What is the Pettibon System?


Understanding the Pettibon System

Developed over thirty years ago by chiropractic trailblazer Dr. Burl Pettibon, The Pettibon System delivers on the promise to provide healthcare that enables the patient to maintain their optimal structure for normal function.

The Pettibon System is a comprehensive rehabilitation program for the spine’s hard and soft tissues. Restoring the spinal form and function is a complicated process. There is no such thing as one protocol for temporary symptom relief. Instead, there is a system approach to achieve long-term and positive results. All products are available to doctors who create a professional account and can access their wholesale discount. Patients are welcome to order our limited collection of products for home care rehab without an account. 


In the Clinic: Before the Adjustment

Patients visiting a Pettibon practitioner’s clinic will not be passively waiting to see the doctor. They will be using several Pettibon tools in preparation for their adjustment.

The Pettibon System Repetitive Cervical Traction unit not only puts the necessary motion back into the cervical spine but also helps to restore disc height and eliminate pain. The Cervical Traction and Fat Traction (designed for TMJ patients) works to lower the cervical and thoracic spine resistance to mobilization.


The Therapeutic Wobble Chair is more than just a chair. It is a therapeutic exercise device that delivers multiple functions for rehabilitation which speeds up the healing process. By design, the Therapeutic Wobble Chair allows the user to sit on a specially designed “saddle-like” seat.

a woman using the pettibon system wobble chair

The seat provides 360° of rotation and 35°- 40° side to side and front to back flexion. There are specific Wobble Chair warmups and exercises that move the entire spine, (especially the pelvis and low back) through a complete range of motion. 

The full range of loading and unloading exercises warms up the spine. This is necessary to bring nutrients to the disc while carrying waste away. This loading and unloading cycle work to restore disc fluid that is lost daily due to being upright and under pressure.


The Pettibon System Fulcrums are a game-changer for patients who want to restore their spinal health. The Fulcrums are specially designed pieces of foam that work to mold the spine back to the natural curve. 

Fulcrums work in two ways. The first being through the passive process of laying on them uninterrupted for 20 minutes daily. This is the only spinal care activity that you may perform in bed. The second is through several exercises that a patient can do while laying on the Fulcrums. Pettibon Fulcrums are excellent to use at home, while in the clinic preparing for an adjustment, after an adjustment, or all three.



The Cervical Traction Unit, Therapeutic Wobble Chair, and Pettibon System Fulcrums work together to warm up the spine. This prepares the spine for the doctor’s examination and the use of the Pettibon System Adjusting Tools. Patients should be adjusted within six minutes after they have completed the warm-ups. During this relatively short time, resistance will not impede the adjusting forces. And, without resistance, there is also no pain, and pain-free manipulations are another distinction of The Pettibon System.   


In the Clinic: Adjusting the Patient

Pettibon System Y-Axis Traction Strap

Y-Axis Traction

The Pettibon System Y-Axis Traction Strap, AKA the Y-strap, was created by Pettibon System founder Burl Pettibon. Recently, it has been making big waves in the chiropractic industry after going viral on various social media platforms. 

It is a core instrument for any clinic, especially with doctors who treat patients with Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ).

Warm-up and stretching exercises are important to the success of a Y-strap adjustment. Having a patient warm-up on the Wobble Chair and Cervical Traction Unit before the Y-Strap adjustment will help the patient get the most out of their adjustment. 

It is important to remember that muscles guarding injured spinal joints spasm and splint. Splinting occurs if too strong or too fast a force is introduced before the guarding muscles and joining are stretched and warmed up. 



The Pettibon Weighting System

A woman wearing the Pettibon System Weighting System

The Pettibon Weighting System is made of carefully designed head, shoulder, and hip weights. Patients wear these weights daily for up to 20 minutes. They do this until their spinal form and function improve. The number of weights and their placement depends on what exactly needs to be corrected.

How it Works: 

The Pettibon Weighting System is the correcting force that causes the patient’s nervous system, righting reflexes, natural organizing energy, and spinal muscles to correct the spine and posture as they react to the strategically placed head, shoulder, and hip weights. The righting reflexes’ reactions cause the involved muscles to relax while others contract. This leads to pulling and holding the upright spine and posture into alignment with gravity. 

The muscles can cause the spine to align without other treatment. However, when the spine has been sufficiently warmed up before adjustment, less time and effort are required. The combined actions cause the fibers of the discs and ligaments to realign with the stress of the new position, thereby achieving permanent correction of the spine and posture. The Pettibon Weighting System is an excellent addition to any chiropractic clinic.


The Pettibon Tendon Ligament Muscle Stimulator Technique (PTLMS) 

The PTLMS is a staple instrument for any clinic utilizing the Pettibon System. It is an easy-to-learn tool that requires a learned “touch” which will come with practice. It is important that each member of the clinical team personally experience this instrument. This awareness will give the staff a better understanding of this tool and what the patient will be experiencing. 

The PTLMS is not like the multitudes of vibrator-type machines or electrical stimulators on the market today. It is not just a “feel good” machine that relaxes and quiets the patient. The PTLMS is a powerful instrument that to facilitates corrective spinal adjustments and rehabilitation. 

The PTLMS delivers a rapid, up, and downward force, which produces traction on ligaments, muscles, and tendons. These forces stimulate regeneration and function in line with normal stress. 

The weight of the instrument is enough to get the desired effect. The PTLMS does not need to be pushed on to achieve results. 



The Pettibon Multiple Digital Toggle (MDT) Adjusting Instrument

Multiple Digital Toggle Being Demonstrated On A Model of the human spine

The MDT is an electric, solenoid-driven instrument designed for multiple tasks. It is particularly effective in applying either a single toggle or multiple toggles with the speed, force, and depth necessary to overcome the resistances of soft tissues. It does an excellent job of repositioning and mobilizing various joints.

The MDT allows single toggles or timed multiple toggles. The timing is important; it must be faster than the speed of the muscle’s reactive response so that the body accepts the adjustment instead of rejecting it by muscle-reactive responses.

Padded, interchangeable, multiple-function stylus tips make the instrument adaptable to a range of patients and needs.

The MDT has a wide range of force settings that allows the adjusting of sensitive TMJ joints and the delicate necks of infants, as well as large individuals.



Pettibon System at Home 

With the Pettibon System, patients will take an active role in their rehabilitation. Meaning they will use Pettibon equipment at home, twice daily, to strengthen their postural muscles and build endurance. Patients will understand that home care will speed up their rehabilitation. Keeping this in mind, the clinical team needs to help their patient stay on track through their consistent enthusiasm and encouragement. 

Creating an at Home Care Kit

Patients are encouraged to get involved in their spinal care. Providing patients with the tools to be consistent with their healing is vital to creating positive lasting results.

The Pettibon System suggests patients include several Pettibon System products in their homecare kit. 

The Pettibon System Portable Wobble chair is an excellent choice for patients who want the benefits of the full-size Therapeutic Wobble chair in the comfort of their own home. The Portable Wobble Chair is small, lightweight, and easy to store. 

The Pettibon Cervical Traction Unit is a great addition to a patient’s homecare kit. This will allow the patient to work on reestablishing motion and hydrating their spinal discs as well as having access to all the other benefits of traction at home. 

The Pettibon Fulcrums are a great tool for at-home care. Used after warming the spine up with a combination of the Cervical Traction unit and Wobble Chair will achieve the best results. 

Used together these products will produce lasting changes for each patient. The Pettibon System focuses on providing the practitioner the best tools for their patients, as well as providing the patient the ability to continue their spinal care in the comfort of their own home.