August 2001

From World Chiropractic Alliance

Research shows even minor pressure on nerves causes problems

Chiropractors have historically maintained that even small amounts of pressure on the nerves that exit the spine can cause health problems. They have even stated that such pressure can go undetected for years and lead to long-term difficulties. A review of literature published in the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research (JVSR) adds further evidence to this contention.

The study, "The Effects of Mild Compression on Spinal Nerve Roots With Implications for Models of Vertebral Subluxation and the Clinical Effects of Chiropractic Adjustment: A Review of the Literature," was authored by Scott Alderson D.C., a private practitioner and George Muhs, D.C., Assistant Professor of Clinical Services at the University of Bridgeport College of Chiropractic.

Chiropractic theory maintains that the bones that make up the spinal column -- known as vertebrae -- can become misaligned and/or not move properly, which could place abnormal pressure on nerves and cause interference with how those nerves work. Chiropractors call these misalignments and neurological alterations vertebral subluxations.

According to the authors, research shows that "these alterations would therefore alter the quality and/or quantity of the message sent. At the tissue and cellular level, the message received would not be adequate for the function the body demands. The entire body could then theoretically be affected."

The authors also discussed the possibility that subluxations can go unnoticed for long periods of time since they may not be severe enough in the beginning stages to create outward signs and symptoms. In their view, this makes both age and degree of subluxation factors in the healing process. "One must consider the age of the person with a vertebral subluxation," the researchers explained. "The younger they are, the better the chance for a complete correction."

Matthew McCoy, D.C., editor of the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research noted: "This review of literature is extremely comprehensive in nature and adds significant evidence to some of the fundamental positions chiropractors have long maintained -- namely, that subluxations don't always cause symptoms and that the longer a patient goes without correcting them, the worse they become and the more difficult they are to correct. This is another strong argument for having children checked by chiropractors at a young age for vertebral subluxation."

An abstract of the paper is available on the JVSR website,

JVSR is a peer-reviewed scientific journal devoted to subluxation based chiropractic research, affiliated with the World Chiropractic Alliance (WCA), an international organization representing doctors of chiropractic and promoting the traditional, drug-free and non-invasive form of chiropractic as a means of correcting vertebral subluxations that cause nerve interference. For more information, contact the WCA at 800-347-1011 or

This article comes from Science Blog. Copyright 2004

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