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Dynamic Chiropractic – November 4, 2002, Vol. 20, Issue 23
Dynamic Chiropractic
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Dynamic Chiropractic

Chiropractic in an Israeli Air Force Clinic

By Shahar Kenin, DC, Past President, Israeli Chiropractic Society

Air Force pilots and crews flying fighter jets are subjected to tremendous amounts of physical pressure on their spines. The maneuvers of air combat inflict particularly high vertical loads (G-forces) on the cervical spine. If you examine a pilot's neck during such high G-force maneuvers, you will find that the entire neck has shrunken to about half its size. This vertical force combined with rotation of the neck to one side or even backwards (to look for bogies) can cause a tremendous amount of pressure on the cervical IVDs, which can lead to disc bulges and herniations.

We see a lot of F-4 and F-16 pilots with brachial radiculopathies induced by training overload; as a result, some of them need to cease flying for a couple of months. Such long downtimes is very costly to the Air Force and to the pilots. We are trying to prevent these occurrences with chiropractic care and rehabilitation exercises.

While the combat pilots suffer mainly from mid-back, neck and arm pain, helicopter pilots suffer mostly from LBP. The constant rotor action creates significant vibration in the chopper seats, which is absorbed mainly in the lumber IVDs. Sitting for hours in the chopper seats only exacerbates the problem. Add this fact to the handle asymmetically situated on the left side of the helicopter pilot, and you have the perfect recipe for discogenic LBP.

Chiropractic treatments are given to the pilots and crew twice a week at a base near Tel Aviv. We use mostly diversified techniques and stretches; strengthening exercises are given as well to promote a better posture and alignment. Chiropractic in the Israeli Air Force Clinic is now entering its sixth year. Plans are for the Air Force to open chiropractic clinics in bases in the north and the south.

We also plan to perform a study on the effects of cervical manipulation on the F-16 pilots, checking their flight capabilities before and after treatment. So far the results are very positive.

The chiropractor reservists in the Air Force would like to thank the Gottlieb family for their wonderful donation of Dr. Moshe Gottlieb's chiropractic table. Dr. Gottlieb was murdered in the suicide bomb attack at the Pat junction in Jerusalem, June 17, 2002. (Editor's note: See "Volunteer DC Dies in Terrorist Attack" www.chiroweb.com/archives/20/16/07.html.) The Gottlieb family decided to help the chiropractic family in the sweetest way: helping the soldiers who seek chiropractic care. We are greatly thankful.


About the author: Capitan Shahar Kenin,BSc,DC, is employed by Tel Aviv University in the department of anatomy and anthropology at the Sackler Faculty of Medicine in Ramat Aviv, Israel. He is a 1999 graduate of the National University of Health Sciences College of Chiropractic in Lombard, IL. He earned a BS in human biology from Wingate College in Netanya, Israel, and a bachelor's of education in exercise physiology and heart and lung rehabilitation.

Dr. Kenin has been a co-principal investigator in a number of research studies, including two studies conducted at Tel Aviv University on the histopathology of the internal thoracic artery, and the motor activity response to spinal manipulative therapy in laboratory mice. A study by K. Humphreys,DC,PhD, and Dr. Kenin ("An investigation of connective tissue bridges originating from the posterior spinal dura") is now in press.


Capt. Shahar Kenin,BSc,DC


Dr. Shahar Kenin, a 1999 graduate of National University of Health Sciences, is an Israeli chiropractor who has practiced for more than a decade in his private clinic. He is also employed by Tel Aviv University in the Department of Anatomy and Anthropology at the Sackler School of Medicine. Dr. Kenin has been a co-principal investigator on a number of research studies, including two studies conducted at Tel Aviv University on the histopathology of the internal thoracic artery and the motor activity response to spinal manipulative therapy in laboratory mice. He served as fifth president of the Israeli Chiropractic Society from 2005-2008 and was deeply involved in the making of the new law.

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