulations.

To perform an Activator adjustment, the chiropractor will first use specific physical examination methods such as static palpation of the spinal region, leg length testing, and neurological reflex testing to identify the location of the spinal joint dysfunction. The chiropractor will then place the Activator device on the region near/at the affected joint. The patient will experience an initial pressure, which is followed by a quick thrust from the device that feels similar to how doctors test reflexes by tapping their knees. The chiropractor will check for improvement of signs and symptoms in the affected area.

The Activator method has been extensively researched, with results published in hundreds of peer-reviewed journals. Studies have shown that it is as effective as, and sometimes even better than, other chiropractic methods when it comes to reducing pain and improving functional outcomes. However, most of the research is funded by the Activator Method’s developer and uses small groups of patients with short follow-up periods, making independent clinical trials critical.

Flexion Distraction

Flexion Distraction is a gentle chiropractic adjustment technique used to treat herniated discs and other spine issues. This treatment uses a special table to stretch the spinal joints and relieve pressure. The technique is performed by chiropractors certified in the Cox technique, and it is highly effective. Research shows that patients who receive flexion-distraction therapy experience less pain than those who do not receive the treatment.

Flexion distraction is often used to treat lumbar spinal stenosis, which occurs when the spaces in the spinal canal narrows and press against the nerves that run down the back of the legs. This condition can cause pain, weakness, numbness, and tingling in the legs. In a study published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Science, researchers found that patients who received flexion-distraction manipulation experienced a greater reduction in their back pain and disability than those who did not receive the treatment.

During the treatment, your chiropractor will position you on the Cox table, and then use a small amount of pressure to move your body in different positions. The table is designed to allow the spine to return to its natural posture. The table also has a caudal pelvic section that can be pressed down.

When your chiropractor moves the caudal pelvic section, it will increase the space between the vertebrae in the treated area. This will alleviate pressure on the sciatic nerve and improve the patient’s symptoms.

Gonstead Technique

While many chiropractic methods have been created over the years, Gonstead Technique is one of the most advanced and effective. This method is used to treat spinal misalignments, joint dysfunctions, and subluxation complexes, and it can also help to reduce pain, and stiffness and improve mobility. It is also known for being safe enough to be used on infants, pregnant women, and the elderly.

Developed by a doctor, this hands-on treatment is designed to detect and adjust any vertebral misalignments that cause nerve interference. This is done through a combination of static palpation and motion palpation. Static palpation involves the chiropractor feeling the spine in a stationary position and looking for any areas of inflammation or nerve pressure. Motion palpation involves moving the spine in different positions to find any misalignments.

Another part of this method involves using a special X-ray analysis to determine the best way to adjust each specific vertebra. Gonstead doctors use an intricate system of lines, angles, and numbers to turn your X-ray into a blueprint for them to follow during each adjustment. They will look at this x-ray before each adjustment to make sure they are delivering the right amount of force and pressure to correct the problem.

Some of the other techniques in the Gonstead technique include spinal mobilization, drop manipulation, and rotary adjusting. Spinal mobilization uses a gentle thrusting movement along with stretching to help loosen the joints and improve their mobility. Drop manipulation uses a unique table that can drop by tiny increments when the chiropractor applies a thrusting motion to adjust the spine or extremities. This subtle dropping motion feels more like a vibration to the patient than a thrusting movement and makes it less likely for patients to experience any pain or discomfort during an adjustment.

Sacro-Occipital Technique

Sacro-Occipital Technique, or SOT, is a chiropractic method developed by a doctor. It is a holistic approach to the spine, pelvis, cranium, and extremities that includes both osteopathy (cranial therapy) and chiropractic (spinal adjustment).

This particular technique focuses on the relationship between the sacrum (the triangular bone at the base of the spine) and the occiput (the bone at the back of your skull). When these two bones are misaligned, it can cause problems with your posture, spinal alignment, and other parts of your body. SOT is a gentle and effective treatment for this.

Another key component of SOT is the use of indicators to determine what needs adjusting. For example, if your chiropractor feels tension in different areas of the spine, it can tell them which vertebrae to adjust. The practitioner can then measure the same tension in those same areas at future visits to see if the adjustments have improved.

SOT also uses a series of wedge-shaped blocks called “SOT blocks” to gently adjust the pelvis. This is a low-force method, and our chiropractors use a combination of tests and body language to find the right block position for your unique misalignment. This allows the body to seek its correct balance and alignment, relieving abnormal stress in the spine and extremities and facilitating the flow of cerebrospinal fluid through the central nervous system.

Logan’s Basic Technique

Logan’s Basic Technique is a low-force chiropractic method that focuses on the sacrum, the lower end of the spine (between the “hip bones”). It was developed and taught. He proposed that misalignment of the sacrum was the primary cause for spinal disturbance above it.

He also developed a system for measuring vertebral misalignment up and down the spine, starting with the sacrotuberous ligament, which holds the sacrum in place. The theory is that if the sacrum is out of alignment, it will affect the muscles around it, which in turn will impact the vertebrae above it. This is why it is so important to correct the sacrum if you want to have good spinal function.

One of the things that makes this a great chiropractic technique for pregnancy is that it helps to balance out the pelvic structure and reduce the tightness of the lower back and gluteal muscles which are common in most pregnant women. It can also help to improve the response of the parasympathetic nervous system, which controls your rest and digestion functions. We use the Basic Technique regularly as it is a cornerstone of our specialized prenatal chiropractic care. We also teach this gentle and specific technique to future chiropractors in our chiropractic college. This allows them to incorporate the principle of “correcting the primary misalignment first” into their practice, enabling them to have a greater impact on spinal health.

Dry Needling

Dry needling is a technique that physical therapists (where allowed by state law) use to treat muscle pain and movement impairments. It involves inserting a needle into the skin and then manipulating the needle to stimulate what’s called a “trigger point” or tight knot in a muscle. Unlike traditional Chinese acupuncture, which is performed by licensed acupuncturists, dry needling does not involve any injection of medication or other substances into the body.

During a treatment, the physical therapist locates the trigger points by feeling with their hands or using a trigger point map. Then they insert a needle directly into the trigger point and move it around to try to get what’s called a local twitch response, which is a quick spasm of the muscle. This helps to draw the normal blood supply back into the area and can relieve the tension.

Sometimes, especially when treating deeper muscles, the therapist may not be able to elicit a twitch response. However, the patient still receives therapeutic benefits from the treatment.

Despite the controversy over whether or not dry needling is considered acupuncture, research supports its effectiveness in reducing pain and improving movement. It can be used to treat myofascial pain syndrome, which includes recurrent neck and back problems, sciatica, shoulder issues, carpal tunnel syndrome, headache, and many other conditions. It’s also a great option for those who are fearful of needles, as it is much less painful than other forms of therapy.