Posts Tagged ‘Joints’


Monday, September 15th, 2008

The brain is sexy! Let me put this another way – Talk about the brain and how to make it work better, and people sit up and listen.

Let me illustrate this with three examples: I contribute health related articles to a number of online magazines and forums, and I have to tell you that it is hard work finding topics and content that pulls readers. You probably already know this as a Chiropractor – especially if you have run regular “spinal health” workshops, covered your coffee table in health brochures (which gather dust), or grappled with how to get people to line up at your booth at a health expo or shopping centre? On one site that I contribute to my articles usually get just over 100 hits with about ten comments. This disappoints me as I believe the message I share is applicable to everyone searching the net – and when you can log onto YouTube and see some chick in knickers getting millions of hits. But to put this in context, most of the other contributors receive 60-80 hits to their offerings. Recently however I ran a piece on “how do you keep your brain healthy?” I posted this a few weeks ago now and it is still running with over 1,000 hits and 50 comments.

I regularly send in article submissions and short health tips to the local media, with the all too common cold shoulder response – “we had too many other news pieces to run this week”, “we didn’t think this would appeal to our readership”, “if you’d like to run a half page ad I’m sure we could get that article included”. Recently I promoted a “healthy brain workshop”, and received a number of “bites” and coverage from the local media with much larger than normal attendances to my workshops.

In May I was privileged to be invited to train a group of Chiropractors in Johannesburg in Torque Release Technique. The organiser had struck up a conversation with a PhD Psychologist who specialises in Brain EEG mapping, and when he had suggested to her that he believed that a chiropractic adjustment changed brain function, she had politely snubbed him based on her scientific experience. When he asked me what to do I suggested that he invite her to our program and ask if she would be wiling to do pre and post exams on the Chiropractors that were adjusted at the end of a long day of training. She happily accepted the challenge. We only had time to do a limited (“statistically insignificant”) number of trials, and afterward when we asked her what she had observed she commented that each participant had experienced a “shift” in their brain function. Most of us being EEG novices we pressed her further to explain this – apparently it usually takes approximately 6 months of neurobiofeedback to achieve this phenomenon – not bad response to the carefully selected delivery of 1-3 primary subluxation adjustments? Her response was to demand that I adjust her before she left – I think her scientific opinion had been shifted.

Some research supports this observation that chiropractic adjustments change brain function (1-3): Hang on a minute – don’t skim over that statement – CHIROPRACTIC ADJUSTMENTS CHANGE BRAIN FUNCTION. Do you own that statement yourself? Do you comprehend the implications to the community IF that statement is correct and consistent?

Let me propose two shifts that may need to occur in our profession for this secret to get out to where it needs to be heard:

1) Our comprehension of the spine as being ligaments, muscle, discs, joints and biomechanics; needs to mature to neurones, neuropeptides, tensegrity, brain holography and quantum physics.

2) Our model of analysis, adjustment and communication needs to shift from a bone/back focus to a nerve/brain focus.

Are you ready to make this shift yourself? Torque Release Technique training provides you with comprehensive training in the Art, Science and Philosophy of adjusting from a more neurological, quantum physics and vitalistic model.

Check out the next training program at

1) New Technique Introduced - EEG Confirms Results: (Jay Holder. ICAC Journal, May 1996.)

2) The effect of the Chiropractic adjustment on the brain wave pattern as measured by QEEG. A Four Case Study. Summarizing an additional 100 (approximately) cases over a three year period. (Richard Barwell, D.C.; Annette Long, Ph.D; Alvah Byers, Ph.D; and Craig Schisler, B.A., M.A., D.C.)

3) New Science Behind Chiropractic Care sensorimotor integration with cervical spine manipulation. Haavik Taylor H and Murphy B. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. Feb 2008.


Tuesday, July 24th, 2007

What are the secret ingredients which define a chiropractic adjustment? What are the features that separate an adjustment from other therapeutic modalities? What are the factors that differentiate a good adjustment from a bad adjustment?

