Not All Chiropractors Are the Same
There have been some simple stereotypes associated with chiropractors over a history of almost 125 years, but there are now as many as 150 techniques recognized by the American Chiropractic Association (ACA).
“Much like the medical profession, there are many different styles of practice,” says Dr. Brad Butler, Chief of Staff at the Oakland Spine & Rehabilitation Centers in Oakland and Wayne, NJ. “A traditional chiropractor typically uses just spinal manipulation or some basic modalities. Then there are chiropractors who follow more of a model of spinal ‘correction,’ which is to use additional techniques to bring the patient’s spine back to a normal structural state.”
Finally, there are chiropractic rehabilitation offices like Oakland Spine with multiple techniques and disciplines. These may include advanced technologies and modalities such as physical therapy, massage therapy and acupuncture.
“This is the model we utilize because I feel it’s giving the patient the overall best opportunity to heal and recover from more chronic and advanced spinal conditions,” Dr. Butler adds.
Within the realm of chiropractic medicine itself, there are five basic or common techniques. They might be generally defined thusly:
- The simplest hands-on technique is typically confined to adjusting the low back or pelvis. It is a fundamental phase of chiropractic education and students learn it early in schooling and training. Targeted are stiffness and pain, as well as increasing mobility.
- Another technique involves using a hand-held instrument that transmits a gentle impulse into sections of the spine. There is very little discomfort in this process, known as the activator technique, and it is used to alleviate lower back pain and even for headaches and migraines.
- Decompression manipulation is a technique commonly used in chiropractic clinics and preferred for treating herniated discs, sprains to the facet joints between discs, and scoliosis. The treatment is described as a gentle stretching motion on an adjustable table.
- Speaking of adjustable tables, the drop-table technique relies on a padded table with platforms that drop slightly in sequence with thrusts of the chiropractor making adjustments to both the spine and extremities.
- Finally there is the diversified technique that, like the drop-table technique, is used on both the spine and extremities. These are very precise manual applications, that are effective at restoring normal alignment and movement of the spine.
There is great diversity in training and schooling. For example, there are 10 post-graduate programs or specialties endorsed by the ACA and offering diplomate certification for chiropractors:
- Chiropractic Pediatrics
- Chiropractic Physical and Therapeutic Rehabilitation
- Chiropractic Acupuncture
- Diagnostic Imaging
- Diagnosis and Internal Disorders
- Occupational Health
- Sports Physician