Adjusting extremities, or extraspinal regions is a central component of the chiropractic profession. In the last 25 years, extremity adjusting has become increasingly popular thanks to the rise of sports chiropractic.
Sports chiropractors utilize extremity techniques extensively. Their work has proven so successful that almost every professional sports team today has a chiropractor on staff. Some of the biggest names in sports, Tom Brady, Tiger Woods and Michael Phelps have all been treated by chiropractors. In addition to the increased visibility for chiropractic medicine in general, sports chiropractors have highlighted their ability to treat much more than just the spine. Sports chiropractors know how to evaluate, manage and rehabilitate common injuries like an ankle sprain as well as the infinite number of other extremity injuries seen in sports.
However, you don’t need to be an athlete to obtain these injuries. More chiropractors are recognizing the need to provide extremity adjusting in general practice.
Here are some reasons why an in-depth education in extremities is becoming more important today.
You’ll be able to treat one of the most common pain complaints
For the general population, shoulder pain is among the most common pain complaints. Like neck and lower back pain, shoulder pain becomes more common with age and can be caused by a variety of factors. It is one of the top reasons people seek medical care. According to a study published in Best Practice & Research: Clinical Rheumatology, shoulder pain affects 18-26% of adults at any point in time.
At National University, students learn not just one adjustment for the shoulder, but 50. For extremities in general, there are hundreds of different adjustments NUHS students learn. You’ll also learn modalities other than adjusting that can be used as effective treatments.
Extremities can help you find your niche
Within the field of complementary and alternative medicine, practitioners are becoming more specialized. Whether it is an oriental medicine clinic dedicated to skin care or an entire chiropractic franchise just for hands and feet, many have built successful careers on a specific niche market or patient population.
According to Chiropractic Economics, one of the advantages of having a niche is increased revenue and fewer competitors. Some common specialties within chiropractic medicine include nutrition, weight loss and sports medicine. If you’re considering a specialty, a more in-depth education in extremities can help you determine which part of the body you’re passionate about treating and ultimately the path of your future career.
You’ll be a more well-rounded physician who can treat the whole body
Some still have the misconception that chiropractors are just spine doctors. Since its founding, National University has had a long tradition of training its students to treat the whole body as primary care physicians. Instead of focusing on just spinal adjustments with minimal education on extremities, NUHS puts emphasis on both types of treatment.
As part of the Evaluation and Management of the Extremities class at NUHS, students currently study extremities six hours per week. Students learn not only how to adjust extremities, but biomechanics, the pathology of extremity injuries, how to diagnose along with how to perform orthopedic and neurological tests. This education helps students become more well-rounded doctors who can treat more patients no matter where their injury.
You’ll be better prepared for the future of the profession
NUHS understands the importance of extremities in the health care marketplace of today and in the future. As a result, our coursework continues to evolve. With extremities adjusting growing in popularity, NUHS is adding more to its already robust education in extremities. Starting this fall, students will receive an additional six hours of training in extremities per week as part of a new course, Examination & Management of the Upper & Lower Extremities.
As more professional and Olympic athletes continue to utilize the skills of chiropractors, the demand for extremity treatment among athletes or the general population is not expected to go away anytime soon. With an education at NUHS, you’ll be able to meet growing demand. No matter the type of career you plan to pursue, you’ll be better poised for success.
About the Author
Dr. Carlo Guadagno