chiropractic | SUBLUXATIONSChiropractors are the only health-care professionals that treat vertebral subluxation complex.
Vertebral Subluxation is the improper movement between the spinal bones. Typically this improper movement will lead to irritation of the nerves which then result in symptoms like pain.
Further Details of the Vertebral Subluxation complex.
There are actually five components that contribute to the vertebral subluxation complex (VSC).
Bone Component (spinal kinesiopathology)- The bones of the spine are designed to move, while at the same time protecting the spinal cord and nerve roots. But, sometimes they become "stuck," donít move enough, or they move too much.
This can be caused by physical trauma (repetitive motion, car accidents, slips, falls), emotional stress (worry, negative thoughts, fear), or chemical imbalances (alcohol, drugs, toxins, pollution).
When spinal joints are fixated, or stuck, and not moving enough, they force other joints to move too much. These problems can distort normal spinal curves and compromise proper function. In some cases, problems in one area of the spine can cause compensation reactions in other areas!
Doctors can detect this aspect of the Vertebral Subluxation Complex by analyzing your posture, taking diagnostic X-rays, measuring your ability to turn and bend, ad by performing other tests.
Nervous Component (neuropathophsiology)-is the disruption of the normal flow of energy along the nerve fibers, causing the messages traveling along the nerves to become distorted. The result is that all of the tissues that are fed by those nerves receive distorted signals from the brain and, consequently, are not able to function normally. Pinched nerves are actually very rare and only happen in around 5% of the population, while irritation to the nerves is much more common.
When nerves get irritated they can cause symptoms such as numbness, tingling, weakness, burning or even pain. This irritation is referred to as a facilitative lesion. Improper spinal function can cause nerve tissue to be stretched, compressed, twisted and irritated by the subluxations or even improper posture.
Nervous system impairment can affect tissues, organs and systems of the body. And can be attributed in some situations to disease.
Muscular Component (myopathology)- Imbalances in muscular tone can cause the body to compensate therefore the spinal bones will lose proper function. Since nerves control the muscles that help hold the vertebrae in place, muscles have to be considered to be an integral part of the vertebral subluxation complex. When nerve impulses are diminished, muscles supporting the spine can weaken, waste away, or atrophy. When muscles are overstimulated from nerve irritation, supporting muscles can become tight and go into spasm.
In fact, muscles both affect, and are affected by the VSC. A subluxation can irritate a nerve, the irritated nerve can cause a muscle to spasm, the spasmed muscle pulls the attached vertebrae and it is difficult for that vertebra to move properly because of the tension generated by the spasmed muscle. It is no wonder that very few subluxations just go away by themselves.
In either extreme, fibrotic scar tissue can form in these muscles, changing their elasticity. This damage to the supporting muscles of the spine is why adjustments donít seem to hold and repeated corrective care visits may be necessary. It also explains why long-standing spinal problems are so difficult and time-consuming to correct. Without proper rehabilitation, many patients experience a relapse of their original health complaint.
Soft Tissue Component (histopathology)-the VSC will also affect the surrounding tendons, ligaments, discs, blood supply, and other tissues as the malfunctioning vertebrae tug and squeeze the connective tissue with tremendous force. Discs can degenerate, herniate, tear, and bulge. Ligaments can tear. Inflammation equals a rise in blood supply and temperature. Over time, the soft tissues can become stretched out or scarred, leaving the spine with either a permanent instability or restriction. Unfortunately discs and ligaments have a poor blood supply which makes healing time in these areas much slower.
Chemical Component-is the change in the chemistry of the body due to the VSC. Most often, the chemical changes, such as the release of a class of chemicals called "kinins," are pro-inflammatory; meaning that they increase inflammation in the affected area.
How do I know if I have a subluxation? This is what doctors of chiropractic are trained to detect and correct.