Clear Choice Chiropractic


Our Chiropractic Adjustment Techniques

Here at Clear Choice Chiropractic, Dr. Thompson uses a variety of different methods depending on each patient and his or her condition.

I list some of them below, and offer an overview of each:

Gonstead Technique

The Gonstead technique is based on the work of Dr. Clarence Gonstead in the 1920s. A graduate of the famous Palmer School of Chiropractic, he explored principles of mechanics to working with the spine.

Here is a summary of his work from the Wikipedia article about him:

“He soon recognized that a number of conditions displayed consistent spinal patterns that violated basic mechanical engineering principles. As these ideas matured, they became known as the Level Foundation principle and the Gonstead Disc Concept.

“The Level Foundation principle states that any deviation of the spine by a particular segment away from vertical straight is an area of potential misalignment; any deviation of the spine by a particular segment that returns the spine to vertical straight is an area of compensation. The Gonstead Disc Concept attempted to redefine the chiropractic term subluxation. The prevailing hypothesis as taught by D.D and B. J. Palmer was that the subluxation was the result of a vertebral bone causing nerve pressure. According to the Gonstead Disc Concept, the vertebral disc, the spongy material between the vertebral bones, is the primary culprit of nerve pressure.

“Along with developing his own unique technique in chiropractic, Dr. Gonstead is recognized for his motto: “Find the subluxation, accept it where you find it, correct it, then leave it alone.” Following the Gonstead Disc Concept, the adjustment’s line-of-drive follows the disc plane line. The result is a distinctive cavitation that characterizes Gonstead style adjustments from more rotational vectored adjustments common with osteopathic manipulation and chiropractic’s Diversified technique. To optimize disc plane line adjusting vectors, Dr. Gonstead had local cabinet makers make his own adjusting tables, later called the Gonstead Set. He also worked with chiropractic table manufacturer Zenith in designing other pieces.  In summary, his method consists of five evaluative criteria (visualization, instrumentation, static palpation, motion palpation, and X-ray analysis.”

We use this method because there are many times when it best serves the healing needs of our patients.

Diversified Technique

The Diversified technique derives from the work of Dr. D.D. Palmer and is taught in most chiropractic colleges across the world. It involves a gentle but quick thrust or other movement of the spine to restore healthy alignment and mobility.

Here is a summary from the Wikipedia article about the Diversified technique:

“Diversified technique (DT) is the most commonly used adjustment technique by chiropractors. Like many chiropractic and osteopathic manipulative techniques, Diversified is characterized by a high velocity low amplitude thrust. Diversified is considered the most generic chiropractic manipulative technique and is differentiated from other techniques in that its objective is to restore proper movement and alignment of spine and joint dysfunction. The diversified technique remains the principal system taught at National University of Health Sciences, New York Chiropractic College, Southern California University of Health Sciences, and Northwestern College of Chiropractic.”

As with other techniques, we use direct, hand-on sensitivity to diagnose our patients’ conditions, as well as X-rays with our digital X-ray technology.

Thompson Technique

The Thompson technique is not based on my name or any member of my family. It is based on the work of Dr. Clay Thompson, who applied his engineering background to the process of adjusting patients’ spines.

Clay Thompson’s technique utilized methods such as moving parts of adjusting tables which drop when pressure is applied, imparting gentle but firm force to precise places on a given patient’s body, especially spinal areas. In addition, the Thompson technique utilizes rebound effects of quick movements, called “toggle recoil”; leg length check analysis, and more.

The Chiropractor Guide offers this summary of the Thompson technique:

“The Thompson technique is another method of adjustment that involves analyzing the length of the legs. This technique uses a ‘drop table’ for adjustment, where a gentle thrust is applied to the joints, which in turn, sets the drop piece into motion and targets the specific joint or tissue. After completing a leg check analysis, your chiropractor will determine the type of misalignment – cervical, pelvic, etc,- and then adjusts the legs using a combination of multiple thrusts on various joints.”

