Let’s create new chiropractic diagnostic tests and new therapeutic protocols for patients
When we hear the word technology, we think of our smartphones, iPads and Bluetooth devices. As chiropractors, we should be thinking about digital laser foot scan, digital x-ray, MRI, cold laser therapy, and spinal decompression. These are the technologies and new chiropractic diagnostic tests that will help any chiropractor become a better diagnoser and healer.
I have taught for years that the scope of chiropractic practice in every state is far wider than that of any other profession, both diagnostically and therapeutically. However, many chiropractors practicing today fall victim to the restrictions and directives of their academic teachings, insurance guidelines, and a totally ill-educated public who are taught to take a pill because they don’t have no time for pain. The opioid crisis is the result of this thinking.
New chiropractic diagnostic tests, new guidelines
Let’s create new guidelines. Let’s set our goals and objectives to use the diagnostic and therapeutic protocols that are clinically, emotionally, physically and economically best for your patients, regardless of insurance coverage or medical opinion.
Digital laser foot scan — The human being is an architectural structure and the feet are its foundation. Ask any architect if they are comfortable with an unbalanced foundation.
The human being must be looked at in the same way. The feet are an essential part of the exam as most people have moderate to severe foot pronation.1 The kinetic chain will compensate to find the balance. If we don’t correct the feet/foundation in the event of a collapse, we will never correct the offsets.
An adjustment can temporarily alter the mechanics; however, the abnormal load will cause rapid return of fixations and subluxations from the time the patient stands.
Digital radiography — The industry today discourages the importance of x-rays. It has a lot to do with medical opinion not seeing the benefit of x-rays for musculoskeletal problems and biomechanics not being part of it. of their concern – it is mainly pathology.
That’s why most of the time doctors take X-rays, the patient is told that the X-rays are negative. They are never biomechanically negative, and it is the biomechanical information from these chiropractic diagnostic tests that most likely causes the condition that brings the patient to the provider. Findings such as abnormal centers of gravity, vertebral rotation or wedging, femoral head height difference (fhhd), sacral base angle, Ferguson’s center of gravity line, bone quality and integrity of the disc are observed on the x-ray.
I do a two-view cervical and two-view standing barefoot LS as a reference series for every patient, even the uninjured 12-year-old child. Research shows that 64% of the population have an fhhd >3mm when x-rayed barefoot, while 42% have an fhhd >5mm.2 You can’t tell without x-rays.
MRI, the remaining 50% — X-rays show 50% of a patient’s musculoskeletal system and MRI shows the remaining 50%. Most chiropractors are guessing what the actual diagnosis is and therefore are not equipped to provide the proper care for the actual diagnosis.
Concrete example, a 38-year-old athlete suffering from sciatic pain on the right side. The chiropractor does not analyze the feet, does not do X-rays and does not order MRIs. The patient comes to get fit after fit after fit and always goes home hoping to feel better. The problem is that they miss the root of the problem.
When the appropriate chiropractic diagnostic tests are performed, results may show moderate slouching (pronation) of the feet and a weight distribution of 47% right and 53% left. On the x-ray, a femoral head height difference of 12.4 mm is shown. On MRI, there is disc extrusion at L5. This diagnosis requires far more than 12 adjustments, and chiropractors have the ability to diagnose and treat this condition better than anyone.
Custom 3-arch braces — Chiropractors do not understand the importance of recommending personalized orthotics to their patients.
Increased Q angles, unequal knees, unequal femoral head heights, pelvic rotations, uneven weight distribution, bindings, and subluxations all result from sagging feet. You should recommend custom orthotics as the very first step to correcting all of the above and more.
Cold laser therapy — Cold laser therapy, in my opinion, is the therapy of the future. Light therapy has achieved a very high level of awareness and understanding, and from a clinical and patient satisfaction perspective, I can’t imagine any practice without a laser today.
From pain to injuries, bruises to fractures, bone marrow and soft tissue edema, and many other patient complaints, cold laser is the treatment of choice. It’s easy, it’s safe and it’s unsupervised. I have seven lasers in my clinic.
Spinal decompression — When you realize that almost all humans develop MRI findings from the age of 30, findings such as degeneration, desiccation, stenosis, edema, and disc damage, you realize that this modality is invaluable in helping patients to reach their highest level of potential.
We live a compressed existence with aging and gravity, so decompression makes sense for virtually everyone. This computerized pull-and-release therapy allows many of these conditions to heal, not just provide symptomatic relief like medications, cortisone injections, or surgeries do.
I have three systems in my clinic and we use decompression on 40% of all patients. Patients love it and respond extremely well.
Using technology for better care
When you perform an examination that provides visual evidence on a patient, including a digital laser foot scan and standing digital x-rays, you have a much greater influence on the patient’s appropriate decision-making.
In my office, it doesn’t matter whether they have insurance or not. When your review has visual evidence and it makes sense, people will gladly pay to recover. Every human being wants a high quality of life until the day they die, and this technology reigns supreme over all other examinations and treatments available today.
TIM MAGGS, DC, still practices full-time and specializes in sports biomechanics. He is the developer of The Concerned Parents of Young Athletes™ (CPOYA) program and was involved in the development of Foot Levelers’ custom CPOYA orthosis. He can be contacted at DrT@DrTimMaggs.com.