If you have had an appointment here at Spinal Symmetry, you have likely received an adjustment, also known as a manipulation. We have in a previous newsletter explained what the cracking or popping noise you may hear during an adjustment is, but you might also be wondering; is it safe?
Many factors need to be considered when answering this question, but the bottom line is that you are safe in our hands! As with all therapies, be it pharmaceutical, surgical, manual or natural, there are possible adverse effects. Below we explain the measures we take to avoid adverse events in our work. If you have any questions about the safety of your therapy, or think that any of your health conditions may make you more at risk, please do not hesitate to talk to us. Your comfort and safety is one of our top priorities!
Adjustments should be delivered by the appropriate therapists
Our therapists are chiropractors and osteopaths, all with extensive training and experience in manipulative therapy. This does not just include the skillset of performing adjustments, but also knowledge of when adjustments are appropriate and safe. Currently both professions require 5 years of full time study, including a Masters degree, for qualification. Through all 5 years of study, practical training is in focus.
Physiotherapists are also accredited to perform manipulative therapy, although this is not in the centre of their education. They can also do postgraduate training in manipulative therapy. Some orthopaedic specialists perform manipulation, and GPs are technically accredited to perform manipulation, although they rarely do due to a lack of hands-on training.
Order of priority
You may have noticed that our therapists follow a certain protocol during your treatment. We usually start by balancing the pelvis and hips, because your hip angles form your centre of gravity, which sits in your pelvis, the foundation of your spine. Balancing the centre of gravity is the first step to creating a healthy and balanced body that enables it to heal.
If the pelvis is unbalanced, the foundation of your spine becomes uneven. This causes compensatory mechanisms in your spine in order to keep you balanced and to keep your eyes level with the horizon. It may lead to a variety of pain and dysfunction above or below the pelvis.
Balancing the pelvis and hips will start an unwinding process in the rest of your body- this empowers your body to heal itself by finding its natural balance.
This means that we do not have to adjust your entire spine – and there is such a thing as too much adjusting! We keep it to a minimum in order to allow your body to do the work.
Starting at the pelvis is also good for another reason. Your hip and pelvic joints are the strongest in the body, because they carry the most load. They are also very stable joints, and for that reason they are safer to adjust.
Traction vs twisting
Our practitioners use a traction approach to adjusting, which is the more gentle way to affect a joint, and we never purely twist a spinal segment without combining or preceding it with traction. Traction basically refers to a separation of joint surfaces to allow it to recoil back into a better position, instead of twisting and compressing the joint, which can be irritating in an already injured or inflamed disc or joint surface.
A distinctive feature of the Spinal Symmetry treatment is the Dynamic Therapy strap. It is the part of your treatment that you do at home, to assist your body to hold the adjustments which have been performed, and therefore lower the frequency at which you need to come in for appointments.
By providing a mechanism that allows your hip angles and pelvic foundation to stay in place, your symptoms tend to become less prominent, which can avoid the need for maintenance care.
Less is more
All the above mentioned factors ensure that we do as little as possible to have a biggest possible effect on your body. Your nervous system has a huge capacity to help the body heal, and we are accessing that nervous system via the skeletal frame and ligaments.
Our treatments offer your body the kick-start it needs to heal itself. The reason why doing less is more effective than adjusting everything that’s aches, niggles, or is dysfunctional, is that doing TOO much will make your own nervous system take a holiday from taking care of your body.
This can lead to hypermobility and clicking joints, as well as constant reoccurrence or even worsening pains and aches.
We do not want to take away the ability your body has to look after itself. Our intention is to give your body the opportunity and space to heal by respecting the incredible capabilities of your nervous system.