Understanding Different Types of Chiropractic Therapy in SF

A woman lies on a table receiving one of the many different types of chiropractic therapy from a chiropractor.

It’s likely that just about everyone will face back pain at some point in their lives. And, for such a widespread issue, it’s often difficult to identify the root cause—especially since back pain can result from a variety of factors. In efforts to target the root cause, there are many different types of chiropractic therapy designed to treat back pain.

This article will detail why chiropractic therapy is important and the various methods and techniques that can help patients overcome back pain and discomfort. 

Why Is Chiropractic Therapy Important?

The spine is one of the most important parts of the body. Not only does it contain and protect the spinal cord, which is a key component within your central nervous system, but it also supports the weight of your entire body.

Your spine contains the main structural support muscles that anchor your head, neck, shoulders, arms, and legs. Because of its role in your musculoskeletal system—whether you’re walking, twisting, or bending over—your back is involved in nearly every movement in some capacity. 

Furthermore, your spine also acts as a shock absorber for your body. It contains discs that are part of your spine’s natural curvature, absorb and transfer shock and pressure from movement.

From the complex system of muscles and ligaments that keep the spine in its normal alignment to the discs between your vertebrae, the back can suffer damage and deterioration over time as well as experience sudden injuries that can leave you with back pain, discomfort, and a variety of other symptoms.

Some of the most common back injuries include:

  • Sprains or strains: The most common type of back-related injuries, back sprains can happen suddenly or occur over time. They usually involve the twisting or tearing of a muscle or ligament in your back. Back sprains can range in severity from mild discomfort to severe pain.
  • Herniated discs: Herniated discs occur when the soft cushions between your vertebrae tear and the material inside of the disc push out through the tear. Not only can this be painful by itself, but it can cause the shock absorption of the spine to malfunction and also cause the nearby nerves to experience extreme pain.
  • Compression Fractures: Fractures in the individual bones that make up the spine can be the result of direct trauma such as from a fall or car accident but also occur over time as the spine ages.

It’s important to note that these are merely common conditions that directly impact the spine and back. These injuries can also contribute to other conditions that may have negative impacts on bodily health. Spinal health can also impact cognitive function as well as your immune system because of the role of the spinal cord in the central nervous system.

For instance, a seemingly minor back injury could result in a new poor posture that affects the nervous system’s ability to communicate with the body, resulting in impaired function and performance.

Because of these reasons, chiropractic therapy is vital for treating back injuries and spinal misalignment.

Different Types of Chiropractic Therapy Techniques

Because there are many causes and types of back injuries, there are a variety of different types of chiropractic therapy techniques designed to target back injuries and spinal alignment.

These techniques can involve the use of tools, spinal manipulation, and spinal adjustment. Spinal manipulation is performed to create motion in the spine while spinal adjustment involves the intentional manipulation of the spine’s alignment.

Below are some of the most common chiropractic therapy techniques:

Diversified Technique

One of the most commonly practiced chiropractic techniques, the diversified technique involves the use of manual pressure applied to the affected segment of the spine to restore mobility. 

When people think of a visit to the chiropractor, this is often what they will imagine. Beyond the application of pressure, the diversified technique uses a mixture of controlled thrusts to the affected regions.

Activator Method

The activator method involves the use of an activator adjusting instrument to diagnose and treat neck and back pain. The small tool releases gentle, low-force pulses to the spine to restore mobility.

The use of the activator is driven by a set of guidelines that govern how to adjust people based on certain tests and metrics unique to the individual. Generally, the response to the activator method is nearly equal to that of manual adjustments.

Flexion Distraction Table

Flexion distraction is designed to alleviate compression of the discs in your spine with gentle stretching of the spine. It involves the use of a table called a Cox Flexion Distraction table that facilitates the range of motion necessary to effectively pump the disc and joints of the spine to release pressure and inflammation.

Patients will typically gain pain relief due to the reduction in pressure on the discs. 

