Chiropractic Humanitarian Missions

spinal model Short Term Humanitarian Mission: Tanza Cavite, Philippines 2013

by Michel Tetrault, DC

Pastor Jung and his entire family have been our patients for five years and so one day he asked if we did medical / chiropractic missions. The answer was a prompt YES, as we have conducted dozens of solo and group humanitarian missions in the Philippines for some fifteen years.

The date was set for Sunday, December 15th 2013 in Tanza, Cavite, Philippines. The setting was a class room fitted with air-conditioning in a K to 12 International school; a school owned by the pastor’s family to serve the people of Cavite.

A typical hot and humid Sunday greeted us on this tropical over populated island. Thank God for air-conditioning! Over a five hour period some forty-seven people were checked and treated; thirteen percent of Korean nationality (pastor family and staff) and eighty-seven percent Filipinos ranging from the ages of six months to sixty-four years old; all members of Pastor Jung’s church located nearby.

It seems appropriate to tabulate the data obtained from the mission registration form as this mission represents a typical population that we encountered in all the previous missions. These statistics will be of interest to a variety of people as they meet the criteria of a statistically significant sampling of a Philippine community and the daily neuromusculoskeletal burden resulting in commonly occurring health problems and of those experienced in our practice. Ratios will vary from other population groups with different socio-economic factors.

Evaluation is a streamlined protocol that consists of a translated symptomatic history, visual assessment, cervical and thoraco-lumbar range of motion, Derifield leg check, orthopedic lumbo-pelvic tests and motion palpation of the entire spinal column for dysfunctional segments and paravertebral asymmetries of muscle tone, fibrous adhesions and edema.

The sampling consisted of 47 individuals: 69% female and 31% male. Ages in percentages as follows: 0-12 (9%); 13-20 (4%); 21-30 (24%); 31-40 (13%); 41-50 (31%); 51-60 (16%); and > 60 (4%). Data summarized include 15 common symptoms presented to chiropractors, Derifield leg checks and spinal levels treated, as represented in the following table:

missionsreport_chiropractic

Comments:

Physiological findings provided by the Derifield leg check indicates that 80% have a right short leg presentation over a 20% left short leg, or an 8:2 ratio; that 90% have a + ilium and 10% have a – ilium or a 9:1 ratio; and the cervical syndrome is 60% + on the left and 26% + on the right and 14% without any. The most common symptoms reported are low back pain (62%), headaches (58%), foot pain (56%), shoulder pain (49%), hip and leg pain (both 44%), and hand pain (40%); other symptoms are less frequently reported but still significant for chiropractic care.

Spinal levels indicating the highest segmental dysfunctions (subluxations) that were treated are: C1-71%, L5-54%, C5-30%, T2-23%; Right lilum 17%, and T4-14%.

The culture of manual labor and poorly supportive footwear (flip-flops) contribute to the high levels of hand and foot complaints. Chiropractic manipulative methods are well received and tolerated by the participants with several individuals reporting immediate relief. Exceptions encountered were one individual who needed to be counselled about hypochondriasis and others about obvious nutritional advice needed.

All together a blessing to the community and a tiring experience for this aging chiropractor (now 62 yo) admitting that future missions should include more practitioners and younger ones, too. Previous group missions included Medical and Dental practitioners making a more meaningful experience for the community participants. Statistically speaking a larger sampling would reduce the +/- variance on the percentages but with a little change from observations made here.

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