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Armadale, VIC 3143



Techniques used by your Chiropractor

Dr. Richard Shacksnovis employs various techniques as a chiropractor. These have been described below.

Proprioceptive Muscle Testing

Muscle testing is an incredibly useful diagnostic tool used by some health professionals as one of their techniques.

When you find a weak muscle, you have uncovered a real or potential injury.

Weak muscles can’t support joints and ligaments and this may lead to these ligaments becoming sprained, strained, or inflamed.

But why proprioceptive?

Proprioception is commonly described as “body position sense”. What we miss is that the reason our brain needs to know where our limbs are is to be able to control our muscle tone.

When we change proprioception (and other afferent input) we change muscle tone.

Knowing this changes your muscle testing from a diagnostic curiosity to a treatment powerhouse.

Proprioceptive muscle testing is a fast and easy way to determine if your patient has muscle weakness. This may help to find understand why some patients continue to suffer from:

  • recurrent sprains
  • chronic strains
  • back pain
  • sciatica
  • neck pain
  • whiplash
  • fatigue
  • muscle weakness

Muscles constantly adjust their tone to control our movements.

When you do movements, such as squats, you feel tiny adjusting movements which keep you on balance. These movements are the result of reflexes coming from the muscles themselves. Those same reflexes are operating in every muscle, throughout your body, all day, every day.

Imagine you were walking across rocks and your foot suddenly slipped. The muscles holding your foot would be stretched very rapidly, causing the spindle cells to increase their rate of firing back to the spinal cord. Direct connections to the nerves that contract the muscle are increased and the muscle suddenly fires, holding the foot and preventing a sprain of your ankle ligaments. The same reflex that caused your foot to shoot out when the kneecap was tapped and stopped our gymnast from collapsing on the floor is actually the same reflex that keeps your ankle safe from sprain or strain while you walk.

It is unfortunate that the myotatic mechanism was ever called a reflex because most people link reflexes with one-off events, like the knee-jerk reflex. The myotatic mechanism is unlike all other reflexes because it functions 24 hours per day. It constantly monitors and maintains appropriate muscle tone.

When we bend forward to pick up a pen off the ground, we often forget that muscles all the way up our spine are working to hold our weight; that our calf muscles are contracting to push our toes into the ground and our neck muscles are active to hold our head up. When we pick up a chair or a bag of cement, the sensors in the muscles that move the vertebrae in our spine would have more or less tension placed upon them and they will vary their output accordingly. As we lift the weight, the amount of tension in the muscles increases and the muscles increase their power to hold our spine firmly.

These stabilising muscles are important for our joint function and safety. If the stabilizers don’t work with enough speed or strength then the joint may be sprained, strained or damaged. This may happen in one major accident, leading to strain or sprain – or it may happen over years.

Our reflexes then, control our muscle tone and protect us from injury. Learning how to test for muscle tone is important when a clinician is concerned with injury prevention.


Proprioceptive Medicine examines the neurophysiology controlling body function, including muscle performance.

The nervous system is composed of inputs from sensory receptors, integration of these inputs in the brain, and outputs. The sensory receptors include touch, pressure, pain, taste, smell and vision. When a weak muscle is found, we stimulate these sensory nerve receptors via massage, pressure on structures, tapping, manipulation, as well as other treatment methods and stimulation. If the proper receptors are adequately stimulated, the muscle will be facilitated or inhibited by the nervous system to the point where an immediate change of apparent muscle strength is observed.

A manual muscle test is performed when the body is positioned for the maximal isolation applying pressure to lengthen the muscle as it is contracted against the pressure. Manual muscle testing evaluates for patterns of strength and weakness (technically referred to as “facilitation” and “inhibition”, respectively). These strength and weakness patterns reflect differences in central nervous system control of muscular function. Any mechanical, chemical, or mental activities that alter a patient’s physiology and affect neurological function may be evaluated by manual muscle testing. Recent research has demonstrated objective differences between normally facilitated and conditionally inhibited muscles and that there is a significant level of inter-examiner reliability among testers.

Functional illness is the grey area of health that lies between optimal health and a pathological condition.

It is important to stress the difference between functional illness and a pathological disease state. A pathological condition is characterized by a clinical change in tissues and organs. A functional illness, however, is subtler than a pathological illness. For example, a muscle strain in the thigh makes it difficult to walk, whereas a broken leg prevents walking altogether.  Standard lab tests will produce abnormal results in a pathological condition, yet may not delineate abnormalities or observed cellular change in functional illness. However, recently developed tests have made great strides toward measuring functional illnesses. It is in addressing the “grey area” of functional illness that Applied Kinesiology is most effective.

The practice of Professional Applied Kinesiology requires that professionals trained in clinical diagnosis use it in conjunction with other standard diagnostic methods. As such, the use of Applied Kinesiology and its component assessment procedures are used appropriately only by individuals qualified to perform those procedures, including medical doctors, osteopaths, dentists, chiropractors and other licensed-to-diagnose professionals.

Additionally, Applied Kinesiology also uses other functional assessment measures such as posture, gait analysis, range of motion, static palpation and motion analysis. These assessments do not replace standard methods of diagnosis, but work in conjunction with time-honoured applications such as clinical history, physical examination findings and laboratory tests. Together, these findings assist the clinician in developing an impression of the unique physiological condition of each patient. This clinical impression is used as a guide to the application of treatment therapies.