For most chiropractors the phrase low force adjusting means instrument adjusting. Indeed, instrument adjusting is one way to perform adjustments with less force, and there are many reasons to adjust with less force. Perhaps the patient is elderly, very young or otherwise frail — all situations in which less force would be preferable.
Patients who have recently been injured also benefit from a gentler adjustment. An injured patient is often a patient with pain in a specific area. The circumstances may be different than those of a person with pain that has been slowly building for days, weeks or months.
Injuries can occur suddenly, and result in a great deal of stress. The idea of an adjustment at the site of an injury could well create more stress, tension and pain for a patient.
The psychological state of the patient is important when deciding upon a treatment plan. Outcomes are better for patients who are relaxed and confident that the treatment will work. When patients come to the office with fear, tension and stress, the likelihood of a successful outcome is lowered. Choosing a treatment that eases fear and tension increases the chances for recovery.
DCs see patients who are injured in car accidents, while playing sports and at work. Patients come in with pain due to injury from neck to ankle. Many of them also come in with the fear that treatment will increase their level of pain, even if only for a moment. Instrument adjusting can alleviate both the fear and the pain, making treatment easier for both practitioner and patient.
For example, one of the most common auto accident related injuries treated by chiropractors is whiplash. Upper cervical adjustments require delicacy, and in the case of an injured patient, instrument adjusting allows the DC to deliver gentle, but effective, treatment.
Injuries to the knee and ankle are remarkably common among athletes, and recovery is often a long, difficult process for patients. Even after the initial pain is gone, patients may need therapy to fully regain function. Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization (IASTM) can be useful at that stage of treatment.
After an injury has healed, excessive soft tissue can reduce a patient’s range of motion. IASTM is one method for breaking up the scar tissue and promoting healthy tissue growth. Post-injury care can be critical for full recovery, particularly for patients who have suffered ankle or knee injuries.
Although one commonly mentioned advantage of instrument assisted therapy is that it is gentle enough that patients may wonder if anything has changed, that is not always the case with IASTM. Because the treatment involves breaking up tissue, it can be somewhat painful, and may even cause some bruising. However, most patients and practitioners agree that the short term pain is worth the long term, overall improvement.