Maybe you are getting a terribly stiff neck. Maybe your neck has not moved right for years — or even decades. Maybe your neck even sounds like it’s full of ground glass or crushed gravel when you move it (the medical word for this is “creep” and is where the word “decrepit” comes from). Although you have no idea yet what I am talking about, your joint degeneration has been caused largely by a loss of proprioception. And fortunately for you, it may be more treatable than you have ever been led to believe!
The word “proprioception” comes from two words. First is the Latin word “proprius”, meaning “one’s own”. And second is the word “perception”, meaning the process by which one translates sensory input into a coherent and unified picture of one’s environment.
Thus, proprioception is the sense or “perception” of the relative position of various parts of the body in relationship to its environment. It is knowing where those various body parts are in space as well as how they are moving in relationship to each other. It is this internal sense of proprioception that indicates whether the body (or a part of the body — i.e. a limb) is moving, how fast it is moving, and how much energy is being expended to move it; as well as where the various parts of the body are located in space, in relation to every other part of the body.
As you start to grasp what is going on here, you can begin to understand why it has been said that proprioception is more important than the inner ear for balance!
Think of proprioception like this. What happens if I put you in a room with no windows, doors, or lights? Even though it is as dark as a cave, and you can not see your hand in front of your face —– you know that your hand is in front of your face. You would also be able to tell when your hand moved, how much it moved, or how fast it moved, and whether or not there was any resistance when you moved it. You can tell how many fingers you hold up, or even touch your finger to your nose repeatedly. You should also be able to tell when you squat down. Or when your pace of walking is accelerated. Or when any number of bodily functions are occurring.
Although it is certainly helpful, you do not have to have visual input to perceive these sorts of things (think about blind people), as long as proprioception is functioning properly.
Specialized nerve cells called proprioceptors (aka mechano-receptors) are found in large numbers, in the tissues that hold joints together (tendons, muscles, ligaments, fascia). Proprioceptors sense things like the amount of stretch, movement, and pressure of or on these various tissues.
When proprioceptors are stimulated by stretch or movement, the nerve input is fed to the brain via the spinal cord and nerve system. In the brain (cerebellum), it is integrated into something your body can understand. There is a continual feedback loop. Proprioceptors are being stimulated and firing off to the brain. Your brain interprets the information from the proprioceptors and sends messages back to the various parts of the body over the motor nerves.
When this system begins to break down, all sorts of problems can arise —– many of them ugly and severe.
Recent scientific research has shown us that in a healthy person, for every proprioceptive impulse (sensory – afferent) that is being fired up to the brain; there are 30 return nerve impulses (motor – efferent) coming back down.
Motor responses tell your body what to do and how to function. It is motor function of the nerve system that tells your heart to beat, your bowels to work, your hand to move in front of your face, or your immune system to attack —- or not attack. Every time a proprioceptive nerve ending is not being stimulated like it should be (usually due to a loss of normal joint range of motion), 30 returning motor responses from the brain to the body are being inhibited. This does two big things.
Firstly, it causes degeneration of the restricted joint. Everyone has heard the old adage “Use it or lose it”. Although it is a simple cliché, there is a tremendous amount of truth in those five words. A quick review of the scientific literature on the subject tells us that loss of normal joint motion (loss of proprioception) causes degeneration of the affected joint. Furthermore, it tells us that degeneration of the joint causes loss of normal joint motion (loss of proprioception). Ladies and Gentlemen; start your cycles!
In a viscous cycle, A causes B, and B causes A. And the whole thing spins around and around and around in an increasingly faster circle, all the while being fed by itself! This is why covering / masking pain and other symptoms without even attempting to deal with underlying functional deficits (decreased ranges of motion in vertebrates or other joints), is a recipe for degeneration and decay.
Be aware that “degeneration” of joints used to be called Degenerative Arthritis or Osteoarthritis.
Secondly, using this model, think about what loss of joint motion, and the subsequent loss of proprioceptive input can do to the various body organs and organ systems? Because the brain ultimately controls every function of the body via the spinal cord and nerve system, a loss of range of motion and proprioception can actually diminish organic function. Sound crazy? Let me explain.
Loss of spinal range of motion due either to VERTEBRAL SUBLUXATION (loss of normal alignment or motion of vertebrates) or FASCIAL ADHESION (usually both are seen together), causes diminished proprioceptive function. This loss of proprioception turns around and causes a loss of motor nerve function at the 30:1 ratio that we spoke of a few paragraphs back. In other words, loss of spinal range of motion causes a corresponding loss of proprioception, which in turn affects not only the way that muscles and joints function, but actually affects the way that organs function as well.
For every proprioceptive nerve ending that is inhibited from firing up to the brain because of lost spinal motion, there are 30 motor nerve responses that are inhibited from coming back down from the brain to the various organs and tissues of the body. It quickly becomes obvious that in a very brief amount of time, loss of normal spinal function can (often times very subtly at first) cause diminished function of various body organs and organ systems, including the immune system.
Bear in mind that in most cases, loss of joint motion is, sooner or later, going to result in pain. The beauty of Chiropractic Adjustments as well as using Tissue Remodeling to break up these Fascial Adhesions and TENDINOSIS, is that it not only helps relieve pain, it actually allows the nerve system and the various functions controlled by the nerve system (everything!) to function closer to the way they were designed and created to function from the beginning! (Read Rex Mitchell’s testimonial of a neck adjustment fixing 42 years of deafness!) (Read about Joy Reeves headaches leaving, and her sense of smell coming back after a 30 year hiatus due to our Tissue Remodeling Treatment).
