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by on February 15, 2013

That right there is a prone bilateral thenar contact to laminae of the T4-T5 motion segment for flexion restriction.

Last week we finally had our first opportunity to adjust in class. YES.

During our first trimester here, in Chiropractic Technique I we learned how to navigate the external anatomy of the human body by effectively palpating bony and muscular structures. Simultaneously, in Technique II we used model spines and speeder boards (like a small section of an adjusting table) to learn different methods of making an adjustment. And now, in Technique III, we have the skill set to begin to make some basic diagnoses and perform a few real adjustments.

Already in my classmates I can see a pride in our abilities developing. It is apparent even to us how much our sensitivity to the structure and movement of the body has changed since we began class last September. What took weeks to learn we can now restate in a class period. That said, we only know three adjustments for two motion restrictions in one area of the spine. So there is still much to learn.

Adding a new adjustment to our repertoire goes something like this:

  1. The professor lays out the anatomy and theory in a presentation.
  2. We take to the chiropractic tables and drill the technique, learning what to expect without actually adjusting.
  3. When the professor deems that we understand, we partner up and palpate.
  4. The professors, doctors themselves, circulate to each of us individually to supervise our adjusting and give us corrections.

Since everyone here is a student, sitting in class six hours each day and studying for another lifetime or so, there are actually a lot of thoracic adjustments to be had. It is so satisfying when a classmate-patient stands up and sighs “Whew, needed that!”

Not all of the adjustments this trimester have involved spinal manipulation, either. As we head now into midterm season, I can definitely attest that academically I am doing things differently from last trimester. Though in October I had a vague sense that no matter what I was doing, I could be studying, I have let that sentiment thrive more openly this trimester. I’m simply making studying a higher priority, leading to modest decreases in: sleeping, blogging, laundry, weekend excursions, calls home, etc. Not that I am neglecting these (don’t worry, mom), but it is a distinctly different balance.

It does become apparent sometimes. Our technique professor did not understand the low energy in the room on the first day of adjusting. This is, after all, a chiropractor’s foremost mode of treatment, a centerpoint of the skills that we will pride ourselves upon as doctors. What he didn’t know was that our next class would begin with a quiz on the brachial plexus- a famously daunting feature of the nervous system, which I and (I’m assuming) many classmates had spent most of the previous night practicing. And you know what? We are getting better at both of them.

(Check back with me after midterms on that last statement.)

Learn the brachial plexus!

It is a branching series of nerves in your armpit (or axilla) that supplies the arms with sensation and muscular control. This video was a huge help to me.


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Dr Tamara Lovelace

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