Most definitions of “Adjustment” are very mechanistic in nature: “Moving the joints of the spine beyond a person’s usual physiological range of motion using a fast low-amplitude thrust”; “low-amplitude, high-velocity thrusts in which vertebrae are carried beyond the normal physiological range of movement without exceeding the boundaries of anatomic integrity”. The glaring pitfalls of such predominant definitions are that not all chiropractic adjustments carry the joints into their para-physiological range: Does this mean that SOT Blocks are not an adjustment, and that all instrument-based adjusting protocols are not chiropractic?

Perhaps it is time that we re-define the core components that describe a chiropractic adjustment?

Early chiropractic concepts spoke of universal and innate intelligence, the mental impulse, and proposed that a chiropractic adjustment doesn’t correct anything, but innate utilises the forces transmitted to the body following an adjustment to correct itself: In other words, the body is intelligent, but sometimes needs information from an external source to be able to make better perceptions, decisions and choices.

So, an adjustment is not so much an imposition of our will upon another person’s physiology; as it is the delivery of a new and enlightening piece of information which attempts to facilitate neurological change.

Torque Release Technique defines an Adjustment as “communication through touch”. What are the fundamental factors of this healing touch?

Perhaps we could define these in a physics-like formula…

A = F × CV × I2

In long-hand this translates to: Adjustment equals Force times Correctional Vector times Intent (squared).

Let’s explore this formula in greater detail:

The times signs indicate that each factor has a more significant impact on the other and on the total result than if instead the addition symbol was present; and that if all factors are present the resulting answer will be huge:

For example, in mathematical terms if each factor = 10, then A = 10 × 10 × 100 = 10,000

If the symbols had been additive the answer would be A = 10 + 10 + 100 = 120

If you minimise one of the factors then the answer is minimized:

To alter the above example slightly, if F = 1, then A = 1 × 10 × 100 = 1,000

The square symbol shows the “I” factor has the potential for greater impact: If this factor is small then the formula will not change much. Increase this factor and its impact becomes greater and greater at an exponential rate:

For example if we alter our original formula so that I = 1, then A = 10 × 10 × 1 = 100

Whereas if I = 100, then A = 10 × 10 × 10,000 = 1,000,000!!

Now let’s define the factors in more detail:

Force = Mass × Acceleration:

This is an old Newtonian formula. Every adjustment has force – an adjustment with no force at all is just a good intention. To increase force we either increase the mass or the acceleration, and if you increase both then the force greatly increases. In terms of a chiropractic adjustment, any experienced chiropractor knows the importance of speed over mass: The quicker you are the less the mass you have to use, and the more easily an adjustment is accepted. I guarantee that an adjustment will appear “heavy-handed” to a client due to excessive mass, and not due to excessive speed

Correctional Vector = Contact Point + Three-Dimensional Vector:

The force of an adjustment must have a point of contact and a direction: Specificity is what separates chiropractic adjustment from so many other therapeutic modalities, and without correctional vector I doubt that chiropractic would have attained separate and distinct status. Firstly we are more discerning in where we place our hands; for example, we don’t just stretch the lumbar spine, we adjust an L5.

Also integral in most chiropractic adjustment protocols is the direction in which we apply our force: Our predominant “listing” systems incorporate three letters to define the direction and combination of vectors in three dimensions, which we utilised in our adjustment. And we may even add a fourth letter to further define our contact point… For example: C2 PLI-S – we contacted C2 and our vector was in a direction to reduce the left and inferior vectors of the subluxation, and we used the spinous process as the contact point.

Intent = Become One + Visualisation + See Whole

R.W. Stephenson described the essential components of intent. Intent could be simply explained as what we are thinking about as we deliver an adjustment. But it can also mean much more than this as it may include our own emotional, physiological and even spiritual states.

“Become One” encompasses an almost spiritual connection that occurs when we as a practitioner enter into another’s “energy” or “intelligence” field. The insinuation is that when we come so close there is an influence between the two fields of intelligence. This has ramifications at a diagnostic level in the sense that we can potentially gather much deeper levels of information if we are perceptive to the other person’s “field”; and at a therapeutic level we potentially enter into a deep level for the transaction of information taking place.

“Visualisation” defines the need to see what we are doing: Can we imagine the structures and tissues that we are examining; can we envisage the impact that our testing and corrective vectors are having on the person’s physiology; can we see the effects of our adjustment before they actually occur?

