What Does Chiropractic Treatment Involve?
Chiropractic is not a treatment in itself, but more a philosophy of how to go about looking at issues within your musculoskeletal system. But was does that mean?
It means that “Chiropractic” is not one single treatment technique that we learn at college. It’s not what you get whether that’s your best option or not.
Chiropractic means that we, as Chiropractors, have learnt (and keep learning) how to identify where problems might be lurking; what parts of your body are likely to be involved; and where to ‘attack’ the problem.
It means being able to pick from a range of treatment techniques. Enabling us to choose the best way forward for you, and for each individual patient.
What are the techniques used at ChiroPractical?
As mentioned, there are many different treatment techniques used at ChiroPractical. The main ones are described below:
This is what Chiropractic is known for!
So what exactly IS it? I hear you cry.
A chiropractic adjustment, is a short, quick force applied to a joint in order to get the joint moving. Here at ChiroPractical it is usually applied through the hands of the chiropractor, in the direction of the joint’s immobility.
The idea is that the force of the adjustment is applied quicker than the muscle surrounding the joint can react – They’re probably already splinting around the area and this is probably the cause of, at least some of, the pain. It might sound contradictory, but in getting the joint moving there is a neurological reflex in the spine that causes those muscles to relax and allows the joint to function more ‘normally’.
Thus the adjustment can help restore movement and reduce some of the discomfort in one swift move.
It is also what we spend a large percentage of our time at University dedicating our time to. But, as mentioned, it is not the only technique…
Instead of one ‘forceful’ movement being put through a joint, mobilisation is more of a rocking motion applied to an area of the body.
This can be extremely useful if an area is particularly stiff or painful.
Soft Tissue Work
Your ‘soft tissues’ consists of muscles, ligaments, tendons and fascia. Soft tissue work (STW) usually means massage, but it can be anything that works on these parts of your body. Types of STW used at ChiroPractical include:
Effleurage – This involves going over the skin and hence the muscles to work on them. What you’d expect from a massage, really.
Tapotement – this, although it sounding fierce, can be nicer than effleurage. It involves using the side of the hand or a cupped hand to ‘hit’ the body. The effects are deeper than that of effleurage. (Even I’m learning something – I’ve always called this Petrissage, but apparently that was wrong!)
Fascial Release – Fascia is a structure that runs throughout our body, forming a barrier which allows our internal structures to glide over/around each other as they move. Working on this structure is very gentle and may even feel like you’re simply having a nice lie down 😉
Cross-Friction – a useful technique on sprained ligaments. It involves quickly taking the skin over a ligament at 90˚ to the direction of the ligament or tendon. It interrupts the fibres going in the ‘wrong’ direction, whilst leaving ‘healthy’ fibres alone.
You’ll have seen the tapes that the likes of athletes and footballers wear? It’s usually bright pink or blue (but we have other colours at ChiroPractical, too).
The tape can be used in a variety of ways: relaxing or supporting muscles, helping with swelling or encouraging an improved posture.
In the clinic we will give you advice about which exercises are appropriate for YOU and run through them with you. It’s then up to you to keep up with the ‘Homework’ and get the most from this impressive tool.
This is more a testing tool than a treatment tool, but anyway… it’s used to determine where to work. It involves using a muscle not associated with the region of discomfort to see when the nervous system is strong and when it struggles.
It’s useful in identifying joints that are only have a minor problem.
And last, but definitely not least, we have…
This might not seem like it should be included in the treatment techniques at all, but is probably the single most powerful aspect to getting well, and staying that way. The way we like you to be 😉
So, as we go through treatment our practitioners may identify things that your body doesn’t like doing and give you hints and tips about how adapt or how NOT to do whatever-it-is.
I always find it’s the little things that make the biggest difference!
Now, can you identify what techniques you’ve experienced during your chiropractic treatment??