A subluxation, also known as a vertebral subluxation complex, is a disorder of the spine where the alignment and physiological functions of the spine are altered, moving them from their normal position and placing excessive pressure on the spinal nerves. Although a subluxation can occur for a number of reasons, the most common include:
- Car accidents
- Poor posture
- Sitting for long hours
- Improper lifting
- Alcohol or drug use
- Emotional stress
- Chemical imbalances
The above factors can cause the spine’s vertebrae to move from their proper position and cause a range of health problems.
The Five Components of Vertebral Subluxation Complex
A subluxation, or partial dislocation, interferes or distorts the normal nervous system functionality. There are five components that combine to create a spinal vertebral subluxation complex, also known as VSC. These five include:
- The Osseous Component – This is where the vertebrae are either slightly out of position, not moving correctly, or are undergoing degeneration. This component is sometimes known as kinesiopathology.
- The Nerve Component – This is the malfunctioning nerve. This condition is caused by improper spinal function that blocks, pulls or irritates delicate nerve tissue, causing symptoms in various parts of the body depending on the nerve affected.
- The Muscle Component - When the muscles supporting the spine tighten, weaken, go into spasms or suffers from atrophy, it results in change of muscle tone. This condition requires repeated spinal adjustments.
- The Soft Tissue Component – This occurs when you have misaligned vertebrae and pressure on nerves resulting in changes in the surrounding soft tissues. This means the tendons, ligaments, blood supply, and other tissues undergo changes. This component is also known as histopathology.
- The Chemical Component – This occurs when all of these components of the VSC are acting on your body, and therefore causing some degree of chemical changes. These changes can be slight or massive depending on what parts of the body are affected by your subluxations. This component is often known as biochemical abnormalities.
When the vertebral subluxation complex is present, a variety of issues can occur to the spine, to its related soft tissues, and to the organs and tissues controlled by the affected nerves. It's extremely important to have a chiropractor examine your spine thoroughly before determining if further treatment is required.
How a Chiropractor Can Help
In order for a chiropractor to properly treat a vertebral subluxation, he or she must first assess the damage done by the displacement of the vertebra. This is done through x-rays and hands on exams. After your chiropractor detects the vertebral subluxation complex, he or she will work with you to reduce its symptoms and prevent a similar issue from occurring in the future.
During adjustments, a careful and precise pressure will be placed on the spine. Through these adjustments, the doctor of chiropractic is able to restore regular motion and function to the spine, reducing and possibly eliminating the subluxation.