Flexion/Distraction Technique

Here is a nice summary of this technique from Dr. Arn Strasser:

“Flexion-distraction technique has become the most widely used approach to treating symptomatic disc injuries involving back pain and the often-accompanying leg pain. Flexion-distraction involves the use of a specialized table that gently distracts or stretches the spine and which allows the chiropractor to isolate the area of disc involvement while slightly flexing the spine in a pumping rhythm. There is no pain involved in the treatment.”

Active Release Technology

Our Active Release technology works with your soft tissue to help reduce and eliminate pain, increase the range of motion, and gain great function to many parts of the body. It often deals with tight muscles, scar tissue, small muscle tears, and overuse of muscles.

Trigger Point Therapy

When a muscle is injured in a strain or pull (short of a complete tear or rupture) they often get what are called “trigger points.” These are nodules or areas of added sensitivity. When pressure is applied to such a place in an injured muscle, often there will be a reaction elsewhere in the body, which is called referred pain.

We use various kinds of pressure to work with trigger points to help the muscle reach a condition of complete healing, absent the nodules, taunt muscle fibers, or areas of tension so common in partially healed muscles.

While these techniques are not all of the methods we use at Clear Choice Chiropractic, they do inform much of the work we do with our patients to help them reach that most natural and health of conditions: being pain free and having their full physical and psychological abilities available.


How Old Can a Person be Before He or She Begins Chiropractic Care?

There is no such thing as to young or to old for Chiropractic care. Chiropractic patients range in years from birth to old age. Regardless of age, vertebrae can become misaligned.  If a vertebrae become misaligned it can cause pressure or irritation to nerves thus causing them to malfunction.  This process is known as a “Subluxation”.   For example, the birth process may cause trauma to the neck and spine. If left uncorrected, the vertebral subluxation may disturb the delicate spinal cord and nerves which control the infants muscles and organs.  In some cases, an uncorrected subluxations may lead to a deformity of the spinal column. An early chiropractic checkup may detect subluxations while they are still easily correctable.

When should I start my child under Chiropractic care?
Your child should have a chiropractic examination as soon after birth as possible.  Spinal trauma to an infant’s or child’s spine can occur during the birth process as well as from any number of tumbles while learning to sit up or walk.  Your child’s spine grows almost 50% in length during that first year (the equivalent of a six-footer growing to nine feet in just 12 months!).  It’s this kind of tremendous growth and developmental changes which make continued chiropractic examinations so important in the early stages of your child’s life.

In Chiropractic we believe it’s much more important to prevent diseases than wait till some illness occurs. Through regular adjustments, as well as awareness on proper diet, exercise and posture, Chiropractic can help you raise a child free of subluxations whose body is structurally and functionally sound. Your child will also learn good health habits at an early age which can be very beneficial to him or her as an adult.

Youngsters suffer numerous accidents and falls while learning to walk, riding a bike, or even while jumping or running around. But after their tears have dried, underlying injuries could go undetected–such as a subluxation during the spine’s most formative period.

Regular Chiropractic spinal exams can provide corrective and preventive care for your son or daughter and peace of mind for you.

It is especially important to have your child under chiropractic care when your child takes part in athletic activities.  The “sack” of a young quarterback could twist a young spine.  A softball pitcher could throw a vertebra out of alignment.   In Chiropractic we can do more than correct these problems, we can also help improve performance on and off the field by helping the body function at its optimum level, naturally without stress and without drugs.

How effective is chiropractic care for children?
Doctors of Chiropractic have been providing safe and effective care or children for nearly 100 years. There are several published studies conducted by researchers in Germany, Australia, Denmark and the United States which confirm the effectiveness of chiropractic for a variety of childhood illnesses.  The scientific evidence is growing every day.


Depression Improved with Chiropractic, Research Shows

A research study published in the November 7, 2005 issue of the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research, showed a positive result in the care of individuals with depression. For the purpose of this study subjects were selected on the basis of being over 18 years of age and having depression noted in their medical history file. Fifteen participants completed the study and were used in determining the results.

In the discussion section of the study, it was noted that the concept of chiropractic care’s role in mental health was not a new idea.  In fact it was reported that two major chiropractic psychiatric hospitals functioned successfully for nearly thirty years in Davenport, Iowa.

