The Normal Spinal Model – Q&A #43


The late Dr. Don Harrison maintained that one could not come up with a subluxation listing  (obviously concluding that there was a subluxation) unless there was such a thing as an ideal  normal spinal model. He then proceeded to disqualify everyone else’s criteria, ostensibly leaving only his criteria, having come up with it through mathematical analysis. What is the philosophical argument for or against his conclusions/rationale?

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Posted in: Thinking Straight

This article has 20 comments

  1. cervicalguru 11/25/2013, 7:06 pm:

    Money makes people say or do anything and everything. Look at any profession, you will see it’s the same. Money is the root of all politics.

  2. ben rubinstein 11/25/2013, 9:49 pm:

    A scientific and specific technique does not use comparison to a control or “normal” spine, rather we analyze each spine (individual) that we come into contact with, to determine a listing that is specifically and scientifically relative to their anatomy and neuro-physiology on a cellular level. There are many ways to test and monitor these physiological indicators of subluxation that cause imbalances to the various systems of the body. The adjustment proves that the listing that the chiropractor came up with was correct if the patient is responding well to care, improving, and holding their adjustment.

    • JoeStrauss 11/26/2013, 12:48 pm:

      Ben, what’s the difference between making a comparison to a “normal”/ national average spine and normal “physiological indicators”? One is establishing educatedly (medically)the normal for everyone, the other is establishing educatedly (chiropractically) the normal for each individual. What’s the difference between doing that to establish “physiological indicators of subluxation” and determining that a child’s blood temperature is normal or abnormal. I guess what I’m asking is what’s the difference between saying a fever is bad or good and one of these physiological indicators is bad (meaning they are subluxated) or good (meaning they are clear) and I am probably not making it clear. Perhaps some examples that you could give me would be helpful. I’m assuming that you disagree with Harrison’s rationale (so do I ). I guess what I want to know is how yours is better, philosophically. I think this is a good discussion. Thanks for your input.

      • Claude Lessard 11/26/2013, 1:25 pm:


        What would be your criteria for, as you posted, “The adjustment proves that the listing that the chiropractor came up with was correct if the patient is responding well to care, improving, and holding their adjustment.”? I am understanding your post as a measurement of “outcome assessment”. Correct?

  3. Don 11/25/2013, 9:51 pm:

    The argument of normal versus average is one concept that I see at play here. If the mathematical analysis is based on the averages calculated across a subset of spines (not including your own), I would conclude that this is an average spinal model not a normal one.
    Normal for one individual is not normal for all individuals.
    An example (Sorry, not sure who gave this one): Look at all your fingers on your LEFT hand. They are not the same length. Now, measure them all individually and calculate the average for a finger.
    Now look at your right hand.
    Does it make sense to now cut or stretch all these right hand fingers to the length of the one measurement calculated from the left hand?

    • JoeStrauss 11/26/2013, 1:00 pm:

      You are absolutely correct Don. I guess the issue here, witness my clumsy response to Ben is: Is a chiropractic average any more normal than a medical average?

      • Don 11/27/2013, 1:02 am:

        To answer your question would require me to understand what a normal is and what medical average is.
        My simple answer is: I don’t know.
        If asked to elaborate:
        This is what I know, the chiropractic principles applicable to all Living individuals.
        I don’t know what normal is.
        I don’t know what medical average is.
        Would you like to know what these principles are and how they can help you? 🙂

      • Claude Lessard 11/27/2013, 4:17 pm:


        You asked: “Is a chiropractic average any more normal than a medical average?” –

        – Within Ben’s post we read: “we analyze each spine (individual) that we come into contact with, to determine a listing that is specifically and scientifically relative to their anatomy and neuro-physiology on a cellular level.”… and that’s true. –

        – It’s Medicine’s objective to conform everybody to an average for the treatment of diseases. It’s Medicine’s protocol and standard to bring everybody’s physiology in line within a pre-determined set of values based on national averages created by educated intelligence. –

        – On the other hand, Chiropractic formulated principle #27 which states that it is innate intelligence and its functions that are ALWAYS normal. Chiropractic affirms the individuality of every living bodies and their ability to be normal on a moment to moment basis when they have a full expression of the innate forces of the innate intelligence of the body. PERIOD!

