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What Chiropractic Methods Are Used To Treat Low Back Pain?

Updated: Apr 18, 2023

The most common method a chiropractor uses to treat low backache is spinal manipulation. This involves the stereotypical popping sound that sounds like a gas bubble breaking free between the joints. There are many types of spinal manipulation. Some can be done by hand, while others require a specially-designed instrument.

Chiropractors offer other therapies than the traditional ones. These special therapies are intended to relieve pain and improve the health and function of the spine and its surrounding structures.

Your physical condition and the root cause of your back pain will determine which method your chiropractor uses. Chiropractic care is holistic and addresses low back pain by treating nutrition, stress and exercise. Spinal manipulation can be an important tool to reduce pain and improve alignment.

These are some of the most popular spinal manipulation and adjustment techniques:

Toggle drop

To relieve back pain, this technique uses a precise thrust to the spine. The chiropractor applies a toggle drop by crossing his or her hands, then pressing down with controlled movement to increase mobility in the vertebral joint.

Motion palpation

Motion palpation is not an adjustment. It's a diagnostic tool. It is a method of looking at the spine and identifying any areas that are not in alignment or not moving freely.

The chiropractor places his or her hands on specific areas of the spine, and then guides the patient through a series if movements. To identify areas of discomfort, the chiropractor will examine the entire spine from lumbar to thoracic.

Lumbar roll

A lumbar roll, especially for low back pain patients, is one of the most common chiropractic techniques.

The doctor will stand on the front plane while the patient lies on his back. The chiropractor uses a quick, precise thrust to address the problem area and returns the vertebrae back to their proper alignment.

Release work

Chiropractic release involves gently pressing down on the spine to separate the vertebrae. This allows for the spinal column to flow freely and reduces pain.

Table adjustments

This is a type of spinal manipulation that uses a table with a drop section. A portion of the table drops to the floor below the rest. The chiropractor will examine the patient in order to make sure the body is properly aligned. The chiropractor will apply a quick thrust to the affected area. At the same time, the drop-piece of the table will be lowered.

The act of the table falling down allows for the chiropractic adjustment force to dissipate. This makes the adjustment more comfortable both for the patient and the doctor.

Manual adjustments often require that the back be turned, but table adjustments don't. This technique is extremely effective but requires a lot of skill and special equipment. The table adjustments are a wonderful way to unlock the spine, encourage total mobility and reduce back pain.


This gentle form of spinal manipulation is less hands-on than the other techniques. The spring-loaded activator tool is used by chiropractors to adjust the spine of patients lying face down on the table.

This instrument can be used to gently free vertebrae and it can also help with alignment by being applied to the extremities.

Instrument adjustments are not just for humans; instruments can also be beneficial to animals.

Manipulation using anesthesia

Patients with lower back pain that doesn't respond to traditional spinal manipulations might need full anesthesia or light sedation prior to receiving adjustments. The procedure is performed in an outpatient hospital so that patients can be supervised by qualified medical personnel.

This therapy is reserved for patients with severe pain. This type of therapy is usually reserved for patients suffering from severe pain.

This treatment is considered more risky than other chiropractic adjustments and should only be used if other therapies have failed.

Chiropractors use release techniques in addition to the methods of aligning the spine.

Flexion-distraction technique

This procedure is commonly used to treat leg pain and low back pain caused by disc injuries.

The patient is placed on a specially-designed table to stretch the spine. The chiropractor will then isolate the affected area and gently pump the spine. Patients should not feel any pain.

The procedure works by moving the disc away form the nerve. This reduces inflammation and pain.

The treatment is usually performed in multiple sessions, often with additional therapies such as physiotherapy. To ease the pain from lower back disc injuries, patients are often given exercises to practice at home.

Patients who have not shown improvement after 12 sessions are usually referred to further imaging or a specialist in spinal surgery to examine the problem.

A study that was published by the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that patients suffering from chronic low back pain experienced less pain when they received flexion distraction than those who were engaged in an exercise program. The researchers followed patients for one year and found that those who received flexion distraction had less pain than those who took part in an exercise program.

Pelvic blocking

Pelvic blocking is another treatment for low back pain caused by discs. The pelvic blocking procedure uses cushioned wedges placed under the pelvis. The chiropractor uses gentle, specific movements to allow gravity to pull the disc and nerve apart, thereby lessening the pain.

This non-forceful, gentle approach allows healing to take place. If patients don't show improvement, they can be referred to a specialist or spinal imaging for further evaluation.

Mattia Spinal Care & Rehab Center is the #1 premier, top-rated Orlando, FL chiropractic care provider.

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