Forward Subluxation of the Vertebra
A forward subluxation of the vertebra is often diagnosed by a chiropractors as minute dislocations of the spine, and treated with high velocity, short lever arm thrusts to move the elements of the spine back into proper alignment.
Vertebral subluxations include a range from very slight to more moderate dislocations at one or more levels of the vertebral spine. At each level of the vertebral spine, the vertebral bone joins up with the one above and below it at the vertebral body at the front and the facets in the back. The vertebral bodies are located directly above and below each other when they are in proper position, and separated by soft tissue structures known as the intervertebral discs. At the back of the vertebra, two facets rise up and two facets project downwards to link up with the vertebra above and below it. At the points where these vertebrae link up at the facets, the connecting structure is known as the facet joint. The facets also do not contact each other directly, but are separated by smooth tissue on the inside of the structure, and held together on the outside by a fibrous capsule. Together, the facet joints and discs maintain separation of the vertebral bones so that they don't damage each other, they aid in movement of the spine, and they help to hold the spine in proper position. Other structures that aid in the movement and stability of the spine include the muscles and spinal ligaments.
When all of these structures are in relatively good health, the spine is held in its ideal position, which minimizes stress on the soft tissues enables the spine to absorb the shock and pressures associated with standing, movement, and our unique erect spine. some doctors, and many chiropractors and holistic physicians believe that we often experience back pain and strain our soft tissues in the spine when small dislocations in the back, known as vertebral subluxations occur. Due to the incredible strength of the ligaments that stabilize the spine, and the lack of evidence in the form of medical imaging pictures displaying these minor dislocations, doctors often do not diagnose or treat these types of conditions. In fact, most doctors are skeptical that this condition exists and the term "vertebral subluxation" is not even a part of their lexicon (vocabulary used to describe disorders related to back pain).
But the concept that the need for proper body alignment in order to enjoy physical and mental health is not a idea. The earliest health systems, such as Tai Chi, Yoga, and Ayurveda taught that the life force of our bodies are maintained by a series of individual but interconnected energy channels. For us to maintain and experience mental and physical health, the flow of these energy channels must be able to continue, without any blockages in any of these one channels. Because these channels are interconnected, the obstruction of flow in one channels may affect the entire energy system, and in doing so, impair our health. The state of our mental health may have a positive or negative affect on these energy channels. Our posture and body alignment may also affect our health. When a forward subluxation of the vertebra occurs, our spine is thrown out of its proper alignment, one or more of these energy channels become blocked, and we experience pain.
When subluxations do occur, elements of the spine may be manipulated, manually or through movement therapies, in order to guide dislocated elements back into its proper position. This hands on manipulations of the spine are the specialty of chiropractors, though they are also specialized to treat all types of causes of musculoskeletal pain.
Chiropractors use medical imaging pictures (X-Ray, CT, MRI) results as well as a physical examination to determine if patients have a vertebral subluxation. Often chiropractors can detect these types of misalignments just by toughing their backs. Chiropractors will then move patients into certain positions, before using a series of quick, powerful thrusts to pop certain structures back into place. These strong movements are described as high velocity, short lever arm thrusts. These movements often include an audible pop or crack in the joints being manipulated, though these movements aren't painful. Often the patient begins to feel better right away, or by the next day.