Chiropractic manipulation techniques, also known as spinal manipulations, are controlled forces placed on spinal joints. Chiropractors are trained to use their hands or a small tool to produce these forces. These techniques restore proper function and movement of the spine and improve overall wellness of the body. The thought of sudden forceful movements on the spine might be scary for some people, but they are actually very safe and efficient. Understanding these techniques can help take the fear out of the treatment.
There are two different types of spinal manipulation techniques:
High-velocity, Low-amplitude (HVLA) Technique
The HVLA techniques are widely used by chiropractors. Studies show they are very beneficial in treating neck and back pain. The concept of HVLA manipulations is rooted in the laws of physics- using force and speed to move the joint. This technique uses controlled, sudden, and forceful movements of the spinal joints. There are various types of HVLA techniques including-
Diversified technique: This HVLA produces the thrust on one immobilized joint at a time. It’s not uncommon for this technique to produce a “popping” noise.
Drop technique: This technique uses special treatment tables with sections that drop a short distance during an HVLA thrust, to assist in the movement of the joint.
Gonstead technique: The Gonstead is similar to the diversified technique, but the evaluation is different when it comes to finding the problematic joint and the proper positioning needed for the technique. Special chair or tables assist in the movement with this technique.
Although spinal mobilizations produce the same effect of improving spinal function, they are more gentle techniques. The movement of the joint is slower and has a firm endpoint to the motion. Spinal mobilization techniques include:
Activator method: This method uses a spring loaded tool called The Activator to provide a low-force impulse. The patient is typically laying face down on the treatment table during this technique.
Toggle Drop: The chiropractor uses crossed hands one on top of the other, to firmly press down on an area of the spine while a section of the drop table falls. The table has different sections which can drop, and this provides the assistance of gravity to manipulation the spine.
Flexion-Distraction: This technique gently provides traction to the spine to adjust the joints. It can commonly use a table to flex or distract the spinal joints. This technique is very effective for patients with disc problems.
What Patients Should Know About Chiropractic Manipulation Techniques
These manipulations are safe and chiropractic care is actually one of the safest forms of healthcare. Chiropractic manipulations actually feel good. Once adjustments begin, most patients actually look forward to having them. When the vertebrae in your spine to return to its proper position, there is less tension and stress in the body.
That sound heard is not your spine ‘cracking’ or popping like most people think. When this happens a gas called nitrogen rushes in to fill the space created when the joints are slightly separated. Not all chiropractic adjusting techniques produce this noise. Some adjusting techniques use little force and thus produce no noise at all.