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Chiropractic Principles
Module 3 - Chiropractic Philosophy
Part Two - The Modern Theories

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The Vertebral Subluxation Today

The term "Subluxation" has been around for hundreds of years. It was described in 1746 as "....subluxation of joints is recognized by lessened motion of the joints, by slight change in position of the articulating bones and pain ...." (#1 - p. 6) As we will see, the basic definition has not changed much over the years. What has changed is the interpretation and extrapolation of the terms meaning since Chiropractic came into existence.

From the layman's point of view, a subluxation may be described as the signs and symptoms which come about after vertebral joints become altered in their normal motion. However, this simplified explanation does not meet the criteria for discussion at the level of Science, described in Module 2.

In a future Module, an in-depth discussion will be presented concerning the relative Anatomy and Neurology of the Vertebral (Spinal) Column. For now, a general overview will be presented.

Vertebral Column - that portion of the back which protects the Spinal Cord. Also referred to as the Spinal Column, it is composed of 24 moveable bones (Vertebrae). Each bone contains areas referred to as Joints (Facets) which allow for a joining or Articulation to occur. As can be seen in the accompanying diagram, the spine is divided into different regions: Cervical (neck) - Thoracic (mid-back) - Lumbar (low back) - Sacral (foundation).

Human Vertebral Spinal Column

Intervertebral Disc - the soft tissue located between Spinal Vertebrae, allowing for a cushioning and support of the Vertebral Column.

Spinal Curves - When the Spinal Column is looked upon from a back (Posterior) to front (Anterior) direction, the column is relatively a straight line. However, when the Spinal Column is viewed from the side (Lateral view) distinct curvatures are noticeable. Proper nomenclature defines the direction of a curve according to it's Convexity (see diagram).

Convexity vs. Concavity

Thus, the Spinal Column has two (2) distinct areas where the spinal curve is toward the front or Anterior, and two (2) distinct areas where the spinal curve is directed toward the back or Posterior. Beginning at the base of the skull, the Cervical Region contains an Anterior or Lordotic Curve. Next, the Thoracic Region contains a Posterior or Kyphotic Curve. The low back or Lumbar Region contains a Lordotic Curve, followed by the foundation of the spine, the Sacral region, which is directed toward the Posterior.

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