What is a subluxation?

According to Oxford’s Dictionary of the English Language, subluxations are less than complete dislocations and involve a tearing, stretching and sometimes rupturing of ligaments. The ligaments are what bind the joints of the spine together but still allow movement to occur.

A subluxation is a neurological disturbance caused by a nerve that is not functioning properly. The body depends upon the free flow of nerve communication from the brain, through the spinal column, and to all parts of the human body-in order to govern itself and all of its functions. Chiropractic science has determined that the interruption, blockage, or aberration of this flow of information can lead to serious health complications. Conversely, the removal of such interferences has been shown to have important health benefits.

Vertebrae fit together so that the nerve supply produced in the brain may filter down the spinal cord and out through the nerves. These messages are responsible for communicating information throughout the body so that growth, repair and healing may take place. When vertebrae are out of their natural alignment, the potential for nerve interference is great.
All body functions are controlled by messages from the brain sent through the nerves. When nerves become stretched, twisted, or "pinched," this vital communication system of the body is disrupted. As a result, one or more functions of the body may begin to fail. As the body weakens, health declines and if uncorrected, the body will ultimately give in to sickness and disease. While traditional medicine would resort to treating the symptoms of such disease, the Doctor of Chiropractic considers correcting the cause of disease-in this case subluxations-so that normal body function may once again take place.

In addition to nerve interference, subluxations cause abnormal posture and apply tension to vertebrae, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. This increased tension can interfere with blood flow to internal organs.’ Lack of oxygen to cells, tissues, and organs, via the blood, can also cause dysfunction and disease. As Doctors of Chiropractic, we lay our hands on your back and gently line up the vertebrae into their natural position. This process may take weeks or months depending on the extent of misalignment. As the subluxations are reduced, however, nerve supply communicates more effectively throughout the body and healing can begin to take place. As the body heals, the symptoms of dysfunction and disease diminish.

Chiropractic is a very specific science. By minimizing nerve interference, the natural strengths of the human body are maximized, increasing the body’s ability to heal itself without the use of drugs or surgery.


Most everyone has either witnessed a person spraining their ankle ligaments or has experienced this quite painful injury themselves. The over-stretching, swelling and inflammation creates limitation of movement and irritation of the nerves that sense pain. When dislocations occur in the bones or joints of the neck, the person can become paralyzed or may even die. Many patients are dependent on respirators because the nerves to the diaphragm coming from the neck are injured.

Subluxations of the spinal bones (vertebrae) can also cause severe injuries but are generally less severe than dislocations. When nerves to the organs are injured, then the person might experience symptoms such as pain or other dysfunctions. But sometimes the injury is silent and the organ does not function at an optimal level with the person experiencing little short term effects. Over time however, these minor problems can develop into greater problems so your chiropractor should be consulting early in life (as a child) rather than after many years of nerve system neglect.

Subluxations irritate and compress the nerves coming out of the spinal column. The injuries to the spinal joints can cause the sending nerves of these structures to send abnormal impulses to the brain. The range of nerve injury depends usually on the amount of trauma the patient experiences.

For example, an automobile injury with whiplash of the neck can cause severe injury whereas simple posture positions sustained for a short period only cause minor stretch of the ligaments.
One way to determine if damage to the spinal joints person’s back when a subluxation occurs. Your chiropractor examines the joints of the spine by touching the different structures of the back and using different testing procedures such as X-ray, to arrive at an accurate diagnosis of where the subluxations are in your spine and what their effects are on your health.

Since subluxations of the spinal joints interfere with nerve impulses traveling from the brain down through the spinal column and out to all reaches of the body, chiropractors can be thought of as nerve doctors.

Subluxations are one of the most common forms of nerve injury a patient can have. These nerve injuries or problems can effect a wide range of different tissues since nerves control all functions of the body. Although many patients with organ problems such as wheezing (asthma), indigestion and heart burn, infant colic or ear infections seek chiropractic care, it is important to address the original nerve problem and subluxation when it first occurs. Consult your doctor of chiropractic for a plan to improve your neurological health.


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19 responses to “What is a subluxation?”

