Dynamic Chiropractic - May 22, 1992, Volume 10, Issue 11

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The Home Spinal Exam

By: Daniel Jacobsen, D.C.


See pages xx, Parts #432 for information on how to order

The other day I had a little girl in my office. It was her first visit. Since she had watched me adjusting her parents, not only was she unafraid but looking forward to her examination and treatment.

During the examination we noted that the left shoulder was markedly lower than the right and that the occiput was tilted to almost the same degree in the opposite direction as an apparent form of compensation. The findings were so visually obvious that I had the patient's mother look at what I had observed.

At first she saw nothing, at least not until I pointed out the anatomical landmarks. The look of first recognition on her face was quite remarkable. "But I never noticed," she said. "I guess I just looked but never saw."

After the adjustment, we looked for those landmarks again and the difference is what makes the specific chiropractic adjustment such an exciting and rewarding enterprise.

After my little patient and her mother had left, I thought about all the other parents I have demonstrated visually anomalous conditions to over the years. Certainly there must be a better way of educating parents than through some well-meaning school nurse, who might have taken a weekend course in posture, sending a note home that your child doesn't stand up straight enough.

Chiropractors are physicians of the spine and nerves. It should be our obligation to inform our patients that chiropractic for children is often more important than it is for adults. The bones of a child are soft and pliable and should be directed in the right way. The old saying, "As the twig is bent, so grows the tree," couldn't be more applicable than in chiropractic.

As strange as it may seem, I have never seen video information that might instruct a parent on how to give an even cursory structural examination at home to determine structural problems in their child; this is until now.

At a recent convention I came across a booth that held "small spine productions." Intrigued by the name, I hung around and viewed a tape this company had produced.

The tape lasted for about 10 or 15 minutes and began with a discussion of the biomechanics of children. This was followed by a visual demonstration of the examination procedures needed to give a postural evaluation. It was short but comprehensive and visually pleasing in a very professional setting.

The people in the booth explained that their office had been using the program for some time and found it quite effective in educating not only the parent but the child as well in the value of proper body mechanics. Along with the tape went a check list to the parent doing the examination. It was stressed that the examination procedures on the tape were to be used strictly as a screen and that if any deviations were found it was time for a more comprehensive evaluation at the chiropractor's office.

It doesn't take an entrepreneur to figure out that programs such as these on home screening examinations for children are great goodwill boosters and an excellent way to ethically build a practice. All that's needed is some imagination and the ability to move on that imagination. The result is a wonderful service to the patient and an excellent educational tool for patients of all ages.

The tapes come attractively packaged with forms for the examiners to fill out. My practice is like those of most of you reading this -- a family practice based upon the needs of the young and old, athlete and non-athlete. I treat a great many conditions, but few things are more satisfying and rewarding than the resolution of the problems of young children. This videotape should be given to every parent whose child is not yet a patient. An excellent way to service a vital need and get those youngsters into your office.

It might well be said that as the practice is bent, so grows the bank account. This is one way to watch your practice grow -- through education -- the most effective and long lasting forms of practice building.