A typical Chiropractic treatment
Once you fully understand the report of findings and have given your consent, your chiropractor will make the necessary adjustments (manipulations) to your spinal or other joints. Some adjustments may make a popping sound, due to gas bubbles released when a stiff joint is freed up, but treatment is usually not painful and often brings considerable immediate relief.
Adjustments may be augmented with manual or massage therapy to muscles, ligaments and other soft tissues, ice and heat or physical therapy such as ultrasound. Acupuncture “Dry Needling” therapy may applied for pain relief. Sometimes "strapping" of a joint can be helpful or advice given on shoe inserts or "orthotics".
You will usually be given exercises designed to help "hold" the adjustment and advice may be given on sleeping, adjusting your pillow or adjusting your seating to reduce pain. At work you may need to adjust your workstation and if you drive for your living advice can be given to optimise the car seat and steering wheel positions.
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The "lumbar roll", one of the most common low back adjustments, is shown on the left.
The "toggle drop" on the right shows the patient lying face down on a special couch that drops away a few centimetres when a fast downward adjustment is made over the joint. It is used when the patient finds difficulty lying on the side.
Specially designed wedges, known as "blocks" are sometimes used. Placed under points on the pelvis they use gravity to gently move one side of the pelvis against the other, as shown on the left.
On the right a child is adjusted using a gentle rocking movement through the hip
Kate is shown using typical prone thoracic adjustment techniques, above, whilst Michael uses an "anterior thoracic" adjustment, left.
Using a very specific contact on just one joint the aim of any adjustment is to open, or "gap" the fixed joint, enabling it to move again.
On the left is a "supine" adjustment - on the right a "sitting" one.
A joint can also be freed using a "toggle drop" method. The headpiece is raised on a set spring and the neck positioned so the"contact" lies over the joint. A very light, fast "thrust" overcomes the spring and the headpiece drops. The recoil frees the joint with the minimum of force, as shown below, to the left.
The "activator" uses a similar spring method. The instrument is placed against the locked joint and the trigger releases a light measured impulse that restores motion. These "non-force" adjustments are used when standard manual adjustments are unsuitable, as shown here on a 93 year old patient.
Chiropractors are also trained to manipulate other joints, in addition to the spinal adjustments they are famed for. Here we show a selection of adjustments to the upper and lower limbs, as well as an adjustment to the temperomandibular joint (jaw). There are many different types of adjustment that can be applied to any one joint.
TMJ (temporomandibular joint) adjustment, below
A wide variety of "soft tissue" and massage techniques can be used and a small selection are shown here.
Hot/Cold packs or Cooling gel can be used
There is stong research evidence to show that Acupuncture "dry needling" is valuable in the treatment of neck, low back, shoulder and knee pain. Kate also uses acupuncture for a number of stress related conditions, including migraines, and she has a special interest in women's health.
Click Acupuncture to go the the Acupuncture page for more detailed information
Specific exercises can play a valuable role in maintaining the effects of the chiropractic adjustment. The following pictures show patients being instructed in exercises to do at home.
Advice may be given on a wide range of daily living activities such as diet, fluid intake, relaxed breathing and physical exercise. If you are a sports person we will want to know what pre and post exercise "warming up" and "cooling down" routines you may following. At work you may need to review your work surfaces and lifting habits if you have a physical job, to adjust your workstation if you are desk bound and to optimise the car seat and steering wheel positions if you drive for your living. Sometimes using an angled seat wedge can take tension away from the low back. At home we may review and give you advice on your mattress, adjusting your pillow or altering your seating position to reduce pain. Learning to use an ice pack can rapidly reduce inflammation and we will teach you how to apply one at home.
These pictures illustrate advice on car seating, adapting a pillow, positioning a seat wedge, applying a hot/cold pack and coordinating shoulder and diaphragm movements to enhance relaxed breathing.