Degenerative - Getting steadily worse.
These two words describe the character of subluxation. Subluxation is damage to the function of the joints of the spine due to trauma of a physical, chemical, and even emotional nature. Once there is damage to a joint it will be there forever because adult humans essentially cannot make the cartilage needed to repair the joint. This is why with the advent of advanced imaging such as MRI and CT we are seeing spinal joint degeneration in teenagers. As many of you know I am the team chiropractor for the athletes at UC Riverside. I was working on one of their female athletes recently and reading her MRI report where it noted disc bulges, joint degeneration, and bone spurs, in a 20 year old!! I have made the observation over and over that I am yet to find a 10 year old without some sign of subluxation. By the time we are 30 advanced imaging can see the degeneration, and then by 40 we can see it on x-ray. It truly is both progressive and degenerative.
Heart disease is also progressive and degenerative. Cancer is progressive and degenerative. Diabetes is progressive and degenerative. There are many diseases that are progressive and degenerative. We can learn a lot about treatment of progressive and degenerative conditions by looking at these examples. What is the goal of treatment of these types of disease? Certainly we would like to have complete healing, but that is often not possible. The next level of treatment is to stop the progression. If we can’t do that we want to at least slow it down. And the last treatment type is symptom control. And sometimes in late stages of the disease the only available treatment is symptom control as there is no stopping or slowing the progression.
Let’s apply this lesson to subluxation. It too is progressive and degenerative, and by the way lethal. Its lethality is due to its direct effect on nerve function. The purpose of the nerve system is to read the environment and adapt the body to it. Subluxation damages nerve function which damages adaptability which is ultimately the cause of all disease when you think about it. All disease results from the inability of the body to properly adapt to environmental stresses. So, if the first goal of treatment is complete healing, we know that that is not possible with joints for the reasons stated above. Therefore, the next goal of treatment is to stop or slow the progression. That is exactly what reconstructive care is trying to do through ongoing adjustments to the damaged joints. You should know I am terrified of the progressive and degenerative nature of subluxation in my own spine. I have been disabled by it in the past. This is at least partly why my office is dedicated to reconstructive care of the subluxation.
However, the lay person does not usually understand the progressive and degenerative nature of the subluxation and that there is treatment beyond symptom control. And unfortunately too often chiropractors do not tell their patients this information. And how can we make good health decisions with incomplete information? This is why we use the computer programs and why we de-emphasize symptoms and why I write these articles and why we push reconstructive care and why I adjust most children for free. This is why this office is here. Thanks for being part of it.