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Science of Subluxations—Insights about an often misunderstood term: Subluxation
Connections between Spinal Nerve and Inner Organs —The cause of many organic disorders.
The term subluxation is often misunderstood and not always accepted due to the lack of knowledge in the field of applied physiology (not just physiology by the book) and the fact that school medicine does not regard the existing studies as valid and therefore is not regarding it as important enough when searching for causes or co-factors of pain and other health conditions.
For people who are not medically trained or have had done studies in anatomy and physiology the explanations given are often very difficult to understand and even for professionals it seems that their understanding of the science of subluxations varies a lot and that there is not one commonly used explanation (by the book) but a whole range of different views depending on the practical experience of the person and the ability to understand this quite complex mechanics.
Evidence based medicine should be regarded as important but science is not always as scientific as it appears and anecdotal evidence (patients reports and personal clinical studies) should be also taken into account when a holistic picture wants to be achieved.
The following explanations represent a mix of different evidence and are still a hypothesis and an attempt to enlighten medical professionals and non medical people alike about the complex mechanisms in the science of subluxations.
A subluxation of a joint is a very small misalignment of the joint so basically the different joint surfaces are not in proper congruence to each other. The joint is blocked in this position and does not find its way back to the natural position by itself.
This blockage is not like the blockage of an old drawer that does not easily slide back it is a blockage due to the uneven muscular tension.
The human structural system is a flexible functional unit of bones, ligaments, muscles and other tissue and all are depending on each other therefore it must not be viewed from a single angle but from all sides.
Different areas have different jobs to do and some have multiple tasks to fulfill for example our muscles. The main job of our muscles is to be the engine in the system by moving the joints within the natural movement range of the joint that is determined by the shape of the bones and the structure of the ligaments. The second job of the muscles is to add to the stability of the structure and to keep the joint together. If we hang ourselves onto a bar with the hands our body does not lengthen like a rubber band with weight on it would do because the system recognizes the pulling forces downwards and the muscles are instructed to contract in order to avoid that the bones are pulled apart.
When the forces onto our body become too strong and are above the normal level pain sets in to warn us of a possible danger and unconsciously gets ready to protect the structure with reflexes that lets the muscles contract. The two important systems that do that are the proprioceptive system, our position receptors and the nociceptive system, our pain receptors.
If a movement of a joint does not cause pain, a situation that is normally the case, the joint may become subluxated if the movement lies outside the natural movement range of the joint, either due to unfavourable movement habits or outside forces, and the muscles assume that position as normal and therefore keeps it there.
In most cases the joint re-aligns itself shortly after if the natural re-alignment mechanism which depends on gravity (bodyweight), shape of the bones and the ligaments together with movement can function the way it should which again depends on the alignment situation in the key stones of our structure namely the pelvic girdle and the skull-atlas-axis area.
If this core alignment is too compromised then muscles may keep joints out of alignment simply because they react naturally in order to re-balance the position of skull and pelvis.
Often this situation gets not corrected naturally anymore and the structure starts to rebuild on a cellular level which means that the muscles gets shorter or longer depending on the positions of the joint and eventually is blocking the joint in that subluxated position.
In this case the subluxation leads to muscle imbalances and tension.
However there are other factors that can cause a joint misalignment which starts with a muscle tension first. In these cases the muscle tension leads to the subluxation and again because the core alignment is not in balance can become a chronic subluxation with changes on a cellular level.
Muscle tension and especially uneven muscle tension can be caused by many stress-factors that include structural, chemical, electromagnetic, genetic, psychological and spiritual stress.
If the muscle tension has not let to a change on the cellular level then a self re-alignment of the subluxation is still possible however an outside influence in form of a therapeutic intervention is often needed to start that process.
This can be achieved by re-balancing the structural alignment and keeping it in alignment long enough for the body to readjust down to the cellular level of the muscles or by removing the tension in the muscles together with the proper stretching and movements so the self re-alignment mechanisms can do their job correctly.
Of course a combination of both may be optimal solution and for the long term success stress factors should be avoided or if necessary changed.
Lifestyle, nutrition, a strong muscular system and a balanced attitude are important factors as well.
Conclusion: Subluxations are not to be seen as unavoidable diseases but as natural reactions of our body in order to compensate for stress-factors on a multiple level.
A change towards a re-balancing is often possible by reversing the whole process that led to the subluxation. This however may sometimes require outside help and in any case self therapy and discipline based on an individual assessment of all factors that should be followed by a tailormade approach towards a better balance following natural laws of physics, physiology and anatomy in combination with non-physical aspects.
The cause of many organic disorders is a disturbance of the spinal nerves, disturbances which are provoked by damaged joints and blockages or scoliosis of the spine. That is the common view of the Dorn Method, Osteopathy and Chiropractic.
