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The Top 7 Types of Chiropractic Practices You Should Know

December 7, 2023

Acupuncture Q & A

What Is Acupuncture Treatment?

Acupuncture is a type of treatment that originated in China more than 3,000 years ago. Acupuncturists use extremely slim needles, placing them in key areas on the body to alleviate pain in a natural way. The needles create a balance in the body’s energy, which allows the body to return to its optimal pain-free state.

There are several types of acupuncture. In moxibustion, moxa taken from dried mugwort warms key areas and helps with smooth qi energy flow. In auricular acupuncture, points on the outer ear are stimulated for healing. In cupping therapy, suction is used to help stimulate blood flow and promote healing.

Want to move freely again without chronic pain inhibiting you?  

The right chiropractic adjustments offer new hope for restored flexibility beyond short-term medications.

While debates volley back and forth, one truth stands undisputed: properly aligning the structures around nerves can restore flexibility. This allows nerve signals to flow smoothly so the body can bend and twist without pain again.

However, many people don’t realize the range of personalized techniques that can awaken joints using light to medium force. These tap pressure points and mobilize bones in ways that even hesitant doctors admit can help.

In this guide, we’ll overview the 7 most common chiropractic techniques practiced, the ideal uses for each, and key distinguishing details so you can make informed decisions about relieving your pain.

1. The Diversified Chiropractic Technique

As one of the most widely used manual adjustment techniques practiced today, the Diversified Chiropractic technique is like a precise chisel realigning spinal joints that have slightly shifted out of optimal position over time. 

It leverages controlled, targeted thrusts to gently tap restricted segments back into flexibility - much like lightly hammering a nail to hang a picture straight again.

Chiropractors first identify joints not properly aligned or moving as freely as they should which contribute to patients’ pain or discomfort. They examine for tight tissues or limited ranges similar to assessing if a door hinge needs oil. 

They then use their hands or devices to apply a brief pushing force that realigns the joint, almost giving it a fine tune-up. This is also called spinal manipulation.

An audible “pop” sound may occur from built-up air bubble releases, indicating tissues moving more freely again. While concerning, this sound is not from bones cracking but rather gas pressure releases, much like when you “crack” stiff knuckles. This allows improved mobility as joints glide simply, taking tension off nerves.

Some key benefits of the Diversified technique include:

  • Relief for acute sprains/strains 
  • Treating disc injuries that pinch nerves
  • Restoring nerve function and reducing inflammation around irritated tissues
  • Managing fibromyalgia which causes amplified musculoskeletal discomfort
  • Realigning posture by retraining position-sensing nerves

The integrated chiropractic treatment from Complete Wellness can also help you with the aforementioned issues.

Practitioners sometimes use blocks under patients to isolate specific spine segments needing increased motion. This allows precision targeting of problem areas.

Practitioners sometimes use blocks under patients to isolate specific spine segments needing increased motion. This allows precision targeting of problem spots.

There is also an extremity adjustment version applying the Diversified technique to shoulders, wrists, ankles, and knees for overall body relief.

2. The Thompson Drop Table Technique

types of chiropractic practices

Picture a spine health assessment where pieces of wood represent each spinal bone. If several “vertebrae” were tilted or shifted from their normal alignment, the first step would be straightening the full column before targeting problem discs pressing on “nerves”.

This visual sums up the Thompson Drop Table Technique, which realigns the whole spine before further adjustments. 

It uses a specialized computer-controlled table with sections that angle down, almost like staging platforms lowering at varying angles. This gently guides misaligned spinal joints back towards neutral positions using gravity, similar to nudging tipped dominos back into a perfect row.

Once the spine is re-leveled to reestablish ideal front-to-back curves, the chiropractor performs focused manipulations on areas still needing joint motion or disc pressure relief. It’s like a watchmaker delicately adjusting the last few gears of the fully reassembled timepiece mechanism.

This two-phase process effectively treats severe spinal conditions like slipped discs and sciatica. The detailed evaluations identify the exact regions needing mobilization.

It can also treat headaches, upper back pain, muscle spasms, and some extremity issues originating from vertebral joints shifted out of position. 

