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What Is the Subluxation Complex?

painful spine You may have heard the term “vertebral subluxation complex” but wondered what it means. Chiropractors often use this term to describe the various symptoms related to the chiropractic definition of spinal abnormalities.

Known as the “Father of Chiropractic,” D.D. Palmer asserted that a relationship existed between subluxations—or abnormalities within the spine—and all diseases. The definition and its application have advanced over the years. However, many chiropractors today still agree with the concepts first established by Palmer more than 100 years ago.

We consider the subluxation complex to be a partial or incomplete dislocation. Those afflicted with a subluxation complex often have a restriction of motion. An unusual relationship between two adjacent bone structures is often seen. Here’s an example: the ball and socket alignment of the shoulder joint might be pulled forward or backward if the rotator cuff muscles are too hypertonic.

Some Common Causes of Spinal Subluxations

  • Muscular hypertonicity or imbalances with spasm greater on one side
  • Leg length inequality where a genetic defect has caused one leg to grow longer than the other
  • Sprain/strain injuries, which include lifting or trauma incidents, affecting the back or neck leaving an individual disabled in their spinal motion due to heightened pain sensitivity and muscle splinting
  • Spinal disc displacement, including disc herniations

Symptoms of Vertebral Subluxation Complex

If you have a spinal subluxation, you may experience one or more of the following:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Limited motion
  • Muscle spasm
  • Muscle imbalance
  • Sciatica or leg pain
  • Arm pain referral
  • Recurrent frequent headaches
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Dizziness
  • Intermittent blurred vision

Any recurrent or combination of these symptoms could indicate you require chiropractic care. You should be examined by a chiropractor. It’s our experience that these symptoms can often be successfully managed with this natural form of health care.

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