Understanding the Different Chiropractic Techniques

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Understanding the Different Chiropractic Techniques

There are a large number of techniques available to modern day chiropractors, even those who practice the most traditional form of chiropractic. As technology and modern ideas have come into play, more techniques have been added, and the influence of other forms of physical healing has left its mark on this ancient healing method.

This treatment, which focuses on spine manipulation to ease pain and illness in most parts of the body, relieved the pain of people in China, Greece and Egypt for centuries before it spread to the West. Then, in the late 19th Century, it was shaped into a modality in North America, named chiropractic, and has become an increasing part of mainstream pain relief in Europe, the UK and the Americas since the 1980’s.

What is chiropractic?

Intrinsically, chiropractic still holds firmly to its belief that all body pain, and most disease, have their origins in misalignment of the spine. And it goes still further, claiming both can be relieved by returning the spine to its correct alignment and by enhancing joint functions.

This happens because the main message system from the brain runs through the nerves in the spine, so any misalignment can cause a break in communication between the brain and other areas of the body. Re-alignment can reconnect the message system.

Many techniques of chiropratic have been developed

There are now close on 200 techniques available to chiropractors. This means they have a wealth of ammunition to draw on when compiling treatment programs.  These fals within two main categories – one involving manual manipulation of the spine and joints, and one in which instruments, machines or tools are utilized.

The chiropractor will choose the best option for individual clients by taking into account the client’s medical history and current condition, and will also work from a set of X-rays that determine the degree of misalignment, if any, in the spine.

  • Manual manipulation: The chiropractor will traditionally choose of some sort of manual manipulation to get the spine back into position. One method, known as Spinal Manipulation or the Gonstead Technique, uses a sudden, but carefully controlled, amount of force on restricted joints to force them back into position, or make them more mobile. This type of manipulation tends to reduce pain, loosen tight muscles and allow the tissue around the area to heal. A more gentle and low-force alternative, known as Spinal Mobilization, is used in some cases.
  • Diversified Technique: Another form of high velocity and low amplitude thrust, similar to the Gonstead Technique, this is used by about 96% of today’s chiropractors, as well as by those teaching the chiropractors of the future. For instance, it is the only technique offered to chiropractic students in Canadian training programs.
  • Assisted Manipulation: Some methods use different devices and tools to assist in the manipulation. These include the use of a drop table in the Thompson Technique and a hand-held adjustment machine which uses impulses in the spine’s vertebral segments to mobilize them (The Activator Technique).
  • Spinal decompression might be preferred if the discs show any signs of degeneration or herniation. Decompression or Flexion Distraction makes use of a motorized table which provides controlled traction to alternately stretch and release the spine.
  • Hot and Cold Treatment: The chiropractor may also choose to use rapid changes in temperature, alternating ice with heat pads or hot water bottles on the affected area. This will help to kick start the body’s own healing process.

A process not a quick-fix option

In some cases, chiropractors will do their best to get you mobile and pain free in a short space of time. This will happen in those cases where your back pain results from injury, but you are normally fit and agile.

However, for the most part, chiropractic practice deals with issues that have built up over years. The pain may not even be in a particular area of the back, but might have transferred itself to other areas, manifesting in muscular pain, headaches or leg pain. It could even result from poor posture over many years, a sedentary lifestyle, or too little exercise.

In these instances a chiropractor will customize a program for each client, which involves chiropractic work as well as necessary exercise and lifestyle changes on the part of the client. The treatment then becomes a process rather than a quick fix.

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