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Christopher Kent DC, JD & Kathleen Costello MS, DC

Annals of Vertebral Subluxation Research ~ August 1, 2021 ~ Pages 53-61



Objective: This study sought to determine the prevalence of abnormal MRI findings associated with components of vertebral subluxation in a cohort of 737 patients.

Methods: This was a retrospective, cross sectional MRI imaging study. This anonymized retrospective study was determined to be exempt by the Institutional Review Board of the Foundation for Vertebral Subluxation. MRI reports on 737 consecutive cases referred by Doctors of Chiropractic were obtained from a private, free standing imaging center. MRI reports of patients referred by chiropractors who attended the imaging center in a three and one half year period were assessed for spinal pathologies. Six hundred ninety-seven spinal MRI reports and 40 extremity reports were obtained. The spinal MRI reports consisted of 325 cervical, 11 thoracic, and 361 lumbar reports. Extremity MRIs included 27 knee and 13 shoulder MRIs. The images were obtained using a low field strength (0.064T), open MRI (Toshiba Access®). All MRIs included sagittal and transaxial T1-weighted and T2-weighted sequences.

Results: Three hundred twenty-five MR studies of the cervical spine were reviewed with 91% presenting spinal abnormalities, while 28 of 325 had no abnormalities noted. These abnormalities consisted of components of vertebral subluxation including: 35% had disc degeneration, 17% exhibiting osteophytosis, 6% posterior ridging, and 1% arthrosis of Joints of Luschka. Two hundred twenty-five disc lesions were present with many reports indicating multiple lesions at different segments. Three hundred sixty-one MR lumbar spine reports were reviewed with 89% presenting with spinal abnormalities including components of vertebral subluxation, while 39 of 361 had no abnormalities noted. Two hundred fifty-one (70%) of 361 had disc degeneration. Two hundred twenty four disc lesions were identified along with 24 showing canal stenosis. There were 11 thoracic spine studies, and 40 extremity studies.

Conclusion: Degenerative and other changes in the spine may be associated with vertebral subluxations. Vertebral subluxations are changes in the position or motion of a vertebra, which result in the interference of nerve function. Possible neurobiological mechanisms associated with vertebral subluxations include compression, stretch, dysafferentation, dyskinesia, dysponesis, dysautonomia, neuroplasticity and ephaptic transmission.

Key Words: Magnetic Resonance Imaging, cervical spine, thoracic spine, lumbar spine, vertebral subluxation, chiropractic

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