“Integrity and Honesty”
By Ralph R. Gregory, D.C.
Vol. 6, No.3, May, 2001
Integrity requires that we say what we mean; integrity also demands that we mean what we say. Good communications demands this also. I have often been accused of making unpopular talks, and my most recent one given at the Palmer Homecoming has seemed to reach a new high in that respect. Let me say that I would rather be unpopular and communicate than to be popular and fail to communicate.
I can say this in all honesty because there is nothing from you that I want. There is nothing from any organization or college that I want. The thing that I do want, which is to be left alone in my own office to follow out my own ideas and plans without interruption, and which seems to be the thing that I cannot have, is the only thing for which I would willingly pay a price.
It was, therefore, with reluctance that I assumed the duties that I have following the death of J.F. Grostic. I have done this because there is no one else capable of solving the unsolved problems or continuing the research work. Much of this research I have presented to the field was done before the death of J.F. Grostic and was given to him. This is also the reason why I did not align myself with those who were chosen to continue presenting the work.
It is becoming increasingly evident to me that I must do something, either to start the basic training of the new chiropractors coming into this work or to stop giving really advanced work. l say this because the newer fellows coming into this work have had no real training in instrumentation and no training in the basic classes in spinal mechanics.
The number of calls l am getting from the older so-called Grostic men relative to complicated problem cases leads me to believe that there is a lack of understanding as to what to do regarding cases that are out of the ordinary. Doctors themselves who were adjusted over the years by Dr. Grostic, and whose subluxations were normalized, and who have supported the other faction in this work, are running into problems with their own conditions. Within the past two weeks I have adjusted two such Doctors who at last decided to come to Monroe for service. One doctor had a seven degree rotation and a nineteen degree rotation of his cervical spinouses and ended up in the hospital. He had muscular spasms and was put under cervical traction which gave him more relief than the Grostic adjustments for which he traveled hundreds of miles on several occasions over the past two years to consult with this Grostic expert.
The second doctor chose another Grostic expert and ended up with 11 degrees of atlas rotation and a spinous of 17 degrees. Both doctors were into severe kinks, and needless to say were pretty sick. Apparently neither of these experts were capable of figuring out these cases on the basis of spinal mechanics, and chose or had to choose to go according to the listings that were taught in basic classes in Ann Arbor, and which did not work.
This is precisely what I have warned those of you against who have been in my classes; learn the spinal mechanics involved.
I might add that B. Shaw apparently knew what he was talking about when he said: “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.”
Now my reason for telling you this is to point out that we must have organization if we are going to advance. If there is to be any research, others are going to have to do the organizational work. As for chiropractors who are supporting the other faction, if I am going to have to take care of their subluxations, they are going to have to support us. In other words, those chiropractors who support NUCCA will get the preference. I want this to get around. The supporters of NUCCA will get preference in my office and in future classes.
NUCCA is or will be a part of the future of chiropractic. The strength of NUCCA will depend upon the ability of its members to reduce subluxations. The policy adopted by the NUCCA Board by unanimous decision in its last meeting was that Chiropractic is based upon the restoration principle.
The restoration principle in chiropractic is the restoring to or toward normal the misalignment factors of the subluxation and all else that follows naturally and uninterruptedly from that principle.
If we define a subluxation according to D.D. Palmer, we find that it is a condition wherein a bone has moved out of its normal relationship. lt is a partial or incomplete separation; one in which the articulating surfaces remain in partial contact.
Dr. Janse defines a subluxation as a condition caused when a vertebra is carried beyond its normal range of motion; he says it is a slight change in the relative position of a vertebra.
Verner defines a subluxation as any displacement less than a luxation.
Other authorities speak of fixation, that is to say, where the subluxated vertebra or vertebrae is fixed at some point within the normal range of motion or at the extremity of the range of motion.
These authorities all agree, however, that there is movement of the vertebra in subluxation and that there is through some pressure, irritation or interference producing mechanism an ability of the subluxation to produce symptoms and/or pathology .
It is interesting to note that the emphasis today is shifting away from the intervertebral foramen. lt is being discovered and accepted today that pressure on the intervetebral foramina theory is only 50% correct, because 47% of peripheral nervous system does not go thru movable intervertebral foramina. Therefore 50% of spinal adjusting is in error on any vertebra from the axis down.
B.J. Palmer in his Volume XX, published in 1938, speaks of a vertebral subluxation as being the condition of a vertebra that occludes an opening; produces pressure upon spinal cord or spinal nerves; interferes with transmission of mental impulse supply between brain and body ; interference offers resistance to transmission ; interference and transmission reduce quantity of energy flow; reduction of energy flow reduces and slows down tissue cell action; reduction of tissue cell action is disease.
