The Misunderstood Component in
Musculo-Skeletal Health Care
by Burl Pettibon, D.C., F.A.C.B.S., F.R.C.C.M., Phd. (Hon)
S IT POSSIBLE TO WALK THROUGH A DOORWAY WHEN THE
door is closed? That strange question is a metaphor
that can be used to describe the difference in research-based rehabilitation to prepare the spine for corrective
procedures with little to no pain versus no preparation at all
or, worse yet, substituting bilateral strengthening exercises for
rehab to prepare the spine for corrections that are often both
painful and ineffective.
Gym type exercises are often called rehabilitation exercises.
However, the two have little in common. Gym type exercises
are isotonic that work and shorten muscles, thereby opposing
positional changes. Phasic muscles are enervated by a1-motor
fibers and are consciously controlled and, when totally fatigued
or injured, become flaccid. Postural muscles are enervated
by a2-motor fibers and are autonomic nerve controlled. The
strengthening of these muscles requires isometric exercises.
When they are fatigued or injured, they become spastic. It is
critical to understand that postural muscles dominate one’s
spinal position and function as well as posture, stance and gait.
What is rehabilitation and why is it necessary for quality
patient care? Dorland’s Medical Dictionary 26th Ed. defines
1. “The restoration of normal form and function after injury
2. “The restoration of an ill or injured patient to self-suffi-ciency or to gainful employment at the highest attainable skill
in the shortest period of time”.
The profession of chiropractic claims that the adjustment is
for the restoration of normal form and function of the spine
through correction of spinal displacement subluxations. We can
agree that abnormal/subluxated spinal forms cause abnormal
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