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Apr 19

Manual vs. Mechanical: Which is Better?

by Dr. Pete Ahlers-Nelson, D.C., Blog, No Comments

Apr 19

A passionate debate has arisen in the chiropractic community: Which is the better alignment method, manual or mechanical?

Truth be told, certain chiropractors still practice one way or the other.

Now, perhaps you, yourself, have a preferred method. I know my chiropractor boasts clients that insist the mechanical method be used for the entire adjustment.

I, myself, am a manual guy. I both love and appreciate the sheer artistry exhibited by a gifted and meticulous chiropractor.

And I’m fortunate enough to have one of those guys in my life.

But what does empirical research say about the matter?

Manual vs. Mechanical: What Science Says

Well, a recent study indeed sheds light on the topic.

Swiss researchers set out to investigate whether or not manual alignment is more effective than mechanical. In the randomized, controlled trial, those researchers observed 54 patients. They followed the group over a six-month period. Each participant suffered from acute or chronic neck pain. He/she received three treatments, with four days between each session.

The researchers used a variety of measuring tools. These included industry standards like the Visual Analogue Pain Rating Scale (VAS) and the European Quality of Life-5 Dimension surveys (EQ-5D).

The Swiss team found that both methods are effective, in equal measure.

The ongoing study appears in the peer-reviewed journal Trials.

In Summary

So, what does all this mean to you?

Yes, you may prefer, say, manual over mechanical adjustment. However, this study concludes that citing your preferred method as “better” is probably not wise. 🙂

It also finds that you can trust both methods for your chiropractic needs.

This article is printed with permission from

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