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Natural Awakenings Metro Phoenix & Northern Arizona

Holding a Chiropractic Adjustment Longer: Dr. Harlan Sparer describes how relapses can occur and the easy ways to prevent them

Oct 01, 2012 07:59PM ● By Dr. Harlan Sparer

After a chiropractic adjustment, relapses can occur, in which an external or internal stress factor causes the return of a previous condition. The fact is that it can take months for a ligamentous injury to heal properly. Many never heal completely, leaving a predisposition to re-injury or weakness in the previously injured area. Increased awareness of movement is important for preventing a relapse. Here are some tips to avoid problems.

A common cause of relapses is deep tissue massage or bodywork on the spine. Examples include a massage that rotates the neck or having someone walk on your back. Many times, well-meaning practitioners inadvertently or intentionally press directly on the spine. This action can overwhelm the spine’s ability to maintain alignment, creating subluxation. This can be avoided by communicating with the practitioner about your back.

At the hairdresser, if your hair must be placed in a bowl to be washed, the pressure on your neck by the bowl lip often subluxates the neck. This can be avoided by washing your hair beforehand or by having your hair washed with your face down and a towel covering your eyes.

Prolonged sitting, with your mouth wide open and your head slightly rotated at the dentist can cause subluxation of the neck. This can be mitigated by frequent breaks to rotate your head and stretch your neck. It also helps to schedule shorter appointments.

It’s not good for your neck and back to cradle the phone between the ear and shoulder when talking. Use headsets or speakerphones to avoid awkward tilting of the neck and shoulders.

Some people have the nervous habit of jerking their spine, or self-cracking, in an attempt to align themselves. This creates overstretching of the ligaments that can lead to further subluxations, creating the sensation of the need to self-crack more often.

Always stand square to what you lift, with the back straight, bending at the knees and using the legs, not the back, for strength.

When a person is tired, ligament tone suffers. This increases the likelihood of ligamentous tearing and subluxation.

Lifting children that weigh more than 20 pounds may be beyond your capacity to lift, carry or give shoulder rides.

When doing repetitive actions such as sewing, using a computer, factory work, weeding or hoeing, it is important to balance the action with an equal and opposite movement. Taking frequent breaks every 15 to 30 minutes is the best preventative plan.

Performing physically challenging, “weekend warrior” acts that you are not accustomed to can create problems physically, because the ligaments and discs are usually the first body parts to give out.

The body isn’t designed for prolonged contortion, which usually happens when you fall asleep on the sofa, recliner or airplane, sleep with an animal or with too many or too few pillows. Prolonged contortion leads to subluxation.

Generally speaking, the body gives you adequate feedback when activities are creating a subluxation. It’s simple to follow the Henny Youngman school of alignment maintenance.

Patient: “Doc, it hurts when I move like this.”

Doctor: “So don’t move like that.”

Dr. Harlan Sparer is a DNFT chiropractor practicing from his home office, in Tempe. He can be reached at 480-245-7894 or via e-mail at [email protected] After taking 67 seminars, he limits his practice to DNFT. For more information, visit or

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