chiropractic adjustments

Americans spend more money dealing with back and neck pain than any other medical issue – approximately $134 billion in the 20-year period between 1996 and 2016.

Back and neck pain can result from a wide range of injuries and reach varying levels of severity depending on the injury. If you’ve been dealing with chronic pain, you’ll probably wonder what you should do about it.

Whether you’ve been in an accident or your posture has led you to this point, it’s important to get a proper diagnosis. From there, you can get chiropractic adjustments to heal your injuries and eliminate the pain.

If you’ve never been to the chiropractor before, you might be wondering what kind of adjustments you can expect. In this post, we’re going to go over the most common chiropractic adjustments for pain relief.

Going to the chiropractor can be intimidating. Just remember, however, that these are trained professionals with your long-term health in mind. Keep reading and dispel some of the mysteries around chiropractic care.

Direct Thrust

One of the oldest and most versatile techniques that chiropractors use is the direct thrust or diversified technique. Your chiropractor may also refer to this as the “high velocity, low amplitude” or “mobilization with impulse” technique, but they’re all basically the same.

To do this, they’ll use their hands to perform a rapid “thrust”, moving the joints around your spine to one side to promote realignment. Other benefits of the direct thrust technique are back cracking, alleviating pain, improving your range of motion, and reducing inflammation.

Spinal Mobilization

When your spine experiences trauma from a car accident or sporting injury, the muscles surrounding your vertebrae can become tight. Spinal mobilization is designed to loosen these muscles and alleviate tension in the back and neck.

The chiropractor will gently stretch these muscles to encourage healing. As the space opens up between your vertebrae, you’ll experience temporary pain relief.

Gonstead System

The Gonstead System is best for promoting muscle mobility and restoring disc alignment. It’s another hands-on technique where the chiropractor will carefully follow a particular set of steps to analyze your spine.

They’ll start by examining your posture when you walk in the door. From there, they may use an instrument to examine any nerve irritation. The actual exam involves feeling the spine with and without motion.

While it’s still, they can feel for any abnormalities and tenderness. While in motion, they can get a clearer picture of your range of motion. Depending on their findings, they may send you for X-ray testing.


The Thompson Drop-Table technique uses a specialty table containing “drop” mechanisms. Your chiropractor will engage these mechanisms as they apply a small amount of force. The goal is to promote joint movement, which helps to alleviate chronic back pain.

There’s no need to fear the Drop-Table technique. The table only drops a fraction of an inch and most patients find the motion comfortable.

Myofascial Release

Myofascial release involves a set of manual techniques that your chiropractor will use to help alleviate fascia pain and stiffness. This connective tissue holds your nerves, muscles, and organs in place. It can become tight when put under prolonged stress.

Your chiropractor will use their hands to feel around for tight areas. Then, applying sustained pressure to those areas, they’ll work the tightness out by massaging and stretching it. They’ll repeat the process as many times as necessary until you’re pain-free.

Not only is myofascial release good for back and neck pain, but it also promotes muscle relaxation, tissue recovery, and joint motion.

Articulatory Technique

If you have any dysfunctional joints, your chiropractor may employ the articulatory technique. Using moderate amplitude and low-velocity movements, they’ll attempt to restore the joint by extending its range of motion.

To ensure joint functionality, the chiropractor will take your joint to its limit – the restrictive barrier – repeatedly. This is a therapeutic technique that is meant to alleviate recurring joint pain and stiffness.

Flexion Distraction

The aim of flexion distraction is to alleviate in the back, legs, arms, and neck. Many chiropractic techniques use force around the spine to iron out whatever kinks are there. Flexion distraction is a bit different. 

To perform this method, your chiropractor will again utilize a segmented table that moves. They’ll manipulate the spine with slow and gentle movements. When combined with the table’s movements, your spine will stretch and decompress. 


On occasion, you might go through some of the chiropractic adjustments we’ve discussed so far, only to feel pain and discomfort. Muscles have a way of tensing up and resisting adjustment, which can make treatments unpleasant. If that’s the case, your chiropractor may utilize an activator device to help.

This is a handheld spring-loaded device that can be used to pulse parts of the spine. It works faster than a chiropractor’s hands can, so the body doesn’t have time to tense up. It’s great for pinpointing certain areas and helping you get on with your treatments.

Functional Technique

The functional technique is only used when absolutely required. It involves joint cracking, which can be dangerous if performed by anyone other than your chiropractor

It will start with the chiropractor moving the joint to find out where the restrictive barrier is. From there, they’ll use slight force to keep the joint in this position until the barrier is released. 

This technique helps to restore joint function and promote inflammation and pain relief.

Get Chiropractic Adjustments From the Best

These are some of the most common chiropractic adjustments. Which ones you’ll have administered to you will depend on your condition. The key is to find a great chiropractor to implement the techniques.

If you’re in Salt Lake City, choosing the #1 Google-rated chiropractor is your best bet. Dr. Calvin’s Clinic can help alleviate your neck, back, and joint pain with the most effective techniques available. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.