Health & Nutrition

Different Chiropractic Adjustments Techniques

Chiropractic Massage

In the year 2017, bone-cracking videos became a trend on social media as many people found it exciting and satisfying. If you have seen those videos, you would know how those people were pleased after their massage. These bone-cracking massages are beneficial to the body and are better known as Chiropractic Massage.

What is a chiropractic massage?

When chiropractic care is used in conjunction with massage therapy, both treatments work together to create a harmonious effect. / Image by Graceie from Pixabay

Before it was called Chiropractic massage, Hippocrates called it joint manipulation, and this practice was used for a thousand years.

Other historical records even indicate that joint manipulation was practiced in the East. The Chinese understood how to manipulate the spine, way before Greece understood human anatomy.

Today, people see the benefits of Chiropractic massage, besides relying on invasive and pharmacological techniques, to alleviate pain. Many studies have supported the claim that these types of massages can eliminate psychological and physiological stresses in the body. With that, here is a list of the different chiropractic adjustment techniques used today.

Gonstead Technique

Dr. Clarence Selmer Gonstead created this technique. He observed that some pain in the leg and foot were resistant to traditional medical care. However, he noted that when chiropractic care was applied to the sore area, it slowly alleviated and improved its state. The Gonstead technique became a general knowledge of chiropractic education.

The Gonstead technique follows the concept between the relation of the body’s structural foundation and the intervertebral discs.

It means that the pelvis, legs, and vertebrae should be on the same level to achieve the highest potential of balance and strength. This technique targets nerve dysfunction, intervertebral misalignments, and motion disturbances.

When using this procedure, chiropractors adjust the pelvis or the low back as the person lies on their side. Since the lower extremities in the body control mobility, it targets to realign joints and lessen stiffness or pain. Most clinics, like chiropractor Chicago, Chiropractic clinic in Atlanta, use this technique to alleviate inconvenience to the body and, at the same time, restore full-body health.

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Activator Technique

During Dr. Arlan Fuhr’s third year of practice in chiropractic care, the constant use of his thumb and elbows while helping his patients was becoming too much for him. Because of the needed force to perform a manual adjustment, his joints would always ache. Dr. Fuhr decided to create a tool that would administer light force speed adjustments.

With the help of his partners and some dentist, he created the Chiropractic Adjusting Instrument. In 1976, the instrument was patented and became popular with chiropractic practitioners. As the years went by, Dr. Fuhr made some tweaks to his invention, to better suit the needs of the chiropractors.

The activator technique involves the use of a handheld adjusting instrument.

It sends a tender impulse to the spine and vertebral segments. This approach aims to treat everything from headaches like migraines to pain in the lower back. Since the instrument delivers a moderate pounding sensation, it is ideal for patients of old age.

Flexion Distraction

Originally called Cox Technic, Flexion Distraction is introduced and taught by Dr. James Cox. Like the previous technique, Dr. Cox made a chiropractic instrument that would help chiropractic practitioners tend the needs of their patients. His approach has undergone extensive experimental research to prove that it is beneficial to clinical application.

Besides Flexion Distraction, others call it decompression manipulation. It is because it intends to treat facet joint pain, disc herniations, scoliosis, and other related conditions. Additionally, using this instrument can result in decreased intradiscal pressure. It also reduces the pressure on the spinal nerves.

Patients will be asked to lie flat on the Cox table so chiropractors can perform spinal manipulation. The instrument permits the successful administration of decompression adjustments. With that, chiropractors can apply a gentle pull to stretch the joints of the patients.

Thompson or Segmental Drop Table Technique

The ineffectual attempts of Dr. Clay Thompson to perform a toggle thrust as a student became his motivation to create this instrument. When a toggle trust is performed on a firm headpiece, it results in a reflected force to the chiropractor, which leads to body pain. To counter this problem, the Drop Table is made for the convenience of the doctor and patient.

The Thompson Technique uses a Segmental Drop Table, which allows the headpiece to drop away as the thrust is applied to the spine.

It will improve the motion force provided to the vertebral segment or the area to be manipulated. Moreover, the reflected force is reduced to a minimal amount. This lessens chiropractor’s experiences about any body aches.

Using the Segmental Drop System would require the patient to lie face down, which is in accord with Dr. Clay’s theory of proper spinal adjustment. This approach aims to move the vertebral segment in a direction that will improve its motion. It will only be achieved if the adjustments applied are from the posterior to the anterior.

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Diversified Technique

The origins of this technique are still unknown, but Joseph Janse popularized its concept in 1947. The Diversified Technique is one of the most common approaches that chiropractors use around the globe. This maneuver causes the popping noise caused by the release of gas from the joint.

Like any other technique, this one aims to correct affected spinal segments.

It involves the administration of a short but quick thrust to the affected joints. A precise depth, angle, speed, and direction delivered in a high-velocity is required to perform this approach successfully.

The technique is either done by hand, with the aid of some chiropractic table or block.

Using this technique restores the movement and function of the affected spinal segments. Besides improving the state of the whole nervous system, it also involves other benefits to the body. Diversified technique is known to alleviate neck pain, rib pain, headaches, and many more.


Many research studies have validated the advantage of chiropractic massage to the human body, especially spinal manipulation. Subsequently, since the spinal cord is a channel, it delivers helpful hormones to the affected areas. Nevertheless, practitioners commented that the most effective way of pain management is only determined on a case-to-case basis.

Author’s bio: Melissa Bell is a content writer and copywriter who specializes in fitness, lifestyle, and health. She’s known for being a health junkie, and is crazy about yoga, tea, biology, and self-help books.

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