The Vertebral Subluxation Complex Part IV: Pathogenesis (Continued)

The Vertebral Subluxation Complex
Part IV: Pathogenesis (Continued)

This section is compiled by Frank M. Painter, D.C.
Send all comments or additions to:

FROM:   ICA International Review of Chiropractic 1993 (Mar):   37-41 ~ FULL TEXT

Joseph M. Flesia, Jr., D.C.

   Jump to:
   Part 1
   Part 2
   Part 3   

Author's Note: The previous installment in this series concerning the Vertebral Subluxation Complex introduced the concept of the Pathogenesis of VSC. Ten references were cited. This installment will conclude the comments concerning the Pathogenesis of VSc. The point is that all children should be examined at birth for VSC and if found, it should be corrected and an appropriate prevention program outlined. If no signs of VSC are detected, the parents should be congratulated and an appropriate prevention program outlined.

Suzanne Anns, author and lecturer on the birth process. Excerpts from transcript of a videotape appearance "Future Perfect" - 1984, Renaissance International.

Tony Franciosa: "Miss Arms, you have studied how the birth process is practiced in the civilized world?"

Suzanne Arms: "Well, I wouldn't exactly call it civilized. First we teach women that birth is dangerous, that only science and technology can make it safe. We place her in a hospital, in bed, hooked up to an IV drip and an electronic fetal monitor. Hospitals are run on schedules, but labor and birth take their own time and have their own rhythm. So we start labor artificially and speed it up with drugs, then more drugs are given, drugs that have known side effects and that can cause even permanent damage to the infant. Labor is rushed, delivery is forced, the umbilical cord is prematurely cut, severing the infant's connection to its mother's oxygen supply and, as if that weren't enough we then, at the very crucial introduction to life outside the womb, separate our babies from their mothers. First physical traumas then psychological.

There is something especially disturbing to me, so many babies are forcefully pulled from their mother's bodies like this (she demonstrates visually, a baby's head being forcefully pulled by pulling on her own head), by caesarian surgery, by forceps, by hands seeking to rush nature or having to interfere because of the problems caused by intervention. Our babies are subjected to one intervention after another, and tremendous force. Some research has actually linked learning problems, stillbirth and even crib death to the damage done to the baby's spine and nervous system in birth."

Disc Degeneration: Reversibility is possible in spinal osteoarthritis

O.J. Ressel, B.Se., D.C., ICA Review, March/April,1989

This is a must read article for the chiropractic clinician. There are 329 references supporting the author's hypothesis. Dr. Ressel points out that his experience "has shown that most 'adult' problems begin in the early years. In the child, for instance, neuromuscular development represents a critical period of time when the young developing nervous system assimilates, differentiates, and adapts to external and internal signals."

Dr. Ressel brings to focus a whole new area supporting the need for chiropractic care of children. Can you imagine an adult nervous system adapted to abnormal early programming that it considers normal? The abnormally developed neurospinal paradigm becomes dominant in the adaptive abilities of the organism. Certainly, as time goes on, the uncorrected Vertebral Subluxation Complex traumatic residuals collect in the form of spinal degeneration and the lessened ability of the nervous system to process date in a positive constructive manner. Not only does the patient's general health index deteriorate, the Vertebral Subluxation Complex itself becomes much more difficult to correct.

Dr. Ressel continues, "These adaptive responses are remembered, and the young nervous system is conditioned for future response. This process of 'neurological learning' or 'programming' of the central nervous system with respect to locomotion, posture, proprioception, and body kinetics takes place in a few short months."

Yes, the nervous system "learns" that the Vertebral Subluxation Complex is "normal" within a few short months after its first episode and continually learns that the downhill spiral of the neurospinal paradigm is to be considered normal. Dr. Ressel comments, "Parents should be urged to have their children examined at an early age. Once their health status is addressed, it should be enhanced and monitored."

