An Overview of Chiropractic Techniques for Back Pain Relief

An Overview of Chiropractic Techniques for Back Pain Relief


Chiropractic is a medicine system that believes physical health problems come from misalignments of body structures. It can help reduce back pain, but it’s essential to speak to a qualified chiropractor first.

This guide talks about the manual and instrumental techniques used for back pain relief. Not every person will benefit from these techniques and chiropractic care may not work for everyone. To find the best treatment approach, talk to a healthcare professional who understands your condition.

Chiropractic Adjustment

Chiropractic adjustment is a popular way for chiropractors to ease pain. It helps with mobility, and healing of the spine. The vertebrae in the back and neck are adjusted. This reduces pressure on nerves, providing quick relief from back pain.

In this article, we’ll discuss the various techniques chiropractors use to give back pain relief:

Spinal Manipulation

Spinal manipulation is a type of chiropractic technique. It focuses on realigning bones, joints and muscles of the spine. This can reduce back pain and improve mobility. It can help with muscle spasms, inflammation and tissue injuries.

It is used in combination with other treatments such as exercises, lifestyle recommendations and nutrition. Your chiropractor will use pressure to unlock any restricted joint movement or muscle tightness. Pressure used is tailored to your comfort.

The main goals of spinal manipulation are to:

  • Increase range of motion
  • Decrease muscle spasms
  • Improve joint function
  • Return spine to pre-injury condition as quickly and safely as possible.

Your chiropractor will explain all potential outcomes before beginning care plan.

Activator Method

The Activator Method technique (AMFC) was made in 1967 as an alternative to manual adjustments. It is a low-force chiropractic technique which utilises a lightweight handheld device. This device has two places for pressure: the Activator Adjusting Instrument (AAI) and the Activator II Precision Adjusting Instrument (PAI).

Research has shown it to be effective for relieving back pain and increasing joint mobility, when properly done by trained professionals.

The experience of using the Activator instrument is similar to manual manipulation. But, it is just a quick, light thrust that offers maximum relief without any discomfort. The AAI is used on neck and spine, while the PAI is used on knots in muscles or ligaments; this relieves tension and gives pain relief.

  • This adjustment method is much more precise than manual manipulation, as each impulse is made with pinpoint accuracy. Chiropractors can target specific areas more effectively.
  • Additionally, this method is believed to offer safe and accurate results with minimal force.
  • It is perfect for those wanting fast but gentle adjustments, like older adults or expecting mothers.

Thompson Technique

The Thompson Technique is a chiropractor’s way of treating vertebral subluxation. It was invented in 1955 by Dr. J. Clarence Thompson. It’s now a popular chiropractic method for back pain and injury.

This manipulation emphasizes comfort and safety. The patient lies down while the chiropractor uses low-amplitude thrusts and short lever-arm drops. Instead of forceful power strokes, quick bursts of energy are used. This allows more accuracy, control and lower risk.

The technique also uses segmental flexion followed by extension (SFFE). Here, each vertebra is slightly lifted and then gently pushed back into place. This helps keep the segments in place for long-term results.

Those afraid of traditional chiropractic manipulation will prefer this method. It’s more subtle, and provides more comfort during the treatment.


Flexion-Distraction is a special chiropractic technique. It targets bulging, herniated and degenerative discs. A motorized table is used. It gently pulls the spine apart and flexes it into different positions. This widens the space between the vertebrae. It increases mobility and reduces pain.

As the spine moves, the chiropractor spots subluxations (areas of misalignment) and corrects them. Flexion-Distraction can also ease sciatica, annular tears, neck pain, joint pain, and nerve pain from disc herniation or impingement. Each session lasts around 15-20 minutes. Gentle pressures are applied to the affected area of the spine.

Massage Therapy

Massage therapy is a well-known chiropractic method for treating back pain. It is a holistic approach that targets the affected area through physical manipulation. This can reduce tension and stiffness. Additionally, massage therapy improves blood circulation and lessens inflammation.

Let’s delve deeper into how this therapy works and its potential benefits for those enduring chronic back pain:

Trigger Point Therapy

Trigger Point Therapy is a type of massage. It targets areas in the body where pain may be due to myofascial trigger points. These trigger points are knots in muscle tissue, causing pain in other areas. The therapy works by pressing on these spots with fingertips or knuckles. This relaxes the contracted muscles and reduces inflammation. The goal is to restore normal muscle tone and movement patterns.

Constant direct pressure is applied until there is relief in symptoms. During sessions, people feel tenderness, soreness or cramping. This is due to tense muscles releasing and circulation improving. This results in healthy tissue fibers and improved function.

Deep Tissue Massage

Deep tissue massage is a type of manual therapy. It focuses on the deeper layers of muscle and connective tissue. Its purpose is to relieve chronic aches and pains and to address specific issues like sports injuries. It’s used to improve range-of-motion, reduce tension in tight muscles, and heal after sports injuries or repetitive strain injuries.

The therapist may combine deep tissue massage with other techniques such as myofascial release or trigger point therapy to target different layers of muscle tissue in the area and break down knots or adhered tissues that cause pain or restricted movement.

