Hello, everyone! This is Dr. Bob Salamon with Lowcountry Chiropractic. As always, I hope you’re doing well and staying healthy! On my last blog, we discussed how office workers can minimize back pain. Today, we’ll be talking about subluxations. The term subluxation is used by chiropractors to refer to a partial dislocation or slight misalignment of the vertebrae. This differs from a luxation, which is the complete dislocation of a joint. Subluxations block signals within the spinal nerves. This typically occurs in a joint and can be the cause of a variety of health concerns. There are moderate and advanced subluxations. These can be caused by an injury, repetitive movement, or a medical condition. Sometimes, poor posture or heavy lifting can lead to subluxations. If you are interested in learning more about subluxations and how they are treated, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s begin.
Common symptoms of a subluxation include pain and swelling around the joint, limited mobility or loss of range of motion, bruising, a sensation of joint instability, or a loss of feeling or numbness that is usually temporary. You may also experience balance issues, stiffness, or headaches. Sometimes, people experience low energy in addition to one or more of these symptoms. Each part of the vertebrae is connected to a nerve, so subluxations can lead to neurological conditions due to the pressure placed on these nerves. Subluxations can disrupt the entire nervous system, and if left untreated for too long, they can cause irreversible damage. There are different types of subluxations, and some joints are more likely to be affected than others. Commonly affected joints include those in the spine, shoulder, kneecap, and elbow. Here is a quick breakdown of these types of subluxations:
Subluxations can be caused by a variety of things, such as car accidents or falls, or can happen spontaneously due to joint weakness. Subluxations can appear even when no fractures or breaks are present, so it is important not to write off any pain or discomfort you may be feeling. Subluxations can be more common in people with overly flexible joints, such as those diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. Pregnancy can cause the overproduction of certain hormones which, in turn, loosen the joints and make them more susceptible to subluxations. Poor dietary and nutritional practices can also increase one’s risk of subluxations, because this reduces the body’s ability to function at its best.
Children are also very susceptible to subluxations because they are still growing and exploring, which often leads to many bumps and falls. Even a gentle tug on the arm by a caregiver can cause a subluxation. Unfortunately, children will not outgrow subluxations– They will actually worsen with age, since their bodies are still developing. It is also possible for a subluxation to occur during birth. During the intensity of childbirth, it is easy for the baby’s neck and spine to sustain injuries due to their fragility. This can happen when newborns are compressed in the birth canal, and sometimes if they are pulled by the doctor with forceps. Sometimes, parents assume that their child was born with a particular condition, but in reality, it was a subluxation caused during birth. Having your newborn checked by a chiropractor soon after birth will help identify possible subluxations. Identifying a subluxation early increases the chances of eliminating neurological defects.
To diagnose a subluxation, your healthcare provider will conduct a physical exam and may order imaging tests such as X-rays, CT scans, or an MRI. These imaging tests can rule out fractures, hematomas, ruptures, or the accumulation of fluids known as joint effusions. Once a subluxation has been diagnosed, your provider may reset the joint using manual manipulation. This can also be performed by a chiropractor. In fact, chiropractors specialize in subluxations. Most chiropractors will order X-rays to identify and locate subluxations of the spine. In chiropractic theory, vertebral subluxations are interferences that prevent someone from being as healthy as they could be, and can cause a variety of health conditions and pain such as lower back pain, sciatica, fibromyalgia, and more. They do not necessarily need to show up on an imaging test and they may not produce pain. Because of this, chiropractors sometimes refer to vertebral subluxations as the “silent killer”. Chiropractors view subluxation as a process rather than a condition. In the eyes of a chiropractor, subluxations can cause the following conditions:
There is no medication to correct a subluxation. Chiropractic treatment for a subluxation is customized to fit the location of the injury. Targeted adjustments tend to be the most effective treatment. Adjustments involve a chiropractor applying manipulation and pressure to the vertebrae or wherever the subluxation is present. They help the body function more optimally and restore it to better health. Joint and spine manipulation help ease body pain and correct the body’s alignment. Chiropractors may use different techniques such as the toggle, drop table, or adjustments with an instrument. After an adjustment, a chiropractor might give nutritional advice and suggest other therapies such as ice or heat therapy, massage, exercise, and stretches. Although unlikely, if the problem persists, surgery may be suggested. This is especially true if treatment has failed and the injury involves severe damage to the muscles, blood vessels, or nerves.
It is important to note that stretching and exercise alone cannot correct a subluxation. Most health problems or pains are related to subluxations, so chiropractic care is necessary to make the proper corrections and begin the healing process. As mentioned above, subluxations can be present for quite some time without the appearance of symptoms such as pain. Because of this, it is recommended that you see a chiropractor before symptoms appear. Seeking regular spinal evaluations can prevent and identify subluxations. Just like you visit the dentist for a routine checkup, you should visit a chiropractor, too!
As you can see, subluxations can lead to poor overall health. People of all ages and walks of life can suffer from subluxations, including infants and children. If you think you or a loved one may have a subluxation, or you want to prevent one, consider reaching out to Lowcountry Chiropractic. Send us an email or give us a call and we’ll assess the situation and develop a long-term treatment plan to address your needs. We want to help you live a pain-free life– It’s what you deserve. As always, this is Dr. Bob and I have your back covered!
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