Groundbreaking research was published nearly 100 years ago but has gone overlooked for the most part. Perhaps it’s because our society has become fixated on convenience - always looking for a “quick-fix” and never wanting to invest the time, effort, or finances into understanding the underlying cause of the problem.
The Winsor Autopsies: How an M.D. enforced chiropractic principles
“Why don’t M.D.s believe in Chiropractic?” is a question patients may ask their neighbourhood Chiropractors. Indeed, some M.D.s will refer to a chiropractor, and some will not. The problem is that the medical field spends nearly all of its research dollars investigating new drugs or procedures, and very little looking into the principles behind the chiropractic profession.
But long ago, Dr. Henry Winsor, a medical doctor in Haverford, Pennsylvania felt that Chiropractic should be investigated: “I wonder how Chiropractors can claim such good results” he wondered. “They claim that by ‘adjusting’ the fifth thoracic vertebrae, between the shoulder blades, they can relieve stomach troubles and ulcers, by ‘adjusting’ a lumbar vertebrae they can relieve menstrual cramps, by ‘adjusting’ the fifth cervical vertebrae they can correct thyroid conditions and so on with kidney disease, constipation, heart disease, lung disease, and many other conditions, but how can they do that? We M.D.s criticize them, but what if they really have discovered a new drugless way to treat disease?”
After graduating medical school Dr. Winsor investigated Chiropractic and Osteopathic literature and was inspired to perform an experiment. He would dissect human and animal cadavers to see if there was a relationship between any diseased internal organs discovered on autopsy and the vertebrae associated with the nerves that went to the organs. As Dr. Winsor wrote: “The object of these necropsies (dissections) was to determine whether any connection existed between minor curvatures of the spine on the one hand (Subluxations) and diseased organs on the other, or whether the two were entirely independent of each other. If the Chiropractors were right in their theory that a misaligned vertebrae that impinged a nerve going to the kidneys could weaken the kidneys then that could eventually cause kidney disease. If the theory was wrong then a misalignment in the ‘kidney place’ of the spine would not lend any corresponding problem with the kidney organs. The University of Pennsylvania gave Dr. Winsor permission to carry out his experiments, in a series of three studies he dissected a total of seventy-five human and twenty-five cat cadavers. What did the necropsies reveal? Was there a relationship between diseased organs and the spinal column?
The following are Dr. Winsor’s results: “… 221 structures other than the spine were found diseased. Of these 221 diseased structures, 212 were observed to belong to the same sympathetic nerve segments as the vertebrae in curvature (Subluxation). Nine diseased organs belonged to different sympathetic nerve segments from the vertebrae out of line, these figures cannot be expected to exactly coincide….for an organ may receive sympathetic nerve filaments from several spinal segments and several organs may be supplied with sympathetic nerve filaments from the same spinal segment.”
“In other words there was nearly a 100% correlation between ‘minor abnormal curvatures’ of the spine and diseases of the internal organs.” Some examples: Stomach disease was traced back to the mid portion of the spine, lung disease to the upper back, and liver disease to the lower back. Thymus disease and sinus malfunction was traced to the mid and lower neck (see the above diagram for a visual representation).
So what does this mean? Can chiropractic help me?
Dr. Winsor concluded that degenerated and misaligned spines have a high correlation with disease processes. Despite the continued research and literature correlating the maintenance of health with the maintenance of the spine and the nervous system, chiropractic is the only modern health profession that takes this approach toward health. An unhealthy spine and nerve pressure will cause the body to function at less than 100%. When the body is not functioning properly, it is more susceptible to disease. Therefore, a chiropractic spinal check-up and adjustment can help in the care and prevention of sickness and disease through a properly functioning nervous system.
Dr. Henry Winsor’s insights and research are prophetic. Scientists from many parts of the world that continued to research the relationship between spinal misalignments (vertebral subluxation complex) and internal organ disease have expanded upon his studies. This field of the somato-visceral disease relationship (scientific term referring to the connection between the nervous system and all major organs) is one of the fastest growing and most exciting areas of research in the health care sciences – and although there is a lot to be done and further research is definitely necessary, chiropractic is the leading advocate.
Have specific questions about your health or the health of a loved one? Give us a call and we’d be happy to determine if we are the right fit for your needs!
Winsor, H., Sympathetic Segmental Disturbances- 11. The Evidence of the Association in Dissected Cadaver of Visceral Disease with Vertebral Deformities of the Same Sympathetic Segments, Medical Times, 49 1-7 Nov. 1921