There are no one-size fits all: Chiropractic Adjustments Explained

Chiropractic adjustments focus on the underlying cause of improper tone and tension within the nervous system. Specific gentle contacts stimulate the nervous system to pay attention to the tension in the body and altered tone.


When the body carries these tensions, it becomes more susceptible to injury. Chiropractic care promotes good health before accidents and serves as a non-invasive way to eliminate acute and chronic pain caused by various events. A chiropractor decides on the type of adjustment along with patients' comfort with the technique. There are several techniques used but, the most common include:



This technique is 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. A chiropractor uses a unique table that allows him/her to manipulate the

patient's spine position. The chiropractor will use manual techniques to remove pressure from the disc along with the table's motion. Flexion-Distraction helps to reduce stress on the spinal nerves, which often causes pain or discomfort. 


Gonstead Technique

This technique realigns the spine and is known as one of the most precise and effective methods to relieve pain and promote optimal spine alignment. It is a hands-on technique in which a chiropractor adjusts the lower back or pelvis. The patient must lie 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. 


Activator Method

This technique helps alleviate back and neck pain and pain in the extremities. The chiropractor uses a specific activator adjusting instrument (a spring-loaded, hand-held mechanical

instrument). While the patient lies face down on the adjustment table, the chiropractor evaluates leg length, performs muscle testing, and adjusts the spine or extremity joints using the Activator tool. The instrument is so quick that the body's muscles are less likely to tense in response and resist the treatment. The applied force is localized and does not put the joint in compromised positions, such as bending or twisting.


Extremity Manipulation

This technique manipulates the joints outside of the spine. 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. 


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. 


Drop Technique / Thompson Technique

A special table is used and drops by tiny increments as the chiropractor applies pressure to adjust a person's spine or other extremities. Using crossed hands, one on top of the other, the chiropractor presses down quickly and firmly on the spine's particular area. Simultaneously, a section of the drop table falls, taking advantage of gravity to apply the adjustment. The table has different sections that can be raised.

and dropped by the localization of the spinal adjustment.


These are just a few techniques that highlight all the tools Chiropractors have in their tool kit to help you get to your optimal self. 


Learn more about a technique that focuses on athletes and weekend warriors!

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