The commonly best known and largest branch of a spinal nerve is the Ramus Ventralis, which runs into the body and is responsible for movement and sensory feelings.
The Ramus Dorsalis innervates the back muscles.
A further branch, which branches off from the main nerve, is the Ramus Communicans, which, after being connected in the segmental divided sympathetic trunk ganglia, runs as Nervus splanchnicus into the inner organs and innervates them.
This Ramus Communicans is well-known to classical medicine, it just does not rank as highly as it actually should.
The Rami ventralis and dorsalis make themselves perceptible through physical ailments, such as, for example, pain syndromes, which can often easily be related to the spine.
This is not the case with the Rami Communicans, whose incarcerations due to blockages and scoliosis of the spine do not cause acute pain, but only cause organic, initially harmless functional disturbances, which, however, prepare the ground for the onset of eventually occurring diseases.
However, one can and should extend these relationships to a certain degree, by taking into consideration that when a particular vertebra is blocked, it is not only one spinal nerve that is affected but also the spinal nerve of the adjacent vertebra. This supposed lack of clarity which suggests that an organ is influenced by several spinal nerves, however, does not really exist. In reality, as the adjoining spinal nerve also becomes blocked, the corresponding organ is also adversely affected. Just as with the spine, the same situation occurs in the whole body. These organs are also adjoined in the body and exert a mutual influence on each other’s functions when segment, vertebra and spinal nerves are situated near to each other.
Mental illnesses or the interaction between mental disturbances (stress in all forms) and inner diseases (psychosomatic) are not only easily described with reference to the spinal nerves and their Ramus Communicans, but also by the fact that damages at these parts (i.e. vertebrae, meridian, organ, derma-, myo-, or sclerotome) which are related to a certain spinal segment, can release mental disturbances.
As a rule, classical medicine looks for causes of diseases in the blood and in the organs themselves, just in those areas, which are most easily accessible to our classical-medical diagnostic techniques and which are immediately next to the area where the disease has manifested itself. This procedure is, of course, only partly correct, because if you repeatedly ask why a disease has taken hold, classical medicine cannot give a definite answer.
Although I have a great respect for every technical instrument available to make a diagnosis or provide therapy, it is unfortunate that classical medicine has forgotten how to use the simplest medical diagnostic and therapeutic means which are provided by nature.
For we have been given hands to feel, eyes to see and ears to listen.
Nowadays one often gets the impression that the patient should hardly be touched at all, if a technical instrument or apparatus can do the job just as well. It is assumed that these instruments have a superior vision into the body. This view is quite wrong and has contributed to the fact that patients are turning away from classical medicine.
We must learn again to deal with patients in a hands-on manner and not examine and treat them solely with some technical tool. This is especially true when examining the spine, since our hands are much more accurate than the best radiogram ever could be.
The radiogram is only useful when you want to probe for diseases within the vertebrae, as for example, in the case of tumors or fractures, which cannot be felt on the outside.
For more info on this please check my website: www.dorn-method.com
Thomas Zudrell, MD(AM), DMS
What is new at the Dorn Method and ‘ingenious’ compared to the established Chiro-Therapy Methods?
The treatment through the spine for disturbances of the structural system or for functional diseases of inner organs has a more than 4000 years old tradition.
The oldest reports in Medical history about treatments of the spine are from Mesopotamia from a time around 2000 B.C..
Also from India, Asia, and Egypt we have plenty of reports that date before our time calculations. From around 460 B.C. Hippocrates learned many techniques of treating the spine, which are brought through the roman medicine and the medicine of medieval times right into our modern world.
Many tools and machines were invented – mostly based on Hippocrates - for the traction and correction of misaligned vertebrae. This apparatuses looked more like torture methods rather than a caring medical treatment. The still used Glisson-Traction device is such an invention from the time around 1650.
Spine Treatments on a larger scale were only done in the 19th century. In the USA there was the start of schools in Osteopathy and Chiropractic. From 1870 on Dr. Anrew Taylor Still developed the wholistic oriented Osteopathy, that treated pain at the spine as well as the therapy on inner organs. Parallel to this Chiropractic developed as a more spiritual oriented therapy under the lay healer David Daniel Palmer. Misaligned vertebrae were corrected by the use of the hands. One variation was treating all disruptions at the first vertebra. In England there are ‘bone-setter’ as lay healers until today.
In Germany this development only started in the 50’s, when influences from the American schools were apparent there and local Orthopedics were trained by “Lay Practitioners”. Since the 80’s manual therapy is widely used also in Healing Practitioners and Physical Therapist’s circles. Many Orthopedics specialized in Chiropractic.
The Role of Manual Medicine on Spine-disorders
Since the costs of the health systems has to be watched closely there are feasibility studies made in the industrial nations. Studied was the effectiveness of different forms of therapy for Back Pain in comparison. The analysis shows that, the treatment success, regardless the methods, scientifically seen are more or less the same. Independent from the diagnosis all methods had about the same result. Also within the diagnosis the effectivity was roughly the same.