“See whole” describes our intent: Wholeness. After our practice member is adjusted their mind/body is able to better perceive itself, the communications between mind and body are restored, and their physiology becomes more efficient and effective. Do you expect this? Do you actually SEE this occurring in your mind’s eye?

What separates an adjustment from other therapeutic modalities? The size of each factor illustrates its relative importance in the formula:

Massage = f ( m × a ) × CV × I2

Therapeutic massage is separated from relaxation massage by how deep the practitioner penetrates; that is by how much mass they use: Mass is probably the most dominant vector in the therapeutic formula. Acceleration is extremely small as most massage involves slow strokes. The vectors are usually unfocussed and very mixed, sometimes the more directions you sweep across a muscle the better. Intent is somewhat diminished due to poor visualization (most masseurs have inferior anatomical and physiological knowledge) but will have a high degree of connection and a desire to see whole.

Manipulation = f ( m × a ) × CV × I2

Manipulation is usually a mechanistic attempt to produce separation and preferably cavitation of joint surfaces: The Mass is increased and Acceleration is relatively high to achieve this end. Correctional vectors are minimised usually only involving two dimensions and are not seen as so important many times both directions/sides being manipulated to maximise the stretch effect. The intent is small, the need to become one being irrelevant, visualization being for the purpose of finding the structure to be manipulated and the outcome seen being no bigger than to cavitate a joint or to increase flexibility.

Acupuncture = f ( m × a ) × CV × I2

An acupuncture needle delivers minimal mass with no acceleration, so force is almost absent. The correctional vectors are so important, much care being taken in the location of the needles and in the precision of their insertion. The contact points are very different to a chiropractic adjustment relying on a totally different bodily system. The vitalistic intent of the acupuncturist must be considered equal to that of the principled chiropractor as they too expect great things from their therapeutic modality and it could even be argued that they are bolder in their therapeutic claims.

What differentiates a great adjustment from a bad adjustment? The adjustment with “that something extra” requires a precise combination of the secret ingredients…

Great Adjustment = f ( m × a ) × CV × I2

Bad Adjustment = f ( m × a ) × CV × I2

Keys to the adjustment with “that something extra”…

  • Maximise acceleration and minimise Mass.
  • Utilise a precise system to determine the most effective combination of contact point and correctional vectors.
  • Maximise Intent by respecting and perceiving the connection between you and your practice member, visualizing every aspect of your analysis and correction, and having a clear picture of the intended outcomes.

Click Here To Find Out More About TRT Training…


Friday, June 8th, 2007

DD Palmer was the first practitioner to deliver a correctional thrust to the spinal column in an attempt to restore nerve function. DD must have been aware of the shortcomings of the manual adjustment as he very clearly stated that future generations of his profession would find better ways of delivering the goods. But for many decades it has become taboo to discuss the limitations and flaws of our wonderful healing art. Thankfully there are some pioneering practitioners exploring new means of facilitating neurological change.

But first let’s do some serious soul searching…

1) Difficulty isolating a segment

We’ve all been guilty of this one – your intention is to adjust C2, but when you set up and deliver your dynamic thrust, you may or may not feel the cavitation at one of the C2 articulations; can you ever be truly sure that the joint that you wanted to move – moved? And then there are those extra “pops”. I remember being adjusted by an “old-timer-chiro” years ago: He insisted on adjusting me so I could experience a “real adjustment”. I guess he was intending to adjust my upper cervical spine, because they were the first joints that I felt separate. But then his thrust continued and I felt numerous more joints move further down my neck and what felt like my upper thoracic spine. Apparently the soreness and stiffness that I experienced for the next two weeks was an essential and needed healing process? Now I know that most of us are much more specific than this life-crunching experience; but let’s be really honest – we don’t truly know whether we hit our target on each and every adjustment.

There is an alternative means of adjusting which guarantees that you will impact exactly the joint/nerve you intend – one that delivers its impulse exactly where you place it…

2) Inability to deliver specific frequency

The thing that first got me excited about chiropractic was the suggestion that spinal adjustments might improve neurological performance. I was studying a Bachelor of Science at the time and had no trouble with the concept of the supremacy of the central nervous system over all other body systems – this understanding is not peculiar to the chiropractic profession. But let’s have a moment of awakening – the thought that the delivery of a correctional force vector to the spine to change nerve activity appears quite peculiar to many other members of the scientific and general community.

