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Phillip S. Ebrall, BAppSc(Chiropr), GC (TLT), DC, PhD, PhD (Cand)

Journal of Philosophy, Principles, & Practice of Chiropractic ~ May 4, 2020 ~ Pages 8-17



Objective: The objective of this paper is to demonstrate that the paraphysiological space described by Sandoz is an illusion and to show that the proposition of Australian authorities that spinal manipulation takes a spinal joint beyond its range of physiological motion is not credible.

Methods: To report as a Philosophical Pragmatist and interpret the meaning and justification of a particular belief of chiropractors in terms of its practical effects. The elements given in the Sandoz description of the stages of spinal manipulation are individually examined and tested with the Pragmatic Maxim of ‘experienceable difference’ to identify whether each can be true or is instead false.

Results: Evidence supports the Sandoz descriptions of active and passive movement within one axis of an idealised diarthrodial joint but does not support his notion of a paraphysiological space. Evidence does exist for micro-movements called joint-play at the end of the passive range of motion of a joint and the evidence shows the summated movements of active and passive movement plus joint-play remain within the normal physiological capacity of the joint.

Conclusions: There is no such zone within a diarthrodial joint called the paraphysiological zone or space and this notion must be surrendered from chiropractic, the only discipline which claims it and does so with no evidence or argument. The idea of regulatory bodies that a trained chiropractor may take a joint beyond “a person’s usual physiological range of motion” is an evidence-free notion that cannot be substantiated.

 Keywords: chiropractic, subluxation, adjustment, manipulation, paraphysiological space

 Pragmatism: A school of Western philosophy that determines the meaning and justification of beliefs in terms of their practical effects or contents. Apart from the Structured Abstract this paper is presented in the writing style of contemporary Western philosophy.

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