While the core tools of all chiropractors are still their own hands and the various techniques they use for readjusting the spine, even the most skilled chiropractors also rely on a variety of tools and devices to further help clients maintain full and active lives. Here are 8 such popular chiropractic tools used by top practitioners, some of which you are likely very familiar with and others that you may not have heard about before.
1. Chiropractic tables
Even the ubiquitous chiropractor table has surprisingly varied and specific uses. There are a variety of different tables (massage tables, drop tables, traction tables, etc.) that can be used to realign specific parts of the body. Perhaps most commonly used are drop tables, which rely on both the techniques of the chiropractor and the client’s weight in order to make adjustments as quickly and effortlessly as possible.
2. Activator adjusting tools
Commonly handheld devices, activator adjusting instruments use spring-loaded technology to deliver a low-force thrust to the back and problem areas. These chiropractic tools can help relax the muscles while also realigning the vertebrae. It has been estimated that 70% of chiropractors use an activator adjusting instrument or technique in their practice.1
3. Electrical muscle stimulators
While there are a variety of different electrical muscle stimulation devices on the market, such as the TENS machine or Complex Muscle Stimulators, all of these tools use controlled electrical currents to stimulate the body’s nerves and muscles. Particularly after an accident or an injury, these devices can be used to stimulate muscle growth and avoid muscle atrophy. Additionally, electrical muscle stimulation can help you relax tight muscles, allowing the chiropractor to better assess and adjust a client without undue pain.
4. Electrodermal screening devices
The more information a chiropractor has about each specific client, the better they will be able to tailor a successful plan for them. Electrodermal screening (EDS) devices provide chiropractors with this additional key information by getting readings directly from the body. ZYTO technology, an advanced form of EDS known as biocommunication, is used by hundreds of chiropractors to gain client-specific insight from this objective information to help clients make better decisions about their personal health and wellness.
5. Cold lasers
Cold lasers are a unique type of chiropractic equipment in that they produce light without heat, which is important since heat may further exacerbate certain injured areas. Studies indicate that cold laser light is absorbed through the layers of the skin and interacts with light-sensitive elements of human cells to regenerate normal cellular function, often leading to a reduction in pain and inflammation in treated areas.2
Adhesions and scar tissue in the body’s fascia can cause tightness, spasms, migraines, and pain. Percussors are handheld devices that work to break down this fascia that develops around injured muscles. To relax and release tightness, these devices send electrical waves of percussive impulses deep into the body tissue. Percussors offer a gentle treatment that is often used before a chiropractic adjustment is made.
7. Imaging devices
Digital X-ray machines are commonly used to identify subluxations in the patient’s spine. But more recently, many chiropractors are turning to infrared thermal imaging devices, which measure skin temperature on either side of the spine. These devices can not only be used to identify subluxations, but also allow the practitioner to observe how the nervous system is functioning in relation to the spine.3
8. Traction devices
Traction devices include many different types of mechanical and self-operated units. The purpose of these devices is to pull the head away from the body in order to relax muscles and relieve stiffness. Traction devices may be especially useful for those with herniated discs or bulging discs, as they can help prevent these discs from touching nerves in the back. In addition to being used in chiropractic clinics, there are many types of traction units available for home use as well.
Considering chiropractic tools
With more and more chiropractors implementing tools such as these and other complementary services, people are more likely than ever to benefit from chiropractic care in this day and age. While chiropractors should consider adding these and other tools to their practice, clients should likewise ask any chiropractor they are considering which tools they implement and how they can help.
2. Martin, Richard. “Laser-Accelerated Inflammation/Pain Reduction and Healing.” Practical Pain Management 3, no. 2 (2003): 20-25.
3. Wallace, H., J. Wallace, & R. Resh. “Advances in Paraspinal Thermographic Analysis.” Chiropractic Research Journal 2, no. 3 (1993): 39-55.
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