Spinal Manipulation (traditional): This technique is the most common technique performed by chiropractors and typically results in a “pop”. The patient is positioned in a way that easily allows the chiropractor to impart proper motion back into restricted joints. This what the general public most commonly associates with chiropractic treatment. This Technique can be performed more gently for elderly patients. Spinal Manipulation is targetted towards Facet Joints (Figure 1.) and Sacroiliac Joints (Figure 2.). For an example of Spinal Manipulation, please see Figure 3.
Spinal Mobilization (more gentle): This technique is performed by rhythmically moving a particular joint through it's natural ranges of motion in order to gently restore proper motion to a restricted region of the spine. Manual distraction of the neck and low back is also included in this technique. Distraction of both regions is designed to reduce the compressive forces on the discs of the cervical and lumbar spine, in essence lifting upwards on your head and/or your low back to take pressure off of the discs. Spinal Manipulation is targetted towards Facet Joints (Figure 1.) and Sacroiliac Joints (Figure 2.). For an example of Spinal Mobilization, please see Figure 4.
Figure 1. Facet joint.
Figure 3. Spinal Manipulation (Thoracic Spine)
Figure 2. Sacroiliac Joint
Figure 4. Spinal Mobilization (Cervical Spine - hands-on)