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ping sound familiar to most people that have experienced chiropractic care. Although the adjustment is painless, some patients instinctively tense their muscles.


Chiropractic Care Help for Common Complaints


by Kathleen Barnes “M


ost people visit a chiroprac- tor because they are in pain and seeking relief, although


some initially visit for general health,” says Keith Overland, president of the American Chiropractic Association and a practicing chiropractic physician in Norwalk, Connecticut. “Every doctor of chiropractic should first perform a com- plete and thorough exam and develop a diagnosis to determine the best approach to the patient’s condition.”


Rick Burns, a doctor of chiropractic and professor of chiropractic technique at Palmer College of Chiropractic, in Davenport, Iowa, notes that more than 100 techniques and endless permuta- tions of adjustments and thrusts can be used to help bring the body back into alignment and health. “Most chiroprac- tors integrate several methods, depend- ing on the needs of the patient,” he says. While chiropractors undergo four years of post-graduate training, like medical doctors, they specialize in, “… making certain the brain communicates 100 percent of the time through the


24 Hudson County NAHudson.com


spinal cord to the nerves,” explains Burns. Miscommunication between the brain and the nerves caused by spinal misalignments, called sublux- ations, are at the heart of the science of chiropractic adjustment. Most chiropractic schools give students a basic toolbox of techniques before individual practitioners go on to obtain certification in advanced techniques; much like medical special- izations, says Overland. His specialties include treating sports injuries and he has many Olympic athletes as patients.


Most Common Techniques Diversified: This catch-all term encom- passes the short thrust spinal adjust- ment approach used by an estimated 80 percent of all chiropractors, says Dr. Cynthia Vaughn, an Austin, Texas- based chiropractor and member of the board of governors of the American Chiropractic Association. It is characterized by what is called the high-velocity, low-amplitude thrust (HVLA), resulting in the pop-


“Adjustment is a sneak attack, ‘My reflexes being faster than yours,’” remarks Burns. “The average muscle contracts in about a quarter of a sec- ond. We do a lot of speed training so we can do the adjustment in one-tenth of a second.” Activator: The activator technique, used by about 20 percent of chiroprac- tors as part of an integrated practice, employs a small, spring-loaded, rubber- tipped device, slightly larger than a pen, which applies a small amount of force to a specific area. It makes a stapler-like sound and the recipient usually feels only slight pressure. “Not everybody can tolerate the more aggressive manipulation that is performed as a foundation in chiroprac- tic, especially elderly people or very young children,” says Overland. “The activator technique claims to be faster, more specific and less forceful than manual adjustment.” Applied kinesiology: Also known as muscle testing, applied kinesiology evaluates muscle strength at various spe- cific points to help determine if a specific type of adjustment or even a nutritional supplement might be helpful to an individual patient as a treatment. This in- dividualized treatment is popular among chiropractors and their patients. “It is a way to glean a tremendous amount of diagnostic information to specifically tell where the subluxations (imbalances) are,” says Vaughn, “and is used by about 20 percent of chiropractors.” Sacro-occipital technique (SOT): Another form of non-forceful adjust- ment, SOT usually involves having the patient lie face down on a table. Insert- ing a variety of wedges asymmetrically distributed under the pelvis creates a helpful torque.


“Gravity causes the adjustment to happen very subtly in about 10 min- utes,” explains Vaughn. “It is effective for the elderly and people with osteo- porosis that can’t tolerate more vigor- ous adjustments.” Gonstead: Similar to the HVLA technique, a Gonstead approach pays


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