Discussion: The model presented in this paper attempts to capture traditional beliefs within chiropractic that surround the act of spinal palpation largely in the absence of published data or even interpretative speculation. The identification and correction of the putative spinal subluxation complex seems to lie at the heart of the identity of chiropractic, yet the clinical act of identifying the lesion continues to demonstrate low agreement. The literature is even more silent on connecting the findings from palpation with the determination of the manner and characteristics of the spinal adjustment, the therapeutic intervention germane to the practice of chiropractic. While the answers to these questions may lie under the blanket of clinical experience, they present a challenge to chiropractic educators who teach palpation and spinal adjustive technique. In the absence of factual knowledge or evidence descriptive of the clinical entity supposedly addressed by the chiropractic adjustment, the question becomes one of which theoretical constructs are appropriate for presentation in the classroom.
Conclusion: A better understanding of palpatory literacy is critical to drive the optimal application of the chiropractic adjustment as the preferred therapeutic intervention to correct dysfunctional movement of spinal segments.
First author: Phillip Ebrall
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