The only form of therapy, that always showed a slight advantage in combination with other protocols , was the chiro-therapy or manual therapy, und this regardless what chiro-therapy method was used.
Within Chiro-therapy there are, worldwide, partly large differences in the method. However, all variations show a similar effectiveness with comparable success rates, differences are mostly apparent in the side effects.
So if this success cannot be addressed towards one specific chiropractic form, there has to be a common factor of all this manual therapies regardless the technique: Chiro-therapy or a related form can only be done by someone who engages on a deep level of physical contact with the patient, who checks the case accurately, and who treats the patient with love with any therapy he assumes a most appropriate. In the end the success of chiro-therapy is founded on that. One can also say: what heals is the energy of love. The disadvantage of this method is that it can lead to serious complications, especially in the cervical spine area – either with a bad technique or with therapists who treat too fast, too hard and without love. In my more than 20 yrs of medical work, all people who needed surgery at the cervical spine, received chiro-therapeutic treatments before.
Causes for ailments at the spine
The spine is a combination of a straight and flexible bendable column. Outer influences are not cause of ailments at the spine they are just occasion. Shock- and Stress experiences lead to energy flow disturbances in the body which then manifest on the organic level. The ‘posture’ is here a crucial factor. Posture is an outer picture and it mirrors at the same time the inner attitude and state of the mind, soul. Posture always has a double meaning: mental, spiritual and physical. Degenerative changes develop only when through a wrong ‘posture’ (attitude) the strain increases so much that it exceeds the ability to cope.
A permanent successful treatment of the spine is only possible after the patient realizes his blockages, because only the knowing of the inner ‘posture’ can influence the outer ‘posture’ on the long term. Physical Therapy exercises alone, to change the posture, are not effective as long as the inner ‘Misalignment’ is still dominant. Fury, anger, aggression, worry, fear and depression are changing the outer ‘posture’ and influencing the spine. This inner ‘posture’ manifests itself in the outer ‘posture’ if uncorrected. The muscular structure is changing and leads to degenerative changes at the bone structure.
Diagnosis of the ailment
Before each therapy a diagnosis has to be worked out. Only if the therapist understands the underlying conflict and is able to explain it to the patient a permanent improvement is possible. Consciousness is the key for being in health.
Decoding of the unconscious levels with the help of the therapist
If the patient has sufficient time to express his problems first impressions will appear showing the underlying conflict. After directed questioning this can be confirmed or dismissed. What is the patient missing? What is the cause of the ‘hurting’?
Sickness is a state that points to the fact that the person is no longer in balance or harmony in his consciousness. Therefore a symptom develops in the body and shows us: Something is missing.
To integrate the ‘missing’ leads to healing. It is important to always consider the inner causes of the sickness in order not to suppress them because our soul (mind) will then look for another ‘valve’.
What is the Pain ‘message’ for the patient?
We decode the message of the body, by using the symbolic of language and psychosomatic. Almost always, through questioning the life circumstances, we find a condition that alerts the patient and where he find himself.
Function and Symbolic of the Spine
The Spine is in the middle of our body and the ‘posture’ (attitude) is an expression of the spiritual (mental) – and physical (body) wholeness of the personality. We talk about people being without stability (insecure), they bend down, crawl or show a stiff ‘posture’ (attitude) or they are straight and ‘honest’.
Interpretation succeeds often when we recognize the function of the individual parts. With the upper head joints we look at the ‘sky’ above. Often the blockage is rooted that the person don’t want that. Through a rotating movement of the atlas on top of the axis one can see the horizon, and also nodd the head as to say ‘NO’.
With the lower cervical spine be look at the earth (ground) in front of us and we can also look over our shoulder and onto our ‘shadow’ sides behind us. To aspire is stretching and humility is to bow. Through bending of the lower cervical spine we leave this level and that means saying ‘YES’ to what is. When stretching humility and saying ‘YES’ is not possible. So one can conclude that existing disturbances in this area point to underlying causes and disruptions there.
Some people are ‘stiff’ in the neck (stubborn), do things ‘head over heels’ or want to go with their head through the wall.
Is the patient in a posture if a victim then either fear or someone else is sitting in his neck, he feels the fist in his neck, gets then punches in his neck or he ‘shoulders too much’.
The Thoracic spine protects the heart and lung as most important organs. There in the upper back (heart chakra) it is about love, heart issues, self love and the feeling of being loved.
Many ailments in this area are the result of people not being able or don’t want to forgive. Ideally we are ‘straight’ (honest) in this area; we stand for something with a broad shoulder (strong back). When we are in a victim state the world around us sees us in a victim role, we appear bended, bowing down, with the back against the wall, or hump-backed.