The subjects of this study were given a standardized test known as the Beck Depression Inventory (aka BDI-II) both before and after receiving specific chiropractic care for correction of subluxations.  To be consistent, the same process of analysis and techniques of correction were used in correcting the subluxations determined to be present.  Before and after x-rays were also used to determine the presence and correction of the subluxations.

The results showed a significant improvement of the average BDI-II scores of the group.  Lower BDI-II are considered better than higher scores. The higher the level the more severe the depression.  The group as a whole scored a 17 in the BDI-II before chiropractic.  After chiropractic care for correction of their subluxations the groups average score improved to 8.

On an individual basis, eleven participants experienced marked improvement, two had minimal improvement while 2 participants scored worse on the follow up test.  The researchers noted that this research tested and supported the hypothesis that chiropractic correction of the subluxation complex reduced depressive symptomatology.

The researchers concluded by stating, “This study’s results provide support for the hypothesis that a positive relationship exists between a correction of the occipitoatlantoaxial subluxation complex and a reduction in depressive symptoms in some people.”


Medical Journal, “Orthopedics Today” Touts Chiropractic

Praise for chiropractic recently came from an unlikely source. In the February 2003 issue of the magazine “Orthopedics Today”, there appeared a feature article titled,  “Time to Recognize Value of Chiropractic Care? Science and Patient Satisfaction Orthopedics TodaySurveys Cite Usefulness of Spinal Manipulation.”

In the article, Jack Zigler, MD, orthopedic spine surgeon with the Texas Back Institute, states, “There are a lot of myths about chiropractic care. I decided to look into each of these myths, and what I found is that chiropractic education, side-by-side, is more similar to medical education than it is dissimilar. Chiropractors work for us as screeners for surgical pathology. They can do the same work-up and send the patient who has already gone through his conservative treatment and had all his diagnostic work done to the surgeon.”

Additionally, Scott Haldeman, DC, MD, PhD stated, “About 10 to 12 international guidelines have suggested that there is some benefit to manipulation. If we look at their basic guidelines, manipulation has consistently been accepted by independent government and scientific bodies as being a valid form of treatment.”

Andrew Cole, MD, associate clinical professor of rehabilitation medicine at the University of Washington and recent past president of the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation gave the strongest overall endorsement when he said, “Overall, manipulation has the advantage of reducing pain, decreasing medication, rapidly advancing physical therapy and requiring fewer passive modalities.”

Many Patients With Brain Injuries Find Success with Non-Medical Care

From an April 2, 2003 article from “Health Scout News” and published on comes the headline, “Alternative Medicine a Plus for Brain Injuries”. This article reported on findings presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s annual meeting.  The findings showed that many people with “traumatic brain injuries” were also using, what the researchers referred to as “alternative medicine”.  For the purposes of this study, the researchers considered all non-medical care to be “Complementary and Alternative Medicine” or “CAM”.

Researchers interviewed 130 people with traumatic brain injury treated at the University of Michigan’s Trauma Burn Center. They were asked if they’d used alternative health care to help them with their injuries.  More than half of them said they’d used at least one form of alternative healthcare, while more than a third said they’d used at least two.

According to the study the most commonly used procedures used by the people interviewed were massage therapy, meditation, herbal medicine and chiropractic care. Massage therapy and chiropractic care were used by the brain injury patients to treat their pain, while meditation was used for affective disorders and herbal medicines for cognitive defects.

Interestingly enough, the study showed that  the majority of these patients are not discussing that with their medical doctors. “A lot of patients are embarrassed to tell their doctors, while others don’t even realize that the vitamin supplements and other substances they are using can be as active as drugs, which can affect their medical treatment. As a physician, this makes me more aware of the fact that I need to ask my patients about any possible CAM use,” study author Sharon McDowell, MD.  Regardless of medical concerns, the study clearly reported that 80 percent of the people interviewed believed that the non-medical care they received was effective.


More Children Going to Chiropractors

As more people are going to chiropractors studies in well-respected journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine, as well as the popular press is beginning to pick up and report on this trend. Several NBC affiliate stations recently ran a segment on the importance of chiropractic adjustments for children in their show, “The Healthline Report”. In the first of the two segments, Heather King, the reporter noted, “More and more kids, some as young as a few days old, are going to the chiropractor.” She concluded that. “Going to a chiropractor isn’t just for grownups anymore.”

