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What is a Subluxation?

A subluxation is when one or more of the bones in your spine become fixated in an incorrect position. This change in position can lead to an increase in stress on the nervous system. Symptoms of subluxations may not appear for years, but when left untreated for long periods of time subluxations can progress to a disease process in the individual. When the spine is out of alignment and not functioning and moving properly it starts to break down just like a tooth with a cavity. A lack of motion in the spine or extremities is to your bones as sugar is to your teeth – it causes degeneration or decay. This degeneration, just like in the formation of a cavity, can go unnoticed for years to decades before presenting with symptoms. Subluxations also cause the release of stress hormones such as cortisol and catecholamines.

There is an intricate relationship between the spine and nervous system. Vertebral subluxations cause an interference with the brains ability to send messages to certain muscles, organs, tissues, and cells of the body. The subluxation also causes interference in the brains ability to receive information from the body. This interference leads to a decrease in the health and overall wellness of the individual.

What are the Causes of a Subluxation?

There are three main causes of subluxations:

•  Physical causes such as trauma to the body and repetitive motions that affect the spine. These could include slips and falls, accidents, poor posture, repetitive motions, improper lifting, and the birthing process.

•  Emotional causes can include stress, grief, anger, and fear. Medical research has shown that stress can have a detrimental effect on the immune system and lead to illness.

•  Chemical causes such as that from poor food choices, drugs, alcohol, and medicines. Toxins from pollution from the food we eat, the air we breath, and the water we drink can also lead to subluxations. Chemicals that are harmful to the body decrease the body's ability to adapt to the environment leading to spinal subluxations.

How do I know if I Have a Subluxation?

The only way to know if you have a subluxation is through a thorough examination by a chiropractor. You can have subluxations and not even know it. Just like the early stages of tooth decay or cancer, subluxations exist long before symptoms such as pain or functional loss become apparent. This is why we recommend a proactive approach which includes routine spinal checkups to look for the presence of subluxations before the emergence of pain or functional loss.

There are many signs and symptoms commonly associated with the vertebral subluxation, including:


  • Neck pain, stiffness, and/or decrease in range of motion
  • Headaches
  • Increased susceptibility to colds and flu
  • Dizziness or balance problems
  • Back pain, stiffness and/or decrease in range of motion
  • Pain, burning, numbness, or tingling in the extremities
  • Decreased feeling of well being
  • Decreased energy and fatigue
  • Bedwetting
  • Asthma
  • Carpel tunnel
  • PMS
  • Allergies
  • ADHD
  • Sciatica
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Sinusitis
  • Reproductive problems


  • Frequent ear infections
  • Increased crying (colic)
  • Head always turned in one direction or refusal to turn in a particular direction

Can Subluxations Clear Up Automatically?

The body has an amazing ability to heal and adapt. Subluxations occur all the time and the body is able to correct a majority of these subluxations. However, some more severe subluxations require chiropractic care. Chiropractors read your spine like a blind person reads braille. They run their hands down the spine sensing small differences from one side of the spine to the other, which could include a rotation in the spine or abnormal tone in the musculature.

How Are Subluxations Corrected?

There are many ways in which a chiropractor can adjust a bone. At our clinic we use gentle hands on care to make the majority of corrections. We also use the activator to reinforce the adjustments. The activator is used to help bring the curves back into the spine. The tables at our clinic are also equipped with special drop pieces, which allow for an extremely gentle adjustment with the aid of gravity.

Subluxations require multiple adjustments to achieve long term correction. Like putting braces on teeth, correcting the spine requires time for the tissues and ligaments to accept the new position as normal. The frequency of visits is paramount to the success of care. The frequency can start anywhere from two to three times a week. The frequency is decreased as the spine begins to shift and the muscles and ligaments begin to heal. As the spine continues to shift the frequency is further reduced until a maintenance level of care can be achieved.

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