The ONLY way that an adjustment could change nerve function is if it can change nerve frequency.

Can you deliver exactly the right frequency needed to correct aberrant nerve activity due to Subluxation with your hands? Thankfully, technology exists that can deliver specific vibrational frequency…

3) Speed/acceleration variable

The best manual adjusters are fast. The faster you are the less the mass you have to use. This is a simple physics formula: Force = Mass times Acceleration. Increase the speed and you increase the impact of your adjustment without increasing the body weight that is needed. “Small” chiropractors can adjust just as well as “big” chiropractors – if they have speed on their side.

Imagine if you could adjust with an impulse that is finished in 1/10,000 of a second? You would hardly need any mass whatsoever to produce the same physiological changes – such a tool exists today…

4) Increased Mass

Higher speed reduces the mass you have to use. Low speed with high mass meets with more tissue resistance, reflex muscle guarding, patient discomfort and fear, and increased pressure against supporting soft and hard tissues. In other words, increased likelihood of developing clients that don’t like you and that are sore after you adjust them. If you can make this one shift alone in your adjusting proficiency, then you will dramatically increase your patient satisfaction and clinical outcomes.

Why not remove your dependence on mass altogether by using an instrument that is so fast that mass is almost irrelevant?…

5) Reliance on cavitation as THE outcome

I can still remember my early days in practice. I inherited a few patients who showed up sporadically to get their “back put back in”. I don’t know whether they had been taught that cavitation was evidence that the bone had returned to its rightful place, or whether they had made their own conclusions due to their previous DCs gleeful comments when a good “pop” was produced. Anyway, some of them would refuse to leave the practice until they were satisfied that an adequate noise had emanated from their spinal column. Praise God, I know longer have any of these kind of clients in my rooms. Most of my practice members seem to intuitively as well as intellectually get it that there are many more signs and symptoms that their adjustments are delivering health improving benefits, than just the production of “spinal farts”.

If you can rehabilitate yourself from the false belief that cavitation is any kind of sign of a neurological response then you are ready to evolve to the use of newer adjusting methodologies…

6) Poor inter-examiner reproducibility

I’ve had a lot of locum and associate DCs grace my practice rooms over the last eighteen years, and the variance in client satisfaction, and obvious variability in touch, technique and practices has been astounding. No two DCs are the same, and no two chiropractic experiences are consistent it would seem. Contrast this to my current situation – I have been fortunate over the last three years to employ locums who use the same system, method and adjusting technology that I use every day. Most recently one of my clients commented, “it was like you were there, even though you were in Marysville!”

I’ve got to tell you that it makes leaving your highly valued business and long-term clients in the hands of someone else VERY easy, when you can rely on the fact that what you do and what they do is so reproducible. Wouldn’t you like that same degree of confidence and security?…

7) Move joints into para-physiological range

Real Estate Agents speak of the golden rule of investing in property – “Position, position, position”. In terms of effective manual adjusting perhaps we can steal and adapt this concept to – “Positioning, positioning, positioning”? Previously when tutoring associate DCs to deliver precise neck adjustments I always found that if you get their patient positioning right then “all else followed”. We all know that to get a joint to cavitate we must get the joint into its para-physiological zone – don’t get there and it won’t move without extra force and excursion in our thrust; go too far and woops we’re talking sore clients.

Wouldn’t it be good if we could find a way of adjusting which didn’t require resting on that knife’s edge? A way of adjusting that could be performed with a joint in its neutral, totally relaxed position? That “way” already exists and patients will love you and enter into very deep states of relaxation when you adjust with this method…

8) “Bone-crunching”

“Bone-crunching” has made chiropractic famous – It has also made Chiropractic infamous: There is a large segment of the population who will never go to a chiropractor that “crunches bones”. And I know that there isn’t a single chiropractor on the planet that thinks they are a bone cruncher – but if you manually adjust, producing audible popping sounds, then good luck trying to convince the skeptics that what you do is not bone crunching. These skeptics will however visit a chiropractor who uses a low force methodology: I know this to be true because 50% of my new clients nowadays, have never been to a chiropractor, and all of them tell me the same story; “I swore I would never go to a chiro but then someone told me that you helped them without crunching their bones, so I figured I would give it a go”

