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Perhaps the most common questions in our office are:

  1. “Why doesn’t my spine stay in adjustment?"
  2. "And why is it often the same bones that need to be adjusted?"
  3. Why does Dr. Lee recommend getting adjusted once a week, or at least every two weeks?

First, let’s review anatomy. Bones are held together with ligaments. When ligaments are stretched too far, a sprain occurs. Ligaments are similar to drinking straws, in that when you stretch them, they don’t spring back to their original length- they stay stretched.

Tendons connect muscles to bones. When tendons are stretched too far, a strain occurs. Tendons are different than ligaments in that they are more like rubber bands, and when they are stretched, they usually spring back to their original length when released.

During an accident or injury, muscles and ligaments endure sprains and strains. As a result, the related joints become unstable. One of two things happens: the joints lock up and can’t move (hypomobile), or the joint becomes loose and moves too much (hypermobile). Subluxations (misalignments of the spine), happen because of joint instability after trauma.

Traumas, toxins and mental stress cause changes to ligaments and muscles in and around the spine throughout life. As a result, more areas of the spine become unstable causing more subluxations. Subluxations, as you recall, are when spinal bones misalign and interfere with the nerve communication between the brain and the cells, organs, and tissues of the body. If these subluxations are left alone, they lead to dysfunction, health problems, and dis-ease in the body. This is why we adjust the spine regularly.

So, what does all this scientific information have to do with WHY YOUR SUBLUXATIONS KEEP COMING BACK? And WHY ARE THE SUBLUXATION USUALLY IN THE SAME PLACE EACH TIME? Great questions! You see, when you have mental, physical, or chemical STRESS in life, it tightens muscles in your body. In a healthy joint, that’s not a very big deal, but in the unstable joints that have old sprains, the joints are more likely to subluxate.

When you come to the office for an adjustment, the subluxation is eliminated. If you leave the office and get into the car improperly, or trip on the curb, the spine might subluxate again in the very same place as before you were adjusted, because it is the weaker area of the spine. If you go to work and your boss gets on your case, or the kids get in trouble at school… yup, subluxated again. If you take a puff of a cigarette, drink a diet cola, eat processed foods then take a big breath of toxic Birmingham air, then yes, you are subluxated again.

SO, WHY GET ADJUSTED WEEKLY? Well, Dr. Videman’s study demonstrates that if we merely break the pattern, even for a short time before the 14th day of subluxation, it can stop the progress of the degeneration of that joint (8). If you are adjusted regularly on a weekly basis and you do exercises to strengthen and stabilize the spine, Wolff’s Law states that you can REVERSE DEGENERATIVE ARTHRITIS (9,10). Not only does an adjustment reconnect the brain to the body by removing the interference caused by a subluxation, but it can also be instrumental in helping the body repair itself when done in conjunction with a simple daily exercise routine, eating a healthy diet, getting proper sleep, and having a positive mental attitude.

So, in summary, trauma causes joints to become unstable. Physical, mental, and chemical stress tightens muscles that cause subluxations in the spine, primarily in the areas that are unstable. Adjustments correct subluxations and they stay corrected until you re-experience physical, mental or chemical stress. The reason it is important to adjust the subluxations within 7-10 days is to re-connect the brain to the tissue cell and to help avoid wear and tear (breakdown) of that joint. Over time, it is possible to reverse the damage that was done to your spine if it is adjusted and strengthened and stabilized.

HOWEVER, DON'T STRESS OUT over your subluxations returning! The only way to avoid a subluxation is to not have any more mental, physical, or chemical stress ever again (LOL).

Until then, we will see you next week. 😏


  1. "Subluxation at Birth and Early Childhood," Larry L. Webster, D.C., International Chiropractic Pediatric Association, March 1989
  2. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome: A literature review with chiropractic implications, Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 10 (5) October 1987
  3. Abraham Towbin, M.D., Neuropathologist, Harvard Medical School, "Latent Spinal Cord and Brain Stem Injury in New Born Infants," Develop, Med., Child Neurol, 1966, 11, 54-78
  4. J.M. Duncan, M.D. (1874), "Laboratory Notes on the Tensile Strength of The Fresh Adult Fetus," British Medical Journal, II, 763.
  5. "Spinal Injury Related to the Syndrome of Sudden Death (Crib Death) in Infants," Abraham Towbin, M.D., Department of Pathology, Boston University School of Medicine, Mallory Institute of Pathology, Boston, Massachusetts, The American Journal of Clinical Pathology, 49 (4), 1968, Williams & Wilkins Company
  6. "Spinal Injury," 2nd ed., David Yashon, M.D., FACS, FRCS (C), Professor of Neurosurgery, Ohio State University, "Birth Injury," Chapter 18, 347-352, Appleton Century Crofts
  7. "Blocked Atlantal Nerve Syndrome in Babies and Infants," G. Gutmann, Manuelle Medizin, 25: 5-10, 1987
  8. "Experimental Models of Osteoarthritis: The Role of Immobilization," T. Videman, Clinical Biomechanics, 2: 223-229, 1987, and the various papers by Videman there referenced.
  9. "Disc Regeneration: Reversibility is Possible in Spinal Osteoarthritis," 1989, by O.J. Ressel, B.SC., D.C., ICA Review, March/April 1989
  10. Wolff J. "The Law of Bone Remodeling". Berlin Heidelberg New York: Springer, 1986 (translation of the German 1892 edition)