Our Chiropractic Techniques
A variety of techniques are used when providing chiropractic care. These techniques can be used on a stand-alone basis or in combination. Those used at Romford and Ilford Family Chiropractic to help get you better and keep you well fall into three broad categories:
Segmental: This approach is used for a more localised area, or section of the spine, where there is misalignment. The Gonstead approach, which is described in further detail below, is used in this instance.
Postural: One’s posture is evaluated and any distortions are noted. For this, techniques such as S.O.T (Sacro Occipital Technique) and A.K (Applied Kinesiology) are used.
Tonal: The spine and nervous system is assessed as a functional unit and overall movement is analysed. To assess this, components of S.O.T and Thompson technique are used.
These techniques can be administered in different ways. The delivery of an adjustment can be given by hand (hand chiropractic), such as Gonstead and Diversified techniques; or with assistance (assisted chiropractic) from instruments, e.g. activator; tables, e.g. Thompson, and blocks, e.g. S.O.T and Denneroll CBP.
Following an approach developed by Dr. Clarence Gonstead, we conduct a thorough evaluation using full spinal x-rays and a heat-sensing instrument for accurate adjustments. Using his background in engineering, his ‘foundation principle’ explains how a misalignment pattern in one area of the spine can produce compensatory changes in another.
After studying your health history, we conduct a complete examination. This generally includes full spinal x-rays and precise analysis. We use our fingertips to palpate, or feel the location of individual bones and how they may differ from their normal position.
Once a complete picture of your spine has been understood, it’s time for the needed corrections. To adjust your lower spine and pelvis, we’ll lie on your side. Misalignments in the middle back are corrected as you assume a comfortable kneeling position. When you are seated, we can restore the integrity of your spine without twisting or rotating your neck. Sometimes you’ll hear a slight popping sound – what we call cavitation. Sometimes you won’t. Either way, better health is on the way.
The Gonstead Technique is acknowledged as one of the safest systems of evaluating and caring for the spine. For more information and research, please click on the following links: http://www.gonstead.com http://www.gonstead-uk.com/links.php
2. SOT: Sacro Occipital Technique
This technique helps normalise the relationship between the pelvis and the head, using gravity to make the necessary correction. We use this technique as we are interested in the ‘tone’ of your body, which is reflected in the tightness of your spinal cord. The integrity of the spine, and the function of the nervous system it protects, begins with the pelvis. This foundation is constantly subjected to the pull of gravity. When stability is lost, it produces effects throughout your body. Proper control of every cell and tissue of your body is affected by bones of the skull and tension on your spinal cord.
Think of your spinal cord as a string on a harp.
Is it flexible and healthy?
Or stretched and drawn tight?
By using gravity and your own body to effect correction, new healthier patterns of spinal function can result. Along with safe, consistent results, SOT is known for emphasising patient comfort.
Chiropractic Manipulative Reflex Technique (CMRT)
Forming part of the SOT system, this technique stimulates organ function where needed and balances the soft tissues and muscoskeletal systems in the body. Instantly effective, this technique stretches the spinal column to balance your cranium with your breathing.
3. Thompson Terminal Point Technique
The Thompson Technique, developed by Dr. J Clay Thompson, has evolved into a system of analysis that combines a precise way of adjusting the spine along with the use of a special table to reduce the amount of energy needed when making an adjustment to ensure high levels of patient comfort. Early chiropractors noticed that vertebral subluxations would produce the appearance of a short, or contracted leg. Using a protocol of comparing leg lengths while the patient turns their head to the left and right, helps determine whether the subluxation is in the upper, middle or lower back.
Our practice members often comment on our segmental ‘drop’ tables. After stepping onto the platform, the table gently lowers you into a horizontal position. This helps preserve any leg lengthinequality. Individual cushions or ‘drop pieces’ located along our table surface, support each area of your spine until the thrust is delivered. Following this, each drop-piece gently gives way, reducing the amount of energy needed to move a specific spinal segment.
4. Applied Kinesiology
The ancient Chinese observed that every muscle in the body links to a specific organ, gland or acupuncture meridian. By testing the strength of its related muscle, we get a glimpse of the condition of that particular organ or tissue. Simple muscle testing helps us uncover the structural, chemical and mental problem that may be in your body. It can also direct us to the best options to restore your health.
Finding the Problem
First, we review the history of your health situation. This is followed by a thorough physical examination. Instrumentation and laboratory tests may be needed. Then we analyse your posture, the way you walk, turn and bend. By combining these findings with muscle testing, we develop a unique insight into the cause(s) of your problem.
