What is a Chiropractic Method?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

A chiropractic method is an approach to the practice of chiropractic care. Methods are also known as chiropractic techniques. Although people may think of the field of chiropractic as a relatively uniform practice within the field of alternative medicine, it is actually quite diverse, and individual chiropractors can have wildly differing methods of treatment. Because the chiropractic method used can have a huge impact on treatment, patients may find that they experience varying degrees of success with different chiropractors. The outcome of treatment can also be influenced by a chiropractor's skill and experience.

Chiropractors specialize in spinal adjustments.
Chiropractors specialize in spinal adjustments.

The field of chiropractic is focused on supporting the musculoskeletal system, under the belief that imbalances in this system can contribute to health problems. Some chiropractic techniques are designed to address health problems directly, such as back pain which can be corrected with a chiropractic adjustment which realigns the spine to eliminate pain, while other techniques address more general medical issues. For example, a chiropractor might treat a patient who complains of digestive problems by making adjustments which are believed to promote healthier digestion.

One chiropractic method involves the use of an activator.
One chiropractic method involves the use of an activator.

Practitioners of chiropractic care treat their patients by performing physical adjustments to their bodies which are designed to correct imbalances. Chiropractors can also recommend the use of braces, nutritional changes, and other methods for their patients. The process of making a chiropractic adjustment can be very complicated, and a chiropractor's approach will vary, depending on the chiropractic method he or she has trained in.

A chiropractic adjustment may include realigning the spine to alleviate pain.
A chiropractic adjustment may include realigning the spine to alleviate pain.

A chiropractic method may focus on the upper part of the spine, or the lower part of the spine. It may place a heavy emphasis on the idea that the body has energy fields which can be manipulated by a chiropractor, or it may have a more medicalized focus, such as an idea that disease processes are often related to the musculoskeletal system because poor posture and malformations cause distributed problems. Chiropractic methods also have differing approaches to the performance of adjustments, the best sites for adjustments, and the adjunct care which may benefit a patient, such as nutritional education or stretching.

Some examples of chiropractic methods include: the Gonstead Method, the activator method, the Pettibon Technique, Motion Palpation, and the Pierce-Stillwagon technique. Dozens of chiropractic methods are recognized and used all over the world, and some chiropractors develop a hybrid practice which combines several approaches. When considering chiropractic therapy, a patient may want to ask about where a chiropractor trained, and which chiropractic method or methods the practitioner likes to use.

A chiropractic method may focus on either the upper or lower parts of the spine.
A chiropractic method may focus on either the upper or lower parts of the spine.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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