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What is a Subluxation?


“A subluxation is a complex of functional and/or structural and/or pathological articular changes that compromises neural integrity and may influence organ system function and general health.” - Association of Chiropractic Colleges

In simple terms this means a spinal bone may not be moving properly and/or in proper alignment and/or have some type of ongoing disease process which may interfere with how your nerves work and thereby interfere with how your organ systems work and consequently your health in general.

The following five components are the changes associated with the subluxation complex.

  1. Kinesiopathology
  2. Neuropathology
  3. Histopathology
  4. Myopathology
  5. Biochemical changes

Kinesiopathology is comprised of one or more of the following: altered joint motion, restricted joint motion, joint misalignment or joint mechanics. Eventually, alterations in this area progress to degenerative joint and disc disease.

Neuropathology means there is altered or interrupted nerve signal transmission. There may be increased or decreased signal activity or intensity. Although mild forms of subluxations do not produce any symptoms experienced by the patient, the nerve pressure may eventually result in pain, numbness, tingling, altered sensations, arms “falling asleep”, burning, stabbing, aches, weakness, spasm, inflammation, etc. Research has found that very little pressure is required to impact the nerve function.

Histopathology includes changes in ligament, tendon, fascia and blood supply. Altered blood supply may produce hot or cold areas in the body. Ligaments, tendons and fascia may have their strength, tension or orientation altered by the subluxation complex.

Myopathology is the muscular changes involved with the subluxation complex. Nerves control muscle activity therefore altered nerve signals can produce hypertonic (spasm) or hypotonic (weak, flaccid, non-functioning) muscles. Interestingly, however is the fact that proper muscle tone helps maintain proper spinal alignment.

Biochemical changes are demonstrated best by the inflammation that accompanies the subluxation complex. Biochemical changes are very subtle at first but as subluxations persist they become more obvious. Heat, swelling, redness and pain are signs of the biochemical changes due to inflammation.