Wednesday, December 8, 2010

What is a "Subluxation" Anyway?

If you've been to the chiropractor in the past, hopefully you've heard the word Subluxation and hopefully the chiropractor has at least breifly explained to you what a Subluxation is.  If not, I'll fill you in. 

There's actually been A LOT of debate within the chiropractic world about what a Subluxation is and how to define it.  In fact, there are some chiropractors out there who don't even use the word Subluxation because they can't explain it or they don't want to use the term.  I am not one of those chiropractors.  Personally, I treat patients who have Subluxations by doing a chiropractic adjustment (NOT manipulation - that's a whole other can of worms).  I do this because that is what Chiropractic was founded upon way back in 1895.  To me, the whole premise of Chiropractic is based upon the Subluxation and, to do away with the term Subluxation is to do away with what Chiropractic was founded upon.  OK, enough philosophy for now.

What is a Subluxation?

Technically, the word subluxation literally means "less than a dislocation".  When you're looking at a joint, there are 2 bone surfaces touching.  When the surfaces are touching as they were meant to be, you have full function and capability.  When you have a dislocation, the surfaces are not touching whatsoever.  When you have a Subluxation, or less than a dislocation, the joint surfaces are still touching, but not like they are meant to be touching.  When this happens, you can get problems.

When it happens in the spine, the vertebrae can get stuck and cause pain, swelling, muscle tightness, loss of function, and other issues not only in that area, but if that causes the nerve in that area to become irritated, all of those symptoms can occur anywhere along the path that the nerve is going.  That's why you can have a subluxation in your neck that causes tingling in your fingertips, or a subluxation in your midback that causes heartburn, or one in your low back that causes bed wetting.  When the subluxed bone causes an irritation to the nervous system, that is when I refer to the problem as a Vertebral Subluxation Complex (VSC).  The VSC is just a way of defining what happens when a subluxation causes problems to the nervous system.  Now, there's a whole lot more physiology and biochemistry that goes into it, but those are the basics.

If anyone is still confused about what a Subluxation is or why chiropractors adjust subluxations, just comment and I would be happy to expound.  Like I said, it's kind of an iffy topic within the chiropractic world, but I believe it doesn't need to be.

Happy Birthday to my brother Josh!

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