Whether for headaches, backaches, neck pain or stiffness, 35 million people seek the care of a chiropractor every year in the United States.
The treatment most of these people have in common is a spinal adjustment, or “adjustment”. This is when a chiropractor uses their hands or a small instrument to apply a controlled force to the joints in the affected area of the body.
The goal of these adjustments is simple: to improve motion and improve your overall physical function and wellness.
When considering chiropractic care, a very common question is: Are all patients adjusted the same way? In other words, do chiropractors use the same techniques in the same order with every patient they see?
To put it simply: No! The point of seeking chiropractic care is to get help for a specific problem or condition that is causing you pain or discomfort. Just as each person will have a different condition causing problems, the way to treat it will also be personalized to make you feel better.
How Will My Type of Adjustment Be Determined?
How your chiropractor treats you depends on a wide variety of factors. After taking a thorough history and conducting an exam, your chiropractor will determine your personalized treatment by considering some of the following:
- Your age
- Your current condition
- Your health goals
- Your specific body
In some cases, x-rays can also show your chiropractor different treatments that can help you feel better and be more comfortable.
What Type of Adjustment Will I Have?
When people think of getting a spinal adjustment from a chiropractor, they automatically think of the pops and grinds that bones can make. However, that’s not always what patients experience when it comes to getting an adjustment.
After your chiropractor determines what kind of adjustment you need, there are many different techniques they can use to treat you. However, there are three common techniques that you might encounter as part of your treatment. They include:
This is probably the most used technique in chiropractic care and is also known as the Direct Thrust technique. With this technique, your chiropractor will use their hands to correct any misalignments in the spine and the extremities. With a quick, gentle thrust, the joint will be realigned, removing any restrictions in movement the joint may have experienced.
2. Thompson Technique
For this technique, your chiropractor will use a specially designed table, known as a drop table, that has pieces that drop so that your joints can be manipulated easier. The special table compliments the natural design of the spinal joints to help move joints that are out of alignment into a direction that will improve their motion. This technique is used mostly to adjust the pelvis, but it can be used on the whole spine as well.
3. Activator or Instrument Assisted
With this technique, your chiropractor will use a low-force handheld instrument to help realign faulty joint movement. Some people prefer this method of readjustment because other techniques make them uncomfortable. It can also be especially useful in patients with osteoporosis, children, or patients who prefer a gentle adjustment.
4. Gonstead Technique
Another hands-on-technique, this is often used to adjust the low back or pelvis. With the patient lying on their side, chiropractors can realign joints and reduce pain and stiffness with this technique. Since it is also one of the safest techniques, it is a go-to option for treating children, pregnant women, and the elderly.
5. Spinal Mobilization
The goal of this technique is similar to most chiropractic techniques in that it is to increase spinal joint movement. While it’s like the Diversified, or Direct Thrust Technique, instead of thrusts, your chiropractor will use more gentle movements and stretching to help improve mobility and comfort.
There is not a one-size-fits-all patient that seeks chiropractic care, so there isn’t a one-size-fits-all treatment plan either. After talking with your chiropractor and after their thorough examination, they will take a lot of factors into consideration when it comes time to choose adjustment techniques that will work best for your body and what it’s feeling at that moment.
If you’re ready to start working on your own personalized chiropractic treatment plan, our team at South Orange Chiropractic Center is ready to help. Contact one of us today to discuss how we can help you feel better fast with techniques selected specifically for you.