7 Chiropractic Adjustments and What They Treat

There are seven types of chiropractic adjustments: The Diversified Technique (Spinal Manipulation), The Thompson Drop-Table Technique (Spinal Manipulation), The Gonstead Adjustment(Activator Method), Flexion Distraction (Spinal Decompression), and The Thompson Drop-Table Technique (Spinal Manipulation).

Chiropractic adjustments can be a natural and non-drug-based way to help patients ease pain and increase mobility. The nervous system functions correctly when the spine is aligned properly and strain on the neck and back is significantly reduced.

Chiropractic adjustments can be very effective in restoring joint function and mobility. This leads to greater range of motion and less pain.

1. Diversified Technique

This diversified technique serves three main purposes: to restore spinal alignment, fix joint dysfunction, and allow proper movement and mobility. Practitioners can use precise hands-on thrusts to restore spinal alignment and improve a patient’s movement range that may be affected due to misaligned bones or joints. The Diversified Technique is used by 96% of chiropractors on around 70% of their patients.

Video demonstration of the Diversified chiropractic adjustment.

2. Spinal Manipulation (aka Spinal Mobilization)

Both chiropractors and physical therapists use spinal manipulation (also known as manual therapy or spine mobilization) to relieve pressure on the joints, decrease inflammation, and improve nerve function. Spinal mobilization, a manual therapy technique that is similar to the diversified one, uses gentler thrusting motions and requires more stretching.

3. Thompson Drop-Table Technique

Thompson Drop-Table is a technique that uses a specially-designed table made of padded platforms with drop mechanisms. The patient can be “dropped”, or lowered, a fraction of an inch while the practitioner applies a swift thrust to complete the adjustment. Patients feel comfortable with the gentle dropping motion, which is similar to a light vibration.

4. The Gonstead Adjustment

The Gonstead Adjustment can be used to restore normal disc alignment, and maximum mobility. The patient can either lie on their back or sit up for the adjustment.

The unique feature of the Gonstead adjustment’s contact point can be administered while the patient is lying down or sitting up, as the chiropractor works on the pelvis or lower back.

5. The Activator Method

Chiropractors often use a small handheld device called an “Activator” to give gentle impulses to the extremities and vertebral segments of their spine. This spring-loaded device adjusts the tone of the nerve system. It can be used for a wide range of conditions, including headaches and lower back pain.

6. Flexion Distraction

Flexion Distraction uses a special table to distract and flex the spine in a gentle, rythmic motion. This technique is used to treat disc injuries that cause back and leg pain. This adjustment is painless and comfortable, making it an excellent choice for patients who have recently suffered from injuries or are sensitive to other adjustments.

7. Spinal Decompression

Although spinal decompression can be more like a chiropractic adjustment than a chiropractic technique, it is still worth noting because it is so effective in treating lower back pain caused by bulging, herniated or degenerated discs. Spinal decompression uses a special table that gently stretches the spine to promote healthy fluid flow throughout the spine.

Some common questions regarding chiropractic adjustments


These are questions that chiropractors are asked frequently and they are also very popular on Google.

Which type of chiropractic adjustment is best?

Whatever technique yields the best results for a particular patient is the best type of adjustment. A diversified anterior-to-poster thoracic adjustment might be extremely effective for a 45-year old 275lb male but would be dangerous to an 85-year old osteoporotic woman. There are many adjustments that can be used. We have a variety of techniques to suit the needs of our patients.

How many chiropractic adjustments can you make?

If you wanted to count all the techniques, positional setups and personal preferences, there would be hundreds.

What is the ABC Chiropractic technique?

The ABC method combines different adjustment techniques with soft tissue and muscular therapy to correct alignment problems in the body.

What is the ABC acronym for the ABC chiropractic technique?

Advanced Biostructural Correction

What’s the clicker chiropractors use to get their work done?

Patients often refer to the activator when they say “clicker”. Chiropractors use the activator to manipulate their spines. The activator uses a gentle, focused force to realign the spine without using larger, more forceful movements. It can also be used to treat areas of the body in severe spasms and other conditions that prevent traditional hand-on adjustments. Click to view a popup video showing a chiropractic adjustment using the activator.

Is a chiropractor able to break your neck?

Although I believe anything is possible, proper examinations are essential. For adjustments, please see a licensed Doctor in Chiropractic.

Are you able to get too many chiropractic adjustments?

If you are being treated by one chiropractor, the answer is no.

Is one chiropractic adjustment better than the other?

It all depends on the patient’s comfort level and needs.

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