Due to the recent Youtube videos broadcasting Chiropractors performing the Y-Strap Chiropractic Adjustment, I have decided to share my thoughts on it. As stated on my website, I do use the Y Strap in my office, and I am one of the only Chiropractors in California who do. I do NOT use it on every patient, thus it is up to the presenting symptoms of the patient, and my discretion, if I decide to use it. In short, I do believe the Y Strap technique is safe. However, there are a couple things we can do to ensure the complete safety of our patients when performing this technique. The Y Strap Adjustment is vital to the promotion of healthy discs. If you have compression issues, the Y Strap works wonders. I have also created a new 30 minute Y Strap Decompression Treatment Protocol, which you can read about here. If you want to see videos of Dr. Tyler performing the Y strap adjustment, check out our instagram page!
Torque is defined as “a twisting force that tends to cause rotation”. In my opinion, spinal manipulations which induce high amounts of torque are the most dangerous. In other words, any manipulation causing excess rotation on a segment. However in many cases these “rotatory” adjustments can prove to be the most beneficial to patients. It is up to the Chiropractor to limit excess rotation to fortify the safety of the patient.
The Y Strap does not induce torque on the spine, if performed properly. It allows the Chiropractor to essentially “pull” the spine in the Y (straight) axis. However, the Chiropractor MUST make certain they are pulling straight. If the Y Strap is crooked, or the Chiropractor is off to the side, there may be a chance for torque to be created.
This section requires a somewhat decent knowledge of how Chiropractic works. In practice, we often find certain segments in the spine to be “rotated” or “shifted” (no, I will not be commenting on my Chiropractic Philosophy). It is my belief that performing a Y Strap adjustment while certain segments of the patient’s spine are “rotated” may limit its effectiveness and possibly be less safe than if those rotations were accounted for before it is used. Again, we have no research to look at. These are my opinions based on my very limited expertise of the human spine.
To ensure that we are acting to promote maximum safety and effectiveness when using the Y Strap, I believe the Chiropractor should fully “adjust” the spine before the procedure.
How Much is Too Much with the Y Strap?
How big of a pull is required by the Chiropractor? That answer is up to debate. In some of the videos, the patients seem like they’re about to fly off the table. In others, a much more shallow pull is used. If we’re talking about safety, I would use a shallow, quick pull. I have no idea if a longer pull is less safe than a shallow, but I like to tread on the safe side of things. In my experience, it doesn’t take a huge vicious pull to get the job done.
In short, nobody knows.
SPINAL SPRAIN / STRAINS
In a Chiropractic examination, there is an Orthopedic Exam called the “Cervical Distraction Test”. We basically lift your head up, and ask you if it causes pain. If it does indeed cause pain, it usually means there is some sort of ligamentous injury. A “tear” in a ligament is synonymous with a “sprain”. If there is an acute (recently acquired) sprain in your spine, the Y Strap should not be performed on the patient. Doing so may make the sprain worse.
The following list are contraindicated and the Y Strap should NOT be performed on anyone with the following:
- FRACTURE IN SPINE
- SPINAL INFECTION (Osteomyelitis, Septic Discitis)
- INTERNAL FIXATION DEVICES
- CAUDA EQUINA
- CHIARI MALFORMATION
CONCLUSION ON THE Y STRAP ADJUSTMENT
To conclude, I believe the Y Strap Chiropractic Adjustment is safe. However, there are a few things listed above that we can do to ensure its highest degree of safety. You do NOT need to pull the patient 10 feet in order to perform this adjustment. I hope this helps someone. Learn about my new 30 minute Y Strap Treatment Protocol.
Want to know why Dr. Tyler Bigenho performs the Y Strap? Click here to learn his story.