Along a similar line was an article in the November 11, 1998 issue of the daily paper Newsday. This article reported that four out of ten Americans are using what they called “alternative therapies.” Most of this care is paid for out of pocket by the public themselves. Newsday reported on a study by Dr. David Eisenberg of Beth Israel Deaconness Medical Center in Boston. In this study of 2055 adults it was found that more visits were made to alternative care providers than to medical physicians. While all segments of the population used alternatives, it most prevalent in baby boomers ages 35 to 49 with college education and income over $50,000 per year.

This trend is expected to grow and is reflected in a study supported by the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research. They estimate that 75% of the 68.8 million Americans insured through work had chiropractic benefits in 1993. This trend may be only to give the public what they want, as much of chiropractic care is paid for by the patients themselves. In certain areas in the US, insurance companies have even started advertising that they include chiropractic in their plan.

From a chiropractic standpoint we can only ask one remaining question. With so many people using chiropractic and other “alternatives”, who is really the alternative?


The June 6, 2002 issue of the Boston Globe reports on a phenomenon becoming more common, children under chiropractic care. The story states: “Chiropractors’ offices, once filled with middle-aged construction workers, over-the-hill athletes, and migraine headache sufferers, are taking on a younger look these days as more and more parents are bringing their children in for exams. For many children, trips to the chiropractor have become a weekly event, squeezed between sports practices, orthodontist appointments, and piano lessons.”

Not surprisingly, the article also presents an opinion from a medical doctor, Dr. Robert Baratz, who said, “Show me a medical doctor who says, `You’re here for hypertension. Oh, why don’t you bring your kids in, too.'”  In spite of these antiquated opinions, the Globe reported that in 1998, children made 420,000 visits to Boston-area chiropractors.  This according to a study in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.  Local chiropractors say that figure has steadily grown since that study..

The article justifies the increased usage of chiropractic care by suggesting there is an increased need.  “To understand why, look no further than Little Leaguers’ mud-stained uniforms, laptops flipped open on the edge of beds, and excessively heavy backpacks. Add in high-heel and platform shoes worn by teenage girls, hours in front of Nintendo and, in some cases, too much studying and not enough exercise, and you’ve got a lot of young, aching backs.”  The Boston Globe also suggests, “The bigger reason children are getting treatment, though, appears to be parental experience. Some 27 million adults frequented chiropractors’ offices in 2001, up from 22 million in 1996, according to the American Chiropractic Association. As more adults find relief from their back pains through chiropractic treatment, they’re taking their kids in for checkups, too”.

Probably the most telling part of the article were the patient comments.  One explains ”I started coming to the chiropractor because I had a lot of tension in my back working in front of a computer all day,” said Audet, of Sharon. ”When I first saw kids here, I thought it was kind of weird. But after my husband and I had been coming for four or five years, I thought, `Why not have them try it?'”

The chiropractors interviewed in the article explained that most younger patients have no symptoms, but come in for wellness and preventative care. They further explain that the children come in for correction of subluxations to allow the body to function healthier.


Scoliosis Helped in Clinical Case Studies


Published in the January 12, 2006 issue of the scientific journal, Chiropractic & Osteopathy from Australasia, comes a report of a s Published in the January 12, 2006 issue of the scientific journal, Chiropractic & Osteopathy from Australasia, comes a eries of case studies documenting chiropractic helping multiple cases of idiopathic scoliosis.  In this report three documented case studies are followed and the results reported after chiropractic care.


Idiopathic scoliosis is the most prevalent form of scoliosis and occurs to some degree in approximately one half million adolescents in the US.  Scoliosis is a bending or curvature of the spine.  The term idiopathic means that the origin is unknown.

In this report the three subjects each had uniquely different situations.  The first subject was a 37-yr-old female who came to a private spine clinic with a chief complaint of neck and back pain.  Her history included surgical spinal fusion and implantation of a Harrington rod against her spine.  The second subject was a 30-yr-old male who also went to a private spine clinic with a chief complaint of chronic mid thoracic pain. His history included scoliosis and a previous diagnosis of Scheuermann’s Disease.  The third subject was a 23-year-old female who presented with neck and mid-back and shoulder pain.

