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 “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


Simply stated, a subluxation 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 working and consequently your health in general. These types of problems can severely affect your overall health and cause long term damage. 

Subluxations cause a variety of conditions and can be corrected through specific chiropractic adjustments. Symptoms such as headaches, back pain, neck stiffness, pain in your shoulders, arms, or legs, numbness in your hand or feet, fatigue, or nervousness are some of the most common signs of subluxations. But, like a tooth cavity, most people will have a subluxation long before they notice any symptoms. Unfortunately you cannot always tell if you have a subluxation. A subluxation is like a dental cavity – you may have it for a long time before symptoms appear. That’s why periodic spinal checkups are so important. Although it may be possible to know you have a subluxation, it is rarely possible to be sure you don’t. Regular spinal checkups are always a good idea, and they promote good health from the inside out.


Three T’s – Causes of Subluxation

Traumas – Physical Stress: Items which fall under this category include many of the most obvious spinal stressors such as sports injuries, motor vehicle crashes, work injuries, birth, daily activities, and physical activities. Other less obvious physical stressors include poor posture, chronic repetitive motions, sleeping postures, bedding and work ergonomics.

Thoughts – Mental Stress: From work, finances, terrorism, family schedules, relationship, negative news, crime, global warming, to peer pressure, all add to muscle tension along the spine resulting in subluxation. Mental stressors are rampant in our society.

Toxins – Chemical Stress: Air pollution, water pollution, food additives, cosmetic chemicals, drugs, pharmaceuticals, smoking excessive alcohol, sugar, artificial sweeteners, imitation foods and heavy metals add stress to the body as it tries to defend itself from this multi-front assault. Body resources normally used to maintain optimum health are now diverted to defense and elimination mechanism. Chemical stressors can produce direct damage to organs such as stomach, intestine, lungs, liver, kidney, heart and skin which in-turn produces increased nerve activity from the organs of the spinal column and brain. If the organ is overloaded it my produced a viscero-somatic (organ to muscle) reflexes which results in muscle spasms along the spinal column.     

Five Components of the Vertebral Subluxation Complex

Kinesiopathology – comprised of one or more of the following: altered/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, non-functioning) muscles. Interestingly, 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 biochemical changes due to inflammation. 


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