Note: We want to apologize in advance if this article gets a little technical and confusing. Both doctors practicing chiropractor care near Greenville SC have studied this issue extensively for years, and it can be difficult to cram all of that information into a single article. But as always, we welcome any questions and would love to clarify any points in person if you are interested.
The term 'subluxation' is an interesting one. It is often referenced with a negative connotation, which is at least partially deserved due to the mystical, almost reverent way many chiropractors approach the word. There has also been much debate about the proper, or most accurate definition of the term, which has led to further confusion and division surrounding its use. Because of the controversy and lack of clarity regarding the condition, many have even tried to argue that subluxations are not even real. I would, therefore, like to clarify a few points and help explain any misunderstandings.
Simply put, a subluxation is a biomechanical problem that negatively impacts the nervous system. A natural follow-up question to this definition is, "What is a biomechanical problem?" For the purposes of this discussion, the answer is a joint that is out of place or not moving properly. Your body is made of 206 bones that are connected to each other at joints. In order for you to move, your muscles pull on these bones. If a bone is out of place, then the joints do not line up properly, and normal movement is altered. Similarly, a bone can be in its proper position, but other problems (like the presence of scar tissue, for example) can also alter normal motion. Biomechanical problems result from a variety of causes, including large traumas (like a fall or car accident), repetitive microtraumas (like swinging a tennis racket or golf club over and over), and even poor daily habits (like poor posture while sitting at your desk or sleeping in a bad position). Now for the other component of a subluxation- the nervous system. Nerves run through, across, and around these joints of the body, and when the position or motion of a joint is changed, it can cause these nerves to malfunction in several different ways. This entire process is a subluxation.
To those who question the validity of such a definition, let me assure you that this definition is researched and documented and can be objectively tested in a reliable manner. There are several ways to demonstrate altered biomechanics, including x-ray, video fluoroscopy (motion x-ray), MRI, CT, and inclinometry (measured range of motion). There are even more ways to demonstrate a dysfunctional nervous system: paraspinal thermography, surface electromyography, heart rate variability, and algometry, to name a just a few. There have been many studies showing a direct connection between biomechanical correction and improved nervous system function in both symptomatic and asymptomatic patients. As a side note, this improvement in asymptomatic patients provides strong evidence to the benefits of maintenance chiropractic care.
Because nerves control virtually everything in the body, the consequences of a subluxation can be far-reaching. Neck pain, back pain, and headaches have been common reasons to seek chiropractic care, but there is an ever-growing body of research supporting chiropractic care for a variety of other conditions, such as extremity joint pain, fibromyalgia, allergies, and high blood pressure. Also, thanks to the incredible work and research done by the ICPA, the benefits of chiropractic care in children are being discovered as well, including ear infections, colic, asthma, ADD, and other neurodevelopmental disorders.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact our Greenville office at (864) 640-4096 or fill out our contact form.