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Hypothesis Formulation for Scientific Investigation of Vertebral Subluxation

Edward F. Owens, Jr., D.C., David B. Koch,D.C., Leroy Moore, D.C.


Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research ~ Volume 3 ~ Number 3 ~ Pages 1-6



Chiropractic research in recent years has more often focused on the effects of spinal manipulative therapy as a treatment for certain musculoskeletal conditions, than on the detrimental effects of vertebral subluxation on the body’s ability to maintain its own health. Many practitioners and some institutions, however, maintain that vertebral subluxation, not the treatment of musculoskeletal conditions, should be the central focus of the chiropractic profession. Research into the phenomenon of vertebral subluxation has suffered due to a lack of well-defined operational definitions for elements of the phenomenon, and a framework for linking philosophical constructs, clinical observations, and scientific methods. The goal of this work is to develop a vertebral subluxation model that is grounded in a philosophy of science as applied to chiropractic, beginning with the abstract construct and branching out into diverse testable hypotheses in stages. The present authors liken this development to the structure of a tree, where the roots are the philosophy, the trunk the major principle and the branches particular versions of more defined, but still abstract theories. As development continues, specific quantifiable and testable hypotheses will be proposed that can be used to verify or falsify the theories. This article details the development of the hypothesis tree, and outlines some areas of fruitful research that might arise from its application in a concerted effort to investigate the aspects of the vertebral subluxation.


Key words:   Vertebral Subluxation, Chiropractic, research strategy, research methodology

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