Vertebral Subluxation





Vertebral Subluxation Complex

The vertebral subluxation is the cornerstone of chiropractic practice. It is the goal of chiropractors to find it and correct it, to ensure the fullest expression of innate intelligence in an organism. There is no bigger or more important job, that one could think of, to benefit his fellow man than to restore proper nerve flow. Chiropractic deals with the nervous system. The brain controls all cells of the body through an aggregated bundle of nerve fibers that exit the skull and pass through twenty-four freely movable bones called vertebra. This aggregated bundle of fibers is called the spinal cord and it sends peripheral nerve tissue exiting horizontally from between the vertebra as it continues its downward course. These peripheral nerves branch and supply every one of the ten billion cells of a human body, they also carry information from the cells back to the brain. This cycle of intelligent input and output is the homeostatic mechanism. It ensures adaptability of an organism within the normal ranges of its matter. If there is interference with this cycle, then proper homeostatic messages are disrupted and the organism experiences dis-ease. Dis-ease is defined as a decline from adaptability, the organism functions with decreasing efficiency or ease. If left alone this can lead to manifestations of the underlying dis-ease, namely pathologies and diseases. Chiropractors feel that dis-ease is always due to interference with intelligent mental impulses from brain to periphery or vice vs. Further more the manifestation of this interference is the vertebral subluxation. Vertebral Subluxation is defined by R.W. Stephenson as The condition of a vertebra which has lost it’s proper juxtaposition with the one above or the one below, or both; to an extent less than a luxation(complete dislocation); which impinges nerves and interferes with the transmission of mental impulses.(1) There has been an unrest in the profession. A push, by some to revamp and sugar coat this definition so that it sounds more educationally professional for insurance companies and mechanistic doctors. This new definition is termed vertebral subluxation complex, and has many different spins. “An abnormal physical relationship between adjacent anatomical structures whose contiguous tissues are eliciting neurological responses that may be clinically manifested as symptoms, signs, functional changes, and morphological alterations of a disease state, but less than a complete disruption of a dislocation or fracture. These subluxations may anatomically exist in the static juxtaposition of related structures or within a point or portion of their biokinetic range of motion.”(2). “Subluxation is an aberrant relationship between two adjacent articular structures that may have functional or pathological sequelae, causing an alteration in the biomechanical and/or neurophysiological reflections of those articular structures and/ or other body systems that may be directly or indirectly affected by them..” (3) These are just two examples, but countless others exist. Basically these definitions are designed with the avarice and self-importance of the organizations in which they came from. These definitions are vague and technical. They do nothing to focus the profession, but rather are designed to play to mechanistic audiences. No where in these two examples is the spine or vertebra mentioned. This makes them incomplete at best, or else downright misleading. Subluxations can only occur between vertebra. No where else in the body is so much nervous tissue surrounded by two freely movable synovial joints. Any other location, in the body, is a misalignment and is not in the realm of chiropractic. The first example refers to the fact that subluxations create signs /symptoms and disease. Chiropractors know that this is not always the case and even if it was chiropractic does not treat or manage symptoms or disease.
This brings us back to the question; What is a subluxation? Stephenson’s Chiropractic Textbook gives us a definition (Art.26 pg. 2). It is a definition that has and will continue to be all encompassing and complete. A subluxation is the condition of a vertebra which has lost its proper juxtaposition with the one above or the one below, or both; to an extent less than a luxation; This part explains that a subluxation occurs in the spinal column between two particular vertebra. The vertebra in question can either show hyper/hypomobility or fixation either in passive or active motion. This loss of juxtaposition(closeness/unity) implies also an occlusion