What Is The SOT Technique?

SOT is one of the most utilised approaches in chiropractic. The founder of the technique, Major Bertrand DeJarnette, was a prolific researcher and consistently developed his approach throughout his chiropractic career from the 1920’s to 1992. SOT refers to Sacro Occipital Technique, since we are concerned with the balance and interplay between the sacrum (in the pelvis) and the occiput (the base of the skull).

THE BASIS OF SOT IS THAT THE BODY STRUCTURES ARE PRONE TO LOSING THEIR PROPER FUNCTION AND ALIGNMENT WHEN EXPOSED TO STRESS. THIS STRESS CAN BE ANY FORM, FROM PHYSICAL STRESSES, CHEMICAL AND MENTAL.

What DeJarnette found is that this breakdown of function in the body occur in three distinct yet interrelated categories. All three categories have specific indicators and findings that affect the whole body, creating distortions in the spine and pelvis, the skull (cranium) and muscles. So the approach of SOT is to help identify the overall pattern of distortion (called a subluxation in chiropractic) so we can identify the primary cause. This means we can treat with greater accuracy and efficiency.

Dejarnette believed:

“distortions (subluxations) are massive muscular efforts which result in specific and localised fixations. These fixations act as a source of nerve stimulus to other muscles until the body reaches an impasse. They result from a primary area of segmental neuron stimuli [nerve irritation], but by the time you see the patient, so many things have happened that it is difficult to locate the basic area of subluxation.”

Major DeJarnette

By using specific indicators, like precise measurement of your posture (read more here), the balance in the leg length, pain findings and how certain area’s of the body respond to pressure, we can determine which category you are in. This allows us to direct the treatment efficiently to the primary area’s involved.

This image below demonstrates the three categories and the diverse compensations that develop as a result of the imbalance. The SOT approach uses specific treatment protocols for each category so that we can get to the primary issue, as opposed to directing treatment to the many compensations and painful areas that are only secondary responses to the problem.

SOTcategories

CATEGORY 1

Involves a neurological twist pattern that commonly presents with pelvic (lower back), mid-back, or neck pain, as well as with organ problems such as acid reflux. This category is usually the first to develop, and the body may be adapting sufficiently enough to avoid major pain or symptoms.

CATEGORY 2

Involves a loss of the weight-bearing integrity of the  sacroiliac joint in the pelvis. The ligaments that support the pelvis are under pressure and strain, resulting in pelvic dysfunction. Because the pelvis is the base of the spine and the weight transfer between the lower and upper body, many compensations can develop, including lower back pain, leg or arm pain, jaw problems and headaches, as well as balance or dizziness issues. Many of the postural muscles can be affected, including the pelvic floor and diaphragm.

CATEGORY 3

Involves a mechanical failure of the tissues in the lower back and commonly presents with sciatica, disc problems, and often numbness or tingling in the leg. This category is usually a progression from the category 2 and the body’s inability to sufficiently adapt to the strain. By this stage there is often severe pain and recovery can be prolonged.

SOT TREATMENT

Treatment is directed at relieving stress on the nervous system, as well as the muscles, bones, discs, and ligaments. We use pelvic blocks which the patient lies on to help correct torsion and imbalance in the pelvis. These are gentle wedge-shaped devices placed under the pelvis in specific directions, depending on which category you are in.  We use your own breathing and body weight to bring about a correction.

Alongside the pelvic blocking we use other procedures such as neurological pressure points to the spine and joints, light contact to the skull and/or jaw, as well as gentle pressure to assist organ movement.


References

Gentle Care Chiropractic Norwest, Fact Sheet—SOT Chiropractic, 2012 [online]. Available at https://www.gentlecarechironorwest.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Fact-Sheet-SOT.pdf [accessed 24 July 2021].