Category: Chiropractic Technique

How I Became a Chiropractic Extreme Sports Expert

By Michael Dorausch, D.C.

It all started with a bike ride.

It was 2001, and a June Friday morning in Venice Beach, California. I was out for a meditative bike ride on my black Schwinn beach cruiser. While riding and having visions of bringing chiropractic to the world I came across what appeared to be a massive set construction project on the beach. There were tents and stages, scaffolding and advertising banners, and tons upon tons of dirt.

Shoveling BMX Core Tour Dirt

I ventured in for a closer look and saw guys raking and shoveling the dirt into place while kids rode down 50 foot ramps on BMX bikes, testing jump conditions. They were preparing for a BMX and Skate Extreme Sports Event, the first in Los Angeles. My chiropractic sense to serve welled up inside and I internally shouted to myself… “This event needs a chiropractor.”

I looked for whoever was directing people to get things done, approached him and asked “who’s the event chiropractor?” He gave me a way too busy to be bothered look and then rattled off several reasons there was no chiropractor for the event. My internal voice went silent, and then it welled right back up.

My mind raced. In getting chiropractic to the world, I’d been travelling on humanitarian missions to Panama and Costa Rica during the past 4 years, and I had promised myself I’d bring the spirit of the mission home.

This event was happening in my backyard, I was a Venice local, how could I let this go? I persisted, highlighting the importance of chiropractic care and athletic performance and my mission to get chiropractic to the world. He was uninterested and preoccupied. He turned to me and said “look, if someone were going to volunteer and …” Without hesitation I said “I’ll see you tomorrow!” He hadn’t even finished and I was getting back on my bike to race home and get ready to rock!

 

Opportunity hits the pavement.

Saturday morning I was up early, meditating and doing affirmations, and preparing for the unknown of the day. It was a short walk to the beachfront event from my house and I arrived with my portable chiropractic table in hand, eager to make this day happen.

The lead organizer was high up in a tower announcing the days event over a loudspeaker while participants on skateboards got a feel for ramps and the jumps below. I stood at the fence waiting and silently directing thought at the back of the organizers head, hoping he’d soon turn around. When he finally did turn my way I must have had the biggest I’m ready to go to work smile on my face. He gave me a smile killing look, turned his head away, and carried on.

Dejection filled my being and I nearly choose it as reality when I heard a slam and collective gasp from the crowd of spectators that had been gathering. A kid about 12 on a skateboard miscalculated a jump and had face planted onto the concrete, now apparently out cold.

I looked up to see the lead organizer with his jaw dropped. He turned to look at me and I was already jumping the fence. I got down on the ground and applied skills I’d learned working with varsity football players. All was quiet (but it wasn’t). I gave him my best, and eventually we got up together to walk it off. The crowd cheered and I heard something over the loudspeaker about the doctor being on top of it as we walked towards the riders tent. (BTW: That kid went on to accomplish great things in the world of skateboarding.)

The first person to meet us was the kids dad. He said thanks, we chatted, and I turned to discover the organizer standing at my side, ready to show me where I was setting up my table for the day.

I walked out of the tent to go fetch my table and found myself face to face with a news reporter asking me questions about the hazards of extreme sports and the dangers involved for those who participate. Here I was (a sudden voice of authority) defending skateboarding, BMX, the event, and extreme sports in general.

 

Everything happens for a reason.

I had grown up with a skateboarding is not a crime mentality and the reporter encounter just brought my own biased emotions back. I’d had my share of broken arms, sprained wrists, fractured ribs, and ankle injuries. I had no idea how every injury I’d had as a kid would play a role in my clinical career, and on this day.

My personal BMX experience was short lived (but essential). At about age 13 I attempted a dirt jump the local kids were completing. I came up short, handle bars turned, hit the dirt and cracked my ribs as I fell onto my bike. On day one in my world of extreme sports I learned this was called casing a jump. I saw several riders that had cased jumps that day, and I innately knew exactly how to approach the injuries.

 

Over go for it.

When I wasn’t adjusting or assessing injuries in the tent, I was up on a platform, studying the body mechanics of the riders. I began to clearly see different postures and mechanics from skilled riders vs kids on the platform for the first time. The pros appeared and acted calm, the amateurs had a nervous tension about them (like I did the day I broke my ribs).

BMX Riders on Platform Ramp

There was one kid in particular who had cased a jump during the practice runs, and I had him on my adjusting table later that morning. He was complaining about aches in body parts (foot, shoulder, etc.) but he didn’t have any major injuries. I was palpating his spine and could feel the nervous energy, I told him to breathe.

