A subluxation is a misalignment of a vertebra that interferes with the neural connection between the central nervous system and the body. Subluxation is what a chiropractor reduces with an adjustment, but before performing an adjustment, a subluxation must first be identified. The Adjusting Technique Manual at my alma mater, Palmer College of Chiropractic, supplies a detailed report on the manifestations of a subluxation. The process of discovering expression of a subluxation is broken into two parts; subjective findings (i.e., personal, case history, and patient information) and an objective spinal evaluation: observation, instrumentation, static palpation, leg check, motion palpation, neurological checks, and x-ray. An x-ray is a vital tool due to its ability: to deliver a clear and concise view of all bony structures, provide a detailed image of the spine in a subluxated state, and identify hidden pathologies along with contraindications or cautions to adjusting. X-rays also help determine the line of correction of a specific adjustment; identifying possible contraindications and warnings is an enormous tool in removing the subluxation. Failure to correctly identify such problems can result in loss to see results and a further detriment to the vertebral subluxation.
The spine has a series of curvatures that strengthen the load-bearing axial skeleton. A normalized ratio has been placed on the angles associated with these spine curves. The ideal angles of the spine include a 45-degree lordotic angle in the cervical and lumbar spine and a 45-degree kyphotic curve in the thoracic spine. Adjusting without an x-ray is a nonspecific adjusting technique, and non-specific adjustments have deviated from ideal cervical lordosis. The line of correction used to deliver a specific adjustment will change due to varied angles seen at different vertebral segments on an x-ray. Suppose the spine has adapted a loss or gain of curvature at any given segment. In that case, the correction line must be changed at the specific vertebra to accommodate the adaption.
The most important aspect of an adjustment regarding delivering results is specificity, and the line of correction is vital to specificity. Failure to correctly identify the nature of a subluxation can result in a game of guessing. This can create a further degradation of spinal health. X-ray is the most exact way to correctly identify the nature of a subluxation. Compared to x-ray, motion-palpation has a far greater error rate, and the user discrepancy between identifying subluxation is much more minor with x-ray compared to a leg-check analysis. If the nature of subluxation cannot be adequately determined, then the exact line of correction needed to remove the subluxation also can not be identified.
A patient is entrusting doctor chiropractic to properly diagnose and remove subluxations that have caused adverse health effects. The failure to come to a precise diagnosis and plan for treatment is a disservice. The use of an x-ray provides an exact image of subluxation and allows the doctor to deliver a valuable adjustment that will promote health in a patient’s body. The line of correction needed to provide such an adjustment must correlate to the findings in the x-ray.
One of the most valuable aspects of the Max Living spinal correction system is the x-ray analysis. Through structural x-rays, a Max Living doctor can deliver world-class care and develop at-home strategies to mitigate the return of subluxation. For this reason, all Max Living offices receive training beyond the classroom on spinal correction. This is one of the many reasons Max Living offices around the country see astonishing results and life-transforming change.
- Technique Manual. Davenport, IA: Palmer College of Chiropractic, 2006. Print.
- Byun, Sunghak, and Dongwook Han. “The Effect of Chiropractic Techniques on the Cobb Angle in Idiopathic Scoliosis Arising in Adolescence.” Journal of Physical Therapy Science 28.4 (2016): 1106-110. Web.
- Triano, John. “Review of Methods Used by Chiropractors to Determine the Site for Applying Manipulation.” Chiropractic & Manual Therapies (2013): n. pag. Web.
Woggin, Dennis, DC. “Understanding the 3-Dimensional Radiographic I/lanifestatíon of the Vertebral Subluxation Complex in the Upper Cervical Spine: Advanced Cervical Lordotic Rehabilitation.” The American Chiropractor (2014): n. pag. Web.