When combined with other remedies, deep tissue massage can potentially provide relief from pain associated with back injuries, muscle tension, neck strain, and more.

Swedish Massage

Swedish Massage is a very popular therapy technique. It uses long strokes, kneading, friction, tapping, and vibration. It is often combined with other massage techniques for releasing muscle tension and bringing relaxation. This type of massage is thought to be the most common form of classic massage.

During Swedish Massage, five different types of strokes are used. These are effleurage (light sliding strokes), petrissage (kneading and compression), tapotement (tapping or percussion), friction (small circular motions), and vibration (shaking or trembling). Your therapist will adjust the pressure levels according to your preference and needs.

Swedish Massage is recommended for those who experience pain due to tension or acute muscular soreness. It helps with flexibility and circulation, reducing inflammation and improving healing time. After a session, one should feel relaxed but invigorated. There will be improved range-of-motion and an overall sense of alertness throughout the body.

Other Techniques

Chiropractic for back pain relief is popularly known for spinal manipulation and adjustments. But it has more! Techniques like exercise, stretching, massage, soft tissue mobilization and ultrasound therapy can help relieve pain and restore function. Let’s explore each one and how they can assist with back pain relief.


Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine. It involves puncturing and stimulating pressure points in the body. This helps target blocked energy, for restoring balance and health. Thin needles are used to stimulate the pressure points. This helps with chronic back pain and improved health.

Studies show that acupuncture has real pain relieving effects. It boosts lower back conditions, sciatic issues, reduces inflammation, and helps heal tissues. It also reduces anxiety and stress from long-term pain. Plus, it strengthens the immune system by stimulating endorphins.

Acupuncture is becoming more popular. But it requires knowledge, skill, and experience. To get best results, look for a qualified and experienced practitioner. Find reviews or referrals from other clients.


Exercise is vital for chiropractic treatment. Whether it’s preventative or restorative. Strengthening the muscles which support the spine and staying flexible throughout the body is key to keeping a healthy, pain-free back.

Depending on the cause and intensity of your back pain, your chiropractor may recommend some exercises tailored to your needs. This could be stretching, aerobic exercise, lower back exercises, or physical therapy.

Your chiropractor will talk to you about your options and show you how to do the exercises correctly. This way, you will get the most benefit without getting injured.

Heat/Cold Therapy

Heat/Cold Therapy is a common, drug-free method chiropractors use for treating muscle, neck and shoulder pain. Even though the sensations are different, heat and cold both work. Heat relaxes muscles and boosts circulation, and cold numbs and reduces swelling.

For back pain, there are lots of treatment options. These include:

  • Hot/cold compresses
  • Moist heat packs
  • Warm baths or showers
  • Topical ointments with capsicum or menthol
  • Cryotherapy with ice compresses on the area
  • Paraffin wax dips

Your chiropractor will tell you which application is best for you and your condition.

Heat/Cold Therapy is also good for other issues linked to back pain, like limited range of motion. This happens when muscles contract and need to stretch before they can be worked on during a chiropractic adjustment. Before starting a new modality, always talk to your chiropractor.


Chiropractic techniques can provide relief for back pain. The techniques vary and include spinal manipulation, ultrasound, traction and massage therapy. The aim is to reduce pain and improve mobility, while preventing reinjury.

Nevertheless, not all techniques work for everyone. Therefore, it is important to talk to a qualified chiropractor first, who will decide on the right treatment for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is chiropractic treatment for back pain relief?

Chiropractic treatment is a non-invasive therapy that involves manual adjustments to the spine to relieve back pain. It is based on the notion that proper alignment of the musculoskeletal structure can aid the body to heal itself without medication or surgery.

2. How effective is chiropractic treatment for back pain relief?

Chiropractic treatment has been shown to be effective in reducing back pain for some individuals. Studies have shown that chiropractic adjustments may help in reducing acute back pain, chronic lower back pain, and sciatica. However, effectiveness can vary based on individual cases.

3. What chiropractic techniques are used for back pain relief?

Chiropractic techniques may vary but often include spinal manipulation, mobilization, and soft tissue therapy. Other techniques such as electrical stimulation, ultrasound, and heat and ice therapy may also be used to aid in pain relief.

4. Is chiropractic treatment safe for back pain relief?

Chiropractic treatment is generally considered safe when performed by a licensed and trained chiropractor. Mild side effects, such as soreness, may occur, but serious complications are rare.

5. Do I need a referral from my doctor to see a chiropractor?

A referral from a doctor is not required to see a chiropractor. However, it is always recommended to consult with your healthcare provider before starting any new treatment or therapy.

6. How long does a chiropractic session for back pain relief take?

The length of a chiropractic session varies but typically lasts from 10-30 minutes. The number of appointments needed to achieve pain relief may vary depending on the severity and nature of the back pain.

the back recovery program by alex larsson
Jane Smith is a natural health enthusiast on a mission to uncover effective methods for achieving pain-free living. Through her personal journey with chronic back pain, she has become well-versed in holistic approaches such as yoga, Pilates, and essential oils.

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