        • JoeStrauss 11/27/2013, 5:27 pm:

          Claude, I assume your point is that there is no such thing as a “chiropractic average”?

          • Claude Lessard 11/27/2013, 6:00 pm:


            That’s correct! There is no such thing as a “chiropractic average”? Medicine’s objective is to conform everybody to national averages and Chiropractic rejects the formulation of a national standard which tries to conform the individual to national averages. That would violate principle 27.

          • Steve 11/27/2013, 9:29 pm:

            Medicine is all about the matter, P.27 is about intelligence, apples and carrots, no?
            I wonder what the “average” number of Subluxations per encounter is?

          • JoeStrauss 11/28/2013, 3:49 pm:

            Steve, it’s nice to know that even if we only ‘encounter” one vertebral subluxation because of technique or competence and see it corrected, we are making a unique and valuable contribution to mankind. It’s a good day to be thankful that we are chiropractors. Have a great one.

  4. Steve 11/25/2013, 10:57 pm:

    Is there a normal snowflake? An ideal fingerprint?

    • JoeStrauss 11/26/2013, 1:11 pm:

      Steve, I’m sure there is. It’s just that I nor anyone else, IMO, knows what it is or how it is determined. Is that not the ultimate dilemma in LACVS?

  5. Steve 11/26/2013, 2:44 pm:

    The “dilemma” it seems is trying to approach the metaphysical with physical limitations. Until we can isolate the exact point of Mental Impulse disturbance/disruption, it is all opinions. We all know what is said about opinions. “Opinions are like ***holes. Everybody’s got one and everyone thinks everyone else’s stinks.”. Dr Harris was entitled to his opinion.
    I was taught that Chiros. do not straighten spines, orthopedists do. Our concern has always been intersegmental relationships.

    • Claude Lessard 11/26/2013, 4:39 pm:


      That being said… “Our concern has always been intersegmental relationships”… this begs the question: WHY? The answer to that question will determine WHO a chiropractor chooses to BE for LACVS. 😉

      • Michael Duncan 11/28/2013, 12:56 am:

        Because a VS is defined by a loss of juxtaposition of a vertebrae with the vertebrae above or below, or both…

        Not a loss of juxtaposition of a vertebrae with respect to rest of the region or even another region, hence globally?

        • JoeStrauss 11/28/2013, 3:06 pm:

          Thanks Michael. A simple truth in our definition that is too often forgotten.

  6. Steve 11/26/2013, 5:04 pm:

    P. 31

    • Claude Lessard 11/27/2013, 12:01 am:


      There are many reasons WHO chiropractors choose to BE for LACVS. Some LACVS to get people out of pain. Some to get sick people well. Some to be a natural alternative to medicine. Some to treat diseases without drugs and surgery. Some to make money. Some to be doctors. Some for prestige. Some for power. Some to clear a cervical pattern. Some to get a mathematical result. Some to see a spinal wave. Ultimately, it is the chiropractor
      WHO is FREE to choose to BE willing to be the CAUSE in the matter’s of one’s life. Ultimately, it is a context from which a chiropractor CHOOSES to live. That’s called response-ability. The ability of a chiropractor WHO chooses to respond to a known fact (VS) for the sake of the fact itself. –

      – Principle 31 states that chiropractic affirms that there can be interference with the transmission within the body that are always directly or indirectly due to VS. Principle 29 specified that the interference is with the transmission of innate forces. It is a profound privilege for any chiropractor WHO chooses to participate in one’s own transformation, the transformation of others and the transformation of the life itself through practicing the chiropractic objective.

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