An effective way to improve the occipital manipulation (CO/C1)
If I were to describe my ‘style’ of manipulation (if there is such a thing), I would say “minimum amplitude, maximum speed.” In other words, I tend to try to minimize the force of the manipulation and instead rely on good body positioning, articular positioning, and speed. These goals tend to lead to a manipulation that is both more comfortable for the patient, as well as easier to achieve. This can be noted in some of my previous posts on spinal manipulative techniques:
For the CO/C1 articulation the goal is no different. Instead of using the traditional approach which generates the thrust via force generated from the arms only, as is seen in the video I prefer to ‘connect’ my body and arms thus allowing me to thrust with my hips…while channeling the force through the arms and hands. The benefits of this are two fold: 1. Because I am using the larger muscles of my pelvis and legs, I can minimize the effort needed for the manipulation vs utilizing the smaller muscles of my arms (and therefore having to generate more force) – 2. By connecting my body/hips to my arms, I can use a small amplitude ‘torque’ force at my hips instead which improve the speed at which I can move the articulation.
Another important point, I note in the video that I not only place a superior to inferior force with my body on the superior contact hand, but also an inferior to superior force with my inferior contact hand. Again, this allows me to lock my entire body into one solid unit…it also improves my palpatory/proprioceptive sensation allowing for a more controlled, targeted force application.
This body positioning is also great for mobilizations of the same articulation. Give it a try and let me know what you think…..