The Quick-fix Approach
At Balance-Rite Osteopathy Clinic, we have seen many patients who have tried other manual therapists, osteopaths, physiotherapists and chiropractors who use the ‘quick-fix’ manipulative approach. This approach involves identifying in a microscopic manner only, one or two vertebral segments in a very localised and specific area of the spine, which have become immobile and dysfunctional and is contributing to the symptom of pain. This specific area is then treated directly, possibly with some articulation or massage to the soft tissues of those segments and is followed with what is known as an HVT manipulation (high velocity thrust). The HVT manipulation is focused only to that area forcing it to move, regardless of the mechanical functioning of the spinal segments either side and their attaching soft tissues, and this approach does not functionally integrate that specific part of the spine, with the rest of the spine as a whole.
This method pays no attention to adjusting the mechanical functioning of your whole spine and although it may provide some relief initially, the symptom can return or become much worse, as happened in the patient’s case in the photos shown. The left photograph shows how his body was left after ‘quick-fix’ manipulations to the low back and neck area at another clinic. He called, in agony concerned at experiencing pain radiating into his legs and being unable to walk properly, he was unable to get hold of the osteopath that he had seen.
The ‘quick-fix’ approach works by making a specific area mobile, by ‘locking-up’ all the soft tissue attachments and joints of the spine and applying a force to the immobile segments in that local area only. The result is that the soft tissues and surrounding joints have to adapt quickly to this sudden ‘un-locking’. In this patient, due to underlying chronic mechanical issues in several areas of his spine and pelvis, the soft tissues were unable to adjust themselves to this new sudden movement in the joints. Instead, the soft tissues went into a strong, protective muscle spasm, to prevent any of the joints moving. Very often this results in gross shifts of various parts of your body, placing strain throughout the whole spine, pelvis and limbs. In the left of the two photographs you can see how the muscle spasm of the right low back is pulling the pelvis to the right. The connecting upper thoracic spine is forced to compensate and this can be seen with the shoulders & upper body moving over to the left, to balance the pelvis. So, by forcing immobile, specific joints in an area to move without adequate preparation through the rest of the spine, HVT manipulation can cause the body to have to compensate in other areas, effectively moving the problem somewhere else!
Many patients have come to our clinic in a lot of pain, after repeated relapses and repeated HVT’s by other therapists over many years. The ‘quick-fix’ adjustment no longer works for them and they are desperate to find relief from their pain, having tried everything and everywhere for help. This is because the spine can no longer ‘move the problem’ to somewhere else as, generally speaking, much of the spine has now become rigid and mechanically moves as separate parts. After many years, this becomes a chronic problem and can require a great deal of work to ‘unwind’ all the compensatory adaptations that have occurred over the years in an attempt to try and restore what function can be regained in the spine and musculo-skeletal framework.
For some it becomes too late in life to ‘unwind’ these compensatory adaptations, as permanent destructive or degenerative processes have already begun and cannot be reversed. In these cases, regular palliative treatment may be the only option to control the painful symptoms and attempt to provide some quality of life. Unfortunately, with the human body and its mechanical framework, there are no short cuts or quick fixes, what you save in the short term, you may pay for in the long term!
Visit the testimonial page to view the success stories from our patients, many of whom detail that they had seen other therapists and found them to work very differently from us at Balance-Rite Osteopathy Clinic; with some of them experiencing pain when High Velocity Thrusts were used to treat them and some having months of weekly or or even more frequent treatments, to find themselves getting only worse instead of better.