Extremity Adjusting Why & When
Extremity adjusting refers to chiropractic manipulations to areas other than the spine or axial skeleton. These include ribs, the sternum, the femur, the tibia and fibula, the humerus, radius, ulna, the bones of the feet including the ankles, the bones of the hand and wrist, as well as the clavicles and scapula. The pelvic bones, the Ilia, sacrum and pubic bones would be considered part of the axial skeleton. While less attention is paid to these lesser bones they can be adjusted using several different chiropractic techniques.
Quite often extremities present with pain. When these bones subluxate they will respond favorably to adjustment. Since there are soft tissue structures adjacent to these areas it is wise to include some form of physical therapy along with chiropractic manipulations to restore joint integrity. These should always include a regimen of prescribed exercises to do at home. Patient education is essential to ensure that the patient complies with home treatment recommendations. When extremities subluxate physical therapy alone may not suffice in restoring the joint to its normal location. Some physical therapists recognize this and are including joint mobilization in their treatment protocols.
Considering that a joint (where two or more bones meet) also includes muscle, ligament, vascular components and nerve tissue a well-rounded approach to extremity pain is advised. It is important to know if a pathological condition underlies the pain. Manipulation or joint mobilization is not advised in cases of fracture, tumor, or infection. A trained professional may require x-rays or MRI studies to support treatment decisions.
I was fortunate enough to learn from probably the best-trained expert in extremity adjusting- Dr. Mitch Mally, a Davenport Iowa chiropractor. A well-trained chiropractor should be versed in extremity adjustment. There is a tremendous satisfaction in helping people feel better. The patient’s performance is enhanced as well when the extremities are well adjusted.