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An inter-vertebral subluxation is variously defined and by connotation has assumed different meanings. To the orthopedic surgeon there must be an obvious gross malposition of the articulation though still short of a complete disrelationship (a dislocation). Some still insist that there be demonstrable bone change as a result of this subluxation. By contrast many chiropractors have come to recognize that a nearly microscopic change of position which is accompanied by neural aberration producing muscular imbalance or nearly total rigidity of the articulation can be quite symptomatic. 

Consequently, many chiropractors at the present time use the word “subluxation” in describing the entire syndrome, the complex of structural and functional changes even though no demonstrable displacement can be measured. This has caused considerable confusion in the related healing arts and insurance fields. Most chiropractors have experienced excellent results by “adjustments” of patients whose spines were completely ankylosed. These individuals occasionally develop the entire symptom complex of a subluxation without any movement of the vertebrae at all. Animals with immovable intra-pedicular foramina have been artificially subluxated and pathology allowed to develop. These pathologies have reversed and cleared following adjustments and repositioning of the vertebral segments. This would indicate that much of the symptom complex is due to something other than foraminal changes.

Proprioceptive and nociceptive endings in and around the inter-vertebral articulations maintain a normal CONVERSATIONAL TONE of afferent impulses into the cord segment. This is necessary to normal function and the maintenance of all tissues at this level. Splinting a joint for immobilization causes atrophy. In a year of immobility the joint will ankylose and become functionless. Orthopedic surgeons find that broken joints heal much faster with daily movement. Immobilized joints become increasingly stiff. Sudden perversion of this normal CONVERSATIONAL TONE of sensations will cause malfunction just as a disturbance at the entrance of an auditorium will disrupt a good lecture. If the cry of FIRE is repeated a violent pandemonium can occur and hundreds may be killed in the stampede. Likewise a violent neuropathy can arise if the appropriate perverted impulse strikes a receptive host. Such a neuropathy can become a sudden fever, a prolonged gastritis with eventual ulceration or even a dramatic anaphylactic shock and death. Foraminal changes can upset this normal CONVERSATIONAL TONE easily by disturbing sensory endings and cell bodies in the dorsal root ganglion lying within the foramen. Hence the pressure on the nerve trunk is only a minor element of etiology.


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