The CNS Efficiency Model
of the Chiropractic Subluxation Theory
Chiropractic traditionally uses static structure to diagnose dynamic
functional loss. Segmental and Postural Chiropractic techniques
presuppose that structural correction (by our imposed standards) will
lead to functional improvement. The overriding belief is poor structure
leads to poor function. Yet everyday we see cases that defy this
underlying belief. Clinical cases were dysfunction and pain are not in
doubt but the structure is grossly normal. Also everyday we see cases
were structure, as verified by MR and other objective tests, is grossly
abnormal yet the functional performance of the individual is above what
would be considered normal for normal structure.
Does structure determine function or does function determine structure,
or does each determine the other, and if the latter, how can it be? The
answers to these questions seem to be matters of definition, personal
paradigm and recognition of the driving purpose of the natural order.
In the inorganic world, structure may be regarded merely as a mechanical
collocation of parts in a whole. But in the biological world, structure
is a mechanical collocation of parts adapted to an end.
One cannot argue that “structure leads to function” is a popular belief
yet when evolutionary forces are considered one is drawn to concepts
such as Wolff’s Law: Function precedes structure. A look at biology
gives the clinician a unique understanding. That understanding is that
efficient function and behavior in the external environment leads to
adaptable structure through natural selection. Saving and economic use
of resources drives the individual and the species. Efficient function
with available finite resources determines the survival of an
individual. With enough time and offspring, structure adapts to save
resources and energy. What can be said
definitively is that structure and function are interdependent with the
biologic drive of survival being efficient utilization of available
Another Model of the VSC
The brain seems to be run by a program that says, “Do it in the most
efficient way.” In all of its functions, the brain seeks optimum
metabolic (energy) efficiency, or the path of least resistance. If
one particular function is not accessible, the brain will automatically
go on to the next most efficient process for doing that particular
task. If the second task is not available, it will go on to the third
or the fourth most efficient way. Because each alternative process is
less efficient, it becomes more stressful and energy expensive.
The brain will keep searching for an appropriate processing method,
until eventually the activity may become so metabolically inefficient
that the brain will either strengthen the program to make it more
efficient through neuroplasticity or not run the program at all. The
individual will decrease the energy partitioning to that process, making
this activity minimized or force the program to be more efficient.
Disease and dysfunction depend on whether the strengthened program is
physiological or pathological. If the program is not run, there could
still be symptoms if the minimized program is physiological. It all
depends on where the process is located in the physiological hierarchy.
A chiropractic subluxation is interference in the CNS
summation, filtering and integration of sensory input leading to an
inefficient output. The main challenge is the processing component.
The reason an
adjustment is effective in the treatment of disease and dysfunction is
due to the extensive network of connections possessed by the neuronal
clusters in the composite thalamus and cortical maps representing and
interacting with the chiropractic listing (the adjustable areas of the
spine) in the periphery. This afferent information
from the chiropractic adjustment gives the CNS just the right recipe to
formulate and process more functional efficient local and global outputs
We now understand the biophysical, energy constraints and energy
efficiency impulses that have governed the evolution of
thalamo-cortical networks. To operate efficiently within these
constraints, natural selection has optimized the structure and function
of CNS networks with design principles similar to those used in
electronic networks. The brain also exploits the adaptability of
biological systems to reconfigure (neuroplasticity) in response
to changing needs caused by the internal and external environment.
Shifts in neuronmodulation such as caused by chiropractic adjustments,
exercise, yoga, positive mediation and diet or any other systematic
constant afferent input help assure a favorable balance in the CNS of
performance (processing, integration, summary and filtering) and
the subluxated patient, the brain is not
processing or organizing the flow of sensory impulses in a manner that
gives the individual good, precise information about himself or his
world. Thus any efferent output will be inefficient and lead to
eventual dysfunction and limitation.
chiropractic subluxation is stress to the system that causes inefficient
processing that can lead to long-term pathology.
The human brain is an expensive tissue whose evolution, development and
function have been shaped by available metabolic energy within and
without neurons. The human nervous system is innately tuned towards
survival of the organism. This survival tendency manifests itself as
the development and continuance of efficient use of energy for all its
This survival tendency,
or drive, is for the conservation of energy and efficient use of that
energy towards expression of optimal potential in life. These processes
and pathways are directed on the input (sensory) side of the system.
Chiropractic should address conservation of energy and the efficient use
of that energy towards expression of optimal potential in life.
Chiropractic should not ignore the 400 million year history of the
evolution and development of the vertebrae brain. Working in synergy
with this reality leads to incredible clinical results