There are many different chiropractic techniques. Some doctors of chiropractic perform joint manipulation with their hands only, while others use various instruments. Additionally, some chiropractors treat using quick but firm manipulation, while others have a lighter touch.

Some patients prefer the immediate feeling of relief offered by the "joint popping" type of spinal manipulation, while others cringe at the mere thought and prefer a low-force chiropractic technique.

In short, chiropractic treatment is largely driven by the individual preferences of both the chiropractor and the patient.

Sample Chiropractic Technique Questions

Many of these questions about chiropractic care don't have a right or wrong answer, but having a better understanding of chiropractic technique will allow the patient to better assess if there is a good patient-doctor fit.

  • Which chiropractic techniques does the chiropractor use and why? Most chiropractors are experienced in a range of techniques, e.g. 4 or 5 techniques, and will pick the one or ones best suited to the patient and his or her condition.
  • Does the chiropractor use his or her hands or an instrument for the chiropractic manipulation?
  • Does the chiropractor employ a deeper, joint-popping adjustment or a low-force adjustment?
  • Is the chiropractor experienced in treating problems similar to the patient's?
  • How many years has the doctor been in practice?
  • How much training and experience does the chiropractor have in the specific technique he or she is recommending?

After asking these questions, the individual may find that further research about specific chiropractic techniques is necessary.


Potential Red Flags about Chiropractic Techniques

There are a few chiropractic techniques that most chiropractors agree are questionable. Examples of questionable techniques include:

  • The chiropractor claims to be the only one with a "special new technique" that no other chiropractor can use.
  • The chiropractor claims to be able to "cure" various conditions, such as asthma, heartburn, infections, diabetes, or some other chronic condition.
  • The chiropractor recommends a long-term treatment plan, such as 3 times per week for 6 to 12 months, then 2 times per week for another 6 to 12 months, then 1 time per week for 6 or more months.
  • The chiropractor requires a substantial prepayment for unlimited treatment for 6 months to a year.
  • The chiropractor recommends the same type of treatment for virtually every patient, regardless of the patient's condition.
  • The chiropractor continually recommends ongoing care ad infinitum. There should ultimately be a treatment end point when goals are achieved or a change in treatment if improvement plateaus.

If a patient experiences any of the above, it is reasonable to consider changing to another chiropractor.