Glossary of Terms

Find the most frequently used terms in chiropractic here!


Activator is classified as a light force technique, which was designed by Dr. Arlan Fuhr. It employees a small hand held instrument which delivers a quick and precise adjustment to the spine to help reduce subluxations.


Acupressure is manual pressure applied to specific acupuncture points with the intention of stimulating or inhibiting neurological flow to various organs, glands or tissues, with the purpose of returning the body to a normal status.


Acupuncture is the art and science of using needles, and electrical/or manual stimulation of reflex centers throughout the body to create change within organs, glands, and tissues with intent to return the body to normal function.

Cox Technique

Dr. Cox has developed a technique of “flexion/disc-traction” which pulls the bulging intervertebral discs and tissues away from the spinal cord and the spinal nerves. This tehcnique incorporates a special table that breaks away and flexes downward while performing the tractioning maneuver. Find more information on the COX Technique Here.

DNFT (Directional non-force)

See Non-Force Technique


Diversified is a technique that is taught at most major chiropractic colleges. It is primarily the use of the practitioner’s hands to make the spinal correction. Many times an audible snap or pop will be heard as the correction is made.


Electrotherapy  pertains to the use of electrical stimulation of the body. It may be used to control pain, increase blood and lymphatic circulation, reduce muscle spasm, relax or stimulate the nervous system or aid in the healing process.

Flexion/Disc-traction technique

See COX technique above


Most doctors of chiropractic treat geriatric patients within their practices. Doctors of chiropractic are licensed and extensively trained to diagnose and treat people of all ages. Seniors may be treated with a light, medium or firm adjustment depending on their age, degree of degeneration etc.   There are doctors of chriopractic specializing in the treatment of elderly patients.


Dr. Clarence Gonstead developed Gonstead technique. It adopts the use of the doctor’s hands to make corrections of the spine. The doctor may use the side posture position (lumbar roll) to adjust the lumbar spine, knee chest table to correct thoracic (mid shoulder) problems and the cervical chair to correct cervical (neck) problems while the patient remains seated. This technique is also taught in most chiropractic colleges.


Holistic health care is the art and science of regaining health by treating man as a functioning whole. Health is attained by creating a natural balance of environment, diet, water, rest, exercise, emotional well being and proper neurological balance.


Independent Chiropractic or Medical Examination is an examination which is usually conducted at the request of an insurance company that wants an independent examination by a doctor other than the treating doctor for the determination of maximum medical improvement or degree of impairment.

Kinesiology/Applied Kinesiology

Kinesiology is the art and science of testing the strength of certain muscles to determine areas of vertebral subluxations, neurological deficits, and certain types of nutritional deficiencies.  Also known as Applied Kinesiology.


Many doctors of chiropractic incorporate a massage therapist within their office. Massage is used to increase circulation of blood and lymphatics, help with pain reduction, and provided increased motion.


NAET® was discovered by Dr. Devi S. Nambudripad in November of 1983. Nambudripad’s Allergy Elimination Techniques, also known as NAET, are a non-invasive, drug free, natural solution to alleviate allergies of all types and intensities using a blend of selective energy balancing, testing and treatment procedures from acupuncture/acupressure, allopathy, chiropractic, nutritional, and kinesiological disciplines of medicine.


Network Chiropractic is the integration of chiropractic techniques, which utilized light touch or taps to relieve spinal tension to clear the body of nervous interference. Major differences in approach is the sequence or timing of adjustments which are determined by objective changes in body parameters, such as leg length, etc. Network Chiropractic releases spinal imprints or facilitation caused by physical, emotional or chemical stress, and promotes overall wellness.


This technique, developed by Raymond L. Nimmo, DC, uses thumb, elbow or a “Nimmo Tee” to apply pressure to trigger points to reduce pain and edema associated with the subluxation complex.  Also called the Nimmo Receptor-Tonus Method.  Wooden “Nimmo T-Bars” with rubber tips are used to eliminate trigger points.

Non Force

Non Force refers to a light chiropractic adjusting force which is administered to correct a spinal subluxation. Example: Activator, toftness, SOT, Trigger Point Therapy, Logan Basic etc.


