Hands-on Still Most Popular Among Chiropractic Techniques

By Michael Dorausch, D.C.

Receiving a chiropractic adjustment by any means other than a chiropractors hands is just not the same, according to individuals polled in a recent survey. More than 120 different chiropractic techniques are practiced in the United States and many chiropractors are proficient in three or more different adjusting styles, which include both hands-on and instrument based methods.

chiropractor hands onWe surveyed 265 individuals from across the United States who had made at least 12 visits to a chiropractor’s office during 2007. Participants were asked which chiropractic methods they most preferred, with hands-on and instrument based being offered as choices. Participants were also asked to name the chiropractic techniques they preferred and/or didn’t prefer.

237 of those surveyed reported they preferred to be adjusted by a chiropractor that uses their hands, rather than an instrument. Among top reasons for choosing so were reports that hands-on chiropractic feels better, works better, and gives more satisfaction. Interestingly, among the 28 respondents that preferred instrument styled adjusting, feels better and works better were both selected for all 28 respondents.

Most chiropractors will agree that all styles of chiropractic technique work, and many will agree that some work better than others, especially with particular patients. According to the survey, those receiving chiropractic care were in agreement.

Participants were asked whether they would discontinue chiropractic care if the method they were use to was no longer an option. Only one of the 265 surveyed selected they would seek alternative methods rather than receive a differentiated form of chiropractic care.

Participants were asked to name or describe the styles of technique that they had received. While chiropractors throw around terms like Gonstead, Diversified, Pettibon, Torque Release, Grostic and Activator, when talking amongst each other, the survey’s findings suggest strongly that most patients don’t know the names of the techniques they are receiving.

Answers provided included descriptions such as: thumper thingy, plunger, table that drops, table that moves, big electric thing that bangs on your neck, and back massage. One respondent correctly identified Sacral Occipital Technique as one that used blocks or wedges, and seven reported Palmer technique as the hands-on style they were receiving. Five respondents listed Activator as an instrument styled technique, and nine identified a hand-held instrument that had a rubber tip and went click. Three reported they were receiving the Gonstead method of chiropractic care.

One thing US Chiropractors can learn from all this, is that patients are likely more concerned with the results of their adjustment, rather than the name of the adjustment technique used. Still, it can’t hurt to educate members of one’s practice as to what styles of chiropractic are being performed. That education is most valuable when individuals move and are seeking chiropractors with similar adjusting styles and/or techniques.

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