Although I have been helping people solve their chronic back pain issues for over 27 years, I have learned a lot over the past two months. What has been special about the past two months is that I have been using a Diers 4D Formetric scanner to assess and reassess the spinal alignment of my patients.
More than 25 years-ago I learned that helping patients improve the alignment of their skeletons was almost always an effective method of decreasing their chronic pain. If during that process the patient’s pain doesn’t diminish that is a clear sign that mechanical irritation is not the primary cause of the pain. In such a case, you either discover and address that cause or send the patient back to the referring practitioner.
Whether the primary cause of someone’s pain is mechanical irritation or not, an inescapable truth is that almost everybody is better off if we can minimize the mechanical irritation in their body. If the patient’s pain does diminish, then you continue to work towards even better alignment, incrementally adding demands that bring improvements to mobility, stability, motor control, strength and endurance, in that order. These are the ideas that form the foundation of my system of therapy called the Alignment First Protocol©.
Pretty early on in my career I came to believe that the improvement of alignment needed to begin with the hips/pelvis. By doing so you establish a level and stable foundation for the upper body. A crooked pelvis guarantees a crooked spine, and though straightening the pelvis doesn’t guarantee a straight spine, it is the most efficient place to begin that process. Once the hips and pelvis are well aligned it is typically much easier to make healthy changes elsewhere in the body, compared to if that step is forgotten.
The results from over 200 surface topography scans have shown me that alignment improvements reveal themselves as uniquely as fingerprints, varying dramatically from one patient to the next. Some improve quickly and completely whereas others prove the cliché that “sometimes things get a little bit worse before they get better”.
Let’s take a look at a few different before-and-after scan comparisons. When it comes to these scans I do believe that a picture is worth a thousand words!
This patient has a long and colourful history of hip, knee, foot and neck pain. She represents the kind of cases I typically work with. As you can see, in the three and a half weeks between these scans this patient brought about quite a bit of straightening to her pelvis and spine. However, she admits that she doesn’t do her exercises every day and not all the alignment metrics improved. Nor did all her symptoms disappear. She is clearly headed in a healthy direction but we both know she can, and will, do even better as she continues to work on her process.
This is another pretty typical case. In one week, this patient was able to convince her pelvis to be much straighter than before. It became horizontally aligned and the two sides began to rotate forward almost the same amount (although that amount was still too far forward), which was a huge improvement in one week’s time. The rest of the alignment measurements were a bit of a mixed bag, with some improved and some worse. You can see that the basic spinal pattern is the same. However, her report was that her symptoms were clearly improving. Most of the time we don’t need the measurements to be perfect in order for the patient to feel better. We are in the business of finding and eliminating kinks in the hose. We identify the biggest kinks and systematically eliminate them. Sometimes there is only one kink, but usually there are a few. Thankfully we collaborate with some of the best specialists around, so if your case is particularly complex, we refer you to the person who is expert at eliminating the dental kink or the neck kink, or even the foot kink.
As you can probably guess, this is not a typical case. This woman has brought about a dramatic spinal transformation in a little over 7 weeks. Worried that you might be “too old” to improve your spinal health? This woman is in her 60s! She has had a multidecade battle with chronic pain in her knees, including having a replacement, as well as chronic recurring hip and neck issues. With her doing her prescribed exercises and receiving NUCCA chiropractic care this woman is well on her way to rescuing herself from a disabled, depressing future.
When you reach middle age, and see your parents and their peers not aging well, it is hard not to wonder what your “golden years” have in store for you. If you are concerned that you might not be able to enjoy all the years ahead of you due to physical limitations, the time to act is now!
Contact us today to arrange for a complimentary 15-minute Discovery Session. A Discover Session is an opportunity for us to determine whether or not you are a good candidate for this style of care. Not everyone is. To find out more call me at (403) 399-5716 or Claudia at (587) 966-1963.
Yours in health,
Geoff Dakin BPE RMT
Calgary Registered Massage Therapist
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