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simple self-test for adhesed fascia in the cervical spine


After describing the “paucity of soft tissue education” in our nation’s chiropractic colleges, the profession’s leading authority on connective tissues, Dr. Warren Hammer (he’s been in practice for over sixty years), stated in the new issue of Dynamic Chiropractic (Soft Tissue for Chiropractic Colleges)….

A perennial question facing the chiropractic profession is how far its members are willing to deviate from the joint component as emphasized in the majority of chiropractic colleges.  Research has proven the value of the chiropractic adjustment, but research has also described most of the conditions chiropractors treat as having multifactorial causes.  After the joint, most of the etiologies remaining for the majority of musculoskeletal problems relate to tissues such as muscles, ligaments, tendons, and fascia.

FASCIA.  While an extremely common source of CHRONIC NECK PAIN, the fact that it is virtually impossible to image using standard tests can make visualizing the most common reasons for said pain likewise impossible (HERE).  While I am certainly not against imaging, it’s important to realize that in most cases it’s unlikely to provide a diagnostic “ah ha” moment, and explains why so many of you have been through CT SCANS, MRI, and PLAIN FILM X-RAYS with nothing to show other than being told you aren’t as young as you used to be.  What do I do in my clinic? 

Beyond simple ranges of motion (HERE) and motion palpation, which checks both SEGMENTAL & SECTIONAL spinal motion, there is another simple test that I often use; particularly for people whose problems are at least somewhat localized.  It’s a “MYOFASCIAL SLING” test that people can do themselves.

First, while looking in a mirror to get a rough estimate of your current ranges of motion (which may very well be restricted on some level), move your head and see where the pain localizes to.  Next, grab the painful area and squeeze (you may need to use both hands and you may need to squeeze or “pinch” with a fair bit of force), while attempting the same ranges of motion. 

Did the pressure make the movement any easier, freer, or less painful?  If so, it’s likely there is a significant soft tissue component to your problem, probably the CERVICAL FASCIA.  Considering what Dr. Warren Hammer said in the quote above, FASCIAL ADHESIONS in the cervical spine are not only common, they are dog-common, with far too may practitioners trying to treat their patients without addressing the underlying FIBROSIS / SCAR TISSUE (HERE or HERE).

The really cool thing is that in most cases your DIY test is easy to confirm because a visit to my office is so simple.  If you decide to come see me, you’ll know AFTER YOUR FIRST VISIT whether this approach was helpful for your particular situation. How much better is this than a lifetime of “CHIROPRACTIC MAINTENANCE” that by definition, is in most cases anything but?  Need more evidence?  Be sure to take a look at some of our TESTIMONIALS as well as our FACEBOOK PAGE.


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