Common Chiropractic Treatment Methods

What is an Adjustment?

One of the most common treatment methods used by chiropractors is joint adjustments. A chiropractor can determine that a joint needs adjustment by physically examining it. They will see if it can flex through its full range of motion. If the joint is unable to move through its natural range of motion it is determined to be stuck and in need of adjustment. When the joint is unable to move correctly it is sometimes tender or painful as the stuck position of the joint can affect the nerves around the joint creating pain. It can also cause the muscles attached to and around the joint to become tense and spasm creating pain. The restoration of the joint’s natural movement helps the muscles and nerves in the area relax, restoring the joint’s normal, pain-free functioning. Joint adjustments are done by taking the stuck joint and moving it to its current limit of motion. At this point, the chiropractor will push the joint just beyond its stuck position. The movement is done fast but with little force. This allows the joint to become unlocked and move through its natural full range of motion. Often a popping sound is heard along with the adjustment which is just air being released from the joint as it is unlocked. Adjustments decrease pain, restore normal movement and increase nerve function

What is an Activator?

An activator is a hand-held tool used to adjust various joints of the body. Instead of chiropractors using their hands to adjust, they will utilize an activator instead. Activators have a force adjustment mechanism that can be customized for various joints and patients. The end results are the same as manual adjustments: decreasing pain, restoring normal movement and increasing nerve function.

What is Joint Mobilization?

Joint mobilization may also be used during treatment to increase the range of motion of certain joints or groups of joints. Joint mobilizations are done by physically moving the joint through its motion ranges. Joint mobilizations differ from adjustments as the joint is only moved within its current range of motion. This is regardless of whether it is decreased or not from its normal full range. Joint mobilizations do not push the joint past its presently available range of motion to unlock it. Joint mobilizations like adjustments also help restore the normal function of the joint which helps the muscles and nerves around the joint to relax.

What is Manual Release Therapy?

Manual release therapy is a form of soft tissue therapy performed on different muscles in the body. The muscle being treated is shortened and lengthened through its normal movement by the patient while the chiropractor applies pressure to the muscle. This treatment lengthens and relaxes contracted and tensed muscles. This treatment method can be used for muscle knots, muscle contracture and general muscle tension.