Academy of Chiropractic Personal Injury & Primary Spine Care Program

Quickie Consult 146

From the Desk of Dr. Mark Studin
Academy of Chiropractic
Preamble: Many of the issues I bring to you are very small, yet each issue is just that, an issue. If you take care of the small issues, then you will be able to build and more importantly, focus on the bigger issues...a larger practice and more family time.

“SUBLUXATION is NOT a Clinical Finding”

For over a decade, I was one of the “straightest” chiropractors in the world. I was dogmatic to the point of being militant. I spent my days finding vertebral subluxations in the clinical evaluations that I performed and documented them as such. I was sooooo straight that I felt that if I did any other type of examination, such as blood pressure, cranial nerves, etc., I was a mixer and would burn in hell. Furthermore, if I used an e-stim or “genie rub,” as us "straights" called them, I was not a chiropractor, I was a pseudo-MD and again…straight to hell! There were lots of reasons that we created in that world of “Hate-Straight Chiropractic.” You see, we hated anything and anyone that didn’t agree with us “straights” because we knew we were right and everyone else was wrong.


Here is what I was - the world’s biggest SCHMUCK. What a horse’s ass I was to think I was better than anyone and that I had all of the answers. I couldn’t have been more wrong in my beliefs, my clinical approach or my application of subluxation. Although I have not yet encountered anyone who is as much of a loser as I was, I see some similarities in the clinical application of subluxation. I have briefly talked on this subject before, but it appears that my message did not get through or there are other dogmatic schmucks in hiding, just like I was, who are still out there and do not understand. As a note, my dogmatism didn’t only make me a fool, it caused me to help many people, but it also hurt too many along the way. By removing the blinders, I helped just as many, but didn’t hurt anyone, because I got better clinically. Let’s look at subluxation:


Vertebral subluxation is a chiropractic term that is used to describe myriad signs and symptoms (syndrome) thought to occur as a result of a misaligned or dysfunctional spinal segment. Chiropractors believe that a subluxation complex is a functional biomechanical spinal lesion that can alter neurological function, which in turn, is believed to cause neuromusculoskeletal and visceral disorders. Officially, the WHO definition of the chiropractic vertebral subluxation is: "A lesion or dysfunction in a joint or motion segment in which alignment, movement integrity and/or physiological function are altered, although contact between joint surfaces remains intact. It is essentially a functional entity, which may influence biomechanical and neural integrity."


In the 1970’s and 1980’s, I studied with Drs. Guy Reikman (now president of Life College) and Dr. Joe Flesia (deceased) through their company, Renaissance International. These were my mentors. In 1994, I was instrumental in creating a presentation for Tony Robbins, for what I am told was his largest audience ever. 8,800 chiropractic fanatics in Nassau Veterans Coliseum, where the NY Islanders, an NHL team, play, to hear about neuro-linguistic (NLP) programming and the chiropractic message. Joe Flesia was our keynote chiropractic speaker and delivered the chiropractic message to the audience, which was the best presentation I have ever heard. I still have goose bumps reminiscing about his performance and his level of excellence in my aspiration.


Dr. Flesia, in 1992, defined what I believe will be the benchmark for subluxation for centuries to come, based on its clinical foundation. He created nomenclature that has 5 components of subluxation and calls it the Vertebral Subluxation Complex. For subluxation to exist, you need proof of one of the components to exist.


What is the subluxation complex? Through extensive research and study, chiropractors have identified 5 components of the vertebral subluxation. Collectively, these elements are known as the "subluxation complex."

  1. Kinesiopathology – the loss of normal vertebral positioning and motion in relation to neighboring vertebrae
  2. Myopathology – pathological changes occurring in the spinal musculature which includes hypertonicity, spasming, fibrosis, weakness and improper or inappropriate functioning

  3. Neuropathology – irritation or injury to spinal nerve roots through compression, stretch or more commonly chemical irritation from nearby spinal structures

  4. Histopathology – pathological changes which occur to the spinal tissues such as abnormal bony growths off the vertebral bodies and joints, fibrosis and adhesions of spinal muscles and ligaments, as well as dehydration and degeneration of spinal discs

  5. Pathophysiology – the biochemical changes taking place in the spinal region which include inflammatory biochemicals from injured tissues and biochemical waste products


Subluxation is the diagnostic conclusion with the positive clinical findings of one of the 5 components of the vertebral subluxation complex. You cannot clinically find subluxations and every time you add that to a report, you are invalidating yourself as an expert. Every time you document that in an insurance report, evaluation report or SOAP note, you are exposing yourself to a creative insurance chiropractic consultant. This paid predator can use that against you in a retrospective audit in order to get you to return all of your hard-earned money, with interest, to the insurance company. Vertebral subluxation is the diagnostic conclusion of all of your examination findings and needs to be listed as such.

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