Why Subluxations can remain Undetected and Silently Cause Harm

James Chestnut Neurology of Subluxation

What is Pain?

Chiropractic Subluxations only RARELY result in pain or other symptoms.

Pain is actually an emotional experience.

It results from higher brain-areas responding to ‘stress’ signals with memory and other factors which determine how bad the pain is and how debilitating it might be.

The same injury can have one person doubled over while another has hardly flinched.

Symptoms come on late in the process…

With the exception of an acute injury, symptoms usually occur very late in any process of dis-ease or dysfunction, and usually only after the stressed cells have reached their point of exhaustion.

Some examples of this include:

  • Cavities – where pain takes a minimum of 18 months to come on, and
  • Heart disease – where a heart attack is often the first symptom!


Part of the reason for this is that body ‘stress’ signals are slower in their transmission from site of ‘injury’ to brain, and many are prevented from transmitting through the spinal cord due to a process of ‘prioritisation’ called pain-gating.

If you’ve ever had a massage, you’ll know that often areas are found that seem to suddenly hurt only after they are touched.

These areas are already in a dysfunctional condition (they are under a state of stress) yet the feedback from these areas are being dealt with or responded to by the unconscious level of brain processing. 

When a massage therapist introduces pressure/touch to these areas, it overrides the ‘prioritisation’ and sends the information to your conscious brain.

”While the brain can process several trillion bits of information per second, it appears that we are perhaps only consciously aware of 50 bits of information per second at any given time.”

– Furman and Gallo 2000 The Neurophysics of Human Behavior
Most of the signals that do pass upward to the unconscious brain are acted upon at that level without our conscious awareness.

Our conscious brain also has only limited ‘hardware’ for the processing of pain – think about the sheer number of nerve ‘messages’ that get to the brain every second (3 TRILLION) of which perhaps FIFTY make it to conscious awareness.

Of those fifty consciously processed inputs, roughly 10%  (FIVE) are dedicated to conscious awareness of pain.

The spinal cord, and then the conscious brain prioritises, and MOST of the ‘stress’ signals are dealt with at lower areas of the brain, through automatic reflexes WITHOUT conscious awareness.

This is why Subluxation often remains undetected…

This is why it is rare that people feel pain or other symptoms to indicate they have chiropractic subluxations, and why they can remain undetected.

The result? Subluxations contribute to silently triggering the stress-response resulting is body-wide harm.

For this reason, it is better to be regularly checked for the presence of subluxations rather than leave them undetected for any extended period of time.

Please remember we do not advocate excessive or unnecessary chiropractic care – the presence of subluxation is valid rationale for the provision of chiropractic care, yet a chiropractic neurological and spinal assessment are the only way for you to find out if you have them!

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