NEUROLOGICAL-ORTHOPEDIC TESTS

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It is interesting how so many aspects of chiropractic deal with cycles. It appears we have made a full circle in chiropractic with regard to certain analytical procedures in the chiropractic office. In the beginning of our profession, the primary method of determining the presence of vertebral subluxation was the presence of symptoms. If the patient complained of stomach problems the chiropractor would thrust in the mid-thoracic region; chest cold, the upper-thoracic. If the patient had a stiff neck or headaches he would “rip the ole cervicals”. We used medical subjective findings to determine when and where to adjust. The “Meric System” of adjusting was developed around this concept. As the art of chiropractic was developed, the Meric System was discarded by most chiropractors because it is not at all specific. The complexity and the individuality of the human nervous system makes it virtually impossible to relate any symptoms to a specific vertebra in the spinal column. Further, chiropractic thought has advanced enough in recent years to recognize that absence of symptoms does not necessarily mean a subluxation is not present. These two factors have led to the development of some very sophisticated chiropractic analytical instruments. It is not necessary to explain the principles behind them because every chiropractor, unless he has been practicing with his head buried in the sand for the past 15 years, is aware of them. There have also been some pretty interesting advancements in the art of muscle and motion palpation. If that is the case, it seems rather strange that so many chiropractors are turning to orthopedic and neurological tests to ascertain the presence and location of vertebral subluxation and, for all intents and purposes, returning to the crude analytical procedures of the early practitioners. These categories of tests are designed to elicit information that results in a symptomatic picture pursuant to a medical diagnosis. There is very little difference between eliciting subjective symptoms and adjusting accordingly and doing orthopedic and neurological tests eliciting objective findings and adjusting accordingly.
There is nothing wrong with using part of the medical armament to help locate and categorize vertebral subluxations. That is what we are doing with Konrad Roentgen’s invention, the x-ray. X-ray is used by M.D.’s to aid in the diagnosis of certain diseases. X-ray is used by chiropractors or should be use to aid in the establishment of subluxation listing. But the neurological-orthopedic tests are different. The chiropractor’s findings are the same as the medical doctor’s. That appears to be a giant step backward in development of chiropractic analytical technique. We might as well bring back the Meric Chart. If you are going to use a Trendelenberg to determine a 5th lumbar subluxation, well, let’s adjust “the stomach place” if the person has abdominal discomfort. Has the art of chiropractic advanced so little? Using neurological and orthopedic tests seems to me to be even less scientific than D.D. Palmer examining Harvey Lillard’s “bump.” Neurological-orthopedic tests demonstrate symptoms of disease. Symptoms of disease are the absolute poorest criteria for determining the absence or presence of a vertebral subluxation. Yet more and more chiropractors are using them. Even the so-called straight chiropractors are into doing neurological-orthopedic tests. The “mixers” do it legitimately. You may not agree with them doing it but you have to respect them. They are pretending to be medical doctors so it logically follows that they would do medical procedures to ascertain medical findings to make a medical diagnosis. The “straight” on the other hand looks down his nose at the pretenders and then uses a medical procedure himself. For what reason? There can only be three:
1. To impress the patient. That is not ethical. If you feel the need to impress a patient with your thoroughness and expertise, do it in the form of a chiropractic examination.
2. To charge the insurance company. That’s not honest. To charge an insurance company for a needless and worthless procedure is just as bad as charging the patient for it. It is plain and simple stealing.
3. To determine the presence of vertebral subluxation. That is poor technical skills at best, incompetence at worst. If any chiropractor out there is really using neurological and orthopedic tests to determine vertebral subluxations in the light of present day instrumentation and technical procedures and using it sincerely, he should be aware that he is setting chiropractic technique procedures back 70 years. Vertebral subluxation is the physical representation of the absence of something (ease). Symptoms are the physical representation of the presence of something (disease).
Therefore, a procedure that elicits symptoms of disease is not chiropractically sound or technically acceptable. V2n2

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