There’s no question that the most important chiropractic tools or equipment are the trained practitioner’s own hands. While performing adjustments, however, or running a chiropractic office, there are certain other chiropractic tools can aid in running a chiropractic office efficiently.
- Chiropractic Tables
One of the most crucial tools in any office are chiropractic tables. The types of tables found in a practice may depend on a chiropractor’s personal preference or techniques used. Different tables serve different purposes, such as the traction table for decompression or the drop table to add extra force for the adjustment by way of gravity.
- Activator Adjustment Tool
Then there’s the activator adjustment tool, which permits the doctor to realign vertebrae by sending a low amount of force into the back.
- Electronic Impulse Adjusting Instrument
While the activator adjustment tool is spring-loaded, that’s not the case with the electronic impulse adjusting instrument. This instrument, although similar to the activator adjustment tool, lets the chiropractor use greater yet painless force in treating back problems. The patient doesn’t hear cracking, popping or other sounds often associated with chiropractic treatment with this instrument. What the patient feels during the procedure is usually a light tapping sensation.
- Pro Adjuster
The pro adjuster is a tool that works with software, so the chiropractor may test an area electronically prior to the adjustment. This aids in determining the exact amount of force necessary for a particular patient.
Today’s chiropractors often rely on electrotherapy to treat patient pain. Electrotherapy prompts the body to release endorphins for pain reduction and to reduce the level of pain signals sent to the brain. The types of electrotherapy chiropractors choose depends on their primary patient populations and their own preferences. The most common types of electrotherapy equipment include:
- Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation
With Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) therapy, electrodes are placed within a belt-like item worn around the back. TENS units vary in size and strength and come as battery-operated units that patients can use at home or work. These devices allow the patient to control stimulation when experiencing pain episodes.
- Interferential Current
Interferential current (IFC) is another type of TENS therapy. This mode uses high frequency electrical impulses to reduce pain deep within a patient’s tissue. For sensitive patients, IFC is a good substitute, since the high frequency meets less skin resistance than a TENs unit. The IFC unit is used more often for patients with acute pain, while the TENS unit may prove more effective for patients dealing with chronic pain.
- Cold Laser
Unlike standard lasers, the cold laser produces light without heat. That makes it a worthwhile piece of equipment for treating injured areas and encouraging cell function and healing. For some injuries, heat can make the situation worse. That’s not true of cold lasers. Several sessions of cold laser therapy are generally needed to achieve substantial pain reduction. It is an alternative to taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for pain relief for patients who do not want to take even over-the-counter medications.
- Therapeutic Ultrasound
While ultrasounds are best known as diagnostic tools, they also have a therapeutic component. An ultrasound can apply deep heat therapy to an affected area via sound waves, which can quickly “massage” the soft tissues and reduce pain and stiffness. Ultrasound therapy can aid patients suffering from lower back pain. By increasing blood flow and circulation, ultrasound therapy promotes healing. Inflammation and swelling are reduced and muscle spasms can subside.
- Electromyography (EMG)
Surface EMG devices such as MyoVision measure the electrical impulses of muscle contraction. The entire process takes 90 seconds and allows the chiropractor to determine whether the spine and nervous system are functioning as well as possible.
- Diagnostic Thermal Imaging
Diagnostic thermal imaging, featuring products made by Insight or Tytron, scans the nervous system, allowing the doctor to determine how the nervous system functions and responds. This type of imaging aids both a chiropractor’s diagnosis of a patient’s condition and with the prognosis.
Inclinometers measure and evaluate the range of motion in joints. They are a useful tool for tracking a patient’s progress during treatment.
- SOT Blocks
Sacro-occipital technique, or SOT blocks, help keep the pelvis and spine aligned without the use of force. SOT blocks may be placed under the patient’s rib cage, lumbar region, knees and clavicles.
- Wobble Chairs
Wobble chairs, with their bike-like seats and great degree of rotation, aid in regenerating degenerated spinal discs. Use of the wobble chair can help increase a patient’s range of motion. Wobble chairs are available for purchase by the patient for home or office use.
- Traction Units
Traction units can help patients with either back or cervical pain. The traction unit, which is available for home use, is often used for patients diagnosed with herniated discs. The traction unit pulls the head away from the rest of the body, allowing the vertebrae to separate somewhat so the affected discs are no longer compressed and may allow them to return to their correct placement. The traction device can alleviate the pain resulting from the discs touching nerves in the back, while putting the spine back in its proper position.
- Exercise Therapy Equipment
Exercise therapy equipment, such as exercise balls, vibe plates and TheraBand, can aid in rehabilitation and strengthening.
- Electrodermal Screening Devices
Electrodermal screening devices allow chiropractors to receive important information directly from the patient’s body. This is true biocommunication.
- Radiofrequency Rhizotomy
Radiofrequency rhizotomy is useful for patients diagnosed with facet joint syndrome. By applying heated radiofrequency waves to the nerves of the facet joints, the pain impulses are reduced.
- Electronic Muscle Stimulation
Known as EMS, this tool provides relief by direct muscle stimulation, reducing swelling and inflammation. EMS differs from TENs therapy in that the latter’s impulses stimulate nerve endings to boost endorphins and sway pain signals, while EMS eases muscle tension. For patients with pain involving both nerves and muscles, the use of both TENs and EMS is beneficial.
Other Chiropractic Supplies
Ice and heat therapy are integral components of chiropractic. This means the office needs to keep plenty of such chiropractic supplies on hand, including gel packs, wraps, and heating pads. There are also the back braces, abdominal supports, and neck orthopedic products. Other chiropractic supplies an office could keep in stock include specialty pillows and cushions, assorted types of tapes and bandages, decompression and traction materials, table face paper, electrodes, and various pain relief ointments and gels. If you sell nutritional supplements as part of the practice, keep these items in stock and show them in the appropriate display shelving for your clients.
Chiropractic is a holistic therapeutic modality, designed for complementary procedures. There is no “magic bullet” that brings relief to every patient, but ensuring you have the right equipment and supplies on hand means there are therapies available for the wide variety of ailments patients bring to your practice.
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