500 N. Carroll Ave. Ste. 110, Southlake, TX 76092

To adjust or to not adjust?

One of the most common misconceptions from the perception of the public is an understanding of Chiropractic care and what the ultimate goal of receiving a chiropractic adjustment is.

Lets start this blog with what it is not.

Our goal is not to reduce symptoms.

Our goal is not to get rid of pain.

Our goal is not to improve range of motion.

Our goal is not to diagnose.

Our goal is not to cure a disease.

Our goal is not to be a medical doctor.


The above goals typically symbolize a philosophy of western medicine.

More specifically, they are measurable outcomes that a code can be attached to with a treatment plan in order to follow a protocol and bill and insurance company for reimbursement.

This is the product of western medicine.

This is “healthcare in the United States.”

So what is the goal of a chiropractic adjustment then?

I am glad you asked…

Basis of a Chiropractic Adjustment.

Since its conception in 1895, Chiropractic has used logic and deduction to navigate exactly what a Chiropractic Adjustment is.

Our founder, DD Palmer and his son, BJ Palmer, started with a major premise that states “there is a universal intelligence which governs all matter and continually gives to it all its properties and actions, thus maintaining it in existence.”

This is the first principle in a series of 33 principles that govern and guide all Chiropractic in their rationale for delivering a Chiropractic Adjustment.

If we dive a bit further into this idea of a principle we can see that principles may be the fundamental truths upon which it is founded, or the governing rules of conduct or operation.

Thus, without diving too deep into a philosophical discussion, lets understand that within these principles are held the governing rules for practicing Chiropractic as a science and art.

Keeping that housed in a slow cooker, there are four parts that compose the rationale for a Chiropractic Adjustment.

These can be remembered by a simple phrase “MOPI” which stands for

  1. Malposition of a bone
  2. Occlusion of a foramen
  3. Pressure on a nerve
  4. Interference to the mental impulse.

Now, most of you are probably scratching your head at this point, which is totally acceptable.

Simply put, what this means is that you have a change in the structure of the orientation of a bone with the bone above and the bone below it.

As a result, it is causing a change in the hole (a foramen) that your nerves and spinal cord run through. For purposes of upper cervical work we will focus on the vertebral foramen which is right where your brainstem becomes your spinal cord.

Thus, as you change the structure of the hole, it changes the ability to nerve transmission to take place resulting in pressure placed upon your autonomic nervous system which then interferes with your bodies ability to run the innate processes.

Which naturally leads to the question…what caused this cascade to take place?

That is a topic for an entire different blog as today we are going to focus on when and when not to deliver a chiropractic adjustment.

The premise for a specific adjustment

So, if we hold this principle to be true, MOPI that is, we understand that the result of these four parts can wreck a system wide havoc.

What is amazing about this is that IF you do have MOPI present, it will be represented in multiple scientifically valid measurements.

To give an example, think of what a cardiologists does…they continually evaluate your heart using an EKG.

Well, Upper Cervical Specific is pretty much the same, except we evaluate your bodies ability to regulate heat between your right and your left side.

For most of us, when we go to a chiropractor, it involves us laying down on a table.

The doctor than presses on your back in a few places and delivers a force that causes your bones to crack.

He may turn you on your right or left side and crack your lower back.

Finally he will lay you face up and crack your neck one way or another.

My question I always ask is which one of these worked and why did the doctor crack the bones in that specific area?

I use the word CRACK because that is pretty much all they did.

Remember, the Chiropractic Adjustment is incredibly scientific and requires all 4 parts of MOPI to be present.

For the general public, most of you just let the doctor crack you three ways till Sunday with no evaluation of your nervous system to make sure that there is actual dysfunction, no x-rays to evaluate where the malposition is (super important…you cannot feel a bone out of place unless its broken), and finally no post evaluation to ensure that a correction was made to the pressure on the nervous system from the cracking.

This is a problem.

In fact, it is a big problem!

Such a big problem that in 1924, BJ Palmer (the developer of Chiropractic), came to the profession and addressed it stating that we needed to be better doctors in how we respected the Chiropractic Adjustment.

He took it as far as to say that these “full spine manipulations” were not delivering the results our patients deserved and encouraged the entire field to transition their practices to Upper Cervical Specific.

It was from this point forward that he thoroughly researched Upper Cervical Specific and delivered incredible results to the world (all documented in a series of books referred to as The Green Books).

It is also because of this, that we, at Hope, decided to invest our life into continuing this amazing work.

You see, the Upper Cervical practitioner utilizes state of the art technology to evaluate MOPI.

