The Word subluxation is a combination of the Word “luxation” with the prefix “sub”. The Word luxation is defined in the dictionary as “to put out of joint”. The prefix sub is defined as less than. A luxation is more commonly known as a dislocated or separated joint. A Subluxation is anything less than a dislocated joint. A subluxation could be measured in as little increments as millimeters!
What makes up a Vertebral Subluxation Complex?
- Component #1 – Spinal Kinesiopathology —altered movement in the spinal segments involved. This could be caused by inflammation, joint fixation, scar tissue formation and/or neuro-muscular dysfunction.
- Component #2 – Neuropathophysiology/Neuropathology — Nerves are irritated and/or compressed affecting the flow of normal nerve signals. This can manifest as localized pain, neuropathy (nerve pain down an arm or leg) and or weakness in the innervated musculature among many other symptoms.
- Component #3 – Myopathology — Muscles respond with muscle spasm, muscle weakness and/or atrophy (loss of muscle mass due to decrease in nerve supply or non-use)
- Component #4 – Histopathology — Changes at the cellular and tissue levels creating inflammation, joint changes (osteoarthritis), and often a contributing factor to pressure or irritation of the nerve
- Component #5 -Pathophysiology/Pathology — pathophysiological changes are an accumulative effect of the previous four components. These often manifest locally as degeneration, connective tissue (fibrosis or scarring) and often lead to a decrease in over health and balance within the systems involved and/or innervated by the nerves that are involved
Most people think that if there back is “out”, it is simply a bone that needs to be returned to its normal position. This is a very simplified belief because if the subluxation or the VSC has been present for any length of time, all the components above are involved to some extent or another. Some of the signs of pre-existing Vertebral Subluxation Complexes are; Osteoarthritis (also known as Degenerative Joint Disease or Intervertebral Disc Disease), long term muscle spasm, neuropathy, pain and/or weakness in or down a limb, atrophy and or pain.
Most of the time when someone is injured doing a simple everyday task or activity, there was some kind of underlying weakness due to a previous injury and or developmental imbalance that has been present for some time (possibly since birth). It is not uncommon for someone to experience a fall or minor car accident and believe that no injury is present. After time, often triggered by a simple every day activity, we find ourselves experiencing pain that we relate to the activity that we were doing at the time the pain began when in fact it could have been caused by an event or injury that happened days months or even years before the pain began! At times the VSC is asymptomatic (no pain or discomfort are felt) for many years and the symptoms come on suddenly leaving the person experiencing the problem without any understanding or idea as to why they are in pain or what they did to cause the problem.
It is not uncommon for someone to walk into my office and ask me to adjust them telling me that they have no injuries or problems and have no need to be put through the time or expense of a Chiropractic history and examination. I do not agree! If I am going to perform a Chiropractic Adjustment on somebody’s spine or neck (or any other joint in the body), I believe it is very necessary to have the knowledge of all traumas, accidents, injuries that have been accumulated throughout the patient’s lifetime in order to rule out any more threatening lesions and to give the highest quality and competent care that I possibly can!
If you have any questions or comments feel free to share them by posting them below! Thank you!
Your Puerto Vallarta Chiropractor,