The unique tool of chiropractic health treatment is spinal manipulation or “adjustment”. It may involve gentle pressure, a quick but gentle thrust, or mild traction and gentle stretching, to correct subluxations, i.e. restore normal motion to joints that have become restricted or locked or misaligned (subluxated). Numerous scientific studies have proven the efficiency, safety, cost-effectiveness, and high levels of patient satisfaction of chiropractic adjustments.
As a result, it is one of the only two treatment protocols given the highest recommendation for the treatment of low back pain by the Agency for Health Care and Policy Research (AHCPR) an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. But don’t be deceived, spinal adjustments remove subluxations and make corrections that address more than just back pain. By adjusting the spine and better aligning the spinal bones, the nervous system is better able to monitor, control, and heal the body. Since the nervous system controls every function of your body, wouldn’t you naturally be healthier if your spine were free of subluxations?
What wondrous variety!
There are about 200 chiropractic techniques.
Having a number of different techniques to choose from allows me to be able to deliver chiropractic to Every BODY. An older person who has osteoporosis or lacks mobility might best be served with Flexion/Distraction, Thompson technique, or Instrument Adjusting. Someone suffering from a bulging or herniated disc, sciatic or neuropathy might be best served by Flexion/Distraction. I tend to find the best results with the Diversified technique with subluxations that are rotational. After a thorough examination, I am generally able to determine what the patient will tolerate best. I find that the more tools (techniques) I have to offer, the better I am able to customize my patients’ treatment plans.
Here are a few of the techniques I use in my practice
- Diversified Technique – This is a widely used type of chiropractic manipulation/ adjustment that includes most of the procedures taught at chiropractic schools. This technique is the most commonly used of all chiropractic techniques and the most commonly used in my office and is therefore probably most familiar to patients. The Diversified manipulation/adjustment entails a quick but gentle thrust that usually results in cavitation (pop) of the joint. X-ray analysis, palpation, and temperature gradient studies may be used to help me decide which spinal segments to adjust.
- Extremity Manipulating/Adjusting – This is an adjustment to joints other than those of the spine, such as: shoulder, elbow, wrist/hand/finger, hip, knee, ankle/foot/toe. Some conditions treated by extremity adjustment are carpal tunnel syndrome, tennis elbow, ankle sprains, knee sprains, jammed fingers and toes, wrist injuries, shoulder injuries, or any injuries to the body excluding the spine.
- Activator Method – This is a hand-held, spring-loaded instrument-based adjustment protocol. Instead of the manipulating/adjusting forces being delivered by hand, force is generated with the small appliance that delivers a lighter, but quicker, thrust than can be delivered by hand. An Activator can be used as a primary treatment protocol for all patients or a selective method for patients who may not desire manual adjustment or where the manual adjustment may be unadvisable.
- Gonstead Technique – This is a specific chiropractic technique that is very similar to the Diversified technique, but uses less or no rotation.
- Cox Flexion/Distraction– This is a specific chiropractic technique that uses mechanical and hands-on adjustment utilizing a special table where the spine is tractioned and flexed forward. This technique is primarily utilized to treat cervical and lumbar disc herniations, non-disc spinal disorders such as spinal stenosis, and to increase the mobility of spinal joints.
- Thompson Technique– This chiropractic method is a variation of the Diversified technique that uses a special table with several segments called drop pieces. These segments can be cocked up a fraction of an inch, so when the thrust is delivered, the table will drop this fraction of an inch. The object of the drop is to distract (open) the joint during the adjustment. The drop pieces assist the thrust while minimizing the force required for the adjustment. Cavitation of the joint (which creates that familiar popping sound) may or may not occur. This technique is great for those who can not be positioned in side-lying position.
- Adjustive Instruments– There are techniques, other than Activator, that include the use of adjusting instruments to deliver the adjustment to the patient. The objective of using an instrument is that you can apply an accurate “line of correction”. My go-to in the office is the Arthrostim Adjusting Instrument. It’s gentle and can be performed with the patient laying down, sitting, or even standing.
Whether you are suffering from back and leg pain from a herniated disc or from spinal stenosis, I have techniques and tools to help you heal and recover without drugs or surgery.
To see video examples of some of these techniques, be sure to click the hyperlinks in the article!
Dr. Hoch (pronounced Hoke), is a 1988 Graduate of Peotone High School and a 1990 Graduate of Joliet Junior College. She received both her B.S. in Human Biology (1991) and her Doctorate of Chiropractic (D.C.) (1993) from The National College of Chiropractic in Lombard, IL. She also received her graduate and post-graduate certifications in Acupuncture from NCC.