The Chiropractor
D. D. Palmer
    The direct cause of disease (abnormal functionating and morbid tissue) is subluxated joints; about 95 per cent of which are slightly displaced vertebrae; the balance will be found in other joints than those of the vertebral column.  There are no nerves between the articulating surfaces of joints.  Luxations of the toe joints cause corns and bunions.

    A dorsal vertebra displaced ever so little, twisted out of its normal alignment, disarranges the costocentral, costovertebral, costo articulation, the juncture of the head of the rib with the body of the vertebra. A thoracic vertebra racked from its normal position affects the costotransverse joint, the articulation of the tuberosity of the rib with the transverse process of the vertebra.  Its dislocation must of necessity displace the intervertebral articulation.  The displaced bones of any luxated joint may impinge upon a nerve, or by their displacement cause a nerve to be stretched, thereby creating inflammation.  A dislocated vertebra cannot do otherwise than displace two (cervical and lumbar), four (eleventh and twelfth dorsal) or six (the first to and including the tenth dorsal) articulations causing nerve tension.

    Some authors on chiropractic state and use cuts to show how nerves are pinched because of occluded intervertebral foramina, the closing up of the foramina attributed to accidents or a settling together of vertebrae.  These writers now use the word impingement instead of pinch, seeing the founder of chiropractic makes use of that term, yet they do not comprehend the difference between a nerve being impinged AGAINST and one pinched BETWEEN two harder substances.  There are no intervertebral cartilages between the atlas and occiput and the atlas and axis, that by compression might narrow or occlude the intervertebral foramen.  Atlas luxations are the cause of a large per cent of diseases, which may be relieved by adjusting the displaced atlas.  The displacement of other joints than those of the vertebral column cause nerve tension, a stretched condition; disease the result, and yet, no possibility of a nerve being pinched.  I find that disease is caused by displaced vertebrae or other joints pressing against nerves; nerves are stretched because of displaced bones; the replacing of displaced portions of the neuroskeleton releases tension, consequently the conditions which cause disease are relieved.

    The spinal cord does not entirely fill the vertebral canal.  A wide space, or rather three spaces, intervene between its surface and the walls of the canal; this arrangement affords freedom of movement of the vertebral column without undue pressure or tension on the spinal cord.  Two of these spaces are continued and surround the spinal nerves as they pass through the foramina affording the same freedom from pressure to the spinal nerves as is acorded to the spinal cord.

    The difference in the height of a man at twenty-five and eighty, barring abnormal curvatures and luxations, considering the natural shortening or approximation of vertebrae, does not exceed one inch, usually less than half an inch.  This shrinkage in height must be divided between the twenty-nine articulations from occiput to ankle.  A slight bending of the neck of the femur should, also, be included.  Vertebrae have epiphysial annular plates on the upper and lower surfaces of their bodies; each are developed from an ossifying center at the fifteenth to the twentieth year and join the body of the vertebra by the twenty-fifth year.  These epiphysial plates are thickest at the circumference, gradually thinning toward the center.  A vertebral column at or about the age of fifteen will show the various stages of fusion of the vertebral bodies and their surface plates.  Bear in mind the distinction between the vertebral plates and the intervertebral fibro-cartilate discs; the cartilage of the former become ossified and eventually a part of the bodies, while the latter always remain cartilage.  The point I wish to notice is that these epiphysial rings at the age of twenty-five are quite prominent; as age advances they approximate the height of the center of the intervertebral surface.  Dividing this contraction of the vertebral column and limbs along all the articulations, it would average one-thirtieth of an inch.  It should be also remembered that the spinal nerves become slightly contracted in length, firmer and narrowed in their diameter as age advances.

    This slight difference mentioned in the length and diameter of the thirty-one pairs of nerves which arise from the spinal cord and pass out between the vertebrae, would fully make up the trivial variation found in the length of the spinal column and the size of the intervertebral foramina in adult and old age, as much so as that found in the advancing stages of growth from infancy to adult age.

    Kyphotic persons, known as hump-backs, will compare favorably, regarding health and longevity, with those who have not deformed backbones.

    When we consider that the spinal cord is freely movable within the spinal canal and that the spinal nerves are afforded ample space for their emergence from the intervertebral foramina, we will see that normal movements do not compress the spinal cord or spinal nerves.  The very slight difference in the size of the spinal foramina between the age of twenty-five and eighty would not be worth considering.  Take into consideration the play, the amount of space between the occipital and the posterior arch of the atlas and the size of the nerves which pass out over the grooves, and between the atlas and the occiput there is no intervertebral cartilage, only a very thin hyaline, articular cartilage, which, if its thickness was shrunken to half, or if it was all absorbed, would make no appreciable difference in the size of the gap between the atlas and occiput, sufficient to compress or pinch a nerve -- even if such were the case, would not the bending of the head forward ever so little relieve the compression by enlarging the gap?

    Take your spinal column in hand.  Do you not see that there is no intervertebral cartilage between the atlas and axis and the occipital bone and the first vertebra?  Do you not see that the long, wide gap between the atlas and axis affords no possible chance for nerve compression -- no more than there is between the atlas and occiput?  If you think the first or second spinal nerves can be pinched, compressed or squeezed by the approximation of the atlas and the axis or the drawing together of the occiput and the atlas, just try to explain such a condition to your next prospective patient.  The same kind of pressure that causes corns and bunions, and the many diseases which arise from impingement or a change in the amount of tension of the first and second pairs of cervical nerves, must also cause disease elsewhere.  The rule must hold good throughout the body.

    The filaments of nervous tissue create heat and transmit impulses, it is the only structure which can increase or decrease the amount of heat, increase or decrease the velocity of impulses or modifying the force of reflex action, the bounding back of an impulse.  Remember, the amount of function depends upon the renitency, the impulsive force obtained by the bounding back.  Ease and disease depend upon the condition of nerves.  Nerves furnish innervation and heat to all parts of the body, whether in normal amount, or more or less than normal.  The organs of the body perform their functions normally when nerves are at ease and vice versa.