When he sat up he shared his concerns about the jumps and I found myself in a role that has affected my personal life and professional practice immensely. I shared that I’d been watching riders from atop of the ramp, and that I’d been seeing a pattern in their behavior. In chiropractic we have a saying “be one with the bone” and I said calmly, “be one with your bike.” Choose whoever you think is the best rider on the platform, and ride out after him, and go down that ramp faster than he did.

This kid went down the ramp just after one of best (and most famous) BMX riders on the planet completed his jump. He rode fast, cleared it, landed it, and the crowd went wild. Other riders ran out to him to give high fives and hugs, it was a great sight. He ended up winning prizes that day, and so did I.

I assessed and adjusted quite a few people that weekend, professional athletes and amateurs, skateboarders and BMX riders, and I had a blast. I had volunteered for the event and yet the rewards came, both physically and emotionally. I went home Sunday night determined to better know the evolving world of extreme sports.

BMX Bike Tricks

 

What you think about.

Monday morning came and I was in the office, high off of the weekends event, adjusting patients and internally excited about this wonderful world I had entered. I was less than an hour into the workday when someone new came in with complaints about his low back and right foot after his weekend activity. What are the odds this guy tells me he was out riding motocross in Gorman (California’s second largest off-highway vehicular recreation area) and now he’s pretty banged up? Some people would say the odds are 100%.

This particular patient worked at a local motocross dealer (where I eventually got my motorcycles) and he rode a lot. We talked bike ergonomics, riding, jumping, chiropractic, and injury recovery. Within a week the manager was in my office (also a rider), and then the owner.

I now refer back to that day as Motorcycle Monday. It was as if my entire first weekend working with extreme sports athletes was simply preparation for what was coming my way. Most of the local motorcycle dealers near my office (there are several) are closed on Mondays, and many locals go out to places like Glamis, Rasor Road, and Gorman on the weekends to ride. Monday morning in my office for chiropractic care became a natural extension to their weekend activities.

 

American flags are flying.

The Core Tour was coming back to Venice Beach for the finals the weekend of September 14th, 2001. I’d been in communication with several riders since June and I made arrangements for them to get in office assessments and adjustments before the tour started. Word had spread and a few brought along friends. Now I had pro extreme sports athletes being assessed and adjusted in my practice.

BMX Core Tour Platform Flag Flying

When it was all said and done, I had worked the Core Tour over four years from 2001-2004, with a focus on BMX and skateboarding. I meet amazing people and learned much more about performance and human mechanics than I had known previously, and I was just getting started.

 

Possibility loves preparation.

In the summer of 2003, The X Games came to Los Angeles for the first time. Athletes participating began calling me a few weeks before to schedule coming to the office while in the city. While I didn’t officially work for the X Games, I provided care to a number of participating athletes in the office, and at the event that summer. The X Games returned to Los Angeles in 2004 and continued to be hosted in the Los Angeles area until 2013. The proximity of my chiropractic practice to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) turned out to be great for athletes visiting the area, and it wasn’t uncommon for them to visit directly from the airport.

My office walls became adorned with photos of athletes I’d worked with, and those photos remained on the walls until we remodeled the office in March of 2017.

 

If you’re still reading this.

Quite a few things had to happen in a universe of possibilities and probabilities in order for me to be here writing about this nearly 2 decades later (it’s been a wild ride). The event had not officially started when the kid had fallen off of his skateboard. If it were 10 minutes later, staff paramedics would have been first to the scene, and I’d have a different story to tell.

 

The Atlanto Calcaneal Connection

I’ll get into the clinical components (upper cervical calcaneal correlation) of what I learned and how I’ve applied it in my practice in another post. Needless to say, at the time I began providing care (chiropractic centered – subluxation based – alignment and performance care) there were no certifications and no extreme sports seminars a provider could attend (that I was aware of), although continuing education towards a solid foundation in chiropractic technique and extremity work has long been available.

