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Posted on 06-21-2013


Chiropractors are remarkably unique in the health care field as they are the only health care professionals trained to detect, analyze, treat and prevent a condition referred to as the " Vertebral Subluxation Complex". Chiropractors have found vertebral subluxations to be responsible for and contribute to a number of spinal and extra-spinal disorders, and the function loss to your body that results.

What Is The Vertebral Subluxation?  The vertebral subluxation is the term applied to a vertebra which has lost its normal position and/or motion in relation to neighboring vertebrae. Vertebrae which do not function properly within the spinal framework generate mechanical stress. This accelerates the wear and tear on the surrounding spinal muscles, ligaments, discs, joint and other spinal tissues. Pain, palpatory tenderness, inflammation, decreased spinal mobility, and muscle spasm and hypertonicity will eventually follow in a very distinct reactionary pattern.

Additionally, because of the direct mechanical and physiological relationship between the spinal column and the spinal nerve roots, vertebral subluxations as well as other spinal abnormalities have the potential to impair proper nerve functioning. Once nerve functioning is compromised, communication within the body becomes less effective jeopardizing the overall health and wellness of the individual.

How is The Subluxation Complex  evaluated?

Through extensive research and study chiropractors have identified 5 components of the vertebral subluxation. Collectively, these elements are known as the "subluxation complex".

1. Kinesiopathology – (kinesio- motion, patho – problem or malfunction) the loss of normal vertebral positioning and motion in relation to neighboring vertebrae. 

Evaluated by: xray, motion analysis, postural evaluation, range of motion studies, video-fluoroscopy. 

2. Myopathology – (myo – muscle, patho – problem or malfunction) pathological changes will occur in the spinal musculature which includes hypertonicity, spasm, fibrosis, weakness and improper or inappropriate functioning. 

Evaluated by: Surface EMG, Muscle strength testing, Algometry, palpation, MRI, MS Sonograpy.

3. Neuropathology – (neuro- nerve, patho – problem or malfunction) irritation or injury to spinal nerve roots through compression, stretch or more commonly chemical irritation from nearby spinal structures. 

Evaluated by:  Surface EMG,  EEG, EKG, EMG, NCV.

4. Histopathology – (histo – tissue, patho –problem or malfunction) This inflammatory process causes pathological changes which occur to the spinal tissues such as abnormal bony growths off the vertebral bodies and joints, fibrosis and adhesions of spinal muscles and ligaments, as well as dehydration and degeneration of spinal discs. 

Evaluated by: Thermography, xray, MS Sonography, MRI.

5. Pathophysiology – (patho – problem or malfunction, physio – normal function) the biochemical changes taking place in the spinal region, and throughout the nerve distribution which include inflammatory bio-chemicals from injured tissues and biochemical waste products.  The longer the process continues, the more the re-active damage occurs. 

Evaluated by: Vascular studies, EKG, MRI, Sonogram, blood studies, urine studies.

The more each component is understood, the more specific the treatment can be directed.  Each component of the subluxation, and the causative source must be eliminated for proper healing to occur and for the rehabilitation process to be successful. While full understanding of all components is not necessary for you as a patient, you should be aware of the complexity involved.

Patients should also be aware that pain is but a small element of most diseases and disorders. Pain is a very poor indicator of your need for further treatment as pain generally subsides well before tissue healing and mechanical normalization has completed.

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