Chiropractors utilize at least one or more type of adjustment technique to target subluxations. One technique that I (Dr. Luke Short) utilize is the Gonstead technique. The Gonstead system of chiropractic consists of 5 key aspects to finding the specific subluxations in the spine and correcting them using the Gonstead technique and then leaving the spine alone for the body to do the healing.
What is a specific adjustment and how does it differ from an average/low quality adjustment? With an average/low quality adjustment a Chiropractor doesn’t do any type of analysis or palpation, they would just go in and “adjust” whatever they can find and pop everything that will move. Several viral Chiropractic videos on YouTube show people getting multiple adjustments, even in the same area, and it might sound good or look great, but I believe its over-adjusting someone and that the doctor would have no idea what they fixed even, if it did help. A specific adjustment is where we find the problematic vertebra/segment or two and we adjust ONLY that one or two. That way we don’t put too many forces in the spine and the body doesn’t “overload” with all the information we just gave it to work with. The other aspects of the Gonstead technique help us achieve specific adjustments.
Observation: Would you go to a podiatrist and they never looked at your foot? Looking at your back gives chiropractors an opportunity to see what your skin is telling us about your spine. Whether it be inflammation/swelling, blemishes/rashes, or even color changes caused increase blood flow making your skin red. This is just one of the tools we use to find subluxations specifically on patients.
Nerve-scope/Scoping: this instrument put simply is a really sensitive dual probe thermometer. We use this to run down your spine looking for temperature differences on one side of the spine to the other. Subluxations will cause blood vessels to contract or dilate on the side it’s effecting the nerve and this instrument picks it up. This helps narrow down an area of the spine to look at and also helps us determine when to adjust and when to leave the vertebra alone
Palpation: Motion and Static
Static palpation is when we use our hands and palpate the spine without motion. Palpating for edema, hot/cold differences, and perspiration/sweaty or dry skin. Subluxations have an effect on the autonomic nervous system and can create response from either the sympathetic nervous system, causing some sweating or the parasympathetic nervous system, causing some dryness for example. This gives us an overview of what the spine is telling us.
Motion palpation is when we motion the vertebral segments to look for fixation or specifically at a stuck vertebra in the area we are looking to adjust. This tells us that this segment is fixed and the vectors, or direction it’s stuck in. This helps us give a specific adjustment in the right direction that the vertebra needs, resulting in less stress on the body.
X-ray/analysis: If you wanted to go the beach there’s two ways you can get there. You could go east or west and just drive and you would eventually get there, or you can use a map and get there more efficiently. We use x-rays to analyze vertebra and the pelvis and how they are misaligned and view where potential subluxations are to give a specific adjustment(s). Though we don’t always X-ray all of our patients, we can still give a specific adjustment and analysis.