Common Chiropractic Modalities

 Common Chiropractic Modalities

What Are Some Common Chiropractic ModalitiesAlthough their main method of treatment is spinal manipulation, many chiropractors also use other therapies to treat their patients. Some of the most common treatments chiropractic doctors recommend includes therapeutic exercise and stretching, spinal traction, manual soft tissue therapy, transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation (TENS), ultrasound, and others.

Modalities are defined as “Any physical agent applied to produce therapeutic changes to biologic tissues; includes but not limited to thermal, acoustic, light, mechanical, or electric energy.” They can be attended OR non-attended.

Common Chiropractic Modalities

  1. Massage and Soft Tissue Mobilization. Massage is defined as the rubbing and kneading of muscles and joints by the hands especially to relieve tension. Soft tissue mobilization is a specific assessment, evaluation, and treatment of soft tissues (ligaments, muscles, tendons, and fascia) for the purpose of creating beneficial effects on the nervous, musculoskeletal, lymph, and circulatory systems.
  2. Spinal Traction. Many chiropractors use spinal traction, in which traction devices are applied to distract areas of the spine. This treatment helps to gently separate the vertebrae resulting in disc decompression, reduced nerve root pressure, and less pain.
  3. Ultrasound. Therapeutic ultrasound is a form of deep heat therapy created by sound waves. When applied to soft tissues and joints, the sound waves are a form of micro-massage that help reduce swelling, increase blood flow, and decrease pain, stiffness, and muscle spasms.
  4. Heat and cold. Chiropractors may alternate between heat and ice therapy to help patients treat back pain. Ice packs may be used to numb the back for a 10 to 15 minute period and then switched with a heating pad, heat wrap or hot water bottle to restore blood flow to the area and promote faster healing.
  5. Dietary management. Many chiropractors will provide patients with tips on how an improved diet may help with their back pain, and some may recommend dietary supplements after spinal manipulation.
  6. Cold Laser. Unlike standard lasers, the cold laser produces light without heat. That makes it a worthwhile piece of equipment for treating injured areas and encouraging cell function and healing. For some injuries, heat can make the situation worse. That’s not true of cold lasers.
  7. Therapeutic Exercise. Chiropractors commonly prescribe specific strengthening exercises for their patients with back, neck, and extremity problems. These exercises can help decrease pain, prevent muscle deterioration, promote joint health, increase strength, stability, and range of motion, and protect against new or recurring injuries.
  8. Transcutaneous Electric Nerve Stimulation (TENS). A TENS unit is a small, battery-powered, portable muscle stimulation machine that can be used at home to help control pain. Variable intensities of electric current are used to control pain. This treatment is recommended to help patients get through periods of severe (acute) pain.
  9. Interferential Current. Interferential current (IFC) is another type of TENS therapy. This mode uses high-frequency electrical impulses to reduce pain deep within a patient’s tissue. For sensitive patients, IFC is a good substitute, since the high frequency meets less skin resistance than a TENs unit.
  10. Lifestyle Changes. Good health is much more than the absence of pain or disease. The lifestyle choices you make on a daily basis can greatly affect your long-term health. Your chiropractor can talk to you about your lifestyle choices, help you sort through and identify unhealthy health habits, and give you practical strategies to deal with and manage them

The Takeaway

As you can see, chiropractic medicine is more than just spinal manipulations. Chiropractors use a variety of treatment modalities to help the body to heal itself and return the patient to a pain-free and healthy life.

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