In my humble view, the answer to the above question is yes…and if there’s one thing we should all be able to agree on as Chiropractors, I’d say it’s alignment.
Alignment can mean many things. When we say alignment, we can be referring to our collective voice as a group or aligning as professionals to address a world that’s in dire need of everything we have to offer. But to get there, we need to be able to at least agree collectively on a few simple concepts. So let’s discuss one that’s important to me and that’s…Alignment, as it relates to proper body posture and positioning and our quest to move our patients and athletes towards balance. Alignment is a keystone to fitness and health because it’s the first “must have” step in the journey towards healing and optimizing function and vitality.
Here’s what I mean by Alignment: Finding YOUR ideal position of joint centration (no matter what joint)…one that allows for YOUR most efficient and effective upper and lower body posture and potential for movement. And it’s important to remember that there’s no universal, one fits all formula because of: genetics, environment, ADL postures and movements, right or left side dominant, injuries, surgeries, scaring, seated or unilateral occupations, etc. But our goal should be to work towards balance, especially as it relates to musculature, front to back and side to side.
Here is why Alignment is important: it’s simply nature’s most efficient way of organizing our energy for function, protection and recovery.
Here’s how Alignment ties into the Chiropractic profession and differentiates us from others.
No matter how you may decide to practice, we all share the common ground of our objective: To help the body heal by improving and restoring its natural function. And no matter how you decide to help your patients attain that end goal, we should all be able to start the “alignment as a profession” conversation, by agreeing that alignment in the body is something that we all share as common goal.
Here are some important ways that I personally work to help create alignment with my patients. Whether you subscribe to one or all of the methods below…our commonality is the goal to help the body reach its full potential by helping to facilitate alignment.
The Adjustment – Adjusting the spine and extremities is the root and power of the chiropractic profession. It’s the tool that helps create changes in the human body that sometimes even we can’t imagine ourselves.
But bear in mind that when we speak about helping the human body create alignment, we have to always take into consideration that muscles (and the nervous system) move bones…and if the muscles on one side of a joint are over used and under stretched, then they will continue to move the bone back out of alignment towards the muscle shortness. This simple but true physiological fact must be considered when creating results driven treatment plans. Below are some options we can offer our patients that help involve THEM in their own successful “recovery and alignment for life” plan.
Tissue work – When executed properly, hands on tissue work can dramatically improve and help maintain the effects of the spinal and extremity adjustment for longer than with adjustments alone.
Taping – In my experience, Functional Taping techniques such as SPRT and RockTape, among others help increase the proprioceptive awareness that maintains the effects of your treatments for longer, allowing the patient to provide feedback to help direct treatments and reduce limitations to movement and/or exercise. Technical body alignment apparel that functions like kinesiology tape is also available for your patients if consistent taping is effective.
Exercise – Intelligently designed exercise programs that are based on exam findings, movement dysfunction and patient objectives should always include progression based protocols for everyone. They must demonstrate basic competency and awareness of good body alignment. They also need to know (as do we all!) how to breathe diaphragmatically (we breathe over 23,000 times each day…you’d figure we should have a lesson or two!). Breathing properly helps down regulate our nervous system and helps control pain.
Once they can demonstrate these two key components (awareness and breath) they can continue progressing with a program that is now safer for them and provides the next challenge….improving joint mobility, which is the ability of the joint to move through its full, natural range by improving muscle flexibility (flexibility being defined as the ability for a muscle to lengthen to its natural range).
Once mobility is normalized the brain, nervous system and muscles need to organize, coordinate the new movement, so they can effectively stabilize the joints.
Then and only then are our patients (whether a pro athlete or a cashier) ready to do strengthening exercises, because the body and mind are now prepared and have a solid foundation to work from.
One thing you’ll notice is that because you are building the foundation your patients need to have successful outcomes, their health, energy and attitude will all be greatly elevated. And it all begins with something we all agree upon… Alignment. And our patients…in understanding the importance of alignment and how to get there, will also understand (and tell their friends and family) that we are the ones to help get them “aligned” and in turn, will gain new vitality and confidence in their body, mind, movement and Chiropractors as a profession.
For more info on Dr. Tim Brown or where to see him speak next, please ask your MeyerDC Account Manager or attend the Surf Movement Class listed below:
Surf Movement Master Class
Costa Mesa, California
Michael Gervais, Brian Mackenzie,
Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization,
Foundations Training, Ginastica Natural,
Soft Tissue and Taping Techniques
Or email Dr. John Pecora at JPecoraDC@wbcgp.com
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