Chiropractic describes a whole co-ordinated package of care comprising different joint adjustment techniques (also called Spinal Manipulation), drop bench techniques, activator, electrotherapies, western acupuncture, deep tissue massage, stretching, trigger point therapy, sacro-occipital therapy, kinesiotaping and the setting of specific exercises to be carried out at home.
Diversified Adjusting Technique
Chiropractors use their hands to locate the joint that is not moving properly and use a quick impulse (called an adjustment) to free the joint and to take pressure off the nerves.
Diversified Chiropractic is the most commonly-taught chiropractic method throughout the world, and involves the chiropractor making use of the patient’s body position to produce leverage that unsticks the bone surfaces making up a joint. The chiropractor applies a very quick impulse with his/her hands, which then moves those bone surfaces into their correct positions within that joint. This will normally also allow nerves, passing through that joint, to be untrapped, so causing a drop in muscle tension alongside that joint, resulting in freer joint movement and less muscle strain. Every joint in the body can be adjusted, including the jaw, toes, fingers, knees, hips, wrists, shoulders and elbows, as well as all the vertebrae making up the low back, upper back and neck.
McTimoney Chiropractic is a technique developed by John McTimoney over 30 years ago and is taught only at the McTimoney College near Oxford, UK.
McTimoney is recognised as being a precise, gentle, whole body approach to chiropractic, where the entire person will be treated, rather than just the area of pain. The technique uses quick and accurate light-force adjustments to correct skeletal misalignment and rebalance the body, thus working, as with all chiropractic techniques, to help the nervous system function more efficiently, help to optimise health, relieve pain, return muscles to normal function and increase mobility.
Western Acupuncture/Dry Needling
Fine needles are inserted to stimulate acupuncture points, creating a small inflammatory reaction and stimulating the body’s own pain- relieving and anti-inflammatory mechanisms. This also stimulates reflexes that allow muscle fibres to relax. This can be useful in allowing chiropractic adjustments to work more effectively.
Deep Tissue Massage
Intensive massage designed to help soften muscles, to complement changes in joint function and alignment produced from chiropractic adjustments. This technique eases out knots in the muscle (‘trigger points’) that can cause ongoing fatigue and pain.
Very high frequency sound waves are passed (from a hand-held applicator) painlessly through the soft tissues, increasing local healing rates by increasing the local metabolism of cells, breaking unwanted adhesions between muscle fibres, and reducing inflammation.
At the end of each treatment session, you will be given a specific exercise to work on at home, so that you gradually accumulate a whole exercise program. This will comprise strengthening, stretching and joint mobilising exercises. These are tailored to those muscle groups and joints that your chiropractor has tested and found to be either weak, tight or restricted. In this way, you are encouraged to take a very active part in your recovery back to full health. You will be provided with a pack of exercise photos to help jog your memory over the exercises you are shown.
A low-frequency electrical current is passed between adhesive electrodes placed on the skin, causing a muscle contraction, in order to stimulate weak muscles ready for strengthening exercises.
Muscles can be stretched more effectively just after contracting, during their ‘rest phase’. Post-Isometric Relaxation technique involves asking the patient to contract a muscle just prior to the practitioner applying a stretch to that muscle.
Currents of variable frequency are passed between pairs of adhesive electrodes placed on the skin, which have the effect of stimulating local blood flow to the muscles, reducing inflammation and allowing muscles to relax.
Trigger Point Therapy
The chiropractor applies pressure to knots and tight spots in muscles (‘trigger points’) in order to deprive those points of oxygen and cause a reflex relaxation of those tight muscles.
Thompson Drop Technique
Your chiropractor may also use a chiropractic ‘drop bench’, where a hinged part of the bench drops down suddenly, as the chiropractor applies a thrust by hand. The drop piece accelerates the impulse applied to the joint, so loosening adhesions between joint surfaces to free them.
Sacro-Occipital Therapy is a gentle technique involving the use of triangular block, which use the patient’s body weight to help settle the joints, giving information to the brain, via proprioceptors in the joints, about the new required position of the joints. It also involves trigger point therapy and traction to balance muscle tones and leg lengths.
Kinesio Taping is an elastic tape, which, when applied to the skin by a trained professional, can be used to reduce pain, support joints and rebalance over-/under-active muscles.
The tape is applied over and around muscles in such a way as to support, assist or reduce contraction of muscles, whilst maintaining your full range of motion. Kinesio Tape is almost identical to human skin in both thickness and elasticitym which allows it to be worn without binding, constricting or restricting your movements, whilst the fabric fibres allow for evaporation and quicker drying, leading to longer wear time of several days. It can even be worn in the shower!