SUBLUXATION! True or Untrue?

There is a word in our profession, a name, that is under attack.

Certain words evoke feelings or responses.

For example: when I say “Christmas,” for most the word evokes some type of  memory or feeling.  Same with “9-11” that’s all you need to hear to evoke a powerful emotion.

Some names have a strange irony.  As was the case of a locally-owned business where I grew up in NY state.  “Amigone Funeral Home.” Am I Gone?  “Why yes, you are”.

Some names fit perfectly, such as a lawyer in NY named Sue Yoo.  And some names are fine by themselves, but with an unfortunate juxtaposition… such as the photo of two college football players sitting beside one another on the bench, “Dingle” and “Berry”.

But there is one name or word in our profession that evokes passions and incredible, almost fanatical emotion either pro or con.


Some, in fact the majority of chiropractors would argue that “Subluxation” is THE identifying word and concept that makes chiropractic unique from any other form of healthcare.

It would be unthinkable to remove this word from our vocabulary as it would effectively strip our identity and reduce chiropractic to a mechanistic procedure, devoid of any real purpose.

Yet a relatively small group of DCs would just as vehemently disagree, accusing those who support it as “uncritical observationalists”.  They claim continued use and adherence to the word is an anchor holding our profession back.

Opponents contend use of the word causes confusion not only within our own profession but within the health care community at large.  The literal meaning of the word itself, “less than a luxation,” has been challenged as inaccurate, and must therefore not be used.

To which I say the word has ameliorated to it’s current understanding… most DCs and yes, even the research, will agree there is more to the subluxation and it’s effects than the traditional definition of “a hard bone out of place pinching a soft nerve”.

Yet still, the word is what we use to identify a specific condition that we address and correct.

Other critics charge that since “subluxation” has a different meaning within the medical community, perhaps as a way to bridge a gap and, maybe, to be more “accepted,” we should use other terminology.

True or untrue?  Mention the word “football,” and billions of people around the world will not think of a game where a brown, oblong ball is mostly thrown, caught, and carried by hand. To most of the people on this planet, “football” is what we here in North America call “soccer.”

Should we change the name of our sport because it may be a source of confusion among most in the world? To appear more agreeable/be more accepted??  Of course not.

“American football,” as most in the international community call it, is part of our cultural fabric.  Similar is the case for “Chiropractic Subluxation.”

Sadly the current situation goes far deeper than that.  If it were merely a matter of semantics, there wouldn’t be cause for such concern.

There is something more sinister going on behind the scenes as well, which is at the root of the attack on this word and on chiropractic itself.

It brings to mind the saying that as a profession, when chiropractors circle the wagons, we shoot inwards.  Stay tuned as there is more to come on this all-important issue… The truth must stand.



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