Matthew McCoy DC, MPH
I often hear chiropractors, including chiropractic leaders and so called researchers, perpetuate the myth that one of the “problems” with the concept of vertebral subluxation is that no one agrees on a definition.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Common to all models of vertebral subluxation are two components:
Given all the models that are out there, including the ones that have made it into the scientific literature, this is pretty impressive. It’s pretty impressive that there is in fact widespread agreement on the vertebral subluxation in this regard.
Another myth that typically follows the “no agreed upon definition” is that vertebral subluxation cannot be measured.
Again, completely false.
If we just take the two components that are common to every single model of vertebral subluxation we can see that both can be measured using objective, valid and reliable means.
The following are some OBJECTIVE, VALID and RELIABLE outcome measures for the biomechanical (Kinesopathological) component of subluxation:
1. X-ray (static, flexion/extension etc)
3. Magnetic Resonance Scanning
4. CT scan
5. ROM using inclinometers
The following are some OBJECTIVE, VALID and RELIABLE outcome measures for the neurological (Neuropathophysiological) component of subluxation:
1. Somatosensory Evoked Potentials (SSEP’s)
2. Dermatomal Evoked Potentials (DEP’s)
3. Auditory & Visual Evoked Potentials
4. Paraspinal Thermal Scanning
5. Surface Electromyography (static and dynamic)
6. Heart Rate Variability (HRV)
8. Computerized Muscle Testing
In addition to these objective measures related to the anatomical and physiological aspects of vertebral subluxation I’d be sure to include health related quality of life surveys such as the SF 36 in order to develop objective evidence that practice members are experiencing improved quality of life as a result of their subluxation reduction.
So next time you hear a detractor of the vertebral subluxation concept say there is no agreed upon definition or way to measure it you can now respond with the facts. If you need more evidence regarding the science behind vertebral subluxation check out Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research: http://www.vertebralsubluxationresearch.com
As always, I look forward to comments, feedback and suggestions.
Matthew McCoy DC, MPH
Chair – Research Committee
International Federation of Chiropractors & Organizations