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The Big Picture

Now, I want to point out that the various segmental levels in the spinal cord are reflex centers only.  What I mean by this is that they do not have the ability to initiate movement or interpret sensations by themselves.  The message must be delivered to the brain in order for further response to occur.  And we already said they don’t all get delivered, that is, they could be inhibited. Now, I want to introduce a different thought.  Sometimes the message of the nerve impulse may be exited or increased, which also leads to poor health.  The founder of Chiropractic, DD Palmer, repeatedly noted that the subluxation (that is, a joint whose movement is stuck) resulted in either an increase or decrease in neural activity, hence, either an increase or decrease in function, and in exasperation wrote, “ I wish that all chiropractors could take in this basic principle of our science – THAT TOO MUCH OR NOT ENOUGH ENERGY IS DISEASE.”
Here’s another quote by DD Palmer, “To pinch a nerve, in the vertebral
foramen or elsewhere, would have a similar result as the pinching of a string
of a musical instrument – paralysis of its function, by stopping its vibratory
movement – its carrying capacity.  For this reason, a vertebral luxation – a complete displacement, which pinches – causes paralysis; whereas, an impingement increases tension, heat and functioning.  To increase tension by
impingement or otherwise, is to increase vibration and its carrying capacity,
thereby increasing functional action.

Applying this concept of mechanoreceptors to chiropractic, when you
have a subluxation, it is a joint that is restricted in movement.  Because the movement is restricted, less mechanoreceptors can fire, so if the nociception is intense enough, the nociceptors can send their signals to the brainstem without interference or inhibition from the mechanoreceptors, causing unchecked pain.  Actually, the nociception that occurs with subluxations is a small, chronic stimulus that is recruited at certain spinal levels along the spinal cord yet may not be great enough to cause symptoms for a long time.

So you see, even though the nociception  from subluxation is not great enough to produce pain, the damage caused by subluxation will continue to weaken the joints of the spine.  This can predispose the body to injury, so much that after the nociception reaches the brainstem and causes pain, when chiropractic care removes the subluxation, the results may be so slow it could take many more adjustments to restore health. If ignored too much, chiropractic care could become only palliative and can never restore the spine to the pre-subluxation condition.  In other words, chiropractic works even better when your subluxations are removed before they become symptomatic and cause pain.  If you wait until you hurt, you probably had that subluxation for a long time.  The pain is like the Service Engine Soon light in your vehicle – if you ignore it too often, the result is extensive damage.

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