For Reference

2001: Core Tour – Venice Beach, California (June 23 – 24, 2001)
2001: Core Tour Finals – Santa Monica, California (Sep 15-16, 2001)
2002: Core Tour – Venice Beach, California (June, 2002)

2003: X Games IX – Staples Center & LA Coliseum, Los Angeles (August 14–17, 2003)
2004: X Games X – Staples Center, Home Depot Center, Long Beach Marine Stadium, Los Angeles (August 5–8, 2004)
2005: X Games XI – Staples Center, Los Angeles (August 4–7, 2005)
2006: X Games 12 – Staples Center, Home Depot Center & Long Beach Marine Stadium, Los Angeles (August 3–6, 2006)
2007: X Games 13 – Staples Center, Home Depot Center & Long Beach Marine Stadium, Los Angeles (August 2–5, 2007)
2008: X Games 14 – Los Angeles (July 31 – August 3, 2008)
2009: X Games 15 – Los Angeles (July 30 – August 2, 2009)
2010: X Games 16 – Staples Center, Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum & L.A. Live, Los Angeles (July 29 – August 1, 2010)
2011: X Games 17 – Los Angeles (July 28–31, 2011)
2012: X Games 18 – Los Angeles (June 28 – July 1, 2012)
2013: X Games Los Angeles 2013

Trimester Seven Chiropractic Student on Technique

Dr. Darrel Crain has been a contributing author to planet chiropractic news for the past few years. He’s done an incredible job and has continued to provide some great content for the web site. He gets quite a bit of e-mail from those reading his articles. An e-mail was sent to me which I forwarded on to him that was sent by a student at Parker Chiropractic College in Dallas, Texas.

Darrel Crain chiropractorDr. Crain and I both agree that the raw energy pouring out of new chiropractors is something to love. The student was hoping that “every chiropractor” would read the article so his comments are being posted here along with a link to the original piece. Thanks to all that send encouraging comments our way. We don’t always get a chance to post them or include them in content but let me say that I am appreciative to every individual that has sent something our way.

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Dear Dr.

My name is Davy Rigsby and I am a tri 7 student at Parker. The article that was posted on your website titled, “Does Chiropractic Technique Matter” is one of the best articles I have read on your website to date. It gives such clarity of what we do and what our intent and purpose should be for every adjustment that a patient receives from us. I hope that every chiropractor reads this article so that they too can be refreshed and more clear as to what our purpose in chiropractic is. Thank you for your website and for the wonderful articles that make me more passionate about getting out into the world and giving true health to people and saving lives!

Yours in health,
Davy Rigsby
—-

Thanks again Davy for sharing your thoughts. It’s great to know that students in chiropractic colleges throughout the world are benefiting from the content appearing on this website. As of Thursday, there will be nine years of news posts made to the Planet Chiropractic website. Every article ever published in the news is still available online and you can get access to all that content from the archives news page.

Principled Chiropractors Correct Subluxation

by Dr. Adam Tanase, Upper Cervical Chiropractor

The word semantics is defined, “The branch of linguistics and logic concerned with meaning.”

Spinal DemonstrationAs principled Chiropractors, you’ve participated in many debates and discussions regarding semantics within our profession. The most common is the difference between using the words “adjustment” and “manipulation.” Knowing that manipulate means “to control or influence cleverly, unfairly, or unscrupulously” certainly steers us away from using the word to describe anything about our beloved craft.

Then there’s the semantics of the word “subluxation” versus that of “segmental dysfunction” or “fixation.” I, for one, argued endlessly in chiropractic school to defend my right to use the word subluxation in clinic notes.

Doctors even go as far as breaking down components of our lexicon to make educational points. Sub- means “less than;” -luxation means “dislocation.” Thus, subluxation implies less than a complete dislocation.

What about the word, “dis-ease?” We know that there is a profound difference between disease and dis-ease in that the process of dis-ease leads to disease. If you thought these words were one in the same, such proves the importance of semantics.

While attending a chiropractic summit recently, a number of doctors and students vocally stated that chiropractors remove subluxation. But if we’ve always been careful with use of the words adjustment, subluxation, and dis-ease, why are so many doctors careless in using the word “remove” to describe what our profession does once these subluxations are detected?

If we look at this word from the perspective of our patients, we’re likened to surgeons who routinely remove wisdom teeth, polyps and gallbladders. Does your adjusting room have any scalpels, cauterizing tools, sutures or gauze?

Surgical removal is permanent. My wisdom teeth were removed when I was 19; last time I checked, they hadn’t grown back. So if you are in fact “removing” a subluxation, you can only do it once, and if your patients keep coming back to have the same subluxation “removed,” it’s time to admit that you just plain suck at surgery.

What if we separate the word into its components? Re- means to “do again;” move means to “change position.” So I ask you, to what position do you keep moving the subluxation? One can move and re-move a subluxation over and over again, but what’s the point?

