Subluxation is probably a term you’ve never heard before, especially if you’re new to chiropractic.
The most fundamental definition of a subluxation, or more accurately a “vertebral” subluxation, is a spinal bone that is partially dislocated or out of alignment in relation to the spinal bone above or below it.
Chiropractors use the term subluxation a bit differently than medical practitioners. Not only do chiropractors recognize more subtle nuances of dislocation, but they also acknowledge the neurological impact that is associated with the loss of normal motion or position of spinal bones. Here’s a more complete subluxation definition.
Subluxation: A Response to Stress
What causes spinal bones to become misaligned and lose their normal position?
Chiropractors recognize three general types of stress that cause subluxation.
Physical stress is the most easily understood. Whiplash injuries due to a car accident are common occurrences. The whipping action of the head can produce profound changes to the neck and its graceful forward curve.
Chemical stress in the form of drugs, alcohol, food preservatives and artificial ingredients can affect muscle tone and result in changes to proper spinal alignment.
Emotional stress such as anger, grief, fear and many others can cause supporting muscles to tighten, the spine to stiffen and postural changes to emerge.
One way to visualize subluxation is that of a “circuit breaker” that prevents an overload to the brain by dampening the ability of nerves to conduct nerve messages.
The Subluxation Complex
With continued research during the last 20-30 years, a more complete explanation of what happens when spinal bones lose their normal motion or position has become known as thevertebral subluxation complex.
The five components of the vertebral subluxation complex explain some of the implications, both local and peripheral to the spine, when spinal bones misalign and interfere with proper nerve conduction.
Subluxation and Chiropractic Treatment
Chiropractic is different from medicine in many ways. Most profoundly, chiropractic care does NOT treat disease, conditions or symptoms. That’s the practice of medicine.
Instead, the intent of chiropractic care is to revive an individual’s self-healing ability by locating and reducing vertebral subluxation. This unique approach to better health has been helping millions of people for more than a century, without the use of drugs or surgery.