The Winsor Autopsies: A study of the relationship between diseased organs and the spine

TruthThere is an ongoing debate as to whether chiropractic adjustments have any sort of influence over the organs of the body. Is what many chiropractors say true…that Vertebral Subluxations can cause the target organs to degenerate and malfunction (disease)?

Well, these questions were asked by medical doctor Henry Winsor of Haverford, PA in 1921.  

Dr. Winsor decided to investigate this new science and art of healing- chiropractic.

After graduating from medical school, Dr. Winsor was inspired by chiropractic and osteopathic literature to experiment. He planned to dissect human and animal cadavers to see if there was a relationship between any diseased internal organ discovered on autopsy and the vertebrae associated with the nerves that went to the organ. As he wrote:

“The object of these necropsies was to determine whether any connection existed between curvatures of the spine (vertebral subluxations), and diseased organs; or whether the two were entirely independent of each other.”

The University of Pennsylvania gave Dr. Winsor permission to conduct the studies.  

Here are the results of the study:

“221 structures other than the spine were found diseased. Of these, 212 were from the same sympathetic (nerve) segments as the vertebrae in curvature. Nine diseased organs belonged to different sympathetic segments from the vertebrae out of line. These figures cannot be expected to exactly coincide…for an organ may receive sympathetic filaments from several spinal segments and several organs may be supplied with sympathetic (nerve) filaments from the same spinal segments. In other words, there was nearly a 100% correlation between minor curvatures of the spine and diseases of the internal organs.”


Dr. Winsor’s results are published in The Medical Times and are found in any medical library. Winsor was not alone in his findings. Similar studies by other researchers have confirmed Dr. Winsor’s conclusion that degenerated and misaligned spines have a high correlation with disease processes.

All quotes from: Winsor, H. Sympathetic segmental disturbances – II. The evidences of the association, in dissected cadavers, of visceral disease with vertebral deformities of the same sympathetic segments, The Medical Times , November 1921, pp./ 267-271.

Courtesy of : The Family Chiropractor in Clinton Township, Michigan 

MY TAKE: Chiropractors often get a bad rap for trying to educate patients that the nervous system controls every cell, gland, tissue, and organ in the body, and that vertebral subluxations can interfere with this control and lead to sickness and disease…not just musculoskeletal pain, which is what most people seek chiropractic care for, and is what most states license chiropractors to treat.

However, there is more to chiropractic than treating back or neck pain. In fact, when a patient presents to my clinic with back or neck pain, or sciatica or whatever…I'm just as concerned about what the patient can't feel as I am what they do feel. And I know if my primary focus is keeping them free of vertebral subluxation, and not just out of pain (that's the easy part), that they stand a much better chance of leading a long healthy life. And that's why I'm a chiropractor. 

Dr. Eben Davis is clinic director of Executive Express Chiropractic in downtown San Francisco.  To schedule an appointment call 415-392-2225.

Eben Davis

I am a Chiropractor in the San Francisco Financial District specializing in chronic neck, arm and hand pain. I also treat herniated discs using spinal decompression, whiplash, sports injuries, headaches, and Fibromyalgia. My clinic is certified in the use of Deep Tissue Laser Therapy with the LiteCure LCT-1000 for conditions such as shoulder pain, TMJ and Plantar Fasciitis. I have been in practice for over 20 years.

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One thought on “The Winsor Autopsies: A study of the relationship between diseased organs and the spine

  1. Dr. Michael Pound

    Great article doc. Our patients really enjoy learning more about how to live longer, healthier lives.


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