Dislocation (Vertebral Subluxation)

A vertebral subluxation is a dislocation of one of more vertebra relative to the ones aboce or beloew it in the vertebral spine.

Many doctors belief that vertebral subluxation, which are minor displacements of the vertebra from their normal positions, are among the most common causes of back pain. In the human spine, the vertebra is connected to one another by the intervertebral discs between vertebral bodies, the facet joints, and the spinal ligaments. If one or more of the vertebra are pulled out of their position, the spinal nerves may be affected as pressure is put on them. This constriction of the spinal nerves may be responsible for causing back pain and other related symptoms, such as numbness, tingling, and burning in one or more of the affected limbs. The partial dislocations of the vertebra may also be responsible for functional loss, in the form of symptoms such as muscular weakness, lost skin sensitivity, loss of reflexes, and even the loss of bladder and bowel movements. Subluxation is a medical term that chiropractors use to describe a partial dislocation of the vertebra. A subluxation is a partial separation of the articular surfaces of a joint. A subluxation complex may alter the anatomy and physiology of the vertebral spine to create the neurological symptoms of pain as well as other neurologic deficits related to the altered functioning of the spinal nerves that are compressed as a result.

Subluxation from a Chiropractic Viewpoint
Subluxations affect the ways that the nerves supply the muscles with information, and they may restrict the flow of blood from one area of the spine to the other. Hyperemia and congestion are two conditions that are caused by the effects of these partial dislocations on the spinal nerves.

Hyperemia: Hyperemia occurs as an excess of blood accumulates in one area of the body. This condition may occur as the flood of blood from one are of the body to another is blocked. The pooling of blood in one area of the body may prevent to removal of carbon dioxide and other toxins that are the waste products of cellular metabolism.

Congestion: The joint dysfunction or point of congestion where blood accumulates may affect the muscles in several ways, causing muscle tension or trigger points in small areas of the muscles. The nerve endings in the muscles may be irritated, which may cause pain in the muscle or even muscle spasms.

Edema: When the smallest blood vessels are damaged or the flow towards or away from them become blocked, excess fluid may leak from them and build up around the tissues. This condition, where fluid pools around the blood vessels because of their inability to re-absorb fluids, is known as edema.

Minute hemorrhages: Minutes hemorrhages involve the abnormal flow of blood or small amount of bleeding within the body's blood vessels as a result of the anatomical changes to the spine. Other medical conditions and risk factors may cause minute hemorrhages.

Fibrosis: Fibrosis may occur following surgery and injury, in which normal tissue is replaced by scar tissue, altering the functioning of that part of the body where the scar tissue formation occurred. Fibrosis is a common process that affects may people who experience and are treated from back pain.

Local ischemia: Anatomical anomalies and joint dislocations may cause a lack of blood flow to certain muscles. Local ischemia describes muscle pain caused by a lack of an adequate oxygen supply to that muscle.

Atrophy: Due to poor blood supply and nerve supply to activate certain muscles, the muscle fibers may begin to waste away through disuse. Atrophy to muscles may occur when they are not being used or when the nerves supplying those muscles have become damaged or constricted.

Tissue rigidity: Fibrosis may affect the movements of the joint capsules and develop in other parts of the back as well, including the muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Scarring in these structures may cause pain limitations in their affected structures.

Spinal subluxation as defined in chiropractic medicine:
  • Sacroiliac subluxation
  • Costovertebral or costotransverse disrelationships
  • Abnormalities of motion
  • Decompensation of adaptational curves
  • Scoliosis and/or alteration of curves secondary to muscle imbalance
  • Paradoxical motion (Aberrant motion)
  • Unstable subluxation (hypermobility)
  • Fixation subluxation (hypomobility)
  • Osseus foraminal encroachment
  • Altered Interosseus Spacing (increased or decreased) Interossei refer to muscles between certain bones.
  • Retrolisthesis (Spondylolisthesis is the anterior or posterior displacement of a vertebra in relation to the vertebra below. A retrolisthesis is the posterior displacement if a vertebra)
  • Anterolisthesis (this is the anterior displacement of a vertebra to the one below it)
  • Rotation malposition
  • Lateral flexion malposition
  • Extension malposition
  • Flexion malposition
Chiropractic physical examination: chiropractors will rely on a patient's case history, medical imaging, and hands on physical examination to determine if patients have one or more of these types of subluxations.