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
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.