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Subluxations, more commonly known as spinal misalignments, is a term used to describe an altered position of the vertebra, as well as the loss of function stemming from this alteration. A more scientific definition from Mosby’s Medical Dictionary describes it as a partial abnormal separation of the articular surfaces of a joint. Chiropractors also use the term to describe a complex of functions — the subluxation complex — as “an alteration of the biomechanical and physiological dynamics of contiguous structures which can cause neural disturbances.”
To bring it down to a more practical level, you can easily visualize what a subluxation looks like: simply picture a nerve being pinched or stretched. This distortion of the nerve alters the body’s normal neurological function, causing stress and/or irritation to said nerve and the nerves around it. This is where chiropractors come in. At Dynamic Chiros, we work with you to help correct and remove subluxations. This process puts an end to any nervous system interference while improving your spinal function — and your overall health.
Subluxations themselves are often painless, and there’s no specific age or time in which they’re most likely to occur. The only way to fully determine if you have one is through a chiropractic examination.
There are times, however, where symptoms do present themselves. These indicators include headaches, neck pain, back pain, muscle spasms, joint pain, reduced mobility, hearing problems, low energy, numbness or tingling in the extremities, dizziness or balance issues, and more. In order to determine whether or not you have a subluxation, chiropractors have five pathologies that can assist them in identifying one.
In order to diagnose a subluxation, chiropractors have spent years studying the underlying pathologies that indicate when a subluxation may be present. These pathologies are kinesiopathology, histopathology, myopathology, neuropathology and pathophysiology.
Kinesiology is the study of the human body’s movements and the mechanics behind them. This particular pathology identifies subluxations by a motion palpitation of the spine itself. In this approach, your chiropractor will look for a misaligned segment of the spine. When he or she notices a spinal segment isn’t moving as it should, then they know you have a subluxation and will focus your treatment on that particular area.
When applying histopathology, your chiropractor will primarily rely on x-rays, though he or she may also require a blood test or an MRI. The reason is to look for improper, diseased or malfunctioning tissue that can result from subluxation. Essentially, your doctor is looking for visible signs of inflammation such as swollen areas, pitting edema and more. When you develop a subluxation, it affects more than the spine — it affects the tissue around it, and histopathology is a great approach to help identify the problem.
Myopathology is the study of muscles that are malfunctioning or diseased. When it comes to chiropractic medicine, your doctor is specifically looking for muscle spasms. Muscle spasms can often result from a misalignment in your spine, and they’re commonly found in the neck or lower back. Though they can be short lived, it’s not uncommon for a muscle spasm to hang around for several days.
Also referred to as neuropathophysiology, this pathology uses patient reflexes, dermatome testing and thermography to determine whether or not a patient has a subluxation. Here, your chiropractor is looking to see if normal nerve function has been compromised or become diseased. When a subluxation occurs, it can quickly disrupt your normal neurological functions.
Pathophysiology looks for organ disfunction to help determine the presence of a subluxation. It is understood by chiropractic medicine that when a spinal misalignment is left unattended for a long time, it can begin to affect the rest of the body, as the messages from the brain to the body’s organs (and vice versa) can become disrupted. We use the information we gather from a verbal and physical exam to determine if a subluxation has progressed to the level of organ damage.
As experts in the musculoskeletal systems, the doctors at Dynamic Chiros will first identify the location of the subluxation, then they will most likely perform a spinal adjustment. This means they will use a quick-yet-gentle movement to apply force to the joint in question. This will help eliminate the subluxation, thereby increasing your mobility and improving your overall spinal function. If you want to determine if a subluxation is the cause of your recent issues, simply give us a call to schedule a consultation.