Many people don’t realise that there are numerous techniques Chiropractors can use to perform an ‘Adjustment’. While the word ‘Chiropractic’ comes from the Greek word meaning ‘done by hand’, there are many ways to adjust the spine. All adjusting techniques are performed with the intent to help restore optimal spinal function and nerve transmission.
During an adjustment a Chiropractor applies a specific force to a specific segment in a specific direction for a specific outcome. This adjustment restores movement at the segment – allowing your body to revive its ability to function normally. Whilst this process frequently results in reduced pain – the main intent is to help your body help itself!
Each adjustment builds off the one prior, gaining the momentum for lasting change. Repeated adjustments are necessary to allow time for the process of remodelling in surrounding tissues such as ligaments and muscles to support and stabilise the changes being made in spinal function. Because repeated visits are necessary it is important the adjusting techniques being used feel good for you.
Your Chiropractor will partner with you – using the techniques that best suit your body and personal preferences, whilst helping you understand how different techniques can affect rate of change and outcomes.
Performed with the hands this is a manual technique that delivers a controlled thrust with a specific direction, speed and depth through a joint segment. A thorough understanding of spinal biomechanics coupled with years of experience allows this movement to be carried out in a safe, effective manner.
An audible sound or ‘pop’ may be heard as the gas within the synovial fluid of the joint is released momentarily as there is a shift in joint surfaces with the energy of the thrust. The controlled stretch of the joint capsule causes the joint surfaces to separate (within normal ranges) and the gases are quickly released from the synovial fluid into the joint creating the sound.
With or without noises – the sound is never indicative of the effectiveness of the adjustment and the volume may vary visit to visit and person to person.
If getting adjusted manually is new or unfamiliar and produces feelings of fear or hesitation, do not fret – it is not uncommon. Dr Felicity is patient, understanding and very experienced in accommodating your jitters. She will help you relax through simple explanations of the process, and modification of treatment techniques if popping noises unnerve you or if your body is having difficulty relaxing into the movement.
Most patients find the actual sensation of a manual adjustment satisfying and very pleasant.
Adjustments are carried out with the use of a spring-loaded handheld instrument, delivering a measured, consistent, high-speed, low-force thrust.
Because it does not require any pre-thrust distortion of surrounding soft tissues and is extremely fast – it allows for specific gentle adjustments with little to no resistance from the body – keeping adjustments comfortable and precise.
Whilst highly-effective for all bodies, it is a preferred technique for those requiring or desiring low-force application, or for those who may find it hard to relax or are contraindicated for manual adjustments of the neck.
Drop-Piece Table Adjusting
This technique typically involves adjusting the spine while the patient is lying face-down utilising sections of a hydraulic ‘Segmental Drop Table’. By adding motion with drop-away sections in the table, the motion force imparted to the specific vertebral segment being adjusted is enhanced.
This concept has been utilised and refined since the 50’s with tables built with multiple drop pieces for adjusting the cervical, thoracic, lumbar and pelvic area. This technique takes advantage of the spine’s inherent design of the joints in order to move the spinal segment in the direction that will improve the motion of the segment.
As the joints are moved from a resting neutral position with minimal pre-thrust distortion of surrounding soft-tissues – it allows for specific gentle adjustments with little to no resistance from the body – keeping adjustments comfortable.
This technique is particularly useful for adjusting lower back/pelvic complaints when acute inflammation and muscle spasm are present as its application feels very subtle to the patient, whilst delivering powerful results.
Whilst highly-effective for all bodies, it is a preferred technique for those requiring or desiring low-force application.
‘Wedge’ blocks may be used to adjust your lumbopelvic region – correction involves using blocks under the pelvis placed in a specific direction and position.
This particular Sacro-Occipital Technique uses the weight of the body to correct the body, occurring through the interaction between the specific position the body is placed in, and the motion of the body caused by normal breathing.
Harnessing the effect of gravity, your weight and breathing helps to normalise joint function promoting balance and neurological integrity.
This is a very gentle and highly effective technique preferred by many for its low-force application.
Cranio-Sacral Balancing Techniques
The body’s craniosacral system plays a vital role in maintaining the physiological environment in which the two major components of the central nervous system – the brain and spinal cord – develop and function. The system consists of the membranes and fluid that surround and protect these CNS structures, as well as the attached bones. These membranes extend from the bones of the cranium (skull, face and jaw) and down the spine to the sacrum or tailbone area.
These hands-on techniques utilise an extremely gentle approach to release tension, aiming to restore structural integrity and balance to the craniosacral system and facilitate improved nervous system function.
Using light-touch, a controlled pressure is applied to specific points on the skull, in particular directions with particular timing, to encourage normal movement in the fibrous sutures where the skull bones meet. The process utilises the primary respiratory mechanism and is often accompanied by gentle pressure applied to the sacral region in the pelvis. Craniosacral techniques have been shown to reduce stress, pain and tension and induce relaxation.
Because it is an extremely gentle and conservative approach, parents are particularly comfortable for their newborn infants and children to receive treatment through cranio-sacral techniques to improve their health and function, with many find it relaxing enough to doze off!
Joint mobilisation and soft tissue release may also be incorporated with your adjustments.
*Paediatric adjusting techniques for infants, children and adolescents are highly modified to allow for safe and appropriate treatment delivery that considers their age, size and neurological/anatomical development. Infants and young children do not receive high-velocity adjustments but rather low-force, gentle applications of Chiropractic care.