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Persistance of Vertebral Misalignments Detected on Radiographs of the Cervical Spine During Chiropractic Care:  A Case Study


John F. Hart, D.C.


Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research ~ Volume 1 ~ Number 4 ~ Pages 1-8



The present case study was conducted to evaluate the persistence of certain “misalignment” characteristics of the cervical spine. From a group of patient files meeting the criterion of at least two years under chiropractic care, one patient file was randomly selected from the archives of the Sherman College of Straight Chiropractic Health Center, located in Spartanburg, South Carolina.The radiographic history of the patient was re-evaluated by three independent practitioners, each analyzing three separate anterior-posterior open mouth radiographs taken in 1985, 1986, and 1989. Features of the cervical spine which were analyzed included laterality of the atlas and axis, side of acute atlas angle, and extent of vertebral rotation. Three lateral cervical radiographs, taken at the same time intervals previously mentioned, were separately digitized and computer analyzed. This process examined atlas angle, atlas/axis angle, atlas skull angle, base line convergence, George’s line, and Jackson’s angle (including primary area of segmental stress). Clinical data regarding patient assessments relative to the administration of cervical chiropractic adjustments was also re-evaluated to substantiate if alleviation of vertebral subluxation was indicated over the four year course of chiropractic care. Results showed that the majority of adjustments administered over the four year period were accompanied by positive changes in patient status indicative of vertebral subluxation correction.This included changes in bony and muscular static and motion palpation, neurological tests of leg length evaluation, and neurophysiological assessment by paraspinal thermographic profiling. Radiographic findings revealed that while changes, even though not statistically significant, occurred over the course of the four year period in each of the parameters measured, the relative character of the cervical spine persisted.That is, angles that were less than what is considered “typical” remained less, as did those that were considered greater than “typical.” The cervical spine also persisted in its extent of right rotation and hypolordotic curvature, with stress focused at the level of C6/C7 throughout the four year period. Moreover, atlas and axis right laterality persisted over the same time period. It was concluded in the case studied that cervical spine structural “misalignments” persisted even when indications of vertebral subluxation correct were evident.A rationale for these findings, and suggestions for further research are also presented.

Key words:  Vertebral subluxation, upper cervical adjustment, cervical spine

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