The straight chiropractic segment of the profession has embraced the above term more quickly than anything in recent history. In fact, it seems to have more readily accepted VSD and VSC (Vertebral Subluxation Complex) than the term “straight chiropractic” which in itself is more than a little frightening. In an effort to save time and space I will not go into an explanation of vertebral subluxation degeneration and its four phases. I would imagine that chiropractors who read this newsletter tend to be knowledgeable in the modern concepts of the profession. There are a number of issues concerning this concept that must be addressed.
First, subluxation degeneration or spinal degeneration is a medical entity. Disease is outside the realm of chiropractic. It does not matter whether the disease is degeneration of the heart muscle, kidney tissue or bones of the spine, it is not part of the practice of chiropractic. It should not be in any way addressed by the chiropractor , except as it may present a contraindication to certain adjusting techniques. We do not diagnose, treat, discuss or relate to disease of any kind, at any time, anywhere in the human body. Just because that disease happens to involve the spinal column does not make it part of our domain. Cancer, tuberculosis , osteoporosis and numerous other diseases involve the spinal column. They are the domain of the medical profession, always have been.
The second issue is related to the first. One of the more interesting things that has emerged from the chiropractic philosophy in more recent years is the concept that disease always has a multiplicity of causes. One of those causes may be at certain times the inability of the body to function in a coordinated manner. That state may be due to a vertebral subluxation. This justifies our addressing our attention to vertebral subluxation. But to say that any condition, whether it involves the spine or not, is caused by a vertebral subluxation is not only presumptuous but philosophically unsound, scientifically unprovable, and clinically undemonstrable. We can honestly say that people in all four phases of spinal degeneration need chiropractic care if they are subluxated. That can also be said for every other person on the face of the earth, even those who demonstrate a “normal spine.” Many who have jumped on the “four phases” bandwagon have done so because it is scientific, because we can now present some thing tangible, that is, research done by an M.D. as op posed to this “abstract chiropractic philosophy.” The fact is, the research primarily involves Dr. Hadley, an M.D., taking x-rays of various stages of degeneration of a woman’s spine. No examination for subluxation was done. Now we may assume that she was subluxated for more than likely she was. However, there is no scientific proof.
If these four phases are the result of vertebral subluxation and if the first subluxation occurs at birth or shortly thereafter, then we can logically conclude that those patients walking into our office who are 40 years of age and over and never have been adjusted are going to look at least like a Phase III or maybe even a Phase IV. The fact is that you could look at a thousand sixty-year old cervical spines and not see one that looks like Hadley’s Phase IV. So, either the vertebral subluxation is not the epidemic scourge affecting babies, small children and everyone else or, the four phases of spinal degeneration only occur in a small percentage of people who are subluxated and also have certain other internal (hereditary) and/or external (environmental) factors which predispose them to that particular disease. Well, shoot, why stop at the four phases, let’s include heart disease, cancer and all the rest. Throw up an x-ray of the stages of cancer and tell people it’s related to years of subluxations. We have no more scientific proof that subluxation is related to cancer than we do to the four phases but who cares, we can scare the bejabbers out of that patient with what their cancer will look like if they don’t get adjusted. I know we are taught to do some fancy footwork, to say this is only a representation but, let’s be honest, it is another PR tool and frankly it’s less than honest. We should not have to use a diseased spine, researched by an M.D. which is no more or no less related to a vertebral subluxation than any other disease in the body to attract and educate our patients. If we must use these questionable procedures as educational tools we need to back up and reevaluate where we are going. To paraphrase B.J. “chiropractic is honest or it is nothing.”  v4n4


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