The Symbolic of the Lumbar spine is in the standpoint for oneself. Back problems always are connected with a lack of ‘support’. Either we have someone ‘backing’ us up or not. In this case we have to do it yourself. In the development of the infant this ‘backing’ of the mother plays an important role. When learning to walk, the hand of the mother is physical support to gain stability, so one doesn’t fall, and at the same time spiritual (mental) support: being held serves as support for the development of self confidence and for security. In the further development the straight spine mirrors the degree of self-determination and the strive for individualism. However, the whole life, one unconsciously wishes support and this contradicts with the striving for self-determination and for standing ‘firm and straight’. On 60 percent of all herniated disc cases one find some sort of prior ‘insult’ at the workplace or a loss of work with the following lack of support. Out of many examinations we know that the only reliable prediction of spine health is the contentment at work and with insults at the workplace or ‘mobbing’ the inner posture is changing and strongly affects the static of the spine. In other words: The mind forms the matter.
In corporate life one is expected to show ability to take stress. Yet only through recognition this ability is provided and guaranteed: when someone is standing ‘behind’ us. Recognition of work and praise expresses support. This shows that our spine is under increased mechanical stress in times of mental (inner) pressure, and that the state of the soul (mind) can never be separated from the physical circumstances – like when we carry a cross, crawl, see ourselves in a victims role or we feel that someone broke our ‘back’.
What is the ‘benefit’ of sickness for a patient?
Sickness fulfills the demand for getting support, attention, care and security – all are desires that a healthy person usually don’t ask for. Such secondary sickness-gains worsen the treatment success. Therefore this circumstance has to be discussed before.
Back Problems are improved in about 80 percent through the ‘wrong’ therapy or despite the ‘right’ therapy - if we like it or not. 20 percent produce problems and cannot be improved by a single form of therapy. Only through a combination treatment taking into account the whole personality of body, mind and spirit there is a chance of healing.
Healing is always a loving acceptance of destiny in combination with a loving treatment.
Pains in the structural system can only be healed through integration of the whole person, to look at him, understanding and feeling what is missing; and a following loving treatment adds what is missing and leads out of a seemingly desperation onto his own path.
The Dorn Method is a rewarding possibility to guide a patient out of his dilemma. It combines a loving physical start with a solution integrating a mind and spirit background. It conforms with fundamental aspects from anatomy, physiology, neurology and biomechanics of the spine.
The Dorn Method, especially because it doesn’t have its roots in the medical chiro-therapy, goes a totally new and timely, contemporary path.
In chiro-therapy the patient is positioned (twisted) in a way that only the joint to be adjusted is movable. Watching this one cannot prevent the impression that the patient is somehow helpless left to the mercy of the therapist. Some techniques reminds the viewer to a sports-wrestling event where the patient is held in a neck-lock. Out of this situation the patient is manipulated with a short abrupt impulse. The scientific term expresses this: Manipulation, and that exactly is it. At the cervical spine this led to serious disruptions of the structure, at least according to some larger studies, partly with injury of the Arteria vertebralis resulting in fatal accidents.
With the Dorn Method something completely different happens. The patient stands or sits upright and moves freely and voluntarily with rhythmic actions. The therapist stands lovingly next to him and gently presses the patient at the spot where he is out of balance. The treating thumb is hereby exerting a gentle pressure only. The impulse begins, so to say, in the head of the therapist, who tells the bone at the area where he presses: How would you like to be in that position? No manipulation, it is a gentle and dynamic pressure. Hereby the miracle can take place. The body likes it in his center (middle) and when we recognized the mental and spiritual background for the ‘out of the center state’ and expressed it to the patient, it stays like that.
The time of manipulations at our patients, who came to look for help, is over – regardless at what level and with what method. Treatment is the inter-action between someone looking for help and someone who has the ability to recognize what the patient is missing. In the past patients where not asked: What problem do you have but: what is missing? Our responsibility is to give the patient what is missing. Mostly this is Love, Energy and Respect. One cannot give this through manipulation, but through acceptance of the patient in his state of being.
A loving advice at the end: Only treat the one that wants to be treated. Beware of manipulations with this wonderful method. Give to the patient what he is missing, but never, something you think he might well need.
What is another advantage in my opinion: The Method is in its original form free of complications and dangers. With this gentle method no damage of the sensitive structures can be done, because the forces used with the correct technique are by far below the daily stresses. To miss a step on a stairway is far higher impact. As well are the forces exerted through a forceful breaking of a car from 30kph to a standstill, much higher than the manual adjustments in the correct applied Dorn Method. Although I have seen some ‘improvements’ of the Method that let to a rise of my hair (from therapists with a ‘I know it better attitude’).
From the above mentioned explanations result that for the treatment of the spine following The Dorn Method, love and empathy are essential ingredients.
May these thoughts contribute towards the fast distribution of this wonderful method the way it deserves.