Doctors who move and re-move subluxations have perpetually subluxated patients. Are any of your patients ever not subluxated? Do they ever leave your clinic without receiving an adjustment? If all you’re ever doing is re-moving subluxations to different positions, then no – your patients are not getting well.

Principled Chiropractors correct subluxation. Correcting something means, “adjust to function accurately or in accordance with standard.” In other words, to make normal.

You’re definitely not removing subluxations, but you could very well be re-moving them. Doctors who do not have a measurable criteria to determine the presence or absence of subluxation are merely re-moving subluxations around and around. If you think you’re correcting a subluxation because it made a noise, you’re sadly mistaken.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but unless you have divine power, your hands are not capable of detecting subluxation any more accurately than your hands are capable of feeling words travel through a telephone cord. It just doesn’t happen.

BJ Palmer was the most accomplished and successful chiropractor in the history of our profession. He used para-spinal thermography before and after every adjustment. He couldn’t palpate nerve interference, and it’s a safe bet that you can’t either. Some docs use leg checks and anatometers. Find a reputable system of analysis that works for you and use it – every visit – not every 12th.

We need to be 100% certain of two things. One, that an adjustment is necessary. After all, an adjustment is only as good as its timing. And two, that we actually did what the patient is paying us to do – correct the subluxation.

Now here is where you’ll either love me or hate me. But since I’m not here to make friends, I’m laying it all out there for you to read. It is my belief, and BJ would certainly agree, that it is categorically irresponsible, unethical, illogical and unintelligent for any doctor to assume that because he or she heard an audible sound after pounding on a high spot or fixation within the spine that they corrected a subluxation.

That line of thinking has demonstrated to be unreliable, obsolete and consequently abandoned in 1924 after the advent of the neurocalometer.

Friends, don’t shoot the messenger, but the reliability of palpation to detect vertebral subluxation died over 80 years ago.

Therefore, it is our responsibility as defenders of this great profession to use a scientific, accurate and duplicable method of subluxation correction. Palpation is no such method. Period.

The reason members of the general public ask you, “Can you crack my back” when they first learn what you do is because so many doctors within our profession devalue chiropractic. They cheapen it to such an extent that they’re willing to “adjust” (and I use that term loosely to describe the crude manipulations they provide in this instance) people at bars, sporting events, family functions and even in parking lots, without exam or x-ray.

Imagine being at your next Rotary Club luncheon when the guest speaker for the afternoon is Dr. Jones – General Surgeon. After his short presentation, Joe Public asks him, “Doc, I’ve got gallstones, can you lay me down right here, remove this pesky thing, and stitch me back up?”

Or what about Dr. Smith – Family Dentist? Joe Public approaches Dr. Smith in the grocery store holding his jaw, “Doc, my tooth hurts!” Dr. Smith happens to have a handkerchief and pocket knife in his pants pocket – Do you think he’s going to extract the tooth right there?

It’s common sense to all of us – this would never happen. Wise Dr. Jones & Dr. Smith respect what they do enough to make people actually schedule appointments. Chiropractors should be no different!

I hold this profession in the highest regard; I value the adjustment, and not as a “natural” pain reliever or some fancy massage. I see it as something that has the ability to save lives! And with the gift that we’ve been given – the gift of correcting subluxations – we must value it! Respect it! Honor it! And use it ethically to help the sick people of this world to get well.

BJ said, “We Chiropractors work with the subtle substance of the soul. We release the imprisoned impulse — the tiny rivulet of force — that emanates from the mind and flows over the nerves to cells and stirs them into life.” But somewhere along the way, members of our profession translated that to mean, “We crack backs, pop necks and alleviate low back pain because people tell us it makes them feel good.”

Friends, if audible noises and the absence of pain are your only means of determining whether or not you helped a patient, then may God rest your soul because your ChiropracTIC flame has been extinguished (or was never lit to begin with).

You have the prestigious honor of helping sick people get well. What an amazingly respectable calling! To do that, you must first value what you do with such high regard that it must be done properly – not half-ass!

Detect the subluxation with a reliable system of analysis. Correct the subluxation with accuracy and precision. Do it with such remarkable skill that the intent behind what you’re doing is unshakable. There will be no doubt in your mind that once delivered, your adjustment will “release the imprisoned impulse” that can get sick people well!

It’s time to start holding yourself accountable to a higher standard.

You are a professional Chiropractor.

Dr. Tanase is an Upper Cervical Chiropractor from St. Louis, MO.