Chiropractic-DoctorsWhether you have back pain, neck pain, migraine headaches, or other musculoskeletal conditions, chiropractic care can be an effective treatment option.  Perhaps that is why more than 20 million Americans seek chiropractic care each year.

But what do you think of when you imagine chiropractic care? For many, a chiropractor simply locates and diagnosis problems in the joints and spine, and, as far as treatment options are concerned, performs chiropractic adjustments and spinal manipulation to alleviate symptoms.  While, on average, more than 1 million chiropractic adjustments occur each business day in the U.S., chiropractic doctors also utilize many other treatment approaches to get the best results for their patients.

If you have wondered what chiropractic adjustments entail and what additional treatment options and services chiropractors can provide to manage your care, a visit to your local chiropractor can be very informative and get you started down a natural path to wellness and recovery.

In this article, we take a closer look at spinal manipulation and other approaches to chiropractic care.  All of which can help you take control of pain and other symptoms and get you back to living a full life.

Spinal manipulation

One of the most common debilitating problems people face is back pain, which affects more than 31 million Americans each year.  When you think about the structure of your back, it is not hard to understand why.  You see, your back consists of several interdependent bones, ligaments, joints and muscles, which can easily become misaligned, irritated, or damaged.  And while you may think back pain is largely the result of engaging in intense activities such as heavy lifting, you should know that even simple movements like bending over and tying your shoestring could lead to painful injury.  It is not surprising that low back pain is the single leading cause of disability worldwide.  And many people are turning to chiropractic care for treatment.

Manual spinal manipulation is one of the best treatment options for back pain.  What is spinal manipulation exactly? Spinal manipulation is the application of high velocity low thrust force (HVLA) to misaligned vertebrae in order to bring them back into normal position and function.  This procedure normally takes just minutes, and it produces a noticeable popping sound, as the bones become realigned. It can provide a tremendous amount of relief in just a few sessions.  However, it is not the only form of spinal manipulation that can be effective.

Spinal mobilization

Chiropractic-Doctors1For some patients, spinal mobilization may be a better approach to treat their mobility issues and pain.  It is particularly useful in patients that have sensitive nervous systems prone to causing reactive muscle spasms, patients with advanced osteoporosis and inflammatory arthritis, as well as those with severe acute pain.  Spinal mobilization has the same goals of spinal manipulation, mainly to restore your vertebrae and joints to position and function.  This can be accomplished using a number of techniques that utilize slow movement to gradually adjust the vertebrae to a predetermined endpoint, which reduces tension.  Some of these techniques include:

  • Cox flexion-distraction- a gentle technique that adjusts vertebrae by carefully stretching the lower spine to apply controlled pressure to affected areas. Studies have shown that 70% of patients demonstrated “good” to “excellent” results following flexion-distraction treatment, with maximum improvement after just 12 visits over a one-month period.
  • Activator Method- a technique that uses a hand-held tool called the “Activator” which creates a low-force impulse to the spine restoring motion to the targeted vertebra. More than half of American chiropractors report using the Activator Method in their practices.

Ultrasound therapy

If you suffer from muscle stiffness, soreness, or spasms a chiropractic doctor may use therapeutic ultrasound to relax any of your muscles that are preventing an effective manipulation.  Ultrasound therapy is completely safe and uses high frequency sound waves to deliver deep heat to your tissues.  Other than experiencing a slight warming sensation in the targeted area, you can expect the treatment to be pain free.

Ultrasound therapy can be used effectively to speed up healing in your muscles, joints, and tendons by increasing blood flow and producing a vibrating effect that stimulates your cell membranes to repair damage, greatly reducing inflammation.  Whether you have neck pain or chronic back pain, ultrasound therapy can help you get the relief you need without using invasive treatments, and it has no reported negative side effects.


If you experience severe pain from strain or repetitive stress injuries, a chiropractor may try using electrotherapy to relieve your pain.  Electrotherapy is nothing new and has been used to effectively treat pain for more than a century, and it works by passing electrical current through the skin in order to stimulate the nerves and muscles.  This helps reduce pain and swelling, while improving mobility.  Electrotherapy may be particularly useful for treating conditions such as neck pain, postoperative pain, tennis elbow, shoulder and knee injuries.  Many patients notice improvement after the first session.

One common form of electrotherapy that is used by chiropractors and other health professionals is transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulators (TENS).  TENS is applied over painful muscles, ligaments, and tendons, and it is thought that it blocks your body’s ability to transmit pain signals to your nerves, while releasing natural, pain-relieving endorphins.  Recently, TENS has been shown to be a successful analgesic treatment for 59% of patients.  And it has been demonstrated that TENS offers patients a 50% reduction in pain.

These are just some of the different approaches to chiropractic care that may be prescribed to alleviate your pain and other symptoms.  There are also other physiological treatments such as exercise, massage, heat and ice therapy, and dietary management that can contribute to your personalized treatment program.

If you would like to know more about how specific approaches to chiropractic care can alleviate your pain, feel free to give us a call, send us an email, or drop by our office for a personal consultation.