People often ask me, what is the difference between a structural chiropractor and traditional chiropractor? That is a great question. Traditional chiropractors tend to manage symptoms, or secondary conditions – and they actually tend to do a good job. Unlike the traditional approach, a chiropractor that focuses on structural correction of the spine is concerned with the underlying foundation of the spine.
If the foundation of your house sunk down by a couple of inches on one side, you would see some symptoms appear. I imagine your walls might crack and the floor boards would pop up. Traditional practitioners, regardless of profession, will enter this house and manage these symptoms. They will patch the wall and put a few more nails in the floor boards. However, until you address the foundation, these issues will continue to return. The support beams and concrete blocks need correction first. So, how does a structural chiropractor address the foundation? The answer is through an objective examination and a customized plan of care.
What does a structural chiropractor look for during an objective exam?
Structural examinations focus on objective indicators, rather than subjective complaints like pain. The reason being, pain is not the best way to assess the spine. For example, arteries clog silently for years before someone has heart disease. They may not experience any pain, but isn’t there a problem?
There is a range of normal for your spine, just like there is a range of normal for your blood pressure and body temperature. As you shift away from normal, the risk of developing secondary conditions like degeneration and pain increases. Fortunately, these normal values can be checked during an exam that features digital structural analysis and structural corrective radiographs, or x rays. After an exam, the doctor has enough information for the next step, a customized plan of care.
Spines are like people, every one is different. Depending on your exam findings, you may need a different set of structural corrective exercises than another patient. Do you sit a lot at work? You will require different ergonomic modifications to address your spine damage than someone who teaches Crossfit for a living. Also, the severity of your condition determines the type of care you will require.
What happens if you are within normal limits of every measurement during the exam? Congratulations! You will not require a stabilizing phase of care. Any secondary conditions you may experience are probably not related to your spine.
In conclusion, a structural corrective chiropractor wants to restore the structural integrity to your spine. By examining a patient’s spine at the beginning of care and again at the end, the doctor determines whether or not a patient improved. After all, if you can’t see progress – how do you know it is there?