On this page you can read about some of the main treatment methods offered by our chiropractors.
The treatment you receive will depend on your diagnosis, and it is likely for the most effective results that several methods will be used in combination with each other.
Manipulation, or a chiropractic adjustment, is usually what people mean when they talk about having their back cracked. It is a specific thrust that opens up a joint, reducing pain and improving mobility. You may experience a popping or cracking sound as this happens. Despite the name, manipulation is not a painful treatment.
You have nerves called proprioceptors ,which are responsible for letting you know the position of joints, and nerves called nociceptors, which carry pain. Very basically, a chiropractic adjustment stimulates proprioceptors, drowning out the nociceptors. This effect also extends to the muscles around a joint, helping remove any spasm or tightness.
Chiropractic adjustments also have a direct biomechanical effect on a joint, increasing joint mobility by gently stretching the joint capsule. This is the most important effect of manipulation in terms of preventing injury recurrence and is why specific manipulation is one of the most used tools by chiropractors.
Sports taping, sometimes known as kinesio taping, is a useful adjunct to manual therapy and is particularly helpful at speeding up recovery from ankle sprains, rotator cuff injuries and muscle strains.
Taping is not only useful for athletes and the treatment of sports injuries, but can be helpful for most people when used alongside other methods of manual therapy.
This is a hand held adjusting instrument. It is a spring loaded plunger that performs the job of a manipulation. It is used in cases where manipulation is not the best treatment, for example in patients with osteoporosis or in severe pain.
This treatment is very effective at loosening up your joints, with the mechanism of action the same as a manipulation.
These are types of soft tissue treatment that affect your muscles and tendons. They involve holding a muscle or tendon in place and moving a joint to stretch the tissues. This allows for very specific treatment, as your chiropractor can isolate the point that most needs addressing, and can also alter the direction of movement for best effect.
The effect of active and passive release techniques is to stretch tissues, but also to cause a controlled amount of soft tissue damage to stimulate healing. Because of this you may feel post treatment soreness, which can feel as though you’ve been for a good gym session.
When a muscle is contracted for a long period of time, such as with poor posture, sitting for long periods, or when guarding an injury, a focal area of irritation can occur within the muscle belly. Trigger points, as they are known, can be painful and may alter local biomechanics. Trigger points can also be responsible for referred pain such as headaches or sciatica like symptoms.
Trigger point therapy is a quick way of treating trigger points, involving compression of the muscle belly at the point of irritation. This can be quite sore, and may stimulate referred pain, but this only lasts up to 30 seconds. This treatment works by cutting off the blood supply to a small portion of muscle for a short amount of time, forcing the muscle contraction to end.
The McKenzie Technique is used only for treatment of pain in the lower back. It is similar to an exercise regime, whereby your chiropractor will give you specific postures to hold dependant on the nature and location of your low back complaint.
The McKenzie technique works by progressing your posture and movement over a series of stages.
This form of therapy is very good for tendinitis and conditions such as tennis elbow. It is also useful for rehabilitating joint sprains.
When tendon injury occurs the body reacts by laying down collagen as quickly as possible to repair the damage. This scar tissue can impact on the function of the tendon and unless addressed can cause damage in it’s own right. Cross friction works by breaking down scar tissue while leaving the healthy tissue intact.
Your chiropractor will use their hands to rub across the tendon vigorously for up to 5 minutes. This can be sore at the time and it is advised patients ice the area afterwards.
This soft tissue technique is used to break down muscle and tendon tissue, forcing it to lengthen. For this reason this technique is only used on large strong muscles, and is mostly for athletes. It is very effective in terms of increasing muscle length and strength, helping performance.
The technique works by your chiropractor moving a joint against your resistance. This resistance is called eccentric contraction. You may have heard of it being used in sports training as the most effective way to induce muscle hypertrophy. Again this is a very specific technique that enables your chiropractor to work on the problem tissue, without disturbing other areas.
A very effective stretching technique, proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation works by stretching a muscle that has been tensed and then relaxed.
When you tense your muscles, nerve endings called muscle spindles and golgi tendon organs let your brain know how much more you can tense the muscle before you do damage. As you reach the threshold these nerve endings inhibit the muscle to allow it to stretch to the maximum without damaging.
Sometimes the relaxing effects of massage can be quite useful. There are many different types of massage, such as sports massage, effleurage, petrisage, and your chiropractor can judge which ones to use for the greatest effect.
Massage works by increasing local circulation, relaxing muscles by gently stretching muscle spindles, breaking down soft tissue adhesions, and stimulating endorphin release. Together these effects can lead to a degree of pain relief.
Getting you tense before stretching the muscle harnesses this reflex and allows your chiropractor to stretch the muscle further than would otherwise be possible, making this a very quick way of resolving muscle tightness and imbalance.
In cases of chronic pain or acute injury your nerves can be impacted. Particularly important here are proprioceptive neurons. They prevent further injury by relaying joint position to your brain, as well as reducing pain by inhibiting minor nociceptive (pain causing) stimuli.
It is very important to retrain your proprioceptive neurons after injury or chronic pain. A large proportion of this is balance work, as well as training you to tie visual clues to proprioceptive feedback. Sensory Motor Training is an absolutely essential part of improving your core-stability.
Don’t forget your exercises. Your chiropractor will tailor a light exercise programme to fit in with you, your work, your condition, and any present training. The importance of keeping up your exercises cannot be stressed enough in terms of preventing injury recurrence.