By Tina Beychok
Most doctors of chiropractic know the benefits of instrument-assisted adjustments over manual adjustments. Not only can an instrument adjustment deliver greater thrust with less force than a manual adjustment, but switching to instrument adjusting may also provide better outcomes for patients and cause less wear and tear on the DC’s hands, arms, and shoulders. The use of instruments can increase a practice’s bottom line by allowing more patient intake in a given day and expanding the scope of practice, as well.
Once a chiropractor has decided to use adjusting instruments in his or her practice, the next step is to sift through the various manufacturers and models to find which device hits the sweet spot of giving the best performance for the best price. There are a number of details that must be considered, but perhaps the most important factor is whether to use a power-assisted adjusting tool or a manual, spring-loaded tool.
One of the major advantages touted for power-assisted adjusting tools is that they can deliver a series of rapid adjustments of the same force in the same location before the body has time to tense up between individual adjusting thrusts.
[/fusion_text][fusion_text]An article published in the April 2006 issue of Chiropractic & Osteopathy looked at the movement of the lumbar spine in response to adjustments performed with a multi-impulse adjusting tool. The researchers found that lumbar movement was greatest in response to a low-force setting and that segment movement increased with the application of several multiple-impulse thrusts.1
By comparison, manual, spring-loaded adjusting tools are often less expensive, as they will not require any sort of micro-electronics to calibrate thrust and joint movement, which are required for the power-assisted multi-thrust tools. Another advantage to manual adjusting tools is that much more control is up to the individual DC, rather than to micro-electronic computers on the device itself.
For those DCs who prefer to utilize their hands more than they trust computers, a manual adjusting tool may be the better choice. If a certain adjustment was not delivered with enough force, the angle of approach was wrong, or the joint did not move properly, the DC can rely upon his or her own judgment to correct the problem.
Every DC has different preferences, and regardless of which kind of instrument is chosen, patients will benefit from chiropractic care that is both safe and effective.
1Colloca C, Gunzburg R, Harrison D, Keller T, Moore R. “Increased multiaxial lumbar motion responses during multiple-impulse mechanical force manually assisted spinal manipulation.” Chiropractic & Osteopathy. 2006:14(6)