This lays the foundation for understanding when an adjustment is necessary and more importantly when an adjustment is not necessary.

To adjust!

Following a thorough evaluation, a Specific Upper Cervical Chiropractor will determine exactly how you need to be adjusted to ensure a complete correction of MOPI and a restoration of balance to your nervous system back to normal function.

The next question is how?

At our office, we use a technology referred to as computerized infrared paraspinal thermography.

There was an incredibly smart scientists named Uematsu who made the stunning observation that a human body should be able to regulate paraspinal temperature within .3 degrees Celsius.

If these were not the case, it warrants that there is an imbalance to the normal neurological system function that needs to be corrected.

This can be shown in the graph below which is referred to as a thermographic pattern.

For all of you, this should look like nothing but two sets of squiggly lines.

But for a Specific Chiropractic Adjustment, this is everything.

This is the difference between the expression of health and the expression of dis-ease.

This is the graph that we utilize to DETERMINE that a Chiropractic adjustment is necessary.

In the above graph, these lines show us that a patient is in a pattern of dis-ease and a chiropractic adjustment is warranted.

This gives us confidence as a practitioner to know that at this moment in time, we can provide a force to restore ease to the entire human body and promote the restoration phase of healing.

Without this graph, you can pretty much assume that a Chiropractor is simply guessing at random intervals when to adjust you.

And when it comes to restoring balance to the most important system of the body, do you really want someone guessing?

I know I don’t.

Respecting the silence between notes (To not adjust).

A late mentor of mine once compared Specific Chiropractic to composing a symphony.

He loved to cite a quote by Claude DeBussy that said “Music is the silence between the notes. The music is not in the notes but in the silence between.”

This concept, for those of you who are familiar with composition, is discussion how a note can carry for a measure.

Maybe it is 1 beat. Maybe it is 4.

Regardless, all great composers respect the silence between the notes.

Otherwise, music would be nothing more than banging on an instrument.

Would you pay to see that?

I know I wouldn’t!

So, in using this analogy to Chiropractic, my mentor would say “healing takes place in the silence between adjustments.”

For the most part, those of you who have visited a Chiropractor have been adjusted on every single visit you go in.

Do you ever stop for a moment and ask why?

Do you ever think that your body lacks resilience to the point that you need to be adjusted three times a week for your life?

Sometimes I really think we missed the mark on reflecting on how we invest in our health.

In Specific Chiropractic, we propose that every single patient should be checked on their visits to our office.

We use the graph we discussed earlier to evaluate whether or not a patient is in need of a chiropractic adjustment.

More times than not, we find that our patients do not need an adjustment every single visit.

And if we are to go back to our check points as a practitioner, this would involved evaluating a graph again.

See below…

The red line in this graph represents a state of neurological interference, or neurological imbalance, or failure to adapt, or neuropathophysiology, or dysafferentation…the names can go on and on and on.

It virtually means that when the teal straight line matches the red line, an adjustment is needed to restore balance, remove interference, optimize physiology…you get the point.

Except – in this case, the teal line is straight.

It means one of two things.

The patient is clear – does not need an adjustment.


The patient is clear – they just received an adjustment.

In either case, this allows us as practitioners to check our work.

It allows us to maintain hope that you will get better.

It allows us to know without a shadow of a doubt that we have corrected the acronym MOPI and allowing your body to function at its absolute best.

Now…notice I didn’t say anything about symptom free, or disease free, or diagnosis free in that statement.


Because if you ever study physiology, you will learn that all of those processes take time to present the symptoms that you are experiencing present day.

So will one adjustment cure your symptoms.


But will one adjustment change your physiology to set your body up to begin the healing process from inside out…100%

THIS is the difference in Chiropractic Care and Westernized approach to managing chronic disease.

Final Thoughts

Ultimately, how you choose to take care of your body is up to you.

At this point in time, America still has the liberty to allow us to choose who we use for our health care provider.

I hope that the information in this blog provided you with some insight into make a better choice when navigating the Chiropractic Profession and finally understanding what a Chiropractic Adjustment is.

We know that the adjustment is designed to facilitate a four part correction (malposition of a bone, occlusion of a foramen, pressure on the nervous system, interference to the mental impulse)

We know that this can be measured to see if MOPI is present.

We also know that this can be measured post adjustment to make sure MOPI has been removed.

Ultimately, it is of utmost importance to recall that every single visit to the chiropractor should not warrant an adjustment.

However, every trip to your chiropractor should start with an evaluation of these four components.

I hope this will help you better understand exactly what Chiropractic care is all about!