VIP - Why get adjusted? Windsor Study- In 1921, Henry Windsor, MD performed a dissection of cadavers and supported the chiropractic theory that subluxations in the spine have a negative effect on the organs they control.
The Chiropractic Theory
The major chiropractic theory that the study under review focused on was the intervertebral subluxation hypothesis. This theory views subluxations as frequently common in the general population and are caused by acute trauma or poisons. The paper assumes many people today are subluxated and it looks for a connection between the viscerosomatic pathways function and the subluxation level. According to the theory, subluxations at specific levels of the spine can be correlated with visceosomatic dysfunction in the body. The study I am reviewing, Sympathetic Segmental Disturbances, is looking for the direct correlation as stated above by the means of dissection of cadavers.
Evidence from Results and Discussion
This study examined 50 cadavers from the University of Pennsylvania by means of dissection to the spinal region. All of the cadavers examined were marked for having abnormal spinal curvatures, then the areas that were considered abnormal were inspected looking for a tie between the abnormal area and the sympathetic organ innervation which was associated with each specific segment. The findings found that the areas which had the highest correlation with visceral dysfunction were the areas of the spine which possessed minor compensatory curves. Areas of grossly abnormal segmental locations were actually found to not be connected with diseased organs. Of the 50 cadavers examined, there were 139 organs considered to be diseased, where a curved vertebrae was found in conjunction with the sympathetic nerve, there was a correlation of 128 of the 139 organs. With ten of the other eleven diseased organs, abnormal curvatures or subluxations were found at either the segment above or below the area of dysfunction.
Relevance to Chiropractic
The relevance to chiropractic found in this study was astounding. This research experiment showed a significant correlation between abnormal curvatures in the body and their ties with sympathetic nervous system over-stimulation. This study found visceral diseases and pathologies were traced back to their segmental levels with nearly 100% correlation. This landmark studied hinted that spinal curve abnormalities could lead to visceral diseases. The authors also found that spinal diseases precedes old age often times and actually can be the cause of rapid old aging, hence, a person is as old as his/her spine.
Patient Friendly Summary of the Winsor Autopsies
A landmark study was conducted in 1921, this study looked for a connection between the segments of back dysfunction and the rate of organ disease associated with them. Fifty cadavers were dissected and the areas of back dysfunction were found to have an astoundingly significant connection to the areas of organ disease. What this means for you, the patient, is that this is a study which linked areas of back dysfunction with areas of organ disease. This can be directly related to the phrase, structure is connected to function. The study found most of the organs diseased were because sympathetic nerve flow was heightened once a segment in the back became abnormal. If the segments were not fixed or properly cared for, the over-stimulus led to the organ diseases. It is my hope that you as patients understand that the health of your back is directly related to your bodies overall global health.
By: Dr. Baker
Citation 1) Winsor, H. 1921. The Evidences of the Association, in Dissected Cadavers, of Visceral Disease with Vertebral Deformities of the Same Sympathetic Segments. Medical Times, November, 1921, pp 1-7.