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Chiropractic Techniques

If you mention chiropractic, you may hear a few wisecracks about chiropractors providing relief from various ailments by cracking the backs of their patients. That’s a fun visual, and the occasional snap, crackle, or pop might be heard in a chiropractor’s treatment room, but there’s obviously a bit more involved. Chiropractors are highly trained health care professionals. They combine their deep understanding of the musculoskeletal system with their knowledge of various chiropractic techniques to identify problems and devise and enact a customized treatment plan that is tailor-made to address your unique health situation.

Chiropractor Doing Adjustment

Types of Chiropractic Techniques

Chiropractors don’t prescribe medications or perform surgery. Instead, they take a hands-on approach to wellness by manually manipulating the spine and body to correct subluxations and misalignments and improve the functioning of the nervous system, the body’s master control system.

It’s a time-tested approach. Modern chiropractic care might have gotten its start in 1895, but the practice of improving health with spinal manipulation has been around for thousands of years. With such a lengthy history, it’s no surprise that many different techniques have been developed over the years. Today, chiropractors master multiple methods. This allows them to utilize the best technique or combination of techniques for each patient. Which techniques are you likely to encounter if you visit a chiropractor?

Diversified Technique

Developed by Dr. D.D. Palmer, this technique is a part of any chiropractic curriculum. In fact, it’s one of the most frequently used chiropractic techniques. It involves using the hands to gently manipulate the spine or extremities. As the adjustment frees gas trapped within the joint, you might even hear a snap as your body regains its proper alignment. What if you don’t hear anything? It doesn’t mean that the adjustment was a failure. Muscle tension can muffle the sound.

Full-spine Specific Technique

When employing this method, a chiropractor uses deliberate, gentle hand movements to clear away subluxations and stimulate the body’s healing systems. It’s fairly similar to the techniques the Palmer family used in the early days of modern chiropractic care.

Thompson Chiropractic Technique

Chiropractors often use testing and empirical observations to guide their efforts. If your chiropractor is checking the length of your legs with your head turned to the side, your legs bent at the knee, or your legs straight, then they’re likely using the Thompson chiropractic technique. Created by Dr. J. Clay Thompson, this method uses a special table that allows your doctor to position your body to adjust the spine with quick, effective movements that require minimal force.

Non-force Techniques

When a patient has undergone surgery or is dealing with degenerative issues, minimizing the amount of force used to adjust the spine is a smart precaution. With non-force techniques, low-force instruments are used to gently adjust the joints and nearby muscles to normalize the movement in the joint.

Cox Flexion Distraction Technique

Like the Thompson technique, the Cox Flexion Distraction technique uses an adjustable table. Developed in the 1960s by Dr. James M. Cox, this advanced approach combines chiropractic and osteopathic principles. The result is a technique that is incredibly gentle and allows an experienced practitioner to provide a very specific adjustment with little force.

Craniosacral Therapy

Designed to treat the bones of the head, spinal column, and sacrum, craniosacral therapy uses feather-light movements that are nearly undetectable. It relieves pain by releasing compression.

Gonstead Technique

When subluxations and misalignments of the spine are addressed, the nervous system is able to operate more effectively, improving wellness and the overall functioning of the body. Developed by Dr. Clarence S. Gonstead, a pioneer in the practice of modern chiropractic, this technique employs a specific style of adjustment to target subluxations with remarkable precision.

Sacro Occipital Technique

A commonly used chiropractic technique, this method gets its name from the sacrum, or tailbone, and the occiput, or base of the skull. It uses a systematic approach to normalize the relationship between the two ends of the spine by correcting distortions and misalignments with cranial and spine work.

Webster Technique

If you’re pregnant, your chiropractor will likely utilize the Webster technique. Developed by the founder of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association, Dr. Larry Webster, this technique can be highly effective in alleviating tight muscles and ligaments and bringing balance to the pelvic region. When treated with this technique during their pregnancies, expectant mothers generally report less pain and have easier births.


At Loehr Health Center, our doctors are skilled in many different chiropractic techniques, and they are constantly working to refine and expand their abilities with additional advanced training. To learn more about our services or request an appointment, contact us today.

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