I want to talk about something I see a lot of in my office these days, and that is facet imbrications aka "joint jamming", for which decompression techniques can go a LONG way!
A facet imbrication occurs when there is compression and jamming of one of the joints of the spinal vertebrae, and it is entirely different than a spinal misalignment. Due to postural stress, emotional stress, injuries, teeth grinding, and more, I commonly see compressed joints in my patients in mostly their necks and lower backs. This joint jamming can lead to local and referred pain, nerve sensitivity and sciatica, and tight muscles in the area. Sometimes the compression is severe, as is seen with acute disc injuries and herniations. In any case, decompressing and thus relieving a facet imbrication can lead to a massive reduction in discomfort and a huge increase in function, which is why I wanted to put it out there as something that is just as important to check for as regular old spinal misalignments are!
I use muscle testing to assess if there is in fact a "joint jam". Often, if other work we've done during the session does not resolve all pain in the area, I will check for this facet imbrication (I always have more tools in the toolkit). If I do find that there is a facet jam, I will apply manual traction-a pulling that stretches out and decompresses the spine, varying in degrees of intensity depending on the patients case, for a few minutes. I will then often add a manual thrust aka a pull to literally separate and de-imbricate the joint/s. Voila- typically, joint jam fixed and pain gone as well as nerve flow restored.
It is important to note that muscle testing is crucial in determining if this is an issue for a patient and the style in which I should correct it ie more aggressive, less aggressive, etc. So, shout out once again to my Applied Kinesiology muscle testing training.