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The Art of the Chiropractic Adjustment, Part VII

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The Art of the Chiropractic Adjustment, Part VII

The Chiro.Org Blog

SOURCE:   Dynamic Chiropractic

By Richard C. Schafer, DC, FICC

This series has strived to define certain general principles that underlie almost all chiropractic adjustive technics. Parts I and II reviewed depth of drive, the articular snap, segmental distraction, timing, the advantages of placing the patient’s spine in an oval posture, correct table height, and patient positioning objectives.
Part III summarized the factor of time in the clinical approach and its underlying biomechanical principles of tissue viscoelasticity, fatigue, creep, and relaxation. Part IV and V reviewed the need to visualize the loading effects on articular cartilage, joint lubrication, action of the intra-articular synovial tabs, the articular planes, the fundamental types of contact, contact points and their options, securing the contact hand, and the direction of drive. Part VI offered a rationale on adjustive velocity, and this concluding column on this subject describes various types of adjustive thrusts.

Types of Adjustive Thrusts

Test Thrusts

Test thrusts are mild preliminary thrusts applied before an actual corrective thrust is delivered. They have a twofold purpose: first, to acquaint the adjuster with the structural resistance present and patient response to the pressure applied; second, to acquaint the patient with what to expect. Surprise lowers a patient’s pain threshold.

Leverage Thrusts

The term leverage move refers to the use of counter pressure or contralateral stabilization. It is applied to prevent the loss of applied force, secure the most work with the least amount of energy expenditure, and concentrate the movement or force at the directed point of contact. Visualize! Only enough counter pressure is used to balance the force of the adjustive thrust. Leverage thrusts are the most commonly applied technic used in chiropractic.

Impulse Thrusts

An impulse thrust is the application of a short, sharp force without recoil. The hands adopt a preset tension in the line of drive, and the impulse is characterized by a high-velocity low-depth thrust.

Recoil Thrusts

Read the rest of this Full Text article now!

About the Author:

I was introduced to Chiro.Org in early 1996, where my friend Joe Garolis helped me learn HTML, the "mark-up language" for websites. We have been fortunate that journals like JMPT have given us permission to reproduce some early important articles in Full-Text format. Maintaining the Org website has been, and remains, my favorite hobby.


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  2. Chiropractor Boulder CO April 12, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    Great end to the series!

  3. Dave July 3, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    Forgive me if I’ve failed to see specific mention to Mirror-Image adjustive techniques, but I believe these are essential to the removal of the VSC. The mechanoreceptive input is an integral part to changing segmental dysfunction due to abnormal mechanical loads from poor posture and poor spine alignment.


    Thanks for your comments Dave. I see you are a CBP doc. Every technique I’ve come across seems to believe that their approach is THE approach for the removal of ye olde VSC, and mine is no exception.

    However, if you want to make claims for your favorite on the Blog, I’d appreciate you sharing with us the research that bolsters your belief. There certainly is compelling research demonstrating changes in neuronal output at the joints with adjusting, but I am unaware of any research that suggests that “mirror image” adjusting can or would provide either more or less of this effect.

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