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SOT (Sacro Occipital Techniques)

The Sacro Occipital Technique, also called SOT, was developed by Major Bertrand DeJarnette, DO, DC in the late 1920s and has been researched and developed over the ensuing years. SOT is a commonly used chiropractic technique designed to reduce or eliminate pain or disorders in the craniospinal, TMJ,head, neck, back and pelvis, extremities (foot, ankle, knee, and hip as well as hand, wrist, elbow, and shoulder) and in specific cases improve organ function.


An important distinction of SOT is the use of indicators. Each adjustment has a sign or signal that the we use to know when and where to adjust. For example, muscle tension at the knee may indicate the pelvis needs correction, and connective tissue fibers at the base of the skull (called occipital fibers) indicate different vertebra in the back or spine may be in need of an adjustment. This also tells us on the next visit if the correction has been completely or marginally effective. From these indicators, we design a different adjustment set on each visit, listening to the body each time. It takes study to master this method of care, but it makes for an effective, precise adjustment without relying exclusively on x-rays.

One of DeJarnette’s great discoveries was a category system that recognizes that human structures have specific patterns of imbalance. By generalizing patients into three categories DeJarnette developed methods of determining three identifiable, yet interrelated, systems of body reaction. Through the use of specific indicators, location and correction of these body patterns a system of before and after treatment tests can be applied to evaluate need for care and whether the care was successful.




Category I deals with the primary respiratory mechanism between the sacrum and occiput. This relationship is described typically as pelvic torsion (twisting of the pelvis that makes it seem as if one leg is shorter than the other) with limited sacral nutation (tailbone movement). The spinal and cranial meningeal and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) systems function, to a degree, like a closed kinematic chain. Therefore the sacral or tailbone meningeal attachments and reduced movement can have an affect on the tissues above such as the spine with meningeal altered tensions, CSF stagnation, and altered vascular related function.

Category II involves over-motion or instability of the sacroiliac joint causing a dysfunctional relationship between the tailbone and pelvis. The sacroiliac weight-bearing joint sprain makes if difficult for the body to maintain itself against gravity and function at its optimum. It is common with this category to find low back imbalance which can affect the knees, shoulders, neck and TMJ with Category II patients. When Category II patients are not treated and the condition persists it can lead to a Category III type condition.

Category III is commonly associated with severe low back pain relating to sciatica or disc herniation  Patients often have difficulty standing up straight and can be leaning to one side and forward. They will have pain when they cough or sneeze, attempt to sit or arise from a seated position, or even just putting on their shoes. It is also possible to have numbness or weakness in the legs.

SOT offers very specific methods that are effective and specific for each individual patient’s needs. Each patient is treated individually and in some instances other SOT methods are needed to improve function of organs (CMRT – chiropractic manipulative reflex technique), cranial bone and TMJ (jaw), and foot, ankle, knee, hip as well as hand, wrist, elbow, shoulder function.



Information cited from SOTO USA webpage


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