Some licensed chiropractors fancy themselves to be jack-of-all-trade chiropractors when it comes to chiropractic care. They market themselves as being able to provide all kinds of chiropractic treatments. To be fair, there are a lot of chiropractors who are well-versed in all aspects of chiropractic work, and there is nothing wrong with that. The question is, “can any of them have absolute expertise in any given area?”

More often than not, chiropractors will choose a path of chiropractic treatment and only deviate from that path when necessary. That’s why most chiropractors will choose to specialize in providing conventional chiropractic while others will go in the direction of structural corrective chiropractic.

Conventional Chiropractic versus Structural Chiropractic

To be clear, there is a very distinct difference between the conventional approach to chiropractic and the structural corrective approach to chiropractic.

Starting with conventional chiropractic, chiropractors will put most of their focus on addressing a patient’s symptoms. By symptoms, we are referring to things like back pain, muscle spasms and tension, and loss of range of motion/mobility. They address such issues by employing a variety of adjustment techniques that move bones around until the symptoms are lessened or gone.

While there is certainly value in addressing symptoms of back pain or muscle spasms or range of motion restriction, the so-called fixes are not often permanent. The issues will have a tendency to reappear within some period of time.

While conventional chiropractic targets the symptoms, the structural corrective chiropractic approach goes deeper. Structural corrective chiropractic goes in search of the primary cause or causes of symptoms. The objective of said chiropractic is to identify the exact spine structural issue or issues that are causing the patient’s symptoms. The structural chiropractor’s work is not done until they find the structural problem or problems and fixes them.

Bottom line: Conventional chiropractic = symptoms, structural corrective chiropractic = root causes.

Using an Analogy to Compare Both Approaches

Think of the body as a building. The pillar that keeps the body straight and strong in the spine. For the building, the pillar would be the building’s foundation.

If a building’s foundation was weakened or compromised, there would be the potential for significant collateral damage to the building over time. The collateral damage could come in the form of

  • Creaking floors
  • Cracks forming in walls and flooring
  • Windows and doors that are no longer properly aligned
  • Broken water pipes
  • Leaks in the ceiling

Eventually, the building’s structure might collapse under its own weight.

The body functions in the same way. When the spine weakens or gets compromised, the rest of the skeletal system falls out of alignment. That can lead to the following collateral damage:

  • Poor circulation
  • Degenerative joint conditions
  • Breathing problems
  • Heart problems
  • Digestive problems
  • Poor immune response
  • Nerve damage
  • Body pain

The Analogy From a Conventional Perspective

With a conventional approach, the contractor or chiropractor would seek to address a very specific problem, the symptom. The contractor would fix the plumbing, or the chiropractor would try to improve the patient’s circulation. In both cases, a problem gets solved but for how long? Without fixing the primary cause of these symptoms, their reappearance would be likely.

The Analogy From a Structural Corrective Perspective

With a structural corrective approach, the contractor or chiropractor would ask, “what caused the symptom or symptoms?”

The contractor would work their way from the plumbing problem until they found that the foundation had been compromised. The chiropractor would trace from the patient’s poor circulation problem until they reached the point on the spine that had been compromised. In both cases, the work would not be done until the primary cause or causes of the symptoms have been fixed, making any reappearance of the symptom very unlikely.

Why I Use Structural Corrective Chiropractic

The reason I got my license as a chiropractor was to improve the overall quality of each patient’s life. Since there is a direct correlation between a person’s physical and mental health and their overall quality of life, I realized I had to do more than address symptoms. Inherently, I understood that my patients would prefer long-term solutions as opposed to short-term solutions.

To ensure I could help my patients reacquire a better quality of life, I decided to focus on the structural corrective chiropractic approach to treatment.

To be fair, it takes a lot longer to address spine structural issues than it does to address symptoms. Most symptoms can be resolved within a few adjustments. Fixing major structural problems will generally take a lot longer simply because the entire skeleton and neuromuscular systems have to be gone over with a “fine tooth comb.”

The final objective is always focused on improving the patient’s quality of life and returning their body to a normal level of functioning.

The Structural Corrective Chiropractic Process

The structural corrective chiropractic process is a very methodical process. It requires a full investigation of the spine to figure out how and where it has deviated from what would be considered a normal spine. As you might expect, a “normal spine” serves as the baseline for all comparisons related to a patient’s current spine structure.

What we know at the start of the process is the patient’s spine has shifted in some manner. Knowing why it happened is really of no relevance under the assumption that the cause was an abnormal occurrence, not something that would likely happen again.

A lot of structural corrective chiropractic work relies on imaging. We use MRIs and X-rays to help us identify points within the patient’s spine that don’t look normal. I would generally start my investigation by looking at each part of the spine. The process is usually started with the Upper Cervical spine. Why? This is a very important part of the body’s structural support system because it includes the brainstem and the start of the spinal cord where key nerve groups are connected.

One by one, each abnormality is looked at closely. Hopefully, there would only be one or two abnormalities to address. Any evidence beyond that could be indicative of a much bigger medical problem, something that might require further medical attention.

Once the primary problem has been identified, an adjustment strategy to created to take the abnormality or abnormalities back to normal. After creating the strategy, there is nothing left to do other than employ the strategy.

It’s important to understand that the time it takes to fix a spine structure issue will depend on a number of factors, including

  • The location of the structural issue
  • The extent of the abnormality
  • The type of abnomality
  • The risk of collateral issues

Here is the good news. Once the structural issue or issues have been corrected through a series of chiropractic adjustments, all of the related symptoms should dissipate.

It’s important to be very clear about the structural approach. It’s based very much on the science of the spine. With that said, everyone’s spine has some abnormalities and imperfections. It’s the abnormalities that deviate from what is normal for each patient that gets classified as primary problems. Everything else gets classified as a secondary problem or a symptom.


If you have been dealing with significant back pain issues, muscle spasms, or limited range of motion issues, you can seek help to simply address the issue at hand. If you want to pursue a more permanent or long-term solution, your investment should be spent on a chiropractor that specializes in structural corrective chiropractic.

If you would like more information about structural chiropractic and how it can help you fix a back pain issue, we encourage you to contact us.