The “Holistic” Chiropractic Examination – Mindful, Thorough, and Sensitive

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It takes confidence to seek out a new doctor, especially in a specialty like chiropractic that is often unfamiliar and misunderstood. This is further complicated by the fact that there is a great deal diversity in the chiropractic profession in technique, philosophy and even how chiropractors identify their role in the health care community. This can make choosing a chiropractor challenging when looking to be evaluated. Patients want an examination and recommendations that are mindful, thorough and sensitive to their health goals.

To receive the best quality care, patients need assurances ahead of time that their new doctor is experienced with their condition. Seeking a doctor’s care from a web search alone can be misleading. Conversely, when utilizing a reputable directory like Wellacopia, patients are more likely to be referred for a highly professional experience. It is important to find a chiropractor who does more than just “rack ‘em and crack ‘em,” as well as avoiding a chiropractor who claims to cure every disease on the planet.  

A holistic chiropractic examination is a discovery process, but also an educational experience. Most new patients show up in the late stages of a crisis or painful condition. They soon find out that there are many more benefits to expect from chiropractic care, beyond the treatment of their condition. For a holistic thinking patient, it makes sense to find a like-minded chiropractor, one who considers the effects of lifestyle stress on an ongoing state of well-being. 

Some of the most significant benefits chiropractic care are:

  • It reduces interference (disease) to the vital nervous system, which controls all other systems and functions
  • It aligns and mobilizes the bony structures, muscles and ligaments
  • It removes tension along the spinal cord to ease brain-body communication
  • It allows for alternative approaches to treat conditions naturally
  • It decreases the potential for medical intervention

An outline of a typical holistic chiropractic exam is displayed below as performed by Dr. Michael Magwood, who is certified by the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association. While many of these tests may be unfamiliar, there can be no mistaking the thorough and sensitive nature of the process. It can typically be completed in thirty minutes, followed by the chiropractor taking time to interpret the results and generate an appropriate plan for care. Along with a medical history, family history and a description of the chief complaints, a chiropractic examination should include a list of current and past physical traumas, emotional stressors, and chemical exposures. If the examination demonstrates the need for chiropractic care, dis-ease and the diagnosis of vertebral subluxation will be documented. Chiropractors uniquely and specifically work to clear subluxations and their effects.

  • Indicators of Dis-ease and Vertebral Subluxation:
    • Detailed Palpation Analysis
    • Scanning up and down the full spine
    • Tissue tone (superficial or just under the skin)
    • Intersegmental (between the joint segments, or motor units)
    • Motion (the joint play with light pressure)
  • Congestive Tissue Tone – palpation for puffiness or crepitus
  • Functional Leg Length Inequality – Incorporating an achilles reflex
  • Cervical Syndrome Test – multiple indicators for how head turning affects functional leg length in the prone position
  • Derifield Test – indicators for how knee flexion affects functional leg length
  • Abductor tendency/Adductor resistance – hip flare in the prone position (one or both sides)
  • Foot Inversion/Eversion – foot flare (one or both sides)
  • Foot Pronation/Supination
  • Heel Tension – at the achilles tendon (with or without symmetry)
  • Abnormal Breathing Patterns – including chest breathing and rapid breathing
  • Postural Faults – including gravitational center and plumb line
  • Neurological Assessments: 
    • Motor/Sensory/Reflex testing and other neurosensory tests
    • Cranial Nerve Tests
    • Thermography: Scan of the spine using infrared technology to identify areas of imbalanced energy radiation from the body, which may identify areas of inflammation, stress, and autonomic regulation.
    • Heart Rate Variability: Measures adaptability and balance of the autonomic nervous system.
  • Additional tests may be indicated in a complete prenatal chiropractic examination including:
    • Ranges of Motion
    • Orthopedic testing
    • Gait Analysis
    • Hormone and Neurotransmitter testing
    • Respiratory stress testing

The depth of a holistic chiropractic evaluation is vast. Patients are often surprised that chiropractors have procedures to examine them at all, because they are more familiar with practitioners who have provided symptom-based treatment without objective ways to measure progress. Chiropractors evaluate how the systems of the body integrate as the cause of dis-ease is detected. Therefore, for many conditions, evidence of correction can be established while the results of re-examinations document the permanent effects of healing. Many of the examination procedures listed above are unique to the chiropractic profession, but not all of them. Chiropractors are also responsible for assessing all systems of the body and referring patients to their medical specialists when appropriate, therefore establishing credibility in co-treatment and prioritizing the well-being of all patients.

This guest post was written by Wellacopia Specialist Dr. Michael Magwood of Pure Balance Center. Dr. Magwood is a Pediatric and Prenatal Specialist in Chiropractic and the owner of Pure Balance Center in Clifton, NJ and New York City. He is known for his passion for educating and adjusting the lifestyles of children and their families towards optimal health through natural chiropractic care. Dr. Magwood earned his Doctorate at the New York Chiropractic College in 2000 and is certified by the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association (ICPA).  You can also find Pure Balance Center on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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