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What is Your Subluxation Related Syndrome?

A customary reception area.

A uniquely chiropractic adjusting room

This article is about discoveries that science may never chart.  

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We will need to visualise some parts of this journey.  Picture the spine, a flexible tube housing and protecting the main extension of the brain, the spinal cord.  Focus in on the vertebrae and discs and the small passageways for the nerves that convey messages to and from most of the body. 

Simply stated we have a subluxation when nerve function is compromised by vertebral misalignment and joint fixation. 

Most patient visits include having several subluxations adjusted at various levels of the spine. That may alleviate several symptoms. 

Collectively all of a person's current subluxation related symptoms are referred to as her/his,  “subluxation related syndrome”.

Chiropractic is most renowned in the management of low back-leg pain, headache, and neck-arm pain. A typical new chiropractic patient has a variety of other entrance symptoms. Locating and adjusting subluxations is how patients discover if some of those symptoms are subluxation related.

Although locating and adjusting subluxations may seem to be a narrowly focussed role, chiropractic has very broad body implications. The wide influence of subluxation related syndromes might go beyond the symptoms listed on these pages. 

Subluxations may disrupt many of the functions of the master controlling and coordinating system of the body, our spine related nervous system.   

At times, many individual symptoms may, or may not, relate to subluxations. The range of possible combinations of symptoms implies a potential for a vast array of subluxation related syndromes. 

During a clinic session, patients commonly have a mix of symptoms derived from both the musculoskeletal and the autonomic parts of the nervous system. 

Typically, in the one patient, subluxations happen at multiple levels of the spine. 

New patients usually have a key entrance symptom, say a headache, as well as multi-level subluxation related symptoms, some of which may be relieved coincidental to chiropractic care.
Even using our short list of symptoms, as per the following graph, new patients averaged 8 entrance symptoms. 



I am comfortable with the following concept; “The chiropractor does not set out to cure or relieve a particular ailment. What he sets out to do is to ensure that the spinal column is functioning normally.   If a particular ailment clears up, or is relieved following the therapy, so much the better.” (Chiropractic in New Zealand, Report 1979)

Subluxation related syndromes happen in our single nervous system.  Subdividing that system into its musculoskeletal and its autonomic parts makes it easier to understand.

Two Management Systems 

Groups of like-minded people share a similar belief system with each other.  For example the medical profession believes that drugs and/or surgery best manage symptoms. 

It is a common belief within the chiropractic profession that locating and adjusting subluxations may resolve the cause of subluxation related disorders.

Imagine the one patient attending both a medical practitioner and a chiropractor for the following:

At the top of the spine a subluxation contributes toward vague thinking and poor short-term memory.  One in the lower neck relates to shoulder-arm pain.  A few vertebrae down one associates with indigestion. In the lower back another influences local pain, irritability, fatigue and poor bladder control.

The belief systems of the two professions would ensure distinctly different assessment of what is wrong and what needs to be done. 

When a patient has a mix of symptoms from different body systems arising from subluxations at multiple levels of the spine those syndromes rarely conform to a sole diagnosis.

It invites confusion to try to fit the large square peg of subluxation related syndromes into the precise small round hole of medical diagnosis. 

Just as a carpenter would not use a hammer to saw wood, conventional diagnosis is not the right tool to define a myriad of subluxation related syndromes.

Discovering Subluxation Related Syndromes 
The impact upon patients of being subluxated varies from being insignificant, localised and temporary to being debilitating, extensive and lifelong.

Effectively asking the body: “Are these symptoms subluxation related?” by adjusting the subluxations is the only way to discover if syndrome and subluxations are related.

Usually, over the next few initial weeks, I readjust the subluxations as they recur. The patient may discover what it feels like to be “out of adjustment” (subluxated) and distinct feelings of once again being “in adjustment”. 

Switching patients from being “out of adjustment” to being “in adjustment” is a common reality among our patients and an every day part of a chiropractor's practice.  It allows patient to define which symptoms are, or are not, subluxation related.   The impact of switching from one state to the other may be subtle or dramatic; it may become apparent immediately or gradually. 

A benefit of experiencing being switched from being subluxated to being “in adjustment” is that the degree of impact of these two states upon the patient's life may influence their choice to either live a life that is mainly one of 1) being subluxated or 2) being “in adjustment”. Most people do not know that those states exist, or, that they have that choice.  


Who was this cooperative dog?  Pasha was our daughter, Janine's wonder dog. 

And, “Yes, dogs like Pasha may have subluxation related syndromes that respond well to chiropractic care.”



Your Chiropractor

Michael McKibbin passed his Iowa Basic Science and graduated from Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport Iowa.

Since then both wonderful staff and patients have contributed toward decades of valued experience in his family practice.


October 2010
This is the October 2010 newsletter.

JC Smith Response Australia Letter