Resolving the Problem
With an understanding of your problem, we select from a variety of healing modalities, which may include:
- Chiropractic adjustments
- Joint mobilization
- Acupuncture meridian therapy
- Nutrition supplementation
- Chiropractic techniques
- Muscle rehabilitation
As the discipline of Applied Kinesiology has been refined, it has broadened to include the evaluation of vascular, lymphatic systems and cerebrospinal fluid circulation.
While many health problems can be traced to the spine, other joints of the body can be involved. As the chiropractic approach works so well with the spine, it can therefore also be applied to the other joints in your body. Virtually every articulation of your skeletal system is susceptible to fixations that can impair function and range of motion. By applying chiropractic techniques, range of motion can be improved and inflammation reduced without the use of drugs or surgery.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is usually due to compression of the median nerve as it passes through the band of ligaments in your wrist. In many cases, the underlying cause is a misalignment of one or more joints of your neck, shoulder, elbow or wrist. Identifying the involved joint(s) and a program of chiropractic care can often avoid surgery.
Stress, teeth grinding and spinal problems can cause TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorders where your jaw connects to your skull. (You can feel the joint move by placing your fingers in front of your ears and opening your mouth.) Skilled chiropractic care can restore proper nervous system control of involved muscles and ligaments, reducing pain, stiffness, clicking sounds or locked jaw.
Many shoulder problems originate in the area where the nerves branch from the spinal cord and exit the neck. Shoulder pain or pain radiating down the arm can be accompanied by weakness, numbness or tingling in the wrists or hands. Many patients report dramatic improvement with chiropractic care.
Classic tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) is a repetitive strain injury that often afflicts the dominant arm. It is seen among carpenters, mechanics, office workers, cashiers and those who perform repeated hammering, grasping and rotary forearm motions. A thorough examination followed by appropriate chiropractic care can produce excellent results.
The hips and sacrum, considered the “pelvic girdle,” is the foundation of your spine. These sacroiliac joints can affect nerves exiting the spine. While the chiropractic adjustment of the hips can produce excellent results, many hip problems can be caused from malfunctioning joints above or below the pelvis.
The ankle is the most frequently injured joint in the body. “Pronation,” in which the feet flare outward and kneecaps rotate inward, is the most common foot problem. When weak arches cause the bones of the foot to drop to an unstable position, stress on the foot increases. Adjusting malfunctioning joints of the feet, combined with custom shoe orthotics, can reduce tenderness, improve your gait and stabilize the entire skeletal system.
At Romford & Ilford Chiropractic, we use an adjusting style commonly referred to as ‘diversified.’ First, an analysis of your spine is performed, including a case history and possible x-rays of your spine. A special hand arrangement called a ‘pisiform contact’ is used to deliver a specific thrust at the right place and the right time. Subsequent visits may include motion palpation, with the chiropractor feeling the spinal joints move as you turn and bend. Similarly, a leg check may be performed, to uncover an imbalance in the neck or lower spine. With the incorrect position of one or more spinal bones identified, a specific manual thrust is administered. The direction, speed, depth and angle that are used is the result of years of experience, practice and a thorough understanding of spinal mechanics. The energy delivered during the thrust may produce a slight ‘popping’ sound from the shifting of gas and fluids in the joint. This sound may be interesting, but is not a guide as to the value or effectiveness of the adjustment. While improving spinal biomechanics can reduce nervous system interferences, virtually all joints of the body can be adjusted to help restore proper range of motion.
7. The Arthrostim Instrument
The Arthrostim Instrument delivers input into the nervous system by generating 12-14 incremental thrusts per second. By dividing the energy of a single thrust into rapid successive inputs, the Arthrostim Instrument modulates the peak force. What this means for you is that I am able to deliver an extremely comfortable, highly precise and effective adjustment to the area. The instrument is able to deliver more rapid pulses than human hands are able to and directs the input exactly where it needs to go for the best results.
The secret to the instrument’s effectiveness comes from its controlled repetitive input. This input produces a cumulative “snowballing” type effect on neural receptors. This permits the Arthrostim Instrument to create extensive neurological feedback to the brain, using greatly reduced amounts of force. By utilizing controlled, incremental thrusts, the Arthrostim Instrument is also able to stimulate specific neural receptors (mechanoreceptors and proprioceptors) without activating undesirable pain receptors. The Arthrostim permits me to maintain the effectiveness of your adjustment while reducing the amount of force that is applied to your body. This dynamic combination allows me as the practitioner to comfortably manage a wider range of conditions.
