Different Methods of Neck Adjustments

Neck adjustments are often the number 1 thing patients are nervous about when seeing a Chiropractor for the first time. In my next series of videos I want to shine a little light on why neck adjustments are important for overall health as well as different methods I can use, depending on the comfort level of my patient, to adjust the neck.

First let’s talk about the benefits of realigning the neck:

  • Relieve neck pain
  • Decrease headaches
  • Increase range of motion
  • Relieve stress
  • Improve mood
  • Improve posture
  • Improve sleep

These really are just a few of the more common benefits patients experience after receiving a neck adjustment. If you’re having an issue that you think this kind of adjustment can help, always feel free to ask.

I have three different methods I use for adjusting the neck based on patient comfort level, specific issues you have been experiencing and history.

  1. The Activator. This is a hand held instrument used to adjust the spine. It is a gentle and very precise way of adjusting the spine as well as the extremities.
  2. The Drop Table. The drop table is a special table that has certain areas that drop down. I have the patient lay on the table then apply a quick thrust which forces the table to drop down. Though the table often makes a loud noise, this is another gentle way of releasing the pressure in the neck.
  3. Manual Adjustment. This is probably the method most think of when they think of a neck adjustment. I can do this with the patient laying down or sitting up. This method entails a high velocity, low amplitude thrust that usually results in a cavitation of the joint.

Each of these three methods are extremely effective in maintaining proper alignment and healing symptoms you might be experiencing. Stay tuned, I will be posting videos of the three different types of neck adjustments to give you a better idea what to expect.

If you have any questions at all leave a comment below or call the office at 515-967-3007.

-Dr. Dawson

How Chiropractic Can Help with Knee Pain

Pain in the front of the knee is very common among weight lifters, athletes, weekend warriors or just your weekend snow shoveler. There are many reasons that one may get knee pain but most can be traced back to poor joint mobility, tight or weak muscles due to inactivity or poor biomechanics.

One of my patients came in to the office with anterior knee and upper thigh pain. This patient had a fall almost a month ago but didn’t develop any pain until last week. The patient could no longer lift her leg when sitting or lying down. She had also started using a cane because she felt off balance due to her leg injury. After a quick exam we ruled out any serious injuries to the back and leg and were able to start her down the road of healing.

After my initial assessments I was able to find areas requiring adjustment to realign the hips and lower back. After the most important part was finished, I worked on knee traction and adjusted the knee as well. Finally, we focused on the tight muscles of the quadriceps, IT band and hip flexor. After a few treatments, she was able to lift her leg without pain and began walking without the cane again. She is still not at 100% yet but she is feeling better with each appointment and her body is responding really well to treatment.

There are many causes to anterior knee pain. If you or someone you know has knee pain, get into the office soon so we can figure out what is going on and get you back to being pain free! 515-967-3007

Next week I’ll show you exercises and stretches to help with knee health.

-Dr. Dawson

Stretches, Exercises and Adjustments for Sore Wrists

Often when a patient calls in complaining of wrist pain they assume they are experiencing symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome. Although the wrist is small in surface area, it has many important soft tissues that pass through it (muscles, nerves, and tendons). I wrote about carpal tunnel syndrome HERE and described it as a situation where a nerve gets compressed and can lead to tingling down into the fingers. However, there are other reasons that one’s wrist may hurt.

For example, if you get pain whenever you do pushups, or get in the front squat position with a bar against your collarbone- that is not carpal tunnel syndrome. Most likely it is a misalignment of one or more of the 8 little bones in the wrist or adhesions within the ligaments. If you ignore the pain and don’t fix the problem, you may start to compensate and could injure another area in the body. So what can you do about it.

  1. Come in to see me. I can determine where the cause of the problem actually is. I can adjust the bones and get them moving correctly.


  1. Strengthen your wrist with these simple exercises- 2x/day, 15-30 repetitions.IMG_7128 IMG_7129

Again, if you have any questions, feel free to call the office!

Dr. Marcus Dawson 515-967-3007


Exercises and Stretches to Ease Shoulder Pain and Rotator Cuff Issues

I receive many phone calls from people experiencing shoulder pain who tell me it’s their rotator cuff acting up. But is the rotator cuff really the cause of their shoulder pain?

The rotator cuff usually gets most of the blame when it comes to shoulder pain, but is it really the cause of your shoulder discomfort? The rotator cuff could be getting damaged secondary to the real problem. The real problem could be your misaligned back. Let me explain…

A lot of people have rounded shoulders which can be contributed to tight pectoralis muscles as well as a weak mid back. This pulls the scapulas way off to the side when they should be close to the spine. This causes the scapulas to move too early when you raise your arm to the side and your rotator cuff does not like it. So now that we know the problem, what’s the solution?

Chiropractic care has been proven to help with some shoulder pain and I could work on your rotator cuff every time you come in which will certainly offer some relief.  You could also look up shoulder exercises on the internet and try to do internal and external rotation exercises to help and it could cause more injury to your shoulder.

My recommendations:

Come in to see me to adjust the mid back as well as access the problem of your shoulder to see exactly what you need. I will also probably recommend the following stretches and exercises.


  1. Stretch pectoralis muscle in all three directions. Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds.


  1. Rows in all three plains. Shoulders down and back, elbows next to side. Squeeze scapulas together like crushing a ball between shoulder blades. 2 sets of 12
  2. Serratus anterior-  punch at corner of ceiling with thumb up. 2 sets of 12

These stretches and exercises should not cause shoulder discomfort if they do stop and ask for help at your next appointment. Check out the video below for demonstrations of the stretches and exercises.


Frequently Asked Questions-Are All Patients Adjusted the Same Way?

Patient Form

“Are all patients adjusted the same way?” Is another question I get asked frequently. Let me break that down for you.

The short answer is-no! Our bodies are all uniquely designed and the way we live our life greatly affects the needs of our bodies. It would be out of the question for me to treat each patient exactly the same, especially without really evaluating the patient’s actual needs.

This is why your first visit to me will be a little longer. I do basic un-invasive testing to see which parts of your body are showing signs of misalignment. If X-rays or some other more extensive testing is needed, I walk through why I believe that.

Once I get a clear picture of what I’m working with, I evaluate which kind of method(s) I’ll be using to help with the adjustments. I have various tables and instruments that allow for all kinds of patients such as elderly, pregnant or unstable to be adjusted safely and comfortably.

Finally, I develop an individual plan. I compare this to your medical professional you might see for other health related issues. If you go to your family practice MD with a virus, you won’t receive much treatment. If you show up with strep throat your MD will probably prescribe a low dose antibiotic and a plan to get you healthy as soon as possible. If you come in with a fractured leg your health plan will probably require more medications, surgery, etc. It’s the same for chiropractic care. If you are generally in good health with only minor aches and pains, you will require far less appointments and adjustments than someone who has just been through a traumatic event (like a car accident, for instance.)

Furthermore, I re-evaluate often so that I can make sure I’m continuously doing what your body needs in that moment rather than what it needed a year or so ago. As you age your body changes so it’s important your individual plan changes with those needs.

If you have any questions about my evaluations or how I come up with each plan I would be happy to answer. Just give the office a call at 515-967-3007

Patient Form