7 Types of Chiropractic Adjustments

There are seven main types of chiropractic adjustments and they are: The Diversified Technique, Spinal Manipulation, The Thompson Drop-Table Technique, The Gonstead Adjustment, The Activator Method, Flexion Distraction, and Spinal Decompression.

Chiropractic adjustments are a natural, drug-free approach to helping patients alleviate pain and gain more mobility. When the spine is properly aligned, the nervous system works correctly and strain on the back and neck is significant reduced.

Chiropractic adjustments are very effective at restoring joint function and mobility, which leads to increased range of motion and reduced pain.

Chiropractic Adjustments in Mesa, AZ

If you are experiencing neck or back pain, a chiropractic adjustment is a natural drug free treatment that will restore joint function, increase mobility, and alleviate pain.
Schedule an appointment with Dr. Scott Taylor or Dr. Dan Froerer today and see for yourself why chiropractic adjustments are the number one choice for back and neck pain treatment

7 Common Chiropractic Adjustments & What They Do

1. The Diversified Technique

The diversified technique has 3 main purposes, and they are to restore spinal alignment, repair joint disfunction, and ensure proper movement and mobility. Using hands-on thrusts with extreme precision, practitioners can restore spinal alignment and increase a patient’s range of motion which may be affected by misaligned joints or bones. This technique is widely used, with 96% of all chiropractors using the Diversified Technique on approximately 70% of their patients. 

A video demonstration of the Diversified chiropractic adjustment.

2. Spinal Manipulation (aka Spinal Mobilization)

Spinal manipulation, also called manual therapy or spinal mobilization, is utilized by both chiropractors and physical therapists to relieve pressure on joints, reduce inflamation, and improve nerve function. While spinal mobilization is a “manual therapy technique” similar to the diversified technique discussed above, it utilizes more gentle thrusting motions and involves more stretching. 

A video demonstration of the Spinal Manipulation by Dr. Scott Taylor.

3. Thompson Drop-Table Technique

The Thompson Drop-Table technique utilizes a specially designed table constructed of padded platforms fitted with drop mechanisms so the patient can be “dropped” a fraction of an inch as the practitioner applies a quick thrust to complete the adjustment. The gentle dropping motion is comfortable for patients, resembling a light vibration.

A video demonstration of the Drop Table technique. 

4. The Gonstead Adjustment

The Gonstead Adjustment is used to restore normal disc alignment and restore maximum mobility. It can be administered with the patient sitting up or lying on their side. 

One unique aspect of the Gonstead adjustment is the specificity of the contact point on the chiropractor’s hand can be administered with the patient sitting up or lying on their side as the chiropractor manipulates the lower back or pelvis.

A video demonstration of the Gonstead adjustment. 

5. The Activator Method

A small handheld device known as an ‘Activator’ is commonly used by chiropractors to administer a gentle impulse to the extremities or the vertebral segments of the spine. The spring-loaded device is used to adjust the tone of the nervous system and can be used to treat a variety of conditions from headaches to lower back pain issues.

A video demonstration of the Activator Technique.

6. Flexion Distraction

The Flexion Distraction technique utilizes a special table that distracts and flexes the spine in a gentle rythmic motion. This technique is commonly used to treat symptomatic disc injuries with back pain and leg pain. The adjustment is pain-free and even considered comfortable making it a great option for patients with recent injuries or extra sensitivity to other adjustments.

A video demonstration of the Flexion Distraction adjustment.

7. Spinal Decompression

Spinal decompression could be considered more of a chiropractic technique than an adjustment, but is worth mentioning since it is so effective at treating symptoms of lower back pain that are a result of bulging, herniated, degenerated, and slipped discs. Spinal decompression utilizes a special table that works by carefully stretching the spine promoting the healthy flow of water, oxygen, and other essential fluids into the discs and throughout the spine.

A video demonstration of Spinal Decompression.

There are many different types of chiropractic adjustments. Based on your unique needs, Dr. Taylor outlines the best adjustment options to help you reach your health and pain management goals.  If you would like to learn more about any of the above techniques, or see what the best treatment option for you would be, call 480-354-2008 or contact us via our online form.

Some common questions regarding chiropractic adjustments


Below are some questions that are chiropractors get asked often and are also popular on Google.
If you have a question that hasn't been anwered here, please ask it in the comments below and either Dr. Scott Taylor or Dr. Dan Froerer will provide an answer within 8 hours and email you the answer as well.

The best type of adjustment is whatever technique produces the best results for the particular patient. For example, a diversified anterior to posterior thoracic adjustment may be amazingly effective for a 45-year-old 275lb male, but it would not be effective, and maybe even dangerous, on an 85-year-old osteoporotic female. Specific adjustments techniques are not a one size fits all. That why we have different techniques to fit the wide variety of needs of our patients.

IF you were to count all the different techniques, positional set-ups, and personal preferences there are hundreds!

The ABC technique utilizes different adjustment techniques combined with soft tissue and muscle therapy to correct alignment issues in the body.

Most often when patients refer to the “clicker” they are referring to the Activator. The activator is a small handheld device used by chiropractors to manipulate the spine. It uses a small gentle focused amount of force in specific regions to help the spine realign without the need for larger more forceful movements. It is also valuable for regions of the body that are in acute spasms or have other conditions that would prevent a more traditional hand-on adjustment. (Click to see a popup video demonstrating a chiropractic adjustment utilizing the activator)

I suppose anything is possible but with a proper examination, it would be extremely unlikely. Please see a licensed Doctor of Chiropractic for your adjustments.

When done by one doctor of chiropractic that is treating you the answer is no.

Of course, it depends on the patient’s needs and comfort level.

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1 year ago

I personally like the drop table technique, seams like there is less stress on the spine. Great chiropractic techniques article.

Bob Wilson
Bob Wilson
1 year ago

I have had some ongoing lower back pain for some time and mentioned it to my primary care physician who really not very confident on how to proceed. How would I know if a chiropractic treatment is the best solution for my particular type of pain? Can you make a diagnosis or do I need to go to my primary care physician to recommend me to a specific specialist for x-rays before going to a chiropractor? I have heard both good and things about chiropractors but I’ve never been to one. My primary care physician told me that I should get more exercise exercise but when I mentioned that is when I feel the pain she told me not to exercise so now I’m at a loss on what to do and looking for suggestions on how I should proceed. Any suggestions much appreciated, thanks!

Norman Debole
1 year ago

Great article! I love how you talked about the 7 Common Chiropractic Adjustments. The explanation is very clear and interesting. Thanks for sharing.

Last edited 1 year ago by Norman Debole
Dr. Ashley Prince
1 year ago

Awesome post! The topic you’ve shared is such an interesting to read. Thanks, and I agree with your post. Keep on sharing.

Herring Chiropractic Clinic
Herring Chiropractic Clinic
1 year ago

Nice blog. Thanks for sharing with us this great article about chiropractic. Keep on sharing!