Muscle Energy Technique 

Also referred to as applied kinesiology, the muscle energy technique uses muscle testing to find where a person needs adjustments and then rests these muscles for strength and weaknesses after adjustment to see if more work is needed. 

It is a manual therapy technique that uses the patient’s muscle contractions to relax, massage, and lengthen muscles to alleviate stiffness and tension.

Myofascial Release

While myofascial release is not technically a chiropractic treatment because it can be performed on areas of the body beyond the spine, it is used by chiropractors. The goal is to reduce pain by reducing the tension and stiffness of trigger points. This is done via treatment akin to a massage therapy session where the muscles are stretched and massaged with pressure. This is done repeatedly in the problem area until no longer needed. 

Gonstead Technique 

The Gonstead Technique is a method that differs from other types of chiropractic therapy because it seeks to address back pain as a structural issue. It is an adjusting technique with its own set of measurements and metrics assessed from x-rays to identify the specific source of pain or discomfort. 

A patient’s spinal misalignment as well as nerve dysfunction, imbalances, and issues with the range of motion are all analyzed to develop a plan for spinal manipulation.

Spinal Decompression

Spinal decompression is another type of chiropractic therapy that uses a table. The table used for spinal decompression does not adjust the spine. However, it does stretch the spine to promote the flow of fluids and oxygen through the decompression of discs and relieves pressure. 

Thompson Table/Thompson Drop

This method also uses a table but where it differs from spinal decompression and flexion distraction is that the table has a set of pads that are set to different tensions based on the alignment of the spine and the weight of the patient.

The pads slightly “drop” the patient and allow the chiropractor to apply a series of manual adjustments to the spine. It is extremely comfortable and great for juveniles or geriatric patients while also being easier to relax during than manual manipulation.

Craniosacral Therapy

Craniosacral therapy (CST) is a hands-on technique designed to relieve compression and tension in the bones of the head, sacrum, and spine. It uses the application of gentle pressure on the head, neck, and back to reduce compression and treat neck and back pain.

Sacro-Occipital Technique

The Sacro-occipital technique (SOT) is a method of chiropractic therapy designed to alleviate irregularities in the spine and pelvis via the use of wedges. It targets the spine and tissues surrounding it to bring stability and balance back to the region.

Chiropractic BioPhysics®

Chiropractic BioPhysics® (CBP) is not an adjustment technique but is instead an advanced chiropractic care method for postural and structural analysis as well as rehabilitation. With over 30 years of research, it is an adjunctive technique that emphasizes optimal posture and spinal alignment. 

It does more than alleviate tension and pain; it establishes proper spinal curvature as a long-term treatment and prevention of back pain. This is done by identifying the unique curvature of the patient’s spine to create a custom treatment plan in tandem with other techniques such as physiotherapy and physical therapy.

When seeking chiropractic care, patients should know that a multimodal approach will always bring better results. Patients should seek chiropractors that have a wide range of expertise and therapies for the best possible long-term relief.

Get the Best Chiropractic Therapy with Chiropractic BioPhysics®

Now that you know the different types of chiropractic therapy, you’ll want to partner with a practitioner who is well-versed in the most effective chiropractic techniques. The team at PostureWorks understands this and that’s why we use Chiropractic BioPhysics® as well as other chiropractic techniques to achieve the best results for our patients.

Our treatment plans use CBP to accurately assess the unique curvature of your spine before incorporating a customized plan involving spinal adjustments, spinal traction, and physiotherapy. These plans are designed to restore flexibility, range of motion, and curvature of the spine, and train your body to naturally maintain proper posture to retain the curvature and prevent pain and discomfort in the long term. 

Chiropractic BioPhysics®, or CBP, is a deeply researched and results-oriented corrective care technique. CBP-trained chiropractors aim to realign the spine back to health and optimal function while eliminating the source of pain and circulatory and nervous dysfunction. As with all chiropractic care, CBP is conservative, painless, and non-invasive. Contact us today to schedule your appointment or to learn more about different types of chiropractic therapy.

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