The subjects in this study were noted as having curvatures measuring 35°, 22°, and 37° respectively.  These curvatures were measured using the “Cobb angle” which is a standard technique used to measure the severity of a spinal curve – in degrees – from spinal x-rays.

The chiropractic care consisted of a 12 week period of adjustment and home care treatments. These were followed up by post-treatment x-rays and examinations in order to evaluate the progress. The results were measured using the Cobb angle method and the measurements were compared to the Cobb angles recorded at the beginning of care.

The results in these cases all showed improvement. The patient with an initial 35° Cobb angle showed a 13° reduction after the 12 week period.  The patient with the initial 22° Cobb angle showed an 8° improvement, and the patient with the 37° initial Cobb angle, showed a decrease of 16° over the 12 weeks.

The researchers noted that this study was small, and they said that the findings suggest the need for a larger controlled study.  They concluded, ” Given the perceived results of the cases outlined here, it is worthy of future investigations in such cases.”


Study Shows Chiropractic Technique Effective In Breech Turning

A study published in the July/August 2002 issue of the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics (JMPT) shows that a chiropractic technique known as the “Webster Technique” for managing the musculoskeletal causes of intrauterine constraint, is effective in cases of pregnancy with women experiencing breech presentation which can lead to a cesarean section birth.

According to the published study, “Intrauterine constraint is defined as any force external to the developing fetus that obstructs the normal movement of the fetus.” Intrauterine constraint can prevent the developing fetus from moving into the normal head-down position needed for a normal vaginal birth. When this happens this is called a “breech presentation”.  This situation plays a critical role in how the mother delivers her baby.  According to the statistics published in the article, in the United States 86% of all infants with breech presentation are delivered by cesarean section.

According to the JMPT article, the Webster Technique is a chiropractic technique designed to relieve the musculoskeletal causes of intrauterine constraint. This technique is also known by names such as as Webster’s In-Utero Constraint Technique or Webster’s Breech Turning Technique.  The Webster Technique was developed by Dr. Larry Webster in 1978. Dr. Webster was often referred to in the Chiropractic profession as “The Grandfather of Chiropractic Pediatrics.”  Additionally, the technique is presently taught in many chiropractic colleges and postgraduate chiropractic education seminars.

The study was done by surveying a large number of doctors of chiropractic who use the technique to see the percentage of results they obtain on real patients. The survey required detailed information to verify the accuracy of the responses. The results showed that 82% of the doctors surveyed reported a high rate of success when using the Webster Technique.  The results from the study suggested that it may be beneficial to perform the Webster Technique in the 8th month of pregnancy, if it has been determined that the child is in the breech position.  This timing is important because from the 8th month on, a breech presentation is unlikely to spontaneously convert to the normal head down position.

The study concludes by saying, “when successful, the Webster Technique avoids the costs and risks of cesarean section or vaginal trial of breech. In view of these findings, the Webster Technique deserves serious consideration in the management of expectant mothers exhibiting adverse fetal presentation.”


Rodeo Cowboys Helped by Chiropractic

From the May 8th, 2006, issue of the Ventura County Star comes an interesting article on rodeo cowboys and chiropractic. The article starts off by reviewing the harsh incidents rodeo cowboys endure. The article describes how they get tossed around on the back of an angry 1,800-pound bull, they leap off a galloping horse, many times into the spiky horns of a charging steer.  Often they get hurt and then pick themselves up, dust themselves off and endure the pain.

The article continues and notes that even the roughest, toughest cowboys need help.  That’s when they mosey over to the Pro-Sport Chiropractic tent to get some TLC and Chiropractic care.  At the the Conejo Valley Days rodeo, the cowboys would slip just beyond the spectators site into a tent where they would get adjusted.

A local chiropractor who cares for the cowboys, Dr. Terry Weyman said, “I’ve seen guys with noses splayed open, and they still talk to you like nothing is wrong. It’s the world’s roughest sport, bull riding. If you can handle these guys, you can handle anybody.”

