Spine Health. PROCEDURE 16 — CORRECTION OF LATERAL SHIFT

This procedure has two parts: first the deformity in scoliosis is corrected; then, if present, the deformity in kyphosis is reduced and full extension is restored. The patient, standing with the feet about thirty centimeters apart, is asked to clearly define the areas where pain is being felt at present. The therapist stands on the side to which the patient is deviating and places the patient’s near elbow at a right angle by his side. The elbow will be used to increase the lateral pressure against the patient’s rib cage.

The therapist’s arms encircle the patient’s trunk, clasping the hands about the rim of the pelvis. Now the therapist presses his shoulder against the patient’s elbow, pushing the patient’s rib cage, thoracic and upper lumbar spine away while at the same time drawing the patient’s pelvis towards himself. In this manner the deformity in scoliosis is reduced and, if possible slightly overcorrected.

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Initially, there will be significant resistance to the procedure, which may actually cause an increase in pain. It is quite safe to continue with correction as long as centralisation of pain takes place, and therefore the patient must be questioned continually about the behaviour of his pain. Relaxation of the patient during the procedure is very important and we should always try to get the patient to ‘let it all go’. The first pressure in the series should be a gentle gradual squeeze which is held momentarily and then released. After this an accurate assessment of the patient’s reactions must be made. Experience has taught me that too much pressure or too fast a correction in the initial stages may result in fainting and collapse of the patient. If well tolerated the pressure is applied a little further each time. As correction progresses over ten to fifteen rhythmically applied pressures, the patient usually describes that the pain moves from a unilateral to a central position, and by the time over correction is achieved there will be a significant reduction in intensity of the pain or the pain may have moved slightly to the opposite side. If after a few rhythmical pressures no progress is made in the correction, it may be necessary to apply a longer and more sustained pressure.

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Sometimes reduction may be felt clearly by the therapist and the patient’s trunk is felt to move slowly but surely from its previously held position. In lightly-built or tall and slender patients shift correction may occur quite easily, and only a few minutes of ten to fifteen pressures are required to reduce the derangement. On the other hand, some acute lateral shifts are extremely difficult to reduce and one may have to perform five or six series of corrective pressures.

Assuming that correction of the deformity in scoliosis has been achieved, we must now proceed with restoring the lumbar lordosis. This is preferably commenced in the standing position. The patient no longer exhibits a lumbar scoliosis but may still have a kyphosis. The therapist, holding the patient as for correction of the scoliosis, must maintain slight over correction while moving the low back of the patient into the beginning of extension. A few movements will indicate the ease with which the lordosis will be restored. If the extension range improves rapidly it is usually belter to recover as much extension as possible in the standing position. If extension does not increase rapidly, then it is better to change to extension in lying. This procedure should produce a steady and continuing reduction of central pain, and it should automatically follow for all patients with a postero-lateral derangement once the scoliosis has been corrected and the symptoms have centralised.

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Fig. Correction of lateral shift.

Effects:

These will be discussed following the next procedure.

TREATMENT OF THE POSTURAL SYNDROME Every patient must be examined and analysed individually, and educated for his own particular postural stress. Education is probably the most important part of the treatment for low back pain of postural origin. The patient must have a clear and unambiguous explanation of the mechanism that produces his pain. He must realise that, when he assumes the positions of stress causing pain, he is in fact pulling the ligaments apart; and all that is required to stop his postural pain, is to stop stressing the ligaments for about ten days. I also explain to the patient that once he commences the correction regime, he will and should develop some new pains which are commonly felt higher in the back. This is merely the consequence of adjustment to a new postural habit. The more often pain is triggered, the more readily it will occur. And the less often pain is triggered, the more difficult it is to be produced. Thus, poor sitting positions maintained regularly will cause pain after the passage...
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Back Pain. Diagnosis THE THERAPIST’S RESPONSIBILITY The therapist is part of the team involved in the treatment and rehabilitation of patients suffering low back pain. In some countries manipulative therapists are primary contact practitioners. Consequently, their diagnostic skills have greatly improved, enabling them to define which mechanical conditions can be helped by mechanical therapy and to separate these conditions from the nonmechanical lesions which have no place in the therapy clinic. However, differential diagnosis is really not within the scope of manipulative therapy. It is my view that differential diagnosing by medical practitioners is necessary to exclude serious and unsuitable pathologies from being referred for mechanical therapy. In making diagnoses the manipulative therapist should confine himself to musculo-skeletal mechanical lesions. Specialised in this field, he is usually able to make far more accurate diagnoses than most medical practitioners. As the manipulative therapy prof...
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