By Donald K. Moon, D.C.
Volume 5, No 4; November, 1994
A few years ago I wrote an article entitled “The Flight From the Subluxation” that was first printed in the NUCCA Monograph and was later reprinted in the ACA Journal, the Texas Chiropractic Association Journal and the Ohio State Chiropractic Association Journal.
The premise of the first article centered on the apparent effort on the part of many in our profession, including educators and political leaders, to de-emphasize the importance of the subluxation and to concentrate instead on those areas of chiropractic that are more palatable to the political element in the medical community. The desire within our profession to be accepted at any cost appears to be accelerating at an alarming rate. There are many who would probably agree to totally abandon the theory of subluxation in exchange for almost any modicum of acceptance by the medical community. Such forfeiture might ensure subsequent recognition on any level by insurance plans, workers compensation programs and governmental agencies as well as the general population. Whether this would work without acceptance of a para-medical status is doubtful not to mention the probability that research on the subluxation would be severely reduced to the point that chiropractic doctors could make no claim to be a separate profession.
Whether or not this march toward obscurity can be halted remains to be seen but its momentum is growing and could soon be beyond the point of no return. The proof of this statement can be seen by the lack of research in our profession on the vertebral subluxation and the increased use of the terms fixation, manipulation, lesion, and mobilization to name a few. It is no wonder that there are many who fear that the term subluxation may be found to be unprovable and therefore in order to survive they must embrace conventional thought. Never mind the fact that there would be no chiropractic profession today without unconventional thoughts coupled with good old-fashioned logic.
But today it takes more than logic. It takes scientific research and double-blind studies and the use of measurement and physics. But even that is not enough. NUCCA has probably done more to prove the subluxation and its relationship to malfunction than any other group in chiropractic research today. Yet the march away from the subluxation continues and we wonder why.
I remember the epigram that B.J. Palmer had put on a wall at the college which said: Build a Better Mousetrap and ADVERTISE and the world will beat a path to your door. If NUCCA expects to influence thought in our profession in time to reverse the flight from the subluxation it must engage in an educational program within the profession itself. lt must start at the college level as well as the field practitioner level and educate those that have the power to influence the future of chiropractic. Those of us within NUCCA may have a tendency to overestimate the influence of our research because it is so meaningful to us. We have been accused by a very prominent and respected member of both the chiropractic and medical communities, of being an elitist organization unwilling to share our knowledge or to subject our research to the scrutiny of others within our profession. Whether this is true or not is less important than the perception by many that there is in fact a basis for this concept.
Like it or not NUCCA has a political imperative if it is ever to see the chiropractic profession benefit from its research on the vertebral subluxation complex. We can continue as we are – a small group of dedicated and concerned practitioners with little or no influence beyond our borders; or we can try to expand by influencing the leaders of our profession on a college level, state association level and through individual leaders within our profession. This requires a concerted and continuous effort at communication until a level of understanding is achieved. Once the evidence is available that the subluxation concept can be proven with measurements of pre and post x-rays (in the cervical region), this understanding could be accomplished and genuine research on the subluxation could accelerate at a significant rate.
The fear that the subluxation is indefensible would be eliminated and we could become accepted members of the health care provider community without surrendering our identity.
If we do not at least make the effort we will never know what might have been.