Why this chiropractic tool is called a Y-Strap?
The “Y-Strap”, or “y-axis traction strap” to be more specific, gets its name from two characteristics that describe it:
A) The shape it has when used on the patient’s neck. The lower part of the “y” is the part that is wrapped around the patient’s neck and back of the head. After fastening the chiropractic Y-Strap to the patient’s head, the two “arms” of the “y” lead to the handle bar.
B) The body axis (Y-Axis) where the force takes place: The Y-Axis, also known as vertical axis is aligned with the spine.
How does the chiropractic Y-Strap adjustment work?
The Y-Strap adjustment works by stretching the spine pulling the head in the Y-Axis of the body. This pulling force generates a decompression in the vertebral discs.
The force applied can have different speed and force patterns: From a slow and smooth stretching motion to a HVLA (High Velocity, Low Amplitude) movement.
This HVLA is the procedure used in many chiropractic videos available on YouTube. The High Velocity Low Amplitude procedure generates a swift vacuum within the vertebrae discs that enables nutrients to flow into the discs.
The advantage in using the Y-Strap chiropractic technique is the straight angle and non-existant torsion of the procedure to treat a patient of spinal compression and disc problems.
Is the Y-Strap safe?
Spine traction has been a well-known and effective therapy in the health and wellness profession for hundreds of years. It has been proven to have a positive effect from a physiological, anatomical and neurological perspective.
The purpose of the spine stretching and traction is to relax the muscles in the back, to anatomically align the spine and to open the intervertebral foramina (IVF).
The IVF are small openings between each vertebra of the spine where the spinal nerves exit from the spinal cord.
Spine adjustment through manipulation of the spine’s y-axis has gained more and more popularity among chiropractors as well as osteopathists and physiotherapists worldwide. Social media platforms, such as YouTube and Facebook, have especially helped to spread the word about this spine manipulation technique, but can this Y-Axis spine adjustment method be trusted? Is the Y-Strap safe?
Rotational manipulation techniques
What makes the Y-Axis spine manipulation different to many other spine manipulations done by chiropractors, is the fact that it is performed without any torque.
A torque is the twisting motion that together with a specific force is applied in manipulation techniques, to mobilize vertebrae of the spine.
These torsion techniques rely on rotation of specific parts of the spine (including the neck), usually in a flexed or lateralized position, to create pressure relief on one side of the spine.
3. What makes the Y-Axis manipulations safe
The ligaments of the spine protect from over-elongation, so the bone, muscle and ligament damage are also limited.
Only if executed poorly (not pulling straight, unaligned position to the patient), is there a chance of torque to appear within the movement and the procedure running the risk of becoming unsafe.
Too much or too little pull: How to manipulate the spine correctly with the Y-Axis manipulation.
The images and videos shared online range widely in the depiction of how much pulling is needed to deliver satisfactory results to the patient. Nearly invisible or inaudible manipulations happen when Y-Axis traction is applied.
The truth is that the question of how much pulling is required can only be answered on an individual level, never in general: Depending on the patient’s statute, weight, physical condition and spine conditions at hand, it is up to the chiropractor to decide how much force to use when performing the y-axis adjustment. For this reason, it is once again crucial that the Y-Axis manipulation is only executed by certified and trained personnel that are experienced in assessing and treating each patient individually.
The Y-Strap is used to stretch the spine, some chiropractors use the Y-Strap to execute a Y-Axis adjustment.