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Subluxation Not a Viable Option

Dr. Matthew McCoy editor@jvsr.com
Editor - Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research
Vice President - Research & Clinical Science
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My response to the above posting by Dr. McCoy.
I agree and disagree with the reference from Murphy et al. If one looks at the research including case studies today, the most profound ones are almost all upper cervical based. Meaning the correction/adjustment was done to the upper cervical spine. X-rays taken of the upper cervical spine reveal in all its glory, THE SUBLUXATION. It can be seen before and after correction. There is firm proof today that this subluxation discovered by BJ Palmer exists. Chiropractic need not look any further than this. I agree with BJ Palmer that subluxations below the level of C2 do not exist. Misalignments however, below C2 are just that, misalignments (secondary), they not subluxations, unless these misalignments have progressed to a stage that normal imaging shows them (degeneration) or the patient has sustained ‘significant’ trauma. The current chiropractic view that a vertebra moves and presses on the nerve leaving the spinal canal is not sustainable and not viewable on X-ray in the majority of patients being treated today. It is the altered weight bearing throughout the spine generated by the upper cervical subluxation which produces the misalignments below C2 which progress over many years into a visible (on X-ray) degeneration. Scoliosis produces its own nerve compression but not a ‘bone-on-nerve’ compression. The mechanism is a muscular compression or traction of nerves leaving the spinal produced by the muscles trying to hold the spinal column erect. Nerves still fire but not at optimum levels.

I challenge all of chiropractic to embrace upper cervical specific work before it is taken from you. For example, the book edited by Heiner Biedermann, MD ‘Manual Therapy in Children’, clearly describes/shows chiropractic adjustments to the upper cervical spine. Further the book edited by Howard Vernon, DC, which by the way is full of contributions from medical doctors, ‘The Cranio-cervical syndrome’ again describes the chiropractic upper cervical subluxation. There is a window of opportunity because Biedermann’s own peers do not seem to appreciate what has been ‘discovered’ about manual therapy (chiropractic). At the end of the book, in the 'Epilogue' (p321), as if out of frustration he says "From the inside out it (manual therapy) is a wonderfully all-encompassing variant of the healing professions" and it is "this very ability which turns manual therapy into an unwelcome guest of one's own field of work." He cites comments from his peers like "How dare these people claim to solve problems which have been hounding us for many years ... branding those intruders as confidence tricksters." Sound familiar?

The sooner ALL of chiropractic is practicing a specific upper cervical approach to adjusting the upper cervical spine the sooner chiropractic will be catapulted into the mainstream. It will also spawn many more patients like me, Louella Harris and James Tomasi; patients who are willing to invest their own time, funds and energies promoting upper cervical chiropractic. I communicate with people regularly who have had ‘miraculous’ recoveries when their upper cervical spines are adjusted. Many want to write books, develop websites and so on to tell their story. We patients have no problem with chiropractic doctors practicing what they do today as long as they are ALL trained in adjusting the upper cervical spine specifically, which means taking X-rays as well.

It’s disappointing that chiropractic does not study the upper cervical approach which includes precision X-rays. X-rays are necessary to calculate the correct angle and line of drive for the adjustment as well as ‘proving’ existence and correction of the upper cervical subluxation. Blair photographed the upper cervical subluxation. I have included it below but more information can be found on my website at
http://www.upcspine.com/anatomy2.htm. Clearly the occiput has shifted with respect to the atlas.

Figure 4: A close look at the subluxation!
Page 9 of Dr. Blair’s document (The Chiropractic Story silently told in a medical museum – William G. Blair D.C., Ph. C., F.I.C.A., ©1973) shows the photograph opposite. Let’s have a closer look at the anatomy of this subluxation. The numbered structures are:
1. Right mastoid process;
2. Right styloid process;
3. Right side occipital bone;
4. Right occipital condyle;
5. right lateral mass of the atlas (C1);
6. Right side posterior arch of atlas;
7. Right lamina of axis (C2).
In summary research should be targeted mainly at the upper cervical spine. Any research funds I raise with some projects I have happening at the moment will be going towards upper cervical chiropractic research. As this is where I’m certain chiropractic will be impacted most positively.

I know there will be chiropractors who don’t agree with my comments. Well and good, I wouldn’t expect anything different. But I think if everyone goes back and looks again at the work of BJ Palmer they will soon realize how right he was. Chiropractic patients are discovering it every day, why not chiropractors?

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