Cox Flexion Distraction

Different types of Chiropractic care

Q:I am confused about the many, many different types of chiropractic techniques. Which one is best?

True, there are hundreds of techniques that chiropractors use. Some chiropractors adjust with their hands, while some use an instrument or machine. Some give a deep, very forceful adjustment, while some touch so lightly the patient almost never even feels it!

Some chiropractors (and patients) prefer the relief and satisfaction of the "joint popping" (more on that later), while other patients are terrified of being "cracked" and request something more gentle...and quiet :)

While I am in no way claiming to be an expert in all of them, here are some guidelines when asking your chiropractor about his or her technique. As a chiropractic patient myself, trust me when I say that your satisfaction with your chiropractic care depends a lot on YOU! Ask questions, find a doctor your are comfortable with, who performs a technique you like! There is not ONE doctor in the UNIVERSE who is perfect for EVERYBODY, but you should be able to find one that is perfect for YOU, without much trouble.

Although many of the following questions have no right or wrong answer, they will assist, you in determining which doctor (and which technique) is right for you. Asking these questions will somewhat allow you to get to know the chiropractor and his or her treatment style or philosophy, but more importantly it will give you an opportunity to do some research yourself on the specific technique the doctor is or plans on using with you. So, here we go...

  • Which chiropractic technique does the doctor use and why?
  • Does the chiropractor use a deeper, joint-popping adjustment or a more low-force style?
  • Does the chiropractor use hands or an instrument when delivering an adjustment?
  • How much experience does the chiropractor have in treating a condition similar to mine?

Now, some chiropractic techniques (and chiropractors, for that matter) may be considered questionable. If you hear either of the following, please get a second opinion. Most chiropractors would agree that the following statements are a warning sign that you are NOT in the right office...

  • Investigate claims by a chiropractor that he or she is the ONLY one using a "special technique" that no one else knows how to do (or one that no one else is allowed to do)
  • If, after your first visit, the chiropractor makes claims that he or she can "cure" ANY health condition, such as cancer, diabetes, or any other long-term condition

As kind of a side note, most chiropractors use several techniques to better serve their patients. The chiropractic profession is one in which many of us will go to trainings and seminars to pick up new techniques as the years go on. For example, in my office we use the following (feel free to perform research on these later):

  • Diversified
  • Gonstead
  • Thompson
  • Activator
  • Others (not used frequently enough to mention)

The above techniques are a good mix of the "joint popping" and low-force techniques that some patients prefer. Before I adjust a new patient I always ask them the same questions.

  1. Have you been adjusted before?
  2. What was the technique used and how did you feel it worked for you?
  3. Is there a technique that you prefer, and why?

In addition to these techniques, we use several different types of adjunctive treatments and therapies, including but not limited to:

  • Ultrasound
  • Electrical stimulation
  • Therapeutic massage
  • Physiotherapy (exercise)
  • Kinesiotaping
  • Active Release Techniques
  • Graston Therapies

Coupling adjustments with adjunctive therapies is the best way to get a patient out of pain and hold his or her adjustment longer (thereby reducing treatment time and cost).

My suggestion, again, is to find a chiropractor that sees you more than 5 minutes a visit. Get some therapies at the same time as your adjustments (no matter what technique you choose) and get back to health in no time!

Now about that "joint popping". What is it, exactly?

Adjustment (or manipulation) of a joint may result in the release of a gas bubble between the joints, which makes a popping sound. The same thing occurs when you “crack” your knuckles. The noise is caused by the change of pressure within the joint, which results in gas bubbles being released. There is usually minimal, if any, discomfort involved. (American Chiropractic Association)

Source: patch.com
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