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Y-Strap Chiropractor, Why Not?

Yes, I get questions about the YouTube videos of the “Y-Strap chiropractor”.  Yes, I’ve seen them and no, I wouldn’t let someone do that to me.  The procedure as performed on YouTube isn’t taught in any chiropractic school; there’s no literature or research which proves its effectiveness and simple physiology would seem to indicate that there’s significant risk associated with a quick and powerful pull of the delicate structures of the neck.  There is so much that could go wrong in this nonspecific intense maneuver.

3d rendered medically accurate illustration of the head anatomy

The device called the Y-Strap was introduced to the profession by a highly regarded technique instructor.  The Y-Strap was used for a slow sustained traction-like pull on the structures of the neck in this technique, which is very different from the quick and strong snapping pull illustrated on YouTube, often moving a 120 plus pound (or more) patient over 18 inches along a table.

There’s also an issue of filming a patient treatment to post on YouTube to make money.  When a discount is offered to coerce a patient to allow their care to be put out there for all to see and “comment” on, there’s clearly an ethical boundary which has been breached.  As anyone with any appreciation for how YouTube works would know, it’s all about the clicks.  The more views, the more Google pays attention and the more you, as a consumer, get to see more of this stuff.  When all titles are click bait;  “Crack” “Pop” “Snap” “CRACKLE” “Loudest” *Y-Strap* (all caps are a great attention getter) and those receiving care are YouTube insta-models, the number of subscribers and views continues to climb.  Remember, the Gummy Bear song had 1.6 billion views in 2006; that doesn’t mean they’re good for you.

When watching the videos, that “jolt of electricity” sensation which some patients report having felt running down their arms or legs is not the doctor “turning the power on”, or “years of tension and stress leaving the body”.  It’s trauma being delivered to the nervous system.  Slam your elbow on the corner of your desk for confirmation.

Another video which has appeared in response to the Y-Strap chiropractor is from spine surgeon Dr. Antonio Webb.  I’ve featured this video in this blog post.  Dr. Webb is very gracious in his evaluation of this YouTube phenomena. While he doesn’t completely rule out the procedure, he offers the caution that it should be performed  “only if you have been evaluated by a health-care professional including diagnostic testing, imaging (x-rays) and an exhaustive history”.  While I can’t state that any of these things aren’t accomplished before the YouTube doctor does his Y Strap thing, he’s not putting my mind at ease when he starts his video with a cursory history and every patient seems to have the exact same procedure performed, no matter what the presenting complaints.

There are many safe and conservative, evidence based procedures which your chiropractor can perform which alleviate pain. Ask good questions, and feel comfortable with the answers before engaging with any health care provider.

As always, buyer beware.

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