Subluxation is a disease occurring worldwide in epidemic proportions. It is a bodily malfunction or condition, just as diabetes and heart trouble, for example, are conditions. The difference lies in the fact that subluxation often causes other conditions to occur. There are two kinds of subluxations: (1) An acute subluxation produces sudden symptoms which are of short duration and are sometimes self-correcting. (2) A chronic subluxation is of long duration and, if not corrected, can cause severe symptoms and degeneration. The longer a subluxation is allowed to remain uncorrected, the more extreme the resulting condition can become. The clinical findings of many doctors of chiropractic indicate that much of the world’s population suffer from subluxations of varying degrees interfering with the function of the body and, therefore, interfering with normal health.
What is a Subluxation?
Subluxation is the term used by doctors of chiropractic to describe the misalignment and/or fixation of bones, resulting in nerve pressure or irritation.1 Subluxations of the vertebrae of the spine are by far the most common type. Even the slightest misalignment can produce pressure and irritation upon nerves, affecting improper communication of vital nerve impulses to the organs, cells, and tissues of the body. The greater the misalignment, the greater the possibility of its affecting a nerve, and to a more severe degree. More severe subluxations may result in more severe discomfort, pain, and disability.
Spine and Nerves
The skull, which houses and protects the brain from which most nerves originate, rests atop the spinal column.
From the brain, the spinal cord extends downward through a vertical canal, formed by the vertebrae of the spinal column, which houses and protects the spinal cord.
Thirty-one pairs of nerve roots emerge from the spinal cord through openings between the vertebrae. Each nerve extends to, and ultimately controls, a specific area of the body.
Causes of Subluxations
We have said that spinal misalignments and/or fixations which produce irritation of nerves, or impinge them, are called subluxations. A minor subluxation may occur from the ordinary, everyday stresses and strains of normal living, even from such simple acts as twisting or turning. If left unattended, it may become chronic, resulting in severe, and painful conditions.A fall or injury often causes major subluxations.2 They can be produced by any type of shock that overloads the nervous system’s protective mechanism. Even the unavoidable and ever-present downward pull of gravity on the upright body often over-comes body balance and produces poor posture, and misalignment of the spinal vertebrae may result. Abnormal function of cells, tissues, and organs may be caused by the ensuing nerve irritation produced by this condition of subluxation.
According to current chiropractic clinical findings, a large percent of children have one or more vertebral subluxations before the age of one year, and many more become victims of vertebral subluxations within the next few years of their lives. One of the most common causes of vertebral subluxation in the infant is the birth process itself, especially if forceps have been used in the delivery.
Subluxations Affect your Health
Research has proven that even slight pressure on a spinal nerve root as it emerges from the spine can reduce the function of that nerve by 60 percent in a matter of minutes. Through research it was also discovered that by exerting the same degree of pressure, for a period of one to three hours, many of the nerve fibers and nerve roots rupture, producing poisons which spread to the surrounding tissues. When absorbed into the nerves, the poisons will, in time, progressively destroy them.
Everyone knows that a broken neck, broken back, or similar spinal injury can produce pressure on the nerves to the extent that partial or even complete paralysis of parts of the body may result.3 However, most people are unaware of the possibility that a subluxation resulting in pressure on these same nerves can be extremely destructive, causing a condition of decreased activity amounting to a slight paralysis – or the reverse, a dangerous increase in activity or spasm. For instance, a sluggish liver or gall bladder indicates decreased activity, and an overactive stomach or rapid heartbeat signifies increased activity. Irritated nerves can cause either decreased or increased body function in whatever organs those nerves supply.
Affected organs, therefore, must have the same attention that is given to more severely paralyzed body areas. The normal natural nerve control which has been denied them must be restored. Organs, tissues, and cells cannot maintain their own state of normal health without guidance from the brain through nerve impulses.
What are the Danger Signals?
If you are suffering from headaches, stiffness of neck, pain between shoulders, backache, pain in arms or legs, numbness in hands or feet, or general nervousness, you are suffering from one of the eight danger signals that indicate possible nerve pressure or irritation by a subluxation or subluxations. Persistent headaches, for example, may be a warning signal of impinged nerves at the base of the head.4 These eight danger signals are the body’s way of warning you that something is amiss. Left uncorrected, the symptoms will undoubtedly continue to increase and produce even more severe conditions.
The doctor of chiropractic locates subluxations through orthopedic, neurological, physical, kinesiological, and spinal examinations, as well as X-rays. With spinal adjustments, where the vertebra is skillfully and carefully moved back into normal position, the chiropractor is able to remove the interference to the body’s normal nerve control. Acute subluxations can be corrected with just a few adjustments while chronic subluxations take frequent adjustments to retrain the misaligned vertebrae to hold their normal, non-irritating positions. The chiropractor’s goal is to allow a normal flow of communication to and from the brain and every cell, tissue, organ, and system in the body – a prerequisite to health. Indeed, normal nerve current returning to the brain (sensory nerves) is as important as normal nerve current going from the brain (motor nerves).
Through spinal adjustments, body balance can be restored, spinal misalignment can be corrected, and the condition caused by the subluxation can be relieved and eliminated. When the correction is completed and the nervous system is restored to normal function, the body will cure itself: that s the chiropractic premise. It has worked for over 100 years on more than 100 million people. Nature usually needs no help – it just needs no interference within the nervous system.
How Can You Stay Healthy?
By eliminating interference of normal nerve function, chiropractic care can not only result in the correction of numerous health problems, but also may prevent many conditions from developing. This enables the body to maintain its natural, inborn resistance to illness and disease. For continuing good health, the best answer is preventive health care.
In conjunction with a program of regular spinal adjustments that will improve the nerve function of your body, and therefore your overall general
health, chiropractic advocates the basic formula of proper nutrition, adequate exercise, sufficient rest, good posture, and a positive attitude.
For you to have a longer, healthier, and happier life, it is imperative that you be aware of the fact that subluxation is truly a disease that occurs in epidemic proportions. It is a serious condition in itself and can easily develop into conditions affecting every part of the body.
Chiropractors are the only professionals specializing in the detection and elimination of vertebral subluxations. Take your whole family to visit your chiropractor and let him or her detect and correct any subluxations you may have. Those subluxations can impair nerve function and ultimately stifle human potential. Don’t wait for health-threatening, or even life-threatening conditions to develop.
- Scott Haldeman, Research Status of Spinal Manipulative Therapy, The Pathophysiofogy of the Spinal Subluxation, p 217, Published # (NIH) 76-996.
- Lee A. Hadley, M.D., Anatomico Roentgenographic Studies of the Spine, p. 130, Thomas, Springfield, IL, 1976
- RobertA. Leach, D.C., The Chiropractic Theories, p. 85. Mid South Scientific Publishers, 1980.
- Gerald L. Burke, M.D., Backache from Occiput to Coccyx, p. 74, W. E. G. MacDonald, 1964, Vancouver.