In summary, the Thompson treatment first globally rebalances overall spinal alignment much like resetting crooked wood blocks into a straight stack. Thereafter, customized mobilizations target dysfunctional sections needing structural rehabilitation and pain relief.

3. The Gonstead Chiropractic Method  

Imagine you’re at a home with a barely noticeable slant in the floor. While not initially a problem, over months it strains the foundation. The Gonstead Method is like an inspection, detecting even subtle unevenness before cracks appear.

It uses specialized assessments like full spine x-rays, thermography, gait analysis, and leg checks to uncover small postural shifts or spinal deviations early when symptoms are absent.

Noticing the initial slant in the floor equates to picking up on subtle pelvic tilting or barely imperceptible heat changes indicating irritated nerves or spotting small differences in leg lengths.

Once careful indicators pinpoint starting problem spots, practitioners gently apply minimal calculated rebalancing forces to realign joints, like placing just the right number of paper napkins under shorter table legs to re-level everything smoothly. No excessive lifting or twisting motions are involved.

This controlled analysis and gradual mobilization make it helpful for delicate cases like arthritis, spondylolisthesis, or spinal stenosis without straining susceptible joints. 

Restoring optimal skeletal alignment removes underlying deterioration caused over time, similar to how straightening a leaning structure prevents progressive foundation cracking. 

Thereafter, follow-ups continue monitoring via motion assessments, ensuring improved functions like checking walls and ceilings are now perfectly vertical after structural corrections.

4. Flexion Distraction Chiropractic Technique  

chiropractic manual adjustment

A nerve irritation is like a kinked garden hose where the tight bend cuts off healthy fluid flow. Flexion Distraction gently works to smooth out the crease.

It comfortably positions patients before using specialized movable tables to lightly decompress targeted spine areas, much like thin cardboard strips carefully used to take pressure off tightly packed wires in an overloaded electrical box. 

Therefore, it can treat conditions like spinal stenosis, pinched nerves, herniated or bulging discs, and sciatica

Angling some segments downward while others stay lifted stretches stiff joints, creating more room between each to relieve irritated nerves. It is similar to gently straightening out a sharply bent dryer vent tube to improve air movement.

Then, the chiropractor makes minor adjustments with added stretches mobilizing the joints. This relieves pressure on surrounding nerves.

Considered safe even for delicate spines thanks to its mild force, this technique can integrate therapies like massage for reinforced outcomes much like how Complete Wellness does with its chiropractic treatment.

5. The Activator Chiropractic Method

With care similar to precisely adjusting a Lego sculpture, the Activator Method uses a handheld spring-loaded tool to gently administer realigning taps targeting vertebral joints that have slightly shifted position. It straightens subtle deviations expertly without any forceful thrusts that could strain tissues.

It requires no manual thrusting whatsoever, making it extremely gentle. Some patients consider it practically painless compared to force-based maneuvers that can inflame tissues.

It also minimizes any inflammation build-up by avoiding twisting motions entirely, making it suitable for delicate cases like recent acute injuries still healing that need mild persuasion only. Think of it as safely adjusting newly mended fractured fingers needing the lightest mobilization initially to avoid re-injury risk.

Chiropractors check for pelvic tilting, unequal leg lengths, and other posture issues that show areas out of alignment. Then they use an instrument to give light repositioning taps to those spots until improved alignment is confirmed.

This technique can treat extremities like ankles, wrists, and knees in addition to spinal issues. Additionally, adaptations exist for TMJ treatment making it versatile for musculoskeletal conditions involving trapped or compressed nerves.

As an exceptionally low-force technique well suited for infants through seniors, the Activator Method restores mobility and better communication throughout the neuromusculoskeletal system without compressive risk. 

6. Sacro Occipital Technique (SOT)

diversified chiropractic technique

Think of an alignment between the foundation and roof beam slipping out of position - the whole house leans to one side. Similarly, SOT assesses skull to pelvis positioning.

Developed by Dr. DeJarnette, it focuses on the deviation between the sacrum (base of the spine) and occipital bones (base of the skull) that can undermine overall musculoskeletal balance, like a structure sagging when its base and top attachment drift too far apart.

