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  • Writer's pictureTanvi Desai

Three major types of chiropractic techniques

Updated: Jul 27, 2022

In this age of desk jobs, our bones and muscles do not get the activity they need. Most of us hold a static position for hours–and this eventually takes its toll on our bodies. To fill this gap, chiropractic has become one of the most essential areas of healthcare today.

Chiropractic has a long history of treating the problems in our body. In fact, chiropractic as a profession began in 1895, when Daniel David Palmer claimed to have restored the hearing of a deaf janitor–all by adjusting his spine. He is known to have developed the HOI (Hole in One) technique–one of the first techniques to be established in the chiropractic field.

Bartlett Joshua Palmer, the son of DD Palmer is accredited with spreading the word of chiropractic worldwide. He is known to have traveled all around the world, promoting chiropractic techniques. Today, there are hundreds of methods in the field and all these techniques stem from 3 major categories-

1. Upper cervical techniques

2. Manual adjustment techniques

3. Instrument adjustments

Upper cervical techniques

These techniques are great for neurological specific disorders related to the brain and brainstem that affect the entire spine. Head and neck alignment is at the center of this approach.

HOI technique

The Hole in One system of spinal adjustment was devised by D.D Palmer. He believed that only the atlas (the first cervical vertebra of the spine) could misalign itself–making it the key in treating the rest of the spine. This method thus involves realigning the atlas, based on X-ray analysis. Several chiropractic techniques have stemmed from this approach-

Grostic technique

This technique includes precise and low-force adjustments to take care of your upper cervical spine. One of the things that separate this method from the rest is the lack of force or “pops'' involved. Under the Grostic technique, we work to gently guide the misaligned vertebrae back to its natural position.

Two techniques stem from the Grostic method-

o Atlas orthogonal technique

The Atlas is adjusted using an Atlas Orthogonal Percussion tool. After studying your X-rays, the chiropractor will use the instrument to direct sound waves into your upper neck. This will help align the atlas back to its natural position.


NUCCA focuses on realigning your upper cervical spine using the measurements from your X-rays. NUCCA adjustments are precise, gentle, and allow us to identify the exact cause of misalignment.

Blair technique

The Blair chiropractic technique focuses on the first two cervical bones of the spine–the atlas and the axis. This method involves gentle adjustments to correct the vertebral subluxation and restore health to your nervous system.


Orthospinology is designed to fix your head and neck alignment to correct the issues around the brain stem. The focus remains on fixing the misaligned vertebrae in your upper cervical spine. This method makes use of an Orthospinology Percussion Adjusting instrument–which uses sound waves to gently realign the atlas.

Manual adjusting techniques

This is among the most commonly used chiropractic techniques today. It’s great to relieve pain, stiffness, and spinal nerve-related problems. Pelvis realignment is the focus under this technique to restore function and structure to your body.

- Gonstead technique

The Gonstead technique is one of the most “complete” methods of chiropractic analysis. A Gonstead chiropractor looks for spinal misalignments, motion troubles, postural imbalances, and nerve dysfunctions to reduce pain and discomfort. This approach is more than just “hands-on” chiropractic. It usually involves X-ray analysis and the use of proper instrumentation.

- Full spine adjustments

This is among the most widely used forms of manipulation among chiropractors today. It involves the fixing of subluxations using high velocity, low amplitude thrusts. This allows a chiropractor to correct the “distortions” in your spine.

- The Thompson drop-table technique

This technique makes spinal adjustments easier for the chiropractor and more comfortable for the patient.

The segmental drop table is a unique table used for this technique. It contains padded platforms or “drop pieces” for each area of your spine. When a thrust is delivered to your spine, the segment under it drops an inch–enhancing the motion area of your spine and reducing the force needed for adjustment.

- SOT (Structural Occipital Technique)

The Structural Occipital Technique involves the use of custom blocks to align your spine. This allows your body to rest in its natural way while the adjustments are performed–since a balanced pelvis improves the effectiveness of the healing.

This technique usually focuses on improving nerve functions with light, precise adjustments.

Instrument adjusting

Chiropractic is good for everyone. But not every “technique” is suited for every person. Some people might not be comfortable with manual, hands-on adjustments. Which is why instrument adjusting is becoming a common sight among chiropractors today.

Instrument adjusting involves the use of chiropractic tools that help deliver gentler and more “targeted” adjustments to a patient’s body. We practice many instrumental techniques here at Lotus Chiropractic care-

- Activator technique

The Activator method is one of the most widely researched chiropractic techniques today. The activator is a spring-load device used to deliver small impulses of energy to your vertebral segments for about 3 milliseconds. With an activator, our goal is to provide just enough force to adjust your vertebrae without causing pain. This method has been helpful in treating a variety of problems from headaches to pelvic issues.

- TRT adjustment

The Torque Release Method is carried out using an injector, and it helps us make precise and gentle adjustments in the spinal column. It is designed to deliver low impulse frequencies to the nerve endings of the spine.

We will check your spinal column for areas where the nervous system is irritated by subluxations and make fine adjustments using the injector. The best part is–all you will feel is tiny and gentle taps.

- Cox flexion and distraction technique

The flexion-distraction technique is a non-force adjustment and it helps your spine heal naturally. This technique involves a special table with different moving parts for each section of your spine. It distracts and flexes the spine in a slow, rhythmic fashion. This allows us to stretch your spine and muscles without using weights.

This technique has proven to be useful to improve nerve communication, increase circulation, reduce disc pressure, and widen the spinal canal.

- Spinal decompression technique

This technique has been extremely effective in treating a wide range of disc-related problems. We will use a decompression table to gently stretch and elongate your spine, to enable the healthy flow of essential fluids throughout the spine. The elongated spine will result in a vacuum–and its pressure helps move the compressed disc into the resultant space.

Chiropractic care at Lotus

Chiropractic has evolved massively over the ages. It has shaped into a body of wide-spanning techniques, each with its own purposes. At Lotus Chiropractic Care, Dunwoody, we will help you identify what’s best for you. Because at Lotus, you come first.

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