Chiropractic Adjustment Techniques

At our clinic we use a wide variety of techniques allowing us to care for virtually all groups of people. Babies, children, the frail and elderly have all received care, which has been tailored to their specific needs. Only the gentlest techniques are appropriate for babies (the pressure felt is as hard as when you gently push on your eye with it closed), while more vigorous techniques are safe and effective for a 25 year old rugby player.

The primary aim of most chiropractic techniques is to locate, analyse and correct vertebral (spinal) subluxations. A subluxation occurs when the vertebrae loose their normal movement pattern and alignment. This can cause problems locally (e.g. back and neck pain), and effects the associated nerves which come out of the spine. Correction is achieved by “adjusting” the spine. The way the adjustment is performed varies between techniques.

In this technique the chiropractor locates and analyses the subluxations (fixations) by feeling for the movement between the vertebrae, as well as looking at spinal and pelvic alignment. The adjustment is a very fast, but low force, manual thrust which gets the vertebrae moving. Patients often hears a “popping” noise (which is caused by gases being temporarily formed in the joints), but adjustments are rarely painful.

This technique focuses primarily on the relationship between the sacrum at the bottom of the spine and the occiput, which joins the skull onto the top of the spine. After analysing patients they are adjusted using specific protocols, all of which are very gentle. In most cases padded wedges are carefully placed under specific parts of the body, and the adjustment is carried out by the patient’s own weight, gravity and time.

When the chiropractor wishes to be particularly gentle (ie. on a baby, elderly, post operative patient or anyone who doesn’t want to be manually adjusted) they may use an adjusting instrument (e.g. activator) which applies a very small and precise force. This force can be reduced even further by placing the chiropractor’s thumb between the patient and the adjusting instrument.

In this technique a special adjusting bench or couch is used. The bench has sections which are designed raise up by about an inch and then only just hold the patients weight. When the chiropractor applies a very small force the raised section on the bench drops back down an inch and stops very suddenly. The rapid deceleration applies a very fast, controlled and gentle force to adjust the subluxation.