Yeah, I know, the title sounds boring and technical, but this is an important topic for you to understand and an important distinction to be made. Simply, qualitative is how good or bad something is, like this ice cream tastes good or bad (as if ice cream could taste bad), and quantitative is how much ice cream you have (more is better). But when it comes to your spine and subluxation, qualitative is how I measure what needs to be adjusted today. And quantitative is how much subluxation your spine has, as measured on your last examination. I make this distinction because a common question I get is, “How is my spine today?” That’s a good question, but not the right one for an adjustment visit. The right question for adjustment day is, “What do you need to adjust today?” “How is my spine?” is best saved for your examination visit. Let me explain.
Based upon the stories so many of you have told me over the years, my office seems a little unique, as compared to other chiropractors, in that we have a true quantitative analysis of your spinal subluxation on your first visit. We do an exam that measures the amount of subluxation based upon its five components. We measure your posture and quantify it on a 1-4 scale. We measure your range of motion with an inclinometer to the nearest degree. Our least quantifiable component is muscle spasm, which we can only really locate and quantify how tender it is. Then we measure the inflammation, again on that 1-4 scale. Finally, we measure your degree of subluxation degeneration in phase 1, 2, 3, or 4. So at the end of the exam we have a bunch of numbers, numbers that have a specific meaning and then can be compared to later when we do the exact same examination. As you know most cases of subluxation need 50% improvement in these figures to end Initial Intensive Care and qualify for Reconstructive Care. And 90%+ is the goal to qualify for wellness care. But if you have significant degeneration or herniation the threshold for qualifying for Reconstructive Care can be as high as 75%. Anyway, this is true quantification and only during your examination can I honestly and accurately answer the question, “How is my spine today?”
But neither of us has the time to do an examination on every visit so my analysis on your adjustment visit is different. I am not quantifying anything. I am qualifying. I am using my palpation skills (both static and motion) and comparing them with your last examination and x-ray findings (your last quantification) and filtering this through 25 years of experience (over 1 million adjustments given) to decide what needs to be done today. The purpose of this qualitative analysis of your spine is so I can answer the question, “What do you need to adjust today?”
In conclusion we do regular quantitative examinations to measure the health of your spine and then we do daily qualitative analyses to know what to adjust today.