What do chiropractors do?

“What do Chiropractors do and how can they help me?” - I answer this question on a regular basis. A common misassumption is that chiropractic care and spinal manipulation therapy (SMT) are the same thing. SMT, commonly known as spinal adjustments or ‘back cracking,’ is the tool us chiropractors are best known for, but this is not the only tool we use.

Dr. Ben Stebbins Chiropractor

So what tools do chiropractors use?

Chiropractors are medical professionals who use manual skills and techniques to treat musculoskeletal and spinal conditions.

The Harvard Medical Journal briefly explains some of the other tools chiropractors use to treat patients:

In addition to spinal manipulation, a chiropractor may educate you about changing your biomechanics, rehabilitation and suggest other treatments and techniques. The ultimate goal of chiropractic is to help relieve pain and help patients better manage their condition at home.

Helping patients better manage their condition at home is one of the most important pieces to the therapeutic puzzle.  Initially finding a good exercise, movement modification or habit to start incorporating at home or in the office is imperative to continue the progress that was made during your chiropractic visit. Patients deserve a well-rounded approach to care that they are actively involved and informed in.

Active and passive treatment

Every person who walks through my door has a unique experience with their pain or dysfunction, therefore they require an individualized approach to their care.   Treating patients in this way requires me to have a variety of treatment techniques at my disposal.  These techniques can be separated into two categories: active and passive. 

I use passive treatments to help relax patients and decrease painful symptoms. They’re called passive because the patient doesn’t have to actively participate. These are things like spinal manipulation, deep tissue massage and joint mobilization.  Passive care can be a very important initially to help decrease pain and relax the body, but this is only a stepping stone to get to the active component of care where we can make more lasting and meaningful changes.

Active treatment requires the patient to be involved.  I always use movement with my treatments, even with those that are traditionally passive; soft tissue therapy, cupping, and Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue therapy (IASTM). 

Why do I need to move through my treatment?

Movement helps create meaning and confidence in the treatment.  I want to get my patients back to doing the things they want to do quickly with more strength than before. There is no better way to do this than to empower them that they can move without pain.  Getting my patients actively involved in their treatment allows them to get off the table and back to being active.

I believe in educating my patients how to move better, stronger and without pain.  Everyone who walks through my door is different; they all have different experiences, expectations and requirements to help them get better.  Knowing this, I have built up a ‘tool box’ full of different techniques and tools to help you feel better, faster.

Dr. Ben Stebbins Chiropractor