By evaluating and releasing accumulated tension in these regions negatively impacting overall musculoskeletal function, SOT aims to reduce neurological disturbances and rebalance joints through its specialized techniques including:

  • Spinal and limb manipulation to restore mobility
  • Positional release using wedges that allow joints to align reflexively
  • Soft tissue massage to relieve tension in organs near the spine
  • Gentle cranial therapy to aid spinal fluid movement

By locating even subtle skull-to-sacrum misalignments and relieving tension, SOT aims to resolve pain and nerve dysfunction related to poor connectivity between these critical anchors. Its holistic evaluation aims to address headaches, migraines, and neck and back pain stemming from dislocations between the skull and tailbone.

Much like straightening a leaning tower ensures the stability of a building, restoring occiput to sacrum positioning through SOT techniques helps the entire body regain integrity. 

Similarly, the expert chiropractors at Complete Wellness help you identify the root cause of your pain while helping you improve your overall body function.

7. Logan Basic Technique

A pelvis alignment is like a tiled floor - if one section sinks slightly lower, it stresses surrounding materials. The Logan Basic method identifies subtle sinking to save the joint.

Developed in the 1960s by Logan College founder Hugh B. Logan and his wife, it focuses on the sacroiliac (SI) joint between the spine and pelvis frequently overlooked as a source of back and hip pain when its positioning drops lower on one side.

Practitioners assess for signs like unequal leg length or limited hip motion hinting at pelvic unleveling, similar to noticing sloped floors.

Light impulse thrusts combined with body positioning then press touchpoints guiding the SI joint back into place without twisting. It’s like propping up the dipping tile to stabilize the floor again.

Rather than directly moving the spine, the corrected alignment of ligaments and muscles controlling the SI joint eases associated aches by taking pressure off joints and nerves.

As positioning and gentle pressures restore normal motion, the SI joint functions better enhancing its ability to handle routine stresses. This helps ease associated aches.

By unlocking impaired mobility in the critical yet frequently overlooked sacroiliac region, the Logan Basic Technique aims to realign pelvic positioning tied to lower back pain and sciatica complaints.

Which Approach Is Right For You?

spinal manipulation techniques

Now that you’re familiar with common chiropractic techniques, it’s time to consider which modalities best match your needs and preferences.

Seeking in-person guidance can prove invaluable for navigating the range of options available and determining the next steps.

At Complete Wellness, our experienced chiropractors would be happy to evaluate your health profile, assess lifestyle factors, and gauge alignment with personalized objectives to recommend integrated treatment approaches.

Our chiropractic services aim to provide natural, drug-free pain relief while restoring mobility for an improved quality of life thanks to gentle yet effective spinal adjustments.

We seamlessly blend chiropractic with massage, acupuncture, physical therapy, and stress reduction education for comprehensive support.

Take the next step by booking an appointment today with Complete Wellness and discover your body’s full healing potential through strategically combined chiropractic care catered to your unique needs.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What is the difference between therapy and chiropractic?

The main difference is that physical therapy focuses on stretching, exercises, and modalities to rehabilitate injuries while chiropractic concentrates on spinal and joint manipulation to restore mobility and alignment. However, both can yield complementary benefits.

2. Is chiropractic better than physical therapy?

They can each provide advantages for certain conditions, but an integrative approach combining both chiropractic care and targeted physical therapy often gives the best patient outcomes by addressing areas the other may overlook or lack competency in.

3. What is the safest chiropractic technique?

Techniques like low-force flexion distraction that utilize gentle mobilization and traction are often considered very safe chiropractic approaches. Extensive patient evaluation also maximizes safety to determine the ideal force and direction before adjustments.

4. Are too many chiropractic adjustments bad?

While regular chiropractic care aligned to patient needs provides great benefit for many, excessive over-manipulation or unnecessarily aggressive force levels can cause joint irritation, ligamentous strain, or vertebral injury in sensitive individuals if improperly applied or dosed.

5. What is the difference between upper cervical chiropractic and regular chiropractic?

Upper cervical chiropractic focuses just on realigning the skull, atlas, and axis bones, believing this region's positioning underlies health issues. Regular chiropractic adjusts multiple spine and extremity areas based on a broader diagnostic perspective.

Complete wellness

Medically reviewed by Complete Wellness on Feb 16, 2024

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