Vertebral Subluxation – Degeneration

Subluxation degeneration is an orthopedic concept introduced in chiropractic in 1977 by Renaissance International. It is a concept meant to convey the orthopedic observation of constant degeneration and regeneration of bone tissue through life. It is a result of uncorrected trauma and the shifting alignment of the body to gravitational stress. All weight bearing joints succumb to this process. It is gravitationally inevitable.

The subluxation degeneration concept is expressed through the use of Phase I, 2, 3 & 4 terminology.

The term “Spinal Degeneration” is a medical diagnosis usually relating to some form of osteoarthritis of the spine.

The Renaissance term “Subluxation Degeneration” includes this usual spinal degeneration and the spinal regeneration as a result of architectural changes due to re-adaptation when the spine is out of alignment with gravity.

The four phases of “Subluxation Degeneration” become a radiographic criteria for the doctor and patient to use in order to visualize the long term damage of the vertebral subluxation complex on the spinal structure as a whole.

Normal. Disc spaces appear healthy.  Normal alignment is present.  No degeneration is evident.

Phase 1. Loss of normal curves and alignments.  Supporting tissues weakened.  Abnormal movement interferes with the nerve and other tissue function.  Obvious symptoms or pain maybe present.

Phase 2. To compensate for weak supporting tissues, the body has begun to stiffen itself with calcium.  The disc has worn considerably.  Continued nerve interference and aggravation of other tissues is present.

Phase 3. Left uncorrected, after years of degeneration, this spinal segment has fused completely.  Nerve openings have greatly narrowed.  Adjacent segments will wear more quickly under the extra stress.

For more detailed information about the subluxation complex there are a number of good scientific review articles and books listed below . These can provide a good starting point for those wanting to delve further into this expansive topic (references to other topics such as safety and efficacy can be viewed by clicking here.