The responsibility for early and ongoing chiropractic care is a heavy burden for the doctor of chiropractic. We see that the only method available for this to be widely accepted by the health care consumer is for an effective, philosophically and scientifically oriented patient education program. "

The Flesia Report - Vertebral subluxation complex and vertebral subluxation degeneration complex - case management - a review of therapeutic necessity for VSC well patient care," 1989, Renaissance International

The "Flesia Report" is an overview of VSC including: Pathogenesis, the five components, the four phases of subluxation degeneration and the three types of care for VSC. It also includes a review of the Vertebral Subluxation Degeneration Complex, therapeutic necessity for VSC and an introduction to the Well Patient Care concept. This report states that the Vertebral Subluxation Complex can be caused by the birth process and that because of this the real chiropractic legacy is to future humanity through VSC Well Patient Family Care for a lifetime rather than only crises care for the short term for a wide or limited range of conditions.

In the section concerning the Vertebral Subluxation Degeneration Complex, the concept is brought out that VSC &. VSDC residuals due to uncorrected previous VSC, especially since childhood, lead to faulty spinal biomechanical function and faulty neurospinal habit patterns of function. On page 51 the concept of the "Spinal Onion" is introduced to chiropractic thinking. Of course, this is a metaphorical application of uncorrected episodes of VSC. There is no real spinal onion, however, the metaphor lends itself superbly to increasing our understanding of the complexities of residuals from uncorrected VSc. Accept the metaphor as such. On page 98 of the Renaissance seminar workbook covering The Neurological Re-integration Program as a patient aided home care program for Reconstructive/Rehabilitative care of VSC, the following information is to be found:

"Whenever acute Vertebral Subluxation Complex (VSC) occurs, at least the first four components of Vertebral Subluxation Complex happen immediately: #1 spinal kinesiopathology, #2 neuropathophysiology and neuropathology, #3 myopathophysiology and myopathology, and #4 histopathology. The following is a metaphorical application ("layers") of the sequence of events that occurs during and after multiple uncorrected episodes of acute traumatic Vertebral Subluxation Complex.

  1. The first episode of Vertebral Subluxation Complex occurs, perhaps early in life. There is immediate evidence of myopathology (component #3 ofVSC) usually in the form of muscle spasms. All too frequently, these muscle spasms are self-sustaining and lead to a myopathological reflex arc active from the injured muscle to the cord and back and/or the cerebellum and the proprioceptive data storage areas in the brain and back.

  2. Uncorrected, the myopathological reflex arc becomes "learned" and therefore, permanent. Research has shown that the spinal cord, as well as the brain, can store data and therefore, learn reflex habits. This same research shows that the spinal cord, like the brain, can "forget" data and therefore, forget reflex habits. In other words, nerve centers of data storage can learn, unlearn and relearn reflex habits.

  3. This causes a unique myopathological reflex arc, as well as an abnormal spinal function "set," abnormal biomechanical profile, or a "functional deficit."

  4. Thus, a metaphorical "layer" of abnormal healing is created.

  5. Each next uncorrected Vertebral Subluxation Complex episode creates another "layer" of abnormal healing as well as increasing the confusion to spinal function on the neurological level in the spinal cord and/or the brain.

  6. These "layers" of abnormal healing and their ramifications are, in reality, integrated into the global neurological system as multi-dimensional, multi-level, feedback mechanisms, perhaps on a holographic basis.

  7. Many "layers" create a significant functional deficit inevitably leading to Phase I of subluxation degeneration.

  8. As the "layers" continue past Phase I of subluxation degeneration, Phase II occurs and if the individual body is given the time, opportunity and repeated injury, the "layers" increase and Phase III, and possibly Phase IV, becomes a reality.

  9. As the process continues, the abnormal/normal balance, movement and alignment programs in the spinal cord, cerebellum, and proprioceptive centers in the cerebral hemispheres are intensified. They become unconscious, unquestioned automatic responses."

The idea is that once the spine undergoes adaptation to an episode of uncorrected VSC it becomes more vulnerable to the next episode of VSc. In essence, the spine/body will succumb to the next episode of VSC easier than the first. As the patient goes through life with increasing numbers of uncorrected episodes of VSC, the force/ stress necessary to successfully induce VSC trauma becomes less and less. In Renaissance we teach three "types" of VSC:

  1. Easily correctable VSC - in other words the body is capable of correcting that particular episode of VSC itself no outside (Dr) aid is necessary. I believe the body corrects, perhaps 100s of these episodes daily.

