How I Work as a Chiropractor:
Computerized Adjusting means Gentle, Precise Treatment
Having been active in sports, coupled with my long body (6’6″ height), I have managed to accumulate numerous injuries. I sometimes comment to patients that they can’t come in with a problem I haven’t already had myself. In the 14 years I’ve been in practice as a chiropractor in Marin county ( San Rafael, CA ), I have refined my techniques and approach based on the latest chiropractic innovations as well as a practical sense of what works best in real life.
My primary adjusting tool is a device called the ProAdjuster. – also known as the Ultralign. The adjusting head is a small instrument (think of a very tiny, very soft jackhammer) that gently taps the vertebrae into place. The adjusting head is connected to a computer that simultaneously creates a graph that indicates how the bone is moving. The computer stops the adjusting at the moment the bone has moved properly into place.
The advantages of using the computerized ProAdjuster/Ultralign are numerous:
1) It is a very gentle way to move the bone. For those who don’t like the twisting or “cracking” associated with traditional chiropractic, this is avoided. Also, if a patient is in severe pain (think auto accident or other acute injury), I can lower the force of the instrument to almost nothing while maintaining effectiveness.
2) The vertebra, or bone, will move as much as possible in one session. In addition to moving the bone gently, the computer is tracking the motion of the bone. So it will move that bone as much as possible during any given treatment.
3) The repetitive motion of the instrument very effectively mobilizes a given joint. Much of the value of a chiropractic adjustment lies is the fact that, in addition to placing the joints back into proper alignment, the joint itself has its normal motion restored. The instrument, with its repetitive motion, is excellent for breaking up adhesions and scar tissue within the joint. This will allow for greater range of motion and freedom of movement in a given joint. I use the analogy of “working a rusty hinge” so that it moves more freely.. A joint that moves better allows for better fluid exchange within the joint and the disc. Joints that have lost their normal motion degenerate and age much more quickly.
4) The computerized instrument allows me to be exactly on the bone I need to be and adjust in the precise direction required to produce the best possible correction to that joint. I often find that a joint is fixated and needs to be moved in a direction that is not really possible with a hand adjustment as used by many chiropractors. With the instrument I can move the joint in the ideal direction.
Another tool I often use is the Flexion-Distraction Table.
Disc injuries often respond quite well to Flexion-Distraction Traction. This is a form of traction to gently decompress the disc in order to help heal disc injuries without requiring surgery.
The discs, which are the shock absorbers between the vertebrae, are often involved in low back pain. If an injured disc presses on a nerve, it can cause pain to radiate down one or both legs. By gently opening up the disc space with Flexion-Distraction Traction, pressure is taken off the nerves and the protruded or “slipped disc” can be repositioned and allowed to heal.
In my experience, some of the more excruciating episodes of low back pain come from a disc injury. By combining the gentle adjustment of the Proadjuster with Flexion-Distraction Traction, we have an excellent chance of facilitating the body’s natural ability to heal.
The Chiropractic Merry-go-round: Once a Week for the rest of your Life??
Another important aspect of my approach as a chiropractor lies in analyzing the spine to determine where to adjust to eliminate the root cause of the problem – not just treat the symptoms over and over and over again. By finding and resolving the true cause of the problem, we can eliminate the need to be on the Chiropractic merry-go-round.
One of my frustrations when I was chiropractic college was knowing exactly where, which bone, to adjust. Many times in my own chiropractic care it seemed to come down to: I hurt in my mid back so I get “cracked” right at my mid back. My concern was whether or not the root problem was being addressed.
A big difference lies between the primary misalignments (or subluxations) of a person’s spine and the compensations. For example, if my pelvis is not level, a primary fixation/subluxation, this is going to have repercussions up the spine – perhaps causing a compensation in the midback or elsewhere. The compensation may even hurt more that the primary. Nevertheless, the primary or primaries are the key. If I get my midback adjusted, I’ll feel great – for a while. Eventually the pain will come back because the root cause has not been addressed.
My job is getting to the root cause of your problem.
To this end, I use several ways of determining where your root cause lies.
1) Our X-ray machine is state of the art with ultra low exposure. If X-rays are taken of the patient, I use the protocol of a chiropractic technique known as Pierce-Stillwagon Technique. Without going into great detail, it is a way of viewing the spine in motion. For example, if I take views of the cervicals, I will examine the neck in flexion and extension (in other words, a side view with the head completely forward and completely back). With such views, the fixations, (the bones that are stuck from normal motion), can be seen. Some bones may be stuck in the forward direction, some in the backward direction – or both. Once the bone or bones have been identified the ProAdjuster instrument is excellent at realigning and mobilizing these joints.
2) The ProAdjuster itself is capable of analyzing the spine to determine which bones are fixated. In analysis mode, I use the instrument to perform a light test push on each vertebra of the spine. The computer will then analyze the impulses and display in a bar graph format which bones are fixated and by how much.
3) Technology will never completely replace the human touch. Traditional chiropractic analysis consisting of feeling the spine, leg length checks and such are still an integral part of the chiropractic visit to my Marin county office.
Please contact my office to schedule an appointment.