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Cause or Effect

Does a body good?I’ll often ask a chiropractor whether vertebral subluxation is a cause or an effect.

It’s a trick question of course because it's likely both a cause and an effect. Yet, judging by the gusto with which many chiropractors go after subluxations to alleviate headaches and other symptoms, I wonder if they overlook the actual cause of vertebral subluxation.

It would be a shame if chiropractors fell for the vertebral subluxation in the same way many in medicine have gone after cholesterol, milk "does a body good" or that fat makes you fat and all the rest.

Since spinal bones are static structures that move when muscles contract. And muscles contract when commanded by the nervous system, with the exception of whiplash and other obvious physical insults, it seems to me that subluxation is largely a neurological phenomenon.

When the patient’s innate intelligence (mental impulse) commands the muscles to contract (nerve impulse) and produce aberrant biomechanics of the spine manifesting as the defensive posture we call vertebral subluxation, does the body suddenly become "stupid?"

In other words, is vertebral subluxation a sign of intelligence; a creative expression of the body that it purposely produces as an adaptation to stress, or is vertebral subluxation a mistake; an error that needs to be “fixed?”

Is the stressor still present in the patient’s life? If so, is it respectful to “force” your notion of normalcy onto the patient by thrusting into their spine after their innate intelligence has put those wayward bones into that "abnormal" position?

Even though this strategy consistently produces symptomatic improvement with a high percentage of patients, these same patients often continue to exhibit subluxation patterns long after their symptoms subside.

In my own case, I began care without obvious symptoms in February of 1981 as a research project to prepare myself for writing what became known as the Peter Graves patient education video. I showed up with largely the same spinal pattern, chiropractor after chiropractor, until my seventh began addressing the emotional component back in 1996. That’s when things began to change.

Many feel unprepared or simply reluctant to explore the emotional subluxation. Granted, it can be messy. Maybe time consuming. And some might even assert, isn’t even chiropractic. Yet, ask most chiropractors which stressor (physical, chemical or emotional) is responsible for the majority of subluxations, and overwhelmingly emotions are mentioned as the number one culprit. (Or in D. D. Palmer parlance, "autosuggestion.") This seems to put many chiropractors deep into symptom-treating territory, producing a glaring contradiction to their claim to “address the underlying cause of your problem.”

Even if you have the technology to address emotional subluxations (N.E.T., E.F.T., etc.), you’re still “treating” effects of stress. Seems to me that if you really want to be a Doctor of Cause (D.C.) you’d help give patients a greater awareness of the myriad of physical, chemical and emotional stress that most of us take for granted. Help reduce the overall stress burden carried by patients, and your traditional spinal adjustments are likely to be even more effectual.

Besides having greater congruency, this emphasis on stress, as opposed to its adaptive response (vertebral subluxation) and resulting degenerative changes from long term neglect, produce another benefit: busier Decembers. Why? Because for most people, December, with the holidays, relatives, fudge, alcohol, sedentary lifestyle and over eating, is the most stressful month of the year. If your patients truly understood stress, and the role of chiropractic in helping to accommodate it, the last month of the year could very well be your busiest.

You've got nine months until December. It's the perfect time to get started!

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Comments (2)

Bill, any suggestions on first addressing the emotional subluxation, second helping people become more aware of the unique stressors they have control over, as well as the ones they don't have control over?


One of your best posts Bill! Thanks for the reminder!

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From March 6, 2013 6:00 AM

This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 6, 2013 6:00 AM.

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