The point that I am making here is that while all these authorities word their definitions differently, there are certain points upon which they do agree. The one point that I am most concerned with, and I trust that you are also, is that the subluxed vertebra moves; it becomes malpositioned, it gets out of line in one or more directions. The subluxated vertebra travels due to some force that makes it travel in some direction or directions which are undesirable, and this is undesirable because, being a subluxation, it produces pathology or symptomology in the patient.
Therefore, the science of chiropractic is to find out the exact location and malposition of the subluxated vertebra; to find the amount of interference; to determine the exact adjustment that will remove the misalignment factors of the subluxation, remove the interference; ascertain places of origin of function, paths of distribution, and the location of the functional effects of that interference. To put the latter statement another way: relate the subluxation to the disease processes.
Thus the whole procedure rests upon the restoration principle. To restore the vertebra to its proper position; restore nerve supply; restore function and to restore health. Any so-called adjustment that does not restore to or toward normal the misalignment factors of the subluxation is not an adjustment; and therefore cannot be chiropractic science.
Now, in spite of the fact that all authorities agree that some malposition of the subluxated vertebra is an elemental part of the subluxation, very little attention is paid, or has been paid to developing techniques that will do that. It has been taken for granted that so-called adjustments which were not adjustments at all, reduced or removal the malpositioning of the subluxated vertebra. The truth has been, and still is, that in the majority of cases, so-called chiropractic adjustments have increased the misalignment factors of subluxations. This is the Achilles’ heel of chiropractic; the LSD of chiropractic. One school authority has gone so far as to say that all techniques are good. Yet all authorities agree that malposition of a subluxation is an essential part of a subluxation. Malposition means wrong or faulty position, and it can be anywhere around a 360 degree circle in a horizontal, vertical, diagonal or any other plane and will be in 99% of the cases a combination of these planes.
We cannot escape the fact that forces do travel both in the production and in the reduction of a subluxation. No reasonable individual can support any other conclusion. Any chiropractor who increases the patient’s subluxation by increasing the misalignment factors of that subluxation is liable for malpractice and I have ample legal opinion on that.
At the present time I am taking care of a case who was adjusted wrong by a Grostic practitioner, and she is contemplating suing. I took the case over with the understanding that she not sue if I can get her spine back where it belongs. This is the fifth case I have taken over for this man and, yet, he has never attended a class in Monroe. I might add I am doing it for free, too.
We have rather well established, according to the authorities, what is a subluxation and we can say that in the main they are pretty well in agreement on the majority of the elements constituting a subluxation. Where they begin to disagree seems to be in the area of the adjustment, or if you prefer, the art of chiropractic. After studying D.D. Palmer closely, I find that I agree with his position in respect to the adjustment. I particularly like his statement that, and I quote him, “Adjusting is the result of intellectual and mechanical force on the part of Educated-not of Innate”. I like also his statement that “Any person can learn to hit the high places, replace and displace vertebrae, relieve one disease and cause others”. A further statement of D.D.’s also is interesting and that is the one in which he advises that adjusting should be guided by scientific knowledge.
I can also say that I can agree with B.J. Palmer’s statement in which he speaks of the measurement of subluxation distance and adjustment correction of malposition of a vertebra before and after adjustment. I like the term subluxation distance and adjustment correction, and measurement. It would seem that while the authorities agree on the majority of elements of the subluxation the only two authorities that agree on the adjustment were the Palmers, DD and BJ. These two were the ones who stressed the specificity of the art of chiropractic. The rest seem to get lost after the subluxation is defined as to what to do with it.
Note that DD speaks of adjusting in terms of “intellectual and mechanical force”; “replacing and displacing vertebrae”; relieving disease and causing others. Note that BJ speaks of measurement of the subluxation; of malposition of subluxated vertebrae; of subluxation distance and adjustment correction. You might note also that DD did not agree with the Innate adjustment because he said that it was a matter of educated mind – not of Innate mind.
Be that as it may, the point is that of all the authorities, the Palmers stood almost alone in the specificity of the art -the exactness of the art-. Why? Because both knew innately that chiropractic could not be proved unless and until means and methods were developed that corrected the misalignment factors of the subluxation. In this area alone lay the key to the proving -and these two men knew it. It is inherent in every statement that they published relative to the adjusting art of chiropractic.
