Aligning technology and chiropractic with science to support patient care in regard to movement, posture and beyond …
LAST ISSUE IN MOVEMENT PART I we explored why an interactive education process was vital to the patient experience. We established quality of movement as a starting point for care that can center patient behavior around the spine and a doctor’s findings. In Part II, we’ll expand on how movement, technology and chiropractic can serve as a primary reference point for health.
We can put many health-related decisions in perspective when we understand how the body connects all our moving parts, from toes to brain through the spine. When doctor-patient communication of this perspective is strong and consistent, patients can learn to think, “Am I doing the right thing for my spine?” or “Is this good movement and positioning?”
Good posture and respiration
Physical and mental performance are tethered to the spine not only structurally but functionally. Some of our most valuable functions flow from that basic reality.
One such essential function that always keeps me grounded is respiration. Our endless need for energy can be easily satiated by the oxygen that surrounds us — however, it takes movement to bring the air in as well as to circulate oxygen to every living cell. We don’t always think of the spine or movement when it comes to breathing, but we can improve on that awareness by giving priority to it in our rehab and home instruction.
For instance, corrective movement of the chiropractic adjustment can start us on our way to then build good posture and develop breath control. Can we apply the same model to other clinical decisions?
Technologies supporting spinal adjustments
When evaluating technologies that can support spinal adjustments, cold laser science has grown quite a bit in recent years. There still exists some mystery and misperception about what laser is and isn’t for.
While it may be tempting to focus on pain relief protocols within any modality, why settle when we can be more specific in our clinical choices? The key to getting beyond pain and into correction is to understand the complexity of both the spine and pain. In the spine, we have the vertebral subluxation complex. We don’t address the muscle or the bone, or the joint, or the ligament, or the tendon; we address the complex through corrective movement.
The adjustment is so efficient in this way, and difficult to compete with. If we are going to complement hands-on spine care, we need to keep the standard high or risk watering down our whole approach. So, when it comes to modalities like cold laser, it’s not a simple matter of point, shoot and walk away. With movement deficiency, especially in central areas of movement like the joints, we need to think about the loss of circulatory power associated with it.
The loss of movement, whether caused by damaged structures or protective guarding, ultimately hurts the recovery process as well. With laser, technology and chiropractic can combine to dial into frequencies which focus not only on pain management but also blood flow, muscular rehabilitation or joint repair. As soon as we try to simulate the normal healing process and resuscitate normal function, we are confronted with each of these needs. Complex pain that may be unrelenting for a period of time (suggesting its chronicity) is complex for a reason — it involves all the structures.
Tying structures together
This is a good time to revisit the functions that tie our structures together while keeping in mind where it all begins and ends. Our beacon — the spine, its related areas, and all movements needed to navigate around gravity — are powered by the brain.
When we study the network of proprioceptors in the body and where they are concentrated, we are pointed to specific areas of the spine (more on feet/hands below). Technique masters like Major B. DeJarnette, DC, DO (see 1984 SOT Manual), built on this model to recognize the combined value of proper stability and movement of the spine as part of the primary respiratory mechanism. Good alignment and posture play a role in effective breathing, and we can learn to maintain breath control through a progression of dynamic movements.
Whether standing or walking, you can’t leave out the foundation of the body, the feet. The second we stand up, the brain scrambles to keep track of every step (controlled fall) by constantly monitoring position, movement and forces of the feet through a dense population of proprioceptors.
The spine, feet and hands have more mechanoreceptors than most other parts of the body, giving great importance to these areas. So, there’s science behind our survival processes that we can focus on to guide use of technology to support our most important functions.
With the cold laser modality, we need to be conscious of the body’s tolerances. It can’t be used for long periods of times at high power, but at low power and low frequency we can influence circulation and can use it for longer periods of time. When it comes to foot correction and use of functional orthotics, we don’t have these constraints. If anything, the body is a sponge for movement when the feet are well-supported and set up for correct movement.
The normal foot, supported by three functional arches, is dependent on structural integrity. When supported by a custom three-arch orthotic made with the right materials and design behind it, you can keep that campaign going without limitation.
Technology and chiropractic: mastering efficiency
The adjustment is not just for movement; it’s also for communication. The laser is not just for pain; it’s also for blood flow. Care should be designed to optimize all related structures and functions when possible.
Now, with a custom three-arch orthotic, we can address the complexity of the foot from multiple angles. Spine-based care dictates that we start with stability and alignment before graduating to increasingly complex movements to reach a patient’s full potential. When we find a good starting point and let all our decisions flow from there, we can find great efficiency in our efforts. This kind of approach helps resolve conflicts as we decide how to build on the chiropractic adjustments and the corrective movement we uniquely offer.
For sports competitions, there are laser protocols for before, during and after competition, but the technology and chiropractic combination of custom orthotic support can be constant. Whether it’s balance or respiration, these functions remind us that gravity is working tirelessly, and patients need to answer that call in between visits. This makes pronation correction with functional three-arch orthotics the most valuable part of home care for my practice. Without limitation, we can combine specific adjustments with custom arch supports to increase standing, walking and exercise tolerance. When heat is generated through movement, we have ways of managing this energy creation, and the latest flexible orthotic materials have ways of retaining that energy while wicking moisture.
When we find the right starting point for healthy pursuits and let all our decisions flow from there, we can achieve great efficiency in our efforts. In next issue’s Movement Part III, we will circle back one more time and see if we can challenge the chiropractic approach and this homeostatic model to support all human performance physically and cognitively.
ANISH BAJAJ, DC, is a 2000 graduate of Life University in Atlanta, Ga. He is the owner of Bajaj Chiropractic in New York City and serves on the executive board of the New York Chiropractic Council and is the chair of their Neuroscience and Research Committee. As a member of the Foot Levelers Speaker’s Bureau, he travels extensively, sharing his chiropractic knowledge and expertise with audiences around the country. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.