  2. Difficult to correct VSC - in other words outside expert help (chiropractic) is necessary to correct these episodes of VSC.

  3. Impossible to correct VSC - these episodes may range from trauma so intense and extensive that fractures and fusions occur that are not correctable or when difficult to correct VSC episodes go uncorrected for too long a period of time and they become impossible to correct, for all practical clinical purposes.

It is easy to deduce from this metaphor that a cycle is operative here. A self perpetuating cycle that allows the difficult to correct VSC episodes, when uncorrected, to progress to impossible to correct VSC. This, of course, in turn, creates the fertile aberrant biomechanical foundation that forces the spine to "degenerate" further into even self induced VSC and, certainly, resulting in a biomechanical-adaptative profile that is increasingly injurious to the general health index.

The need is so pressing in the chiropractic profession to educate parents about VSC and children (and themselves) so that all children can be made available for appropriate chiropractic care from birth, that one of the major political Chiropractic organizations has seen fit to include a resolution into its political platform about children and chiropractic.

In 1990 one of the major policies passed by the ICA Board of Directors stated "... The ICA recommends the earliest possible evaluation, detection and correction of chiropractic lesions (subluxation) in children, especially infants, to maximize the potential for normal growth and development." (Excerpted from the 1991 ICA Policy Handbook, page 15, "Policy on Child Care") Bravo ICA!

Author's note: I would like to thank the many readers of this series of articles. I have had many responses in the form of telephone calls and letters. This lets me know that there is continued interest in the Vertebral Subluxation Complex as the core clinical concept in chiropractic. With this spirit in mind I would like to end this series with a reminder of the philosophical basis of chiropractic and the intent of these articles.

The Psycho-Epistemology of Chiropractic philosophy tell us: That chiropractic is metaphysical as well as physical and that there is a Universal Intelligence controlling all inanimate matter, giving to it its existence and properties. Universal intelligence is perfect. There is an innate intelligence in all living things giving to them their life and properties. Innate intelligence is perfect; it never makes a mistake. The purpose of Innate Intelligence is to adapt the living organism to the laws of Universal Intelligence which has no solicitude for the structures through which it works. Innate intelligence controls every aspect of life. The nerve systems of living organisms are a major tool of this control, allowing the internal Innate perfection to express in the external.

The Vertebral Subluxation Complex interferes with the expression of Innate Intelligence. Therefore, all life expression becomes incongruent. Incongruence causes and is a body and mind at war with itself. This causes self destruction which is disease, physically, mentally and socially. When the individual is incongruent, society is incongruent. This is the self destruction of society which is the "Predicament of the Species" (everything negative on the planet). Therefore, the Vertebral Subluxation Complex is a major component of the "Predicament of the Species."

Since chiropractors correct the Vertebral Subluxation Complex of the individual this must result in an improved society and an improvement of the "Predicament of the Species." The entire world and all the events in the world are improved. Persistence in this practice will allow the innate perfection within to manifest itself in the physical world. At that point, the next step will be clearly seen to be worked at and unfolded.

This is a "Big Vision"- a very big vision! This is what these articles are intended to communicate. Chiropractic is not only a profession dedicated to getting sick people well, it is a profession dedicated to improving the human condition by correcting the Vertebral Subluxation Complex as an interference to the Innate perfection within every human being, so that perfection may manifest and actualize as it was intended. As long as this spirit lives in chiropractic there are no limits.

Joseph M. Flesia, DC graduated from Palmer College of Chiropractic in 1957. A very successful private practitioner for more than 12 years, he limited his practice to the Vertebral Subluxation' Complex based on an in-depth Well Patient Care patient education program, averaging over 360 patients a day. Currently President of Renaissance International, he presents over 48 complete seminars a year and has more than 40 speaking engagements a year. Dr. Flesia's quest for the global acceptance of chiropractic is legendary and provides the basis for his unbounded energy and enthusiasm.


                       © 19952022 ~ The Chiropractic Resource Organization ~ All Rights Reserved