5 Different Methods of Chiropractic Treatment

When most people think of a chiropractor, they immediately think of bones being cracked, backs set, necks popped. Chiropractors are so much more than bone-cracking doctors. In this article, we will discuss some of the less known family chiropractic treatment methods.

Types of Chiropractic Methods


Active Release Therapy

Active Release Therapy, also known as ART, targets soft body tissue. The use of manipulation and movement, along with identifying, isolating, and targeting an area helps break up scar tissue. ART helps increase blood flow and promotes faster healing in nerves, muscles, ligaments, and tendons.

ART was first used by Dr. P. Micheal Lehay in 1970 and since has been a staple in sports therapy. Active release technique can be used if you have sustained an injury or damage to fascia, major muscle groups, or tendons and ligaments. 

ART works by breaking up adhesions or dense pockets of scar tissue. The scar tissue is formed when you injure your muscles or ligaments and form between your muscles and connective tissue.  

This scaring tissue can limit your ability to move and makes you less flexible. It can form around nerves making movement painful. The scarring can also limit blood flow to areas of your body that need circulation.

Active Release Therapy works out that scaring tissue, giving you better blood flow, more flexibility, and relieves pain associated with nerves. ART can help anyone with-

  • Carpal Tunnel
  • Shin Splints
  • Tension Headaches
  • Chronic Neck Pain
  • Chronic Back Pain
  • Tennis Elbow
  • Plantar Fasciitis 
  • Sciatica Symptoms

You can see our page on Active Release Therapy here. 

Graston Therapy

Graston Therapy uses metal tools to perform muscle mobilizations. Graston Therapy is a form of manual therapy that focuses on soft tissue mobilization. 

How does it work?

Our muscles have different fibers and overtime, or during injury, these fibers become tight and build up toxins. Using stainless steel tools, the Graston Technique is used to identify areas of need and massage the muscles identified.

During the massage, muscles are stretched and then relaxed to help break up adhesions and improve blood flow to the muscles. The tools use vibrations to sense problem areas in need and then special messages are performed in the area. 

For Graston Therapy to be most effective, multiple sessions are needed. A patient will immediately feel relief after just one session and that can lead to an abandonment of the therapy. Research shows that regular sessions of Graston will all but eliminate your problem, but only one session will have little to no lasting effects. The Graston Technique has been clinically proven to help with-

  • Trigger Finger
  • Shin Splints
  • Women’s Health (Cesarean Scarring)
  • Surgical Scarring
  • Rotator Cuff Issues
  • Tennis Elbow
  • Golfers Elbow
    Lower Back Pain
  • Upper Back Pain
  • Neck Pain

Dry Needling Therapy

Dry needling therapy is the use of stainless steel needles that are inserted into your skin at “Trigger Points”. These trigger points are areas in your muscles that are knotted or considered hard muscle. 

The needle is used to help relieve the knots in the muscles and provide pain relief. The practitioner of dry needling can leave the needles in for a period of time to help remove the knots.

The In and Out Technique of dry needling is often referred to as pecking or pistoning. When using the in and out technique, needles are inserted into the area of pain and left briefly before reinsertion. Those who practice pecking claim that the needles work the muscles more effectively and bring faster, more reliable results. 

Dry needling benefits include better flexibility and muscle movement, increased blood flow to muscles, and relief from muscle pain and stiffness. 

Musculoskeletal Diagnostic Ultrasound

Musculoskeletal Diagnostic Ultrasound has started to take off in the sports world and over the past ten years is becoming more popular amongst chiropractors. A Musculoskeletal Ultrasound is an ultrasound used to identify injuries in tendons, ligaments, and muscles around the ankle, hip, knees, hands, and shoulders. 

Using Musculoskeletal Ultrasound allows physical therapists and chiropractors to identify soft tissue injuries and help guide therapeutic injections into the damaged tissue. Most Musculoskeletal Ultrasound machines involve a handheld that when coupled with a gel, produces images of tendons, ligaments, and muscle structure.

Most people will recognize the machine from movies as it looks very similar to the ultrasound machine used on pregnant women to look at a baby. Chiropractic offices are a mainstay now for Musculoskeletal Diagnostics and an ultrasound machine helps identify problem areas. 

Cold Therapy

Cold Therapy has been around for a while. Everyone has been told, or at least heard of someone, needing to ice an injury. In the movies you see professional athletes hop in an ice bath after a game to help muscles recover. Cold therapy compression is nothing new but most people do not think of cold therapy when it comes to chiropractic treatment. 

Cold therapy applies cold to an area to help relieve muscle swelling, relieve arthritic pain and improves blood flow to the area. Chiropractic offices might even have a chamber for cryotherapy. This is when you stand in a chamber and temperatures will drop to negative 200-300 degrees.

Staying in the chamber for 2-4 minutes has numerous benefits including relief of migraines, improve skin health, improves mood and mood swings, and might treat low-risk tumors. If you choose to partake in cryotherapy, make sure you do your research and find a reputable practitioner. There are many risks to cryotherapy if the application is improperly administered including frostbite and death. 

These types of treatments can help athletes, arthritis patients, and many others. Unfortunately, they do not get associated with chiropractic treatments or centers. If you are suffering from any of the ailments listed in the article, it might benefit you to call your chiropractor and see what treatments and methods he has to help you out.

Have any questions or think we missed something? Leave a comment in the comments section below we look forward to hearing from you!

About the Author

Dr. Bross is the owner of Elite Chiropractic and Sport. He serves as a Certified Chiropractic Sports Practitioner (CCSP) and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. His unique approach to individualized patient care is based on the evaluation and treatment of the “whole” person.

Dr. Bross is a leader in the promotion of health and wellness. He has accumulated an extensive knowledge of the musculoskeletal and nutritional components of the human body. He is skilled in the Graston Technique, Active Release Technique, and Sports Medicine.

About the Author


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