Until now the chiropractic profession has struggled to demonstrate that it can reliably identify vertebral subluxations,2, 3 which has led to some people suggesting that they don’t even exist.4, 5 In this recently published study, chiropractors used a multidimensional battery of tests to assess for vertebral subluxations in 3 regions (cervical, thoracic, lumbar) of the spine and then indicated which segment had the most positive test findings in each spinal region. The researchers found that across all regions of the spine there was definite examiner agreement on the level of subluxation: between 63% to almost 80% of the time! This is extremely important because being able to reliably identify vertebral subluxations will help researchers to study them and better understand what impact they have on neurological function and human performance.

The study, ‘Interexaminer reliability of a multidimensional battery of tests used to assess for vertebral subluxations‘ , was published in the Chiropractic Journal of Australia in March. This was a collaborative project between the Centre for Chiropractic Research at the New Zealand College of Chiropractic and Palmer Center for Chiropractic Research based at Palmer College of Chiropractic in the United States of America. The team at the Centre for Chiropractic Research recently received a grant from the Australian Spinal Research Foundation to continue this line of research and investigate the reliability and validity of the sacral restriction test.

If you would like to support the Centre in our efforts to better understand vertebral subluxations and their effects on health, human performance and quality of life, please consider joining our research supporters programme and support the future of your profession.


1 Holt K, Russell D, Cooperstein R, Younes M, Sherson M, Haavik H. Interexaminer reliability of a multidimensional battery of tests used to assess for vertebral subluxations. Chiropr J Aust. 2018;46(1):101-117.
2 Triano JJ, Budgell B, Bagnulo A, et al. Review of methods used by chiropractors to determine the site for applying manipulation. Chiropr Man Therap. 2013;21(1):36.
3 Gemmell H, Miller P. Interexaminer reliability of multidimensional examination regimens used for detecting spinal manipulable lesions: A systematic review. Clin Chiroprac. 2005;8:199-204.
4 Nelson C. The subluxation question. J Chiropr Humanit. 1997;7(1):46-55.
5 Keating JC, Jr., Charlton KH, Grod JP, Perle SM, Sikorski D, Winterstein JF. Subluxation: dogma or science? Chiropr Osteopat. Aug 10 2005;13:17.