I saw this “My chiropractor cracks me up” T-shirt today and it made me think back to when I first started “cracking” backs. I was just 6-years-old… Whenever we visited my grandparent’s house, my grandpa would call me into the living room. He’d get down on the floor, and it was my job to walk up and down his spine. I could feel the audible pops beneath my feet. Then he’d climb back up into his favorite chair and resume “coaching” players during the St Louis Cardinals game on TV.
Many years later I learned more professional full spine manipulation techniques when I went to chiropractic school. During these classes it occurred to me, “Am I really spending $120,000 to learn how to do what I was doing for my grandpa’s back when I was 6?”
It bothered me, actually. In one class I was learning how important chiropractic is as a “science, art, and philosophy.” In another, the goal seemed simply to induce an audible sound… right or wrong, as long as we heard that click, it was considered effective. Restoring motion by mobilizing fixated joints — that was our objective.
But as I read through more of the textbooks written by Dr. B.J. Palmer (the developer of chiropractic care) I realized that he wasn’t too keen on the “joint manipulation” concept. In fact, during the 1930’s, his research led him down a very different path. He was fascinated by the effectiveness of highly precise adjustments of the C1-C2 vertebrae. Almost three decades were devoted to the correction of these two bones exclusively… which meant no more “back cracking” was performed in his research facility.
The day came when I officially decided not to “crack backs” in my chiropractic clinic either. Instead, I would only provide the unique atlas adjustments that Dr. Palmer spent decades studying.
Today, I can genuinely say that you couldn’t pay me to “crack your back” or “pop your neck.”
I greatly prefer the Palmer Upper Cervical method of adjusting. It doesn’t involve any twisting, popping, crunching, or clicking. In fact, there’s no sound at all!
It’s incredibly gentle, and what people like most about it is that they don’t have to be adjusted very often. I met with a patient on Monday who has been holding her first adjustment for almost four weeks. I have other patients who have held their adjustments for over a year!
There is ONE trade off that I had to make after choosing to focus on this approach exclusively… None of my patients would ever get to wear “My chiropractor cracks me up” T-shirts.