There’s lots more of this untapped new patient market place awaiting you too…

9) Less specificity of vectors

Imagine if there were some tests you could perform that would differentiate exactly what correctional vectors were needed to provide the most effective adjustment – wouldn’t that be great? They exist and are very quick and simple to perform. However, is there any point knowing within a few degrees these vectors required, if you then cannot deliver those vectors with your adjustment. Unfortunately with a manual adjustment there are some basic flaws which preclude exact correctional vectors.

It requires an instrument which has true reproducibility to be able to deliver precise vectors. Unfortunately most instruments on the market require the practitioner to fire the instrument, and research has shown that this can vary the reproducibility of the thrust by as much as 300%. There is however one instrument which has pre-loading with pressure sensitive firing, so that every adjustment varies minimally from the last…

10) Iatrogenic risks – disc, Fx, vascular

We all know that what we deliver is amazingly safe, especially when compared to the statistics from other more “conventional” healing practices. Nevertheless there are some published risks especially associated with manual adjusting: Most of the risks appear to be proportionate to the amount of mass delivered during the adjustment, and the positioning of and thrusting upon patient’s joints into “para-physiological” ranges.
Exacerbation of disc prolapse is one such documented risk – I would hope that every DC exercises a great degree of caution and a certain amount of hesitancy when faced with a patient showing classic signs of disc protrusion; and I would hazard a guess that a significant number of DCs have erred on the side of too much force on at least one occasion.

I’ve seen two cases of cracked ribs in my practice in 18 years of practice – one was produced by a locum DC who adjusted an elderly female client’s thoracic spine in the prone position producing a loud crack, and instant pain which took 6 weeks to resolve and much “TLC” to appease. The second happened to me when I was setting up for a prone thoracic adjustment on a seemingly healthy mid 30’s male – we both heard the weird cracking noise – and then I was astonished when he announced that he should have told me that he had cracked that same rib several times and he sincerely apologised for not warning me!? I suspect that any other form of fracture supposedly attributed to chiropractic would be due to some un-diagnosable pre-existing weakness in the bony architecture.

The issue of vascular complications due to neck adjustment is controversial: It is clear that the estimates of the relative risk are at best imaginary and seemingly always overestimated. I have seen other statistics which claim that chiropractic reduces the risk of stroke in an adjusted population! The obvious fact is that nearly every DC will never see this in their practice. Let’s say that the risk of stroke from cervical “manipulation” was 1 in 1 million. In my estimate this means that there are 20 people in the whole of Australia who shouldn’t have their neck adjusted manually. My secret prayer has been that not one of this tiny group lives anywhere near my rooms, and that if they do, they intuitively know to go and see a Physio instead of me…

It would seem that every chiropractic cynic has a story of someone who was crippled by a chiropractor; one loud-mouthed critic I was confronted by once even claimed that “a nurse had told him that there was a whole ward full of chiro-cripples at a well-known Melbourne hospital”. We all know that this is absolute nonsense, but this does demonstrate a common fear of our “therapy” – safety – there are chiropractic techniques available right now which minimise risk and maximise safety…

11) One segment at a time – no “Double Ended Contact Assist”

To understand this concept fully you need to attend Torque Release Technique training. The concept of Lovett Brother Reactors is not a new one in chiropractic, but it is an ignored concept in many manual models. I wonder if this is due to the fact that you cannot manually adjust two segments at the same time? Most DCs if they possess a protocol to determine if an adjustment has held (you’ll learn this at TRT too) will keep adjusting the same segment until it submits. Deeper understanding of the neurological coupling known as Lovett Brothers provides the answer to this scenario though; and if the DC also possesses a protocol to simultaneously correct the two coupled segments at the same time then these persistent subluxations can be coerced into correction in a very quick and gentle manner.

The shortcomings discussed here have all been carefully solved through the research and development of Torque Release Technique and you will learn numerous strategies to evolve beyond these flaws as well as how to adjust with the purpose-built Integrator Instrument…