They knew that the only tests that were available to prove chiropractic were those that could be applied in the area of the misalignment factor and its restoration. Who could or who can prove whether the element of irritation, interference or pressure to, with or upon nerves or which of these concepts is correct, or whether any of them are correct? This is pure theory. Whether each or any of these reduces function or produces pathology in tissue cells is pure theory. The fact that patients get well from adjustments is only clinical evidence. All this is not peculiar to chiropractic. Theories abound in other healing arts as well.
However, we do have one area in which we can produce indisputable proof: we can replace vertebrae to or toward normal position; we can reposition vertebrae from their faulty position. This is where our strength lies; this is where our chance for survival exists; this is our area of defense.
I submit to you today that institutions and organizations in chiropractic have not encouraged this understanding of chiropractic; this necessity of chiropractic; this strength of chiropractic. No one has ever proved that subluxated vertebrae pinch, squeeze or compress nerves as these nerves pass thru intervertebral foramina. D.D. said “pressure against a nerve” which is an entirely different concept. Personally, I do not believe in the intervertebral foramina pressure theory.
I further submit that either or both national organizations owe a duty to their membership to try to advance the proof of the basic restoration principle, and they owe it to chiropractic. They should start with the one element that is provable; the misalignment factor of the subluxation and its reduction. I say this because they have both defined the scope of chiropractic, and by doing this they themselves have opened the door to the question and placed upon themselves the responsibility, if not of proving these concepts, at least of attempting to prove that upon which each takes so dogmatic a stand. The same could be said of the schools.
A medical doctor in 1925, Dr. Jesse F. Willimans, said, and I quote him: “Chiropractic will remain a debatable subject, even to chiropractors, until scientific standards and tests are applied to it. It may grow by advertising methods, it may record ‘cures’ by adjustment of subluxations, but it will remain a claim and a cult until it meets satisfactorily the sort of tests that intelligent men everywhere make to cause and effect questions.”
In your heart you know he is right.
Now I am aware of the fact that many chiropractic educators have attempted to, and are attempting to, relate the theory of the mechanism by which disease in the human body is produced by the subluxation.
To them all credit is due. However, I deplore the fact that so little emphasis is being placed upon the reduction of the misalignment factor of the subluxation, the one and only element of the subluxation upon which we can rely as being susceptible of proof; of meeting those tests that intelligent men everywhere make to cause and effect questions.
Because forces do travel both in the production and the reduction of the vertebral subluxation, we cannot escape the fact that damage cannot be avoided by wrong adjustments. As I said in Davenport as long as the scientific formula remains a scientific formula that Work equals Force times “Distance” and the “Distance” factor of the formula, or the direction factor of the formula, is traveling, which it must, and this situation obtains every time an adjustment is given, whether that adjustment is right or wrong, doing good or creating harm, we are morally, legally and professionally bound to give good adjustments.
It is true now, and it will always be true, that the misalignment factor of the subluxation will need to be measured and the adjustment will ever need to be figured so that it exactly reverses the misalignment factors of the subluxation. The failure of the profession to understand this, and their failure to do it, will cause our downfall. Remember, that if we are attacked in this area we can be more easily defeated than in an area of theory, where there is room for argument. For the production of more subluxation by the adjustment will not meet the tests of intelligent men everywhere, and there is now abundant legal opinion that it is negligence.
This all makes it more difficult to understand why chiropractic authorities, institutions and organizations do not concern themselves with this misalignment factor; and it makes it impossible to understand why some even deny its importance. Why do some say all techniques are good? Are the techniques good that increase the misalignment factors? Our courts would not agree with them; neither do I believe will the FDA.
The fact that many patients get well by maladjustment is also advanced as an argument. It proves nothing. The fact that patients get well under proper adjustments does not prove anything, either. Many get well who never consult a D.C., and many get worse who do. All of this is explainable when we consider the various forms for the transmission of energy. The same applied to the medical profession. Of course it depends on how one defines the word “get well”.
It has, however, been demonstrated many times that people can be made ill -that is to say, disease can be created- by increasing the malposition of the subluxation . I have done it intentionally
Therefore, in view of the things which I have discussed with you this morning, and at other times, it has seemed to me that we should have a national organization. Such has been formed, named, incorporated and we now have our status with both the State of Michigan and the Internal Revenue Service. The National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association, Inc. is in business. It has adopted a policy based upon what I have outlined here today. It is open to all chiropractors who are in good standing and accredited graduates. It’s not in its membership confined to upper cervical men or necessarily to so-called straight practitioners. Its Board of Directors is composed of graduates of three colleges; Lincoln, Palmer and National. It is not anti-anything, but at the same time it is committed by action of its Directive Board to sane, sensible and rational practices particularly in the area of the misalignment factors of the subluxation.
