Manual chiropractic manipulations or adjustments are what many people, but not all, would connect the word chiropractic to. As seen to the left, this involves positioning patients in different positions and using their own hands
and body weight to move joints that are not moving properly. Cavitations or audible pops are usually heard, but are not necessary for an adjustment to be successful. This is a technique that I use daily.
The second most widely used technique in the chiropractic profession is performed by using a small tool, commonly known as an Activator. Tool assisted adjusting has many benefits, and can be a helpful alternative to manual adjusting. The small tool puts a high velocity force into an exact joint, allowing for increased motion. The activator technique has several different steps, which allow the doctor to know what vertebrae to adjust and in
what direction. I will on occasion use tool assisted adjustments for patient who are osteoporotic or simply do not wish to be manually adjusted, but I know of many chiropractors who use this tool to perform all their adjustments.
Chiropractors can be divided into two categories, straight chiropractors and diversified chiropractors. Straight chiropractors usually have the philosophy that you only need to adjust the spine (very straight DCs believe that you only need to adjust the atlas, the first vertebrae in the spinal column) and that everything else, the muscles, nerves, and other soft tissues will then heal themselves. Diversified chiropractors have a much broader definition of
what chiropractic should be. As a diversified chiropractor myself, I think that treating muscles and soft tissue (through trigger point therapy, stretching and strength training) can be just as important as the adjustment itself. Although atlas adjusting can be very powerful and effective I believe that there is more to be gained by addressing more than just one bone in the body.
One of the newest inventions in the chiropractic profession is the Proadjuster, an instrument that is able to detect and correct hypomobilities via biofeedback. It is similar to the tool assisted technique as described above without any of the protocol, examination or palpation. The tool is supposed to be able to tell the vibratory frequency of the bone it is adjusting, making an examination unnecessary. Personally I don't think there has been enough research done to support the use of this tool. I also think that this tool takes away from what chiropractic is supposed to be, 'done by
hand.' There are some DCs that use this tool and have patients that swear by it, but unlike all the techniques/ tools described above, the use of this tool was not taught at NYCC and is extremely expensive. I remain open to all new techniques and inventions, but am also wary of new costly inventions with little supporting research.
There are other techniques I have not discussed here, such as flexion/distraction and drop technique, because it is much rarer to find a DC who only uses these techniques alone. There may also be other DCs who practice in ways that I have not mentioned here, but these are some of the most common types of practices out there today. I believe I have made it clear the way in which I choose to practice chiropractic, a diversified chiropractor who uses manual manipulation among other techniques and tools to assist her patients in reaching their wellness and injury recovery goals.
Like so many other things in life make sure to do your research beforehand. Learn your doctor's philosophy and mission statement and make sure you know what to expect when you pick out a chiropractor. The best chiropractor to choose is the one that has your best interests in mind and listens to your concerns. If you have any other questions about my practice, chiropractic in general, or a certain technique be sure to check out my contact me page and send me a 'comment.'