Axial Stability Method® in Practice
The body’s primary biomechanical relationship is with gravity. Safety is the number one concern and is dependent upon 1) the body’s ability to accurately detect gravity (vestibular system), 2) build – and then read – accurate proprio(vestibular) maps, 3) get accurate proprioceptive data from muslces, tendons, ligaments and fascia about the body’s current position. Biomechanical stability and the body’s ability to safely navigate in its gravitational field is the basis for our methodical approach to diagnosis and treatment.
We first start with the basic evaluation of the axial stability of the core of the body: the structural integrity of the upper cervical spine and the stability of the sacroiliac joints. These 2 crucial areas are important because the upper cervical spine stabilizes the head/vestibular system, and the pelvis is our actual center of gravity.
In our experience, different biomechanical injuries seem to have different levels of importance to the body. In ASM® chiropractic our adjustments follow a strict hierarchy of importance. The cumulative series of adjustments for a basic ASM “foundation” are organized around the following sequence:
- Biomechanical Stabilization of the Triad of Equilibrium. The structural component of the Triad of Equilibrium is sensory feedback from neck muscles about the position of the head in space. This feedback must be corroborated with the visual horizontal, and information from the vestibular and peripheral visual systems, about the head’s position relative to gravity. For stabilization of the head perhaps some of the most proprioceptively significant neck muscles seem to be the small, highly innervated rectus capitii. These 6 pairs of muscles seem to have a top-down influence on the stability of the whole biomechanical system. Three of the pairs have direct attachments to the meningeal dura itself and may be strongly implicated in cervico-genic headaches and other cranial-meningeal problems. They initiate and guide movement of the head and most injury to the head/neck will result in confusion in some or all of these muscles. Through the use of laser specific energy kinesiology techniques, ASM seems to reduce stress on these muscles and allows the body to reorganize, and balance the muscles. Instrument assisted adjustments of occiput-atlas then stabilize the upper cervical spine and seem to restore coherence to the biomechanical component of the Triad of Equilibrium.
- Stabilization of the pelvis – our center of gravity. Using cranial adjustments and DeJarnette wedges in a cumulative protocol, the sacroiliac joints of the pelvis are stabilized in relation to the cranium. This stabilization of the axial system we call the “foundation.” The reciprocal relationship of occiput and sacrum is fundamental to many therapeutic interventions. With ASM we are primarily concerned with the weight-bearing structural aspect of this relationship, and how the neuromusculoskeletal system is stabilized against gravity. This is not to be confused with CranioSacral Therapy whose focus is the soft tissue system.
- Balancing the muscles and reconnection to proprioceptive maps. Using an Activator in protocols that involve whole-body biomechanical patterns of correction, ASM addresses what we view as confusion (due to injury) in the proprioceptive system. Through a series of whole skeletal treatments, the myofascial structural system is recalibrated in the body’s three primary developmental positions: lying, sitting, then standing.
Injury and Where Chiropractic Excels
We can divide bodily injury into 3 categories:
- Frank injury to the anatomical system requiring medical intervention: stitches, surgery, fracture casting, other urgent interventions. This is the kind of “injury” we are most familiar with.
- Acute soft tissue damage not severe enough for #1 but usually handled by a PCP, PT, or sports medicine professionals: bumps, scrapes, wounds, infection, acute sprains and strains, etc.
- Biomechanical injury resulting in unexplained chronic pain, poor balance, instability, reduced range of motion.
Chiropractic excels at treating the third category: biomechanical injury. Treating biomechanical injury is an open field in the health care universe. There are no turf wars here with any other profession. This is an exciting opportunity for the chiropractor-biomechanic!
Read more about the ASM Method.