Humans develop, act and react in time and need to their environment under the direction and control of the nervous system. For Pettibon practitioners, humans' functional spinal environment is gravity. And gravity is an absolute environment to which the upright spine and posture must develop and relate to.
The role that gravity plays in how abnormal spinal form develops is fundamental to Pettibon chiropractic principles. As Dr. Pettibon explains, “The nervous system always wants us to hold our heads upright. And the nervous system will do this at the expense of displacing the lower spine."
Gravity is an absolute environment to which the upright spine and posture of humans must develop and relate.
Since gravity is an absolute, there has to be an absolute optimal position for the upright spine and posture.
The skull is a vertebra. It's the only vertebra that knows its neurologically optimal position and has the ability to establish and maintain that posture.
The normal spine is composed of six opposing lever-arm units. The units' division is based upon muscle attachment and function.
The global spine's position relative to gravity is more important than its units or its segments.
Individual spinal vertebrae, with the exception of the skull-atlas, do not move out of normal position independent of their unit and become displaced without soft tissue compromise.
Posture is controlled neurologically. Righting reflexes and the cerebellum regulate the skull's upright position—keeping the skull upright even at the expense of displacing the lower spine.
A less than optimum lateral and A-P spine and posture compromises spinal function.
How then do Pettibon practitioners take these principles and put them into practice by re-aligning the spine so that it can function optimally in its upright position relative to gravity? They apply the science at the core of The Pettibon System: The patented Pettibon Weighting System.
The Pettibon Weighting System consists of specially designed head, shoulder and hip weights that patients wear for up to 20 minutes daily until the spine is corrected. The amount of weights and their placement depend upon the spinal displacement that needs to be corrected.
How the weights work: Wearing the weights alters the head's, thoracic cage's and pelvis' centers of mass, causing the righting reflexes to send spine correcting sensory input to the nervous system. To balance the body to the weights, the nervous system's innate organizing energy causes some involved spinal muscles to relax and others to contract, thereby repositioning and correcting the spine and posture relative to gravity. Additionally, the weights make the involved muscles do isometric exercises, needed to restore their strength, endurance and balance.
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