  1. 96 Tips For a Perfect Posture | Burt Chiropractic

    […] having correct posture, we are keeping our spinal vertebrae from being misaligned or subluxated.  Our spine is not only reliant on the strength of our back muscles but it also relies on its two […]

  2. Neck Pain and Chiropractic Treatment | Burt Chiropractic

    […] to severe and the causes for the pain vary from just a muscular strain to a spinal misalignment (subluxation) or […]

  3. Relationship of The Nervous System And Spine To Organs | Burt Chiropractic

    […] the right signals from our brains, our organs cannot function at their optimum level. When a subluxationis present, musculoskeletal factors around one or more vertebrae interfere with the normal function […]

  4. Patient's Questions and Dr. Burt's Answers | Burt Chiropractic

    […] However, if you have something like TOS (Thoracic Outlet Syndrome)  misaligned Clavicle and even Subluxated Vertebrae in the early stage, the symptoms you experience could be because of these conditions. Please have […]

  5. Chiropractic Rehabilitation and 4 Stages of Soft Tissue Healing | Burt Chiropractic

    […] Chiropractic Adjustments Help […]

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    […] range of motion weather they are painful or not. Specific chiropractic adjustment applied to a subluxated (restricted) joint can restore range of motion when the body’s own musculature […]

  7. Who is Your Chiropractor Doctor Burt? | Burt Chiropractic

    […] What is a Subluxation? Read More … […]

  8. Chiropractic Miracle Story While I was in a Student Clinic | Burt Chiropractic

    […] had the most inflammation. Nervoscope is very sensitive to heat. When you move it along the spine subluxated areas of the spine will be inflamed and will exert heat. An arrow on the nervoscope will move if […]

  9. 7 Tips For Stress Management | Hottubs and Jacuzzi

    […] misalignment &#959f the spinal column, known as subluxations. Chronic stress &#1072l&#1109&#959 leads to nerve irritation. the […]

  10. Fibromyalgia and Chiropractic Care | Burt Chiropractic

    […] release from a vertebral joint capsule. The aim for these adjustments to the spine is to correct a subluxation that has occurred in the spine. Once the patient’s spine is properly aligned, the pain and other […]

  11. Chiropractic Rehabilitation and the 4 Stages of Soft Tissue Healing | Back and Body Works | Portland, Oregon Chiropractic

    […] Chiropractic Adjustments Help […]

  12. Four Causes Of Poor Posture | Burt Chiropractic

    […] body. Her upper trapezium became more developed on one side of the body. This imbalance caused a subluxation in her cervical spine and as a result shooting pain down her left upper extremity has happened. She […]

  13. Chiropractic Questions and Chiropractor Answers | Burt Chiropractic

    […] involve sprained tendons and strained musculature around the lumbar spine. Also herniated disc and subluxated lumbar vertebral level can also be contributing factors for the pain. I would suggest that you take […]

  14. TMJ And Neck Pain, Need Help With Chiropractic Care | Burt Chiropractic

    […] is an optimal if possible. Lower back problems are related to your neck problems. Every single subluxation and curve in a cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine must be taken into consideration in order to […]

  15. Stress and 4 Tips On How To Avoid It | Burt Chiropractic

    […] your vertebra is misaligned, it causes a misalignment which applies pressure and results in nerve […]

  16. Drdevine

    Great explanation of the human body’s  incredible ability to heal its self
    when maintained properly!  

  17. Patient Asks and Dr. Burt Answers the Question | Burt Chiropractic

    […] Pain in your low back does not necessary mean that you have herniated disk. You could simply have a vertebral subluxation in your lumbar spine and that could be the cause of your problems.  Pick up the phone and have […]

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    […] stress-free body is more capable of fighting off allergens without the use of harmful medications. Subluxations or misaligned spinal vertebra put pressure on a nerve, which places stress on the nervous system […]

  19. Low Back Pain Prevention and Maintenance | Burt Chiropractic

    […] – misaligned vertebrae in a lumbar spine or misaligned Sacroilliac joint. This misalignment (subluxation) will cause the irritation to the nerve root and will result in a muscle spasm which will cause […]

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