Individuals that may especially benefit from the use of the Arthrostim Instrument:
- Individuals who are afraid or dislike having the spine ‘cracked’
- Individuals with disc problems or related spinal conditions
- Individuals who cannot tolerate traditional adjustments
- Individuals with osteoporosis
- Individuals who are in acute or chronic pain
- Young children and infants
- Elderly Individuals
- Individuals with arthritic conditions
7. The Activator
We use one of the most popular “low force” chiropractic techniques in the world.
First the Evaluation
We begin by analysing how well your spine moves. We test how well you turn and bend. While you’re lying face down, we’ll evaluate the length of your legs. This simple procedure can revealsignificant differences in leg lengths.
This time-tested protocol tells us if vertebral subluxations exist and their location. It also helps us know when to adjust and when not to adjust.
Activator Instrument: the hand-held instrument delivers a precise, repeatable force at just the right angle.
The Adjusting Instrument
The Activator Methods® Adjusting Instrument is a handheld spring-loaded tool that delivers a consistent low-force, high-speed thrust.
Because it’s many times faster than adjustments delivered by hand, the body rarely tightens to resist, making adjustments comfortable and effective. It’s also helpful for adjusting elbows, wrists, knees and other joints of the body.
The Follow Up
After your adjustment, we retest to make sure changes have been produced. Testing afterwards helps us deliver high-quality care and high levels of practice member satisfaction.
The Arthrostim makes treatment a safe and effective experience for almost any patient.
8. Acupuncture (Dry Needling)
As an ideal adjunct to chiropractic care, we use acupuncture when we see health problems that seem caused by disruption to energy pathways in your body called meridians. This centuries-old healing procedure focuses on the integrity of bodily systems, not specific conditions.
What About the Needles?
The most common question we get is about the needles we use. Most people have encountered hypodermic needles and sewing needles. Both types are gigantic compared to the ones we use. In fact, five of our needles could easily fit inside a hypodermic needle!
When we first insert these ultra-fine, sterile needles at special energy points on your body, most people report a small prick, like a mosquito bite. When there is discomfort it is usually created by vivid imaginations, not our needles!
How Does it Work?
No one knows for sure. We just know it does. Perhaps the best way to think about acupuncture is to imagine rivers of energy throughout your body, organized by meridians. These meridians can experience a “log jam” and energy flow is restricted. The needles help loosen the logjam and allow energy to circulate properly.
Acupuncture visits can take up to 15-20 minutes. Most people experience a variety of post-session feelings, which range from energized to a deep sense of relaxation and well-being.
9. Webster technique
The Webster technique is a specific chiropractic analysis and diversified adjustment. The goal of the adjustment is to reduce the effects of sacral subluxation/ SI joint dysfunction. In so doing neuro-biomechanical function in the pelvis is improved.
Dr. Larry Webster, founder of the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association discovered this adjustment as a safe means to restore proper pelvic balance and function. This specific sacral analysis can be used on all weight bearing individuals to determine S/I joint dysfunction/ sacral subluxation and is therefore applicable for the entire population.
The assessment includes heel flexion to buttocks, with restricted flexion indicating the affected SI joint. Correction is made with a diversified, sacral adjustment. It is used on all weight bearing individuals presenting with this biomechanical restriction. Common symptoms include (but are not limited to) low back pain, sciatic neuralgia, and symptoms associated with sacral subluxation and/ or S/I joint dysfunction.
The ICPA recognizes that in a theoretical and clinical framework of the Webster Technique in the care of pregnant women, sacral subluxation may contribute to difficult labor for the mother
In regards to pregnant mothers, Dr. Webster reported that when a mother sought care and her baby was in a breech position, the restoration of pelvic neuro-biomechanics with this adjustment also frequently facilitated optimal fetal positioning. There are cases published in the chiropractic literature that support this theory.
It is therefore considered prudent that this specific sacral analysis and adjustment be used throughout pregnancy to detect and alleviate sacral imbalance and optimize pelvic neuro-biomechanics in the mother. Because of the particular female adaptations from the increase of hormones, weight gain and postural adaptations, pregnant mothers have a greater chance of sacral subluxation and neuro-biomechanical imbalance than the general population. Additionally, because of the effect the chiropractic adjustment has on all body functions by reducing nerve system stress, pregnant mothers may have significant benefit by having their spines checked regularly throughout pregnancy, optimizing health benefits for both the mother and baby.