Students attending Cleveland University-Kansas City’s (CUKC) College of Chiropractic are now using new and innovative technology that is redefining the landscape of chiropractic education. CUKC has recently integrated a Technique Simulation Lab experience into the doctor of chiropractic curriculum. The lab includes Force Sensing Table Technology™ (FSTT), a Cox 8 force-sensing table, and many training aids for assessing the outcome of motor skills learning.
Chiropractic students gain valuable, and continued experience in the simulation lab starting at the beginning of the academic program as this new technology has proven to be an effective teaching tool for developing the motor skills fundamental to chiropractic technique and practice.
To enhance the development of the skills used by students to deliver a chiropractic manual adjustment, a specific form of spinal manipulation, the FSTT integrates force plate technology and handheld sensors to measure force. This force-sensing technology provides instantaneous data on the mechanical loads of the chiropractic manual thrust that the student applies to a mannequin that anatomically simulates a human torso, head and neck.
The technology offers immediate objective feedback about the amplitude and velocity of the student’s manual thrust through a digitally displayed force-time profile. These forces can be directly quantified and compared to the force-time profiles of experienced clinicians. This comparison assists the student in achieving the desired outcome.
“The FSTT has been a game-changer for faculty, as it elevates the instruction and learning process and delivers a level of specificity and student motor skill development never seen before,” Dean of the College of Chiropractic, Dr. Jon Wilson, said.
CUKC was one of the first chiropractic institutions to develop a Technique Simulation Lab, and he is enthusiastic about the impact it will have on CUKC students and, ultimately, the profession as a whole.
“This technology has the opportunity to not only revolutionize chiropractic education, but it also offers the ability to begin studying how the force and speed of the spinal adjustment affect patient care,” Wilson said. “If I know a certain level of force is appropriate and effective for treating a patient, as for example, with low back pain, and I have been trained using a force table to accurately reproduce those forces, it provides for better patient care.”
Another enhancement to the Simulation Lab came with the addition of the Cox 8 Force Sensing Table. The Cox table offers force sensing capabilities similar to the FSTT but enables instructors to better prepare students for the use of Flexion-Distraction Technique procedures.
Assistant Dean of Chiropractic Education, Dr. Steve Agocs, said the Cox table is a compliment to the technique simulation program at CUKC, which is marrying technology with manual technique instruction.
“This teaching equipment provides the student a simulation experience of applying mechanically-assisted long axis distraction of the spine,” Agocs said. “This procedure is an option for patients with herniated or bulging intervertebral discs, and for managing the associated pain, and related radiculopathy that can result from these conditions.”
In addition to the benefits of long axis distraction, the table allows the practitioner to apply controlled, precise passive movements of the spine in flexion, lateral flexion, and circumduction of both the cervical and lumbar spine. Distraction maneuvers may also be effective in certain knee and shoulder problems.
While the use of this technology is valuable for instructing future doctors of chiropractic in manual motor skill development for spine care, the benefits can be realized in other ways.
“This technology also offers new opportunities for research to assess forces and dosages of spinal manipulation procedures for intervention in a variety of musculoskeletal conditions,” CUKC Director of Research, Dr. Mark Pfefer, said.
Whether it’s training a chiropractic student to treat an elderly patient with neck pain, or for the management of knee osteoarthritis or disk problems, the integration of this simulation technology at CUKC will yield enhanced outcomes for patients seeking chiropractic care.