Above and Below Diaphragm

WHERE is the problem?

Where do we start to resolve the mystery of the altered gait? Observation of the gait, followed by
functional tests (e.g., sitting, getting up from sitting or laying down, circling around a person to test side-
bending and rotation in the spine, and jumping) can provide some insight into the dysfunctional mechanics.
However, the most important skill is manual testing of the normal and restricted joints in the dog. The
definition of normal joint feel or play is a "springy" end feel when testing the end range of the joint.
Understanding the mechanics of each joint helps determine what is normal quality and quantity of that
particular joint's movement.

In asking where the problem is, we will also use our "area of greatest restriction (AGR) model to
determine the area to treat first. One way to help determine the AGR is to somewhat arbitrarily divide
the dog's body into three areas:

  • Cranium (includes all parts of the head)
  • Above the diaphragm (includes the neck, thorax, and front legs)
  • Below the diaphragm (includes the abdomen, lumbo-pelvis, and hind legs)

Once you have determined which of the three areas contains the AGR, then you progressively work
from the larger area to smaller areas of restrictions.

If we have determined the AGR is in the below the diaphragm area, we will have to examine the spine,
the pelvis, and the extremity for normal joint play. This allows you to pinpoint the AGR in order to begin

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