Certified Chiropractic Extremity Practitioner (CCEP) is a post-doctoral specialty pursued by some Doctors of Chiropractic, provided by numerous accredited Chiropractic Colleges and by non-profit educational organizations such as the Council on Extremity Adjusting (CEA). The course of study for this credential typically consists of seven modules, such as the following, offered at the prestigious Palmer College of Chiropractic (https://www.palmer.edu/ccep/):
• Advanced Principles of TMJ, Ribs and Shoulder Girdle
• Advanced Principles of Upper Extremities
• Advanced Principles of Lower Extremities
• Advanced Principles of Foot, Gait and Orthotics
• Advanced Principles of Rehabilitation
• Advanced Principles of Soft Tissue
• Advanced Principles of Global Assessment
The CCEP courses involve a combination of classroom and clinical instruction, usually followed by an examination at the completion of each module. Those who successfully complete all seven modules can sit for a final, practical examination. Some colleges and providers who grant this certification also have a continuing education requirement, which requires the certified practitioner to pursue ongoing studies in extremity adjusting and related specialties such as sports, orthopedic medicine, neurology, or rehabilitation.
Traditional chiropractic focuses on adjustment of the spine to locate subluxations (displacements) of the vertebrae and correct them to restore and maintain optimum health. But the impact of injuries or displacements in a patient’s extremities can have a profound impact on the overall health of the spine. While spinal manipulation may provide temporary relief, displacements of the extremities can exacerbate the vertebral subluxations and make their symptoms worse. For example, some spinal injuries can also involve displacement of the arms, legs, shoulders, feet, ankles, or the soft tissue surrounding these extremities, all of which can aggravate spinal subluxations and increase the patient’s sensations of pain, constriction of movement, and lack of general well-being. In some cases misaligned joints in the extremities can actually create improper movement patterns, or cause the vertebrae to slip out of place, even following a spinal adjustment. These imbalances in the extremities can in some cases be the root cause of the spinal imbalance, and contribute to patterns of chronic pain and related symptoms.
The aim of chiropractic is to treat the whole body and to locate weaknesses, whether they are in the spine, muscles, extremities, or the tissues that connect them. A Certified Chiropractic Extremity Practitioner studies the musculoskeletal system and how to adjust not just the spine and neck, but also the patient’s extremities, to best resolve injuries and restore the whole body to a state of health.