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Spinal Manipulation: Types of Chiropractic Adjustments

Most people seek out chiropractic treatment when they need help relieving back pain, improving joint health, and bettering overall well-bring. In fact, one in four adults saw a chiropractor for neck and back pain between August 2017 and 2018 per a Gallup poll.

Chiropractic treatment is a favorite first step in preventing, diagnosing, and managing these issues because it’s low risk and non-invasive. In fact, the American College of Physicians specifically recommends spinal manipulatio therapy as the first defense in treating chronic and acute lower back pain.

No meds, surgery, and side effects here!

But what types of chiropractic adjustments and treatments are there, you ask?

To help you know what to expect, we’ve put together several common adjustments. Keep reading to learn what chiropractors do to help relieve, treat, and prevent pain and spine, neck, and joint issues. Then, set up an appointment to see how it works for you.

Common Types of Spinal Adjustments

When you first go to the chiropractor, you can expect to receive a full evaluation and assessment of your health issues, usually focused on the spine, neck, and joints and taking overall health into consideration too.

Your chiropractor then gives you a diagnosis and recommends a treatment plan and adjustments. A good chiropractor will base treatment/adjustments on cutting-edge, evidence-supported procedures, and we always recommend that you find out more about what to expect from trusted professionals. 

There are hundreds of adjustments that chiropractors do, but most have certain ones that they use. Here are some often used chiropractic adjustment techniques.

Manipulation of the Spine and Joints

Spinal manipulation also called the “direct thrust technique,” is the most common technique that everyone thinks of as the pop-your-spine-back-into-place maneuver. Yes, there’s the popping sound when it happens, but this is actually a result of gas being released as the joints/vertebrae open up. 

The maneuver involves a fast but short thrust directed to just the right spot on your spine to properly align your vertebrae so they no longer limit your motion or cause you discomfort. The chiropractor does the move with her or his hands or a specially designed tool. 

Mobilization of the Spine and Joints

This is a more gentle technique. It uses firm-but-gentle pressure and gentle stretches to nudge the spine or joints into proper alignment rather than the thrusts. 

Myofascial Release of the Spine and Joints

This technique focuses on the myofascial tissue that connects and covers muscles, joints, tendons, and ligaments around the body and spine. This tissue is interconnected and so if you feel pain in one spot, it may be due to a myofascial issue or stiffness in another spot. 

The chiropractor massages use another gentle manipulation technique or apply pressure to release the tension in the myofascial tissue. This gives you relief from discomfort and pain in the spot treated and other interconnected spots around your body. 

Improved Muscle and Joint Movement with Indirect Positioning

The indirect positional technique helps you gain movement in overly big muscles and the joints and body structure they affect. For example, if your pecs are overly developed, they might cause your shoulders to hunch forward. This, in turn, causes your spine to move unnaturally which may be the source of pain or discomfort.

The chiropractor releases tension and/or stretches the super-toned muscles by holding them in a neutral position and then applying force or pressure to move them. This corrects for the overly toned muscles, also known as “hypertonic” muscles, and helps the body alignment to adjust to normal over time.

Articulatory Adjustments for Joints

This technique is used when joints are injured. It’s another gentle technique that uses easy, slow movements of joints through their range of motion. 

Since the joint is injured the chiropractor applies force to guide the joint through the range of motion but it’s quite gentle. The chiropractor knows exactly how far you can go safely, even though you may feel a tad bit of discomfort or pressure due to the tightness. 

But the result is a fabulous return to your natural mobility and a release of tension and stiffness.

Teamwork Muscle Energy Technique

For this technique, you work with the chiropractor to regain your range of motion and flexibility in joints and muscles. This is another form of myofascial release.

The chiropractor applies gentle pressure and you push back. Actually, you first start to move in a certain direction, using a muscle. For example, you might extend your leg from a bent position and the chiropractor will push back against you. This activates the muscle. It warms it up and helps you gain mobility.

Each time the chiropractor pushes further in one direction, requiring more mobility as you work through the tension and stiffness. And each time, you are required to push hard again.

You’ll see that the muscles release with each go. You’ll feel sore during it but by the end of the session, you will naturally have gained a significant amount of movement and relief from the tension. 

Get Started Today to Get the Care and Relief You Need

Now that you know the common types of spinal adjustments and treatments you can expect when you visit the chiropractor, you’re ready to give it a go. We suggest making an appointment and letting your trusted chiropractor assess your issues and recommend a treatment.

If a specific treatment makes the most sense to you or seems to be calling your name, let your chiropractor know and see if it’s right for you. 

Also, pat yourself on the back for taking steps toward keeping your neck, spine, and joints healthy. This affects your overall well-being too!

Enjoy the results, and while you’re at it, keep reading our blog for other tips and life hacks to staying as healthy and happy as possible.