“Don’t slump, stand up straight!” How’s that working for you? Probably not very well, as I think back to how effective that was when I was a child. We talk about changing posture, but how can we permanently change it.
Posture is not a conscious decision but a subconscious relationship with our environment.
Posture can be defined as the body’s position to gravity that keeps the body in a minimal energy state as it relates to its environment via all of the joints of the body. This would include the five righting reflexes of the body as well as balance and proprioception (orientation in time and space). The five righting reflexes are:
- Labyrinthine righting reflexes maintain the head’s position in time and space (midbrain).
- Body righting reflexes that act upon the head keep the head orientated with respect to the body (midbrain).
- Body righting reflexes that arise from body surface receptors act on the body and orientate it in space (midbrain).
- Neck righting reflexes that arise in the neck keep the body orientated with the head (medulla).
- Optic righting reflexes keep the head in proper orientation (occipital cortex).
A righting reflex is defined as the ability to assume an optimal position when there has been a departure from it.
Gray’s Anatomy states, “Human’s adapt in need to their environment.” If we change the relationship of the body to its new adapted environment, we can fix the spine in that position.
Rene Calliet says, “The head is the most neglected body part in fitness programs. . . . It’s an axiom, that the body follows the head. . . . You can realign your entire body by moving your head. The position of the head is more important than the shoulders and pelvis.” Iang et al., states, “Identification of the location, extent and pathway of sensory neurologic feedback after mechanical stimulation of a lateral spinal ligament in chickens”, Spine, 22: 17-25. in scoliosis states:
“Stretching a single lateral ligament of the spine produces a barrage of sensory feedback from several spinal cord levels on both sides of the spinal cord. This sensory information is also transferred to higher levels of the brain, including the nucleus gracilis and cuneatus, the vestibular nuclei and the thalamus.”
“These sites of FOS production suggest the locations of pathways for this sensory information, which includes the dorsal columns and spinocerebellar tracts. Incorrect perception of sensory information from the ligaments may be a major contributing factor.”Change, either positively or negatively, takes retraining.
The CLEAR Scoliosis Institute has made amazing changes with scoliosis patients on a consistent basis for the first time in chiropractic. By utilizing these same principles, all patients can benefit. I first came up with the idea of Mix, Fix, Set™ after a workshop in my clinic years ago when we “cold adjusted” a number of DCs at a seminar. On the following Monday, two had severe low back pain and couldn’t work.
Just after that incident, I had broken a piece of plastic so I took it to my workshop. I used epoxy glue, which first has to be “mixed” together. I then had to “fix” the pieces into the correct position. Then I had to allow them to “set” in that position to make the process work. I found this to be the same with my patients.
You wouldn’t go out and drive a car in -25 °F without warming up the car first, a lesson I’ve learned living in Minnesota. This also applies to adjusting a cold spine.
MIX—The “mix” procedures we utilize in the clinic are Active Chair Rehab that puts the spine through a range of motions. Motion creates friction, which creates heat and changes the hydrogel properties of the discs and ligaments to hydrocele. We also utilize cervical traction, the Eckard table, core muscle stimulation, and vibrating traction.
FIX—Once the spine is in a receptive state, it is ready to be adjusted. We utilize specific spinal adjustments based on static and dynamic x-rays. The ArthroStim is used for cervical adjusting, as manual adjusting is contraindicated in hypermobile areas of the spine where there is ligament instability. This specific upper cervical adjusting is a critical component of correcting a neurological short leg. Posture is controlled by the upper cervical spine, especially C1, C2, C3 and C4. Chiropractic corrective care includes pre- and post-x-rays to verify reduction of the radiographic manifestation of the vertebral subluxations complex. A heel lift will not correct the upper cervical subluxations complex that is critical in postural correction.
SET—Once the “fix,” or adjustment, is made, we then must make sure that the correction is “set” in that position. This is the proprioceptive neuromuscular re-education phase. Guyton’s Physiology states that “humans adapt in need to their environment.” If we can change the gravitational environment with spinal weighting, then we win. This would include anterior head weighting like Halo Posture, therapy glasses, and spinal weighting on the whole-body vibrating platform (the Vibe).
Patented spinal weighting is most effective on a whole-body vibration platform.
In our clinic, we use the Vibe, as it is the only vibrating platform specifically designed for chiropractic spinal neuromuscular re-education. Its constant 30 Hz and the amplitude is the only whole-body vibration platform to be used for spinal neuromuscular re-education.
Cardinale and Bosco in Ex Sport Sci Rev, 2003, 31: 3-7 state, “The Physiology of whole-body Vibration Training is simple. As the muscles respond to the Vibratory Stimulus, certain Mechanical (Muscle spindle and Golgi Tendon Organs and Joint Mechanical Receptors) Adaptations, Proprioceptive and Neurological Adaptations, and Systemic Adaptations (Circulation, Metabolic, etc.) begin taking place.” Research and outcomes show us the frequencies and g-forces have a significant impact on these adaptations.
The other vibrating platforms are not for the chiropractic profession but for exercising. That’s okay if you want a chiropractic gymnasium.
The goal of postural spinal rehab is to utilize the best tools to objectively verify the best results.
Dr. Dennis Woggon graduated cum laude from Palmer College of Chiropractic in 1974, with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. He founded the St. Cloud Chiropractic Clinic in St. Cloud, Minnesota that same year. He is licensed in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Florida and Hawaii. Dr. Woggon taught seminars on Spinal Biomechanics at Palmer College in Davenport for 25 years. He also taught at Northwestern Health Science University. He currently teaches the CLEAR Scoliosis Program at Parker University in Dallas, Texas. He has lectured worldwide, including two trips to Vladivostok, Russia, to work with their doctors regarding scoliosis. He has written numerous publications and books on chiropractic, spinal biomechanics and scoliosis. He was certified in video fluoroscopy by Palmer College in 1992 and utilizes digital motion x-ray in his practice. He began the CLEAR Scoliosis Institute in 2000, which has become a non-profit organization to teach the public and doctors how to help patients with scoliosis. Dr. Woggon can be reached at: [email protected] or visit: www.DrWoggon.com or www.CLEAR-Institute.org.