???? DJD ????
Although doctors keep abreast of current research and know this information(???), they do a poor job (often times, no job) of communicating it to patients. One of the biggest snow jobs in the medical profession today concerns the “invention” of the term “DJD”.
Doctor’s know that loss of joint motion causes deterioration of the affected joint (look at how they use CPM’s in post-surgical knees). In the past, this degenerative change was referred to as Osteoarthritis or Degenerative Arthritis. Although we have seen how degeneration occurs, it has been, for the most part, blamed on a person’s age. This is true whether they were 25 or 95. However, when looking at today’s radiology reports, it becomes all too apparent that Osteoarthritis is a thing of the past. Clear the streets folks, because there’s a new kid in town; and his name is DJD.
DJD stands for Degenerative Joint Disease, and it is one of the single most brilliant marketing ploys ever devised by the medical community. Never tell a patient that they have Osteoarthritis that is due to abnormal joint motion. Don’t even bother to blame it on their age (even though, as we just showed you, that this is not really accurate). Tell them they have a “Disease”! Convince people that “aw shucks, I have a disease in my (insert body part of choice here) and there’s not a thing that can really be done about it other than taking more and more drugs.” And eventually, as the cycle spins faster and faster and faster, and it all falls totally apart —- you need some sort of surgery. Like I said, brilliant marketing. Nothing sells more medical care than that wonderful combination of misinformation, half-truths, greed, and fear!
Hey doc, what if I really am old?
When I look at an X-ray in my office and see calcium deposits, bone spurs, and thinning joint space / disc space, systemically (everywhere); I have a pretty good idea that we are looking at degeneration that is due, at least largely, to a persons age (can also be caused by years of processed food; “see Nutrition & Physical Degeneration — the book by Dr. Weston Price”). However, when I look at an X-ray and see a rather healthy-looking spine that has one or two localized areas of degeneration; I know immediately that this is due to some sort of old and uncorrected injury.
The injury might have been caused all at once by some big trauma; or it may have built up slowly over time due to the repetitive, mechanical stress of a physically-demanding job (or sport). Bottom line: if the spine is not moving vertebrate, by vertebrate, by vertebrate, it is wearing; and if it is wearing, it is not moving like it should be. Repeat cycle. Repeat Cycle. Repeat Cycle. Faster, faster, faster. Repeat Cycle…
If you have loss of normal joint motion, whether you have pain or not, you need to find out why. The standard medical answer of, “Golly Joe, after all, you’re just not as young as you were last year,” is not sufficient —- and never was!
Bear in mind that our “Tissue Remodeling” treatment is not a cure for degenerative arthritis, and will not make your x-ray look one iota better. However, in the same way that you can free an old corroded nut from a rusty bolt by putting your wrench on it and making it move; we make large areas of the body move better via freeing the microscopic scarring that “locks” specific areas, and prevents them from moving like they were designed to move.
We then restore movement to individual joints via adjustments, stretches, and exercises. It is not uncommon to take patients who have been given up on by the medical community (or even the chiropractic community) —- people who literally could not move their head more than a few degrees in any direction; and restore movement to the point they can back their car without the use of mirrors. Or swim, golf, and throw a ball. Or not live each and every waking moment of your life with trying to get away from Chronic Pain.
Mechanoreceptors Found in the Elastic, Collagen-Based Connective Tissues
(Muscles, Tendons, Ligaments, & Fascia)
- fGolgi Receptor Organs: Golgi Organs are found chiefly where muscles meet tendons, ligaments of the extremities, and in the ligaments that make up joint capsules. Golgi Tendon Organs respond to muscular contraction. Golgi Receptors in other areas respond to movements that stretch joints forcefully. This has strong implications chiropractically for people struggling with muscle tension or spasm because when these mechanoreceptors are stimulated, an immediate decrease in motor firing (spasm) should occur
- Pacinian Corpuscles: These are found in myotendinous junctions, deep capsular layers and spinal ligaments. These receptors are primarily responsive to rapid pressure changes. Stimulating these receptors can result in improved propioceptive feedback and controlled motor movement.
- Ruffini Corpuscles: The Ruffini Corpuscles are found in ligaments of the extremities, the Dura Matter (spinal cord sheath), and outer layers of joint capsules. Some of these receptors are responsive to rapid pressure, but the majority are responsive to more sustained pressure. They are also especially responsive to lateral stretching.
- Interstitial Type III and Type IV Mechanoreceptors: These are found just about everywhere, including bone. In fact, the highest density of Interstitial Receptors are found in the fascia-like sheath that covers bone (periosteum). Type III makes up about 10% percent of these receptors and are myelinated, with the 90% majority (Type IV) being unmyelinated. Interstitial Mechanoreceptors can be further divided into high threshold units (responsive to rapid pressure) and low threshold units (responsive to light touch). The ration is about 50 / 50.
See how loss of proprioception can cause DIZZINESS, VERTIGO, TINNITUS and other problems with the special senses. Read more on DEGENERATION / ARTHRITIS, INFLAMMATION, and their intimate relationship. Be aware that sometimes a Degenerative Spine has little to do with an injury to, or problem with the neck or back itself; and everything to do with an injury or problem with the brain (particularly the cerebellum, which controls all postural muscles). If you have tried a couple of treatments with our Tissue Remodeling coupled with adjustments, and seen no change in your condition, there is a strong probability that your problem is Brain-Based. Don’t give up —- there is still hope for you.
For more information about Brain-Based Therapy, please visit
Brain-Based Therapy, Missouri