For most people, chiropractic adjustments are mainly limited to spinal manipulations (which can be scary to some due to their fear of pain and unwanted complications) but in reality, chiropractors perform a lot of procedures to achieve spinal adjustments, depending upon the nature of illness and indications of therapy. The primary aim of all chiropractic procedures is to enhance and restore normal connectivity and alignment of spinal vertebrae in order to promote the neuronal, hormonal and immunological synchrony in the patients.
It is important to discuss with your healthcare provider or chiropractic practitioner regarding different chiropractic adjustments and maneuvers that may help in your case.
A variety of instruments are used by chiropractic practitioners in situations where the normal physical activities are difficult due to the severity and intensity of pain or the risk or duration of suffering can increase with manual techniques. With instrument assisted adjusting, patients can achieve core stability, spinal biomechanics and strength with minimal pain. The aim of using different devices and instruments is to use momentum of the body to promote optimal alignment across the joints. The most popular adjustment tools utilized by chiropractors are Neuromechanical Impulse Adjusting Instrument and Harrison Handheld Adjusting Instrument. Both of these devices produce great dynamic frequency and linear peak forces as compared to Activator Adjustment devices (discussed below).
Most chiropractors also use special devices and tables that have adjustable setting to allow the operator to lift or drop different segments of the spine by one or more inches from the resting space or basal body surface. The use of adjustable drop table allow chiropractic practitioner to apply force to make realignment of spine much easier. Even without any further therapy, drop table helps in relieving the symptoms of sciatica, lower back pain, pelvic pain, disorders of lumbar plexus and disorders of spinal disc like herniation or prolapse involving cervical or lumbar vertebrae. In addition, patient who suffers from acute spinal injury or trauma, advanced age, long standing osteoporosis and similar complicative illness can also get benefitted from drop table therapy.
The Activator Method is also utilized by chiropractic practitioners on patients who have insufficient bone mass density (in condition like osteoporosis, osteopenia and other bone disorders that are not likely candidates for mobilization or manual adjustments). This chiropractic adjustment requires an Activator Adjusting Instrument that applies gentle traction for realignment of vertebral joints. The pego stick like or jack hammer like activity of Activator instrument allow chiropractors to perform procedures to realign the displaced bones or joints.
The biggest limitation of this therapy is the slow pace of improvement that may take weeks to produce significant results; thereby prolonging the duration of total therapy and period of pain. The biggest advantage is the pain-free nature of therapy that does not produce post-therapy discomfort or soreness. A research report published in The Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association suggests that chiropractic techniques like Upper Cervical treatments, Alaxander and Activator are among the preferred treatment methods at chiropractic clinics. Currently there are over 22 successful research reports and case studies suggesting the efficacy of Activator therapy in management of symptoms.
The Diversified Technique is a combination of different techniques or chiropractic procedures that are designed to improve the overall stability and alignment of spine. It may also produce the characteristic popping sound that marks the liberation of vacuum or air bubble from the joint spaces. It is ideally recommended for subluxated spinal joints, joints of extremities and sports related injuries. The use of the right amount of amplitude and high velocity techniques allow chiropractors to use biomechanical force that helps in joint stabilization or adjustment without using any instrumentation. It is indeed one of the aggressive manipulations and patients with impaired bone mineral densities are not ideal candidates for the procedure.
The key concept of Sacral-Occipital Technique (SOT) was investigated, developed and explained by Dr. M. B. DeJarnette who deeply studied the concept of basic human anatomy, physiology and patho-physiology and divided the basic neurological unit in three basic categories (1, 2, 3). He suggested that optimal functioning of the human body is dependent on the optimal connectivity of occipit (skull base) and sacrum (between coccyx and L5 or spinal base). This technique utilizes the weight and gravitational pressure of wedge shaped blocks for the proper realignment of spinal vertebrae. The use of block combinations is dependent upon the primary symptoms, strength and stability of muscles and results or recommendations of neurological and radiological tests. It is especially helpful in the optimal restoration of nerve functioning. Jerry I. Hochman reports research findings in 5 patients with well-established lumbar instability and sacroiliac distortion. However, with periodic SOT therapy, 21%-57% improvement was observed in the lumbar motion in all planes.