It is hoped that as it branches out in influence and in membership that it can increase its sphere of influence in any area of chiropractic in which it can be effective. Right at the present time connections are being sought with the Detroit News to publish an answer to be carried by the national press agencies in rebuttal of the most recent AMA attack. It is hoped that a series of articles carried by AP or some other national news agency will come out of this. If it does, we will explain Chiropractic on the basis of what we can prove along the lines that we are talking about this morning.
No one, including the AMA can call people quacks who render a subluxation misalignment reducing service to the public which can be proved on a measurement basis based upon mathematics, physics and the like. This is particularly true when they themselves engage in such dangerous misalignment producing measures as traction, and leverage manipulation. If they do not know that W equals F times D and that “distance” is a vector moving in some direction then we’ll be happy to explain. If they do not know that scientifically they are producing harm by increasing subluxations, we will be happy to explain that also. However, we have the same problem in chiropractic and we had better get our house in order before we show them where their house needs redecorating. This is NUCCA’s job.
Therefore, there is a big need for NUCCA. We have an attorney who is 100% chiropractic. He believes in it; he understands it. He advocates it to his friends, and his family is under chiropractic. He also knows how to fight as witness his recent legal victory in the Osteopathic Hospital case; in the Haye’s Case.
I have long felt that upon the basis of the misalignment concept within the premise of the subluxation, and upon which as I said above, all agree to a greater or lesser degree lies the basis for unity of the profession. We cannot gain any semblance of unity by attacking those who practice a broader scope of practice nor can they attain unity by attacking those who favor a narrower scope of practice. Nor do we influence each other by calling each other names. Calling mixers “medipractors” or even mixers convinces no one; calling “straights” technicians is equally short sighted for all doctors must be technicians. I would hate to have brain surgery by one who is not a good technician. Saying that straights do not conduct a rational practice is equally foolish because there are many straights who remove subluxations and what is more rational for a D.C. to remove than the subluxation of a subluxated patient?
If all chiropractors can be led to see that subluxation misalignment factors are more complicated and more susceptible of reduction than they previously knew, and that this before all else is the function and purpose of the D.C., we may thru a process of education lead closer to unification. And when all chiropractors see that it will be required of them by the courts and by the government that regardless of what else they may do, they must reduce the misalignment factors and do away with misalignment producing adjustments, we will be on the road to true unity by a process of education and persuasion and not of force. At least the force will come from the government agencies, not from attempted force within the profession. It is just a possibility that state legislatures will be called upon to outlaw dangerous adjusting procedures whether done by a medic, osteopath or chiropractor. That would certainly be within the public interest.
Therefore, there is a big need for another organization. It is a need that goes directly to the question of the survival of chiropractic. I do not see where any school or organization is aligning itself with this proposition. I believe that there are hundreds of chiropractors who will support this proposition. I also believe that there are hundreds of chiropractors who are not aware of this because they have not thought it through to this point. As we showed above, many of the educators are not aware of it.
I would also like to see our work subjected to testing in a consulting firm or university. This alone would cost, I am informed, about $10,000.00. I would like to see it meet those tests that intelligent men everywhere make to cause and effect questions. Then I would like to see corrections made where they are needed and proof provided in the areas other than the misalignment concept. This necessitates the hiring of skilled people of all kinds.
Also I would like to see NUCCA become effective in helping a D.C. with his problems right within his own office; feeding him research material, tapes, meeting material; advice on his problem cases, and the like.
In closing, I want to say that this program should have a vital appeal to all chiropractors who are or will concern themselves with the misalignment factors of subluxations.
I further wish to mention the fact that chiropractors who took the Grostic work are still criticizing the fact that I have added to the work and am adding to the work. This attitude on their part is unrealistic. This is the same thing as saying that the work is without fault; that all the problems are solved and all is known that should be known. I ran into this criticism in Davenport; and let me say, that it is a stupid criticism and I would be ashamed to support it. I defy anyone to say that Dr. G. ever labelled his work as finished.
I think I can say without fear of contradiction that the two Chiropractors who were adjusted by so-called Grostic experts and whose subluxation misalignment factors were badly increased would agree most emphatically with me when I say that problem cases sometimes require more knowledge than was taught in Ann Arbor classes, and to become proficient in upper cervical adjusting you have to know more than some of the current so-called experts perhaps realize. So to contend that the Grostic work needs no additions or deletions or what have you, is a little ridiculous when you consider that there have been a lot of changes made during Dr. Grostic’s lifetime of which some people did not know.