What You Should Know About Chiropractic Analysis and Adjusting
© Dane Roubos, D.C, www.GracefulWayHealingArts.com
You're probably already aware that there is a tremendous variety among chiropractic philosophies, techniques and physicians. It’s a big topic. I’ll give you a brief overview of my personal approach to chiropractic.
The Motion Model
I use a technique called Motion Palpation to identify restricted joints between two vertebrae, or extremity joints, e.g. hip joints. I use CranioSacral Therapy to evaluate the cranial bones, There is usually no need to adjust a joint with normal motion. Joints with too much motion should not be forcefully adjusted.
The adjustments, when needed, are gentle and respectful. To my knowledge, I've never hurt someone with my treatments, and I don't want to start now.
I use other therapies like CranioSacral Therapy, Lymph Drainage Therapy, Visceral Therapy and releasing energetic blocks before adjusting to make sure your body is ready to receive the mild to moderate force that is necessary to restore motion. These therapies are very effective and will often completely eliminate the need for a forceful adjustment. You can learn more about these modalities in the Therapies List.
How Joints Are Put Together
Every joint is held together by tough bands of connective tissue called ligaments. Ligaments get torn when you sprain your ankle (or your spine).
Like everything else in the body, torn or sprained ligaments heal with scar tissue that patches them back together again. But scar tissue is weak and easily re-injured. It tends to accumulate over time, and restricts normal movenent of the joints. When a joint gets stuck, it disrupts the mechanics and causes stress in the tissues. The related nerves get irritated, which makes the muscles tight, and your old friend, pain, starts to show up.
Chronic tension or postural stress also add up over the years and frequently contribute to restrictions between the spinal joints.
The typical chiropractic adjustments (mobilizations) stretch tight ligaments and muscles and often loosen up the restriction so the parts move more freely, for a while, at least. This results in better bio-mechanics, reduced nerve irritation, and less stress in the body and it's nervous system.
Bones Out of Place
Traditional chiropractic philosophy also holds that “pinched nerves” impair the flow, and that these are caused by bones that are “out-of-place.” I don't put much stock in this idea. Nerves can certainly be squeezed by bulging discs, but to say that this is caused by a bone out of place is a bit of a stretch for me. When I perform an adjustment, my intention is to restore normal joint motion and function to that area.
In either case, if it were all that simple, life would be a lot easier. As it turns out, there are many different things that can cause joint restrictions, and resulting pain in the spine, head or extremities. Not all of them are physical! See the article links below for more information.
A Holistic Approach
To my way of seeing, adjusting the spine and extremities is only a part of a holistic practice. One of the original holistic approaches in chiropractic was Applied Kinesiology (AK). Chiropractor George Goodheart began to develop this approach in 1964. Dr. Goodheart found that a large percentage of muscle spasms were caused by weak muscles.
He developed many different ways to strengthen these weak muscles and incorporated a huge range of supportive measures to integrate the body in an entirely new way. I can attest that it's relatively easy to strengthen weak muscles instantly by finding and correcting the right factor(s). Weak muscles are actually the cause of many athletic injuries, because they disrupt the normal bio-mechanics.
While I'm don't consider myself an expert in AK, I use it daily in my practice to gather all kinds of useful information to help my clients. I also integrate many other therapies to round out my approach. For those who are interested, I include optional methods to help dissolve old emotions and subconscious beliefs that are stuck in the body. I also use two spiritual healing systems which have been very helpful for certain people.
Articles for Deeper Insight
Why People Don't Heal – briefly describes the more common (but less-known) underlying causes of pain, stress, and other health challenges.
All About Pain – meet some of the real causes of pain and physical limitation. You might be surprised!
Chiropractic – 3 Common Mistakes – This article will make you a better shopper for chiropractic care.