There are many misconceptions and assumptions about chiropractic and the techniques chiropractors use. Many patients believe that chiropractors work on the entire back, using brute force, twisting and popping to deliver spinal adjustments and alleviate pain. Nothing could be further from the truth.
By: Dr. Lauren Millman
A misconception in chiropractic is that all chiropractors or chiropractic techniques are the same, and that if you haven’t responded effectively to one technique, you won’t respond effectively to another.
Many are surprised to learn that there are hundreds of different types of chiropractic techniques and areas of special focus. Some chiropractors work strictly with athletes to enhance performance or to help heal from sports injuries, while a pediatric certified chiropractor may focus solely on the unique care for children. There are even chiropractors who only adjust animals. While some chiropractors use a variety of different techniques, others may specialize in one specific technique. Some chiropractors focus on relief, or short-term care, while others aim to correct the spine for long-term benefits and improved overall health. A chiropractor’s core curriculum includes several of the most common chiropractic techniques. It’s becoming more common these days for chiropractors to continue their training to other techniques and methods, beyond what’s required of the core curriculum.
I had a saying many years ago that the technique chose the chiropractor rather than the chiropractor chose the technique. As for me and many of my colleagues, we all have our unique story as to how we decided to practice the technique that we do. Many of us were drawn to one method or another like a magnet. A chiropractor’s technique is their tool in their toolbox, it’s their unique craft, and one that many of us spent years perfecting.
UPPER CERVICAL CHIROPRACTIC
As for me, I chose to practice a unique technique known as upper cervical chiropractic. Upper cervical means “upper neck” of the spine, which is the location that is focused on for the adjustment. This style of chiropractic aims for a long-term approach to spinal correction, not just a temporary quick fix.
While I only contact the upper most part of the spine, it is done so with the intention to impact and correct the whole spine. Patients who present with lower spine challenges or pain often receive significant and sustaining long- term relief even though those areas are rarely contacted in the adjustment. This particular technique is gentle, perhaps one of the gentlest techniques in chiropractic, and does not require any twisting, cracking, or jerking motions of the neck. This unique approach addresses components of the spinal misalignment that traditional chiropractic does not take into account. This approach brings more specificity, resulting in faster results, lesser adjustments long term, and the ability for patients to maintain spinal alignment for longer periods. This gentle approach works great for those having had previous spinal surgery or who have other complicated conditions, which sometimes can be contraindicated for more invasive or forceful techniques.
BENEFIT OF DIFFERENT TECHNIQUES
What’s the benefit to having so many different techniques? As mentioned before, many people are of the opinion that if they didn’t respond effectively to one chiropractic technique, they won’t respond favorably to another. This very idea has prevented many individuals from seeking another chiropractic method simply because one method didn’t work out well. This has kept many from experiencing an effective, natural approach to healing, one that doesn’t involve pain medication or injections.
CHOOSING A CHIROPRACTOR
The biggest challenge patients face when choosing a chiropractor is quite often, patients aren’t sure what type of chiropractor they are seeing, or how to choose the right chiropractor for their needs. My first recommendation when choosing a chiropractor would be to ask questions. With this new understanding that most chiropractors are very unique, I would encourage an individual to inquire about the techniques used, why they chose to practice that method, as well as what their goals for care include. Asking these questions in the beginning prevents any unexpected confusion or challenges, and sets the stage for the best possible outcome.
Chiropractic is incredibly effective and consistent in helping people achieve better health and a better quality of life. Chiropractic has helped a tremendous amount of people achieve levels of health and healing that were otherwise not believed possible. Instead of ruling out chiropractic altogether, and having the opinion, “chiropractic didn’t work for me,” I would make a more accurate claim to say, “that particular approach didn’t work for me, perhaps there’s another one that will.”
Dr. Millman is the founder and upper cervical chiropractor of Suwanee Spine and Healing Center, author of The Ultimate Healing Handbook, and recently voted Best of Gwinnett 2019. For more information, visit DrLaurenMillman.com.