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What is a Subluxation?


First, the simple explanation.

In simple terms, a subluxation (a.k.a. Vertebral Subluxation) is when one or more of the bones of your spine (vertebrae) move out of position and create pressure on, or irritate spinal nerves. Spinal nerves are the paired nerves that come out from between the bones in your spine. This pressure or irritation on the nerves then causes those nerves to malfunction and interfere with the signals traveling over those nerves to the tissues or organs they are supposed to direct and maintain.

How does this affect you?  Your nervous system controls and coordinates all the functions of your body. If you interfere with the signals traveling over nerves, parts of your body will not get the proper nerve messages and will not be able to function at 100%. Your cells, tissues, glands, organs and organ systems require proper nerve information very moment you are alive. Any interference with that neural signal translates into malfunction. Here's the really bad news, those resulting malfunctions are symptomatic (painful) 10% of the time, the other 90% of the time they are not. Pain is a very poor indicator of your state of tissue function and health.

It is the responsibility of the Doctor of Chiropractic to locate subluxations, and reduce or correct them. This is done through a series of chiropractic adjustments specifically designed to correct the vertebral subluxations in your spine. Chiropractors are the only professionals who undergo years of training to be experts at correcting subluxations.

Now, the more detail explanation.

Subluxations are really a combination of changes going on at the same time. These changes occur both in your spine and throughout your body. For this reason, chiropractors often refer to vertebral subluxations as the "Vertebral Subluxation Complex", or "VSC" for short. In the VSC, various things are happening inside your body simultaneously. These various changes, are often categorizes by tissue types. These categorizes or "components," are all part of the vertebral subluxation complex. Chiropractors commonly recognize five categories of components present in the VSC. The five components are:

The osseous (bone) component; is where the vertebrae are either out of position, not moving properly, or are undergoing physical changes such as degeneration. This component is known as kinesiopathology.

The Nerve Component; is the malfunctioning of the nerve as described above. Research has shown that only a small amount of pressure on spinal nerves can have a profound impact on the function and quality of nerve signals. This component is known as neuropathology.

The Muscle Component; is where the muscles responsible for holding the vertebrae in place, receives excited nerves impulses due to irritated nerves. This causes muscle guarding to protect against further nerve irritation. (Spasms)  Long term spasms lead to changes such as scar formation in the muscle. This component is known as myopathology.


The Soft Tissue Component; is when you have misaligned vertebrae and pressure on nerves resulting in changes in information to and from the surrounding soft tissues. This means the tendons, ligaments, blood supply and other tissues including major organs, can undergo changes. These changes can occur at the point of the VSC or far away at some end point of the affected nerves. This component is also known as histopathology.

The Chemical Component; is the biochemical changes taking place in the spinal region, which include inflammatory products released from injured tissues or altered function leading to altered chemistry in any affected tissues. These chemical changes can be minor or significant. This component is often known as pathophysiology

List of common conditions I Treat

Low Back, Mid Back and Neck Pain • Jaw Pain • Shoulder Pain • Elbow and Wrist Pain • Migraine Headaches • Tension Headaches • Sinus issues • Some TMJ Dysfunctions • Sprains and Strains • Pelvic Pain • Hip Pain • Knee Pain • Ankle and Foot Pain • Plantar Fasciitis • Sciatica • Piriformis Syndrome • Tendonitis • Whiplash • Bursitis • Muscle Spasm • Nerve Entrapment syndromes from ribs, uncomplicated IVF encroachments • Peripheral Entrapment Syndromes • Postural Strain • Osteoarthritis • Fibromyalgia • Rotatory Cuff Injuries • Pregnancy Related Spinal Issues • Golfer's Elbow or Medial Epicondylopathy • Ergonomic Posture and Related Problems • Tennis Elbow or Lateral Epicondylopathy • Repetitive Strain Injury • Sport, Work, Motor Vehicle Injuries • Concussion Management • and Illiotibial Band (IT Band) issues just to name a few. There are multiple subcategories in most of the aforementioned conditions, listing them all, is in my opinion pointless. If you are wondering if I treat your particular condition or infirmity, free free to contact our office directly. Keep in mind, stages or severity of your condition and complicating factor may require referral or make Chiropractic treatment contraindicated. Also keep in mind that if you still have the capacity to heal then Chiropractic is the place to start your journey.

conditions I Treat with high success

   I actually treat most of the above with high levels of success but so do most DCs. The following conditions are not always receiving the best care options based on my experience and observations. Starting from the neck and moving down towards the low back. Thoracic Outlet syndromes (TOS) and Carpal Tunnel will be covered in separate sections due to their complexity.

   The main neck (cervical) issues that are not always addressed are A/P (anterior/posterior) issues. They present as deviations from the ideal  gravity weight line and the ideal curvature. These include, but are not limited to, a forward head secondary to an increased cervicothoracic angle, degenerative changes in the vertebra of the neck, the proximal crossed syndrome (now epidemic), hyperkyphosis of the thoracic spine or a kyphotic apex which is lower than ideal. The curvature issue I speak of, is also in the A/P plane and involves loss of the ideal cervical curve (lordosis) in one area of the cervical spine or through-out the cervical spine. Loss of this vital curvature is well recognized and yet seldom adequately addressed. Loss of curve commonly develops secondary to repetitive micro trauma (work or posture), or major traumas like auto accidents. It can cause double crush phenomenons, leading or contributing to both carpal tunnel and TOS.  Since these A/P conditions directly contribute to double crush phenomenons and in my experience, are found in 95% of carpal tunnel cases, I feel they should be addressed and corrected if possible.

   1st rib issues and their relationship to both shoulder pain and lower neck pain which returns repetitively despite chiropractic treatments. The relationship of the 1st ribs to the clavicle is relative to the position of the head and can affect the brachial plexus. Irritation of the brachial plexus can contributes to double crush phenomenons, again leading to TOS or carpal tunnel. In my work as a vacation relief D.C., first rib issues are the most common holes I see in segmentally based clinics. While TOS and carpal tunnel syndromes will still improve or resolve in most cases, the additional correction of these rib issues would both accelerate recovery and provide a better long term prognosis.

   Low back issues, not always addressed, come in two main forms hyper (too much) and hypo (too little) lumbar lordosis. These less than idea curvature issues are again A/P issues and can be enormous contributors to chronic low back pain in construction workers, office workers and in pregnant women, both pre and postpartum. They have many causes similar to the cervical spine. Since I will not being going into depth on the subject, I will not list them. The good news is lumbar curvature issues are generally very responsive to regional work, simple stretches and exercises, 


         To see more detail information on Carpal Tunnel and TOS - CLICK MORE below then click Carpal Tunnel or TOS

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