This upper cervical technique which involves a specific system of x-ray analysis to determine the subluxation complex. The spinal adjustment is delivered manually but at a very specific angle.


Nutrition is the art and science of correcting dietary deficiencies, which can result in abnormal tissue function and certain disease processes. Some doctors prescribe specific vitamins, minerals, proteins, enzymes, herbs, etc., for various health problems with emphasis placed on changing overall dietary habits.


Orthopedics pertains to the correction and prevention of skeletal and joint disjunction. There are chiropractors that take additional post-graduate classes in orthopedics and specialize in more in-depth injuries sustained to the spine or extremity joints.


Palmer College was the first college of chiropractic in the world. The Palmer Method places a strong emphasis on correcting the spinal subluxation and establishing a normal neurological balance to all tissues of the body. All additional therapies such as physical therapy, nutrition, etc., would be considered secondary after the correction of spinal subluxation.


Pediatrics pertains to the use of chiropractic care for young children.  Doctors of chiropractic are licensed and extensively trained to diagnose and treat people of all ages, using a gentler type of threatment for children. There are doctors of chriopractic who specialize in


This technique was orignated  by a Dr. Pettibon who used his background in engineering to develop a specific chiropractic technique to make corrections of the spinal subluxation. This technique uses a complex formula to ascertain various misalignment angles and uses specific manual and instrument adjustments to correct such misalignments. 


Radiology is the use of x-rays to determine pathology (cancer, tumors, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis etc.) fractures, short leg deficiencies and spinal subluxations (misalignment.)


Dr. De Jarnette of Nebraska City, Nebraska, developed Sacral Occipital Technique (SOT). He divides low back conditions into three categories and incorporates wedge shaped blocks in conjunction with a pumping motion to make sacral corrections. He also uses a “stair walking” movement to make cervical corrections. His primary intent is to restore normal cerebral corrections. His primary intent is to restore normal cerebral spinal fluid flow as well as improve normal spinal integrity.


Many doctors of chiropractic that specialize in injuries that occur during sports activities: (concussion, sprain/strains of the ankle, knee, wrist etc.)


A displacement of the spine that causes interference to the nervous system.  Since your spine affects the nerves in all parts of your body, problems in your spine may cause many types of health problems.  


Thermograhpy is the use of instrumentation to measure the temperature of various areas of the body to determine if there are any abnormal changes in the body which would alter the flow of neurological, lymphatic, or blood to outer tissues (skin, muscle, tendons, ligaments, etc.) Most chiropractors will use thermography to determine if there is a neurological deficit (subluxation) within the spine that would cause vasodialation of the outer dermatones (skin) of the body. Monitoring of thermography could be used to determine how well the patient is responding to care, or the degree of permanent injury sustained.


Dr. Thompson developed a mechanical drop mechanism for the adjusting table, which reduces spinal adjusting force and reduces patient sensitivity and pain during the spinal adjustment. He has developed a specific technique to be used in conjunction with his Thompson table. It maybe considered a non-force technique by some doctors.


Dr. Toftness has developed a technique which uses a unique tube shaped instrument with a series of lenses that help detect the area of subluxation and neurological disturbances. This instrument is said to detect minute radiation and electromagnetic disturbances that exist with spinal subluxations. He uses a very light non-force adjustment in conjunction with this instrument to make all corrections. 


Trigger points are acupuncture points which become inflamed with vertebral subluxations and can be treated mechanically by hand, needle, or electrically such as electrical muscle stimulation for the purpose of pain relief.

Webster Technique

The Webster Technique is a specific chiropractic analysis and adjustment used to correct subluxations in the pregnant mother’s sacrum and pelvis.  This balances the mother’s pelvic muscles and ligaments, providing the physiological environment necessary for optimal baby positioning.  This specialized technique was developed by Dr. Larry Webster, Founder of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association. 

Weight Loss

Some chiropractors suggest various diets to help the patient lose and maintain a desirable weight to reduce spinal stress. Nutritional consultation is used in conjunction with weight loss to maintain a holistic healthcare program.