The article goes onto say that every time ProSport Chiropractic sets up a tent at professional rodeos around the country, the cowboys come to get care.  One rodeo cowboy, bull wrestler Kevin McKinney noted in the article that his pain was a “nine” on a scale of one to ten.  “I’m hurting,” was his comment as he came into the tent for care.

McKinney’s wife, Tammy, who was wearing a T-shirt that read, “Every girl loves a dirty cowboy,” agreed that he must be hurting if he says anything.  She added, “He’ll ride if he’s hurt. That’s how much he loves it.”  After getting evaluated and receiving chiropractic care, McKinney walked away. Then, referring to his aches and pain, he commented, “It’s always worth it.”


According to Study Vertigo Helped With Chiropractic

A research report from the November 8, 2006 issue of the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research shows the benefits of chiropractic care for patients suffering from vertigo. In this study 60 patients who were diagnosed by their medical physicians as having various forms of vertigo, received chiropractic care and the results were documented and published.

Vertigo is a condition characterized by dizziness with a sensation of spinning.  Because of the feeling of movement or rotation, many sufferers also feel nausea and can experience lightheadedness and balance problems.  The diagnosis of vertigo is typically based on the symptoms of the patients as there are not specific lab tests and the patients may have a variety of situations that seem to be related.  In this study, the nervous system was looked to for a causal relationship.

Of the 60 patients in this study, 56 reported having some form of physical trauma prior to the onset of their vertigo. Of these 25 had reported having automobile accidents, 16 had suffered a sports injury including skiing, bicycling, or horseback riding, and 6 slipped and fell on ice.  It was noted that all of these individual’s suffered trauma to either their head or neck area.

Upon initial examinations of the subjects, it was reported that vertebral subluxations were found in all 60 patients. Analysis procedures using paraspinal digital infrared imaging and laser-aligned radiography, were performed in order to have a consistent means of measuring subluxation findings and progress of correction.

Specific chiropractic care for the correction of subluxations was rendered to all 60 subjects in this study. The results showed that all of the patients in this study responded positively to the chiropractic care. The time frame for the responses varied from between one and 6 months.  Of the original 60 patients, 48 were totally symptom free within six months. The remaining 12 patients had also shown good improvement by either decreases in severity or frequency in episodes of vertigo.

In the conclusion, the author of the study noted, “A causal link between trauma-induced upper cervical (neck) injury and the onset of vertigo appears to exist. Correcting the injury to the upper cervical spine through the use of IUCCA protocol (a form of chiropractic care) appears to improve and/or reverse vertigo disorders.”


Kids, Colic and Chiropractic

From the April 11, 2002 issues of CNN Interactive and Web MD comes a story about children and colic.  The story has an unusual slant in that there are many medical opinions that admit that the medical approach is ineffective.  These same medical opinions also admit that the chiropractic approach did help infants with colic.  But the articles still fall short of endorsing chiropractic care.

The article quotes Dr. Maxine McMullen, a chiropractor in Davenport, Iowa, and president of the International Chiropractic Association’s Pediatric Council. In it she states, “I’ve helped hundreds of babies with colic, every one of them simply needed a spinal adjustment.”

The article does report on a study that appeared in the peer reviewed journal, the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. In the study twenty-five randomly selected colicky infants received three to five chiropractic adjustments over two weeks. By the end of that period, diaries kept by parents showed that the babies shortened their daily crying episodes by three hours. In contrast, the crying of 20 infants taking dimethicone decreased by only one hour. In a previous study, published in the journal’s August 1989 issue, researchers tried the same technique on 316 colicky babies and found that their crying soon diminished.

The article seems almost begrudging in their reporting of the chiropractic success with infants with colic.  Several MDs still are skeptical of children receiving chiropractic care. One section of the article tried to explain the results by saying that infants with colic may well be really suffering from back pain, and that the chiropractic care helps the infants by helping the back pain.  Most chiropractors reject this concept and attribute the improvement to a removal of interference in the nervous system known as subluxation.

Despite the negative tone of the medical practitioners interviewed in the article, none could dispute the fact that medical care was generally ineffective while chiropractic helped the infants.