What is Subluxation?

The body is comprised of approximately 3 trillion cells all working together in harmony. The heart pumps, the lungs breathe, the intestines digest and absorb, the liver cleans, and our muscles move. It all happens in a smooth, unconcious manner. The nervous system is the communication and control system that coordinates all the functions of our body. The communication network of the nervous system is so extensive, that chemicals have been identified (neuropeptides) which direct and control white blood cell activity of our immune system. (Kind of like each white blood cell having its own cellular phone connected to the brain.)


The nervous system is made up of the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves. The brain and spinal cord, both made of very sensitive and reactive tissue, are protected by the skull and the spine respectively. The peripheral nerves are far less sensitive once they leave the protection of the spinal column and are relatively unprotected. These nerves originate at the spinal cord and fan out to every part of the body, from deep inside our organs, to the top of our head, and the tips of our fingers and toes. Interference with the normal function of the nervous system interferes with the normal communication and control in the body, which in turn interferes with the function of the body. Chiropractors look for nerve system interference in the form of vertebral subluxations.


Vertebral subluxations are misalignments of the vertebra that interfere with the normal function of the nervous system. Recent research is detailing more and more clearly the damage of the "vertebral subluxation complex". The complex includes the following:

1. Abnormal motion or position of the vertebra. (kinesiopathology) The vertebra can be jammed, fixated, and less mobile than they should be, or they can be too mobile, producing noise with normal movement. This changes all of the normal mechanics of the spine.
2. Abnormal nervous system function. (neuropathology) Either direct pinching or irritation of the nerves occurs. This alters the normal electro-chemical impluses that travel through the nervous system and changes the chemical environment around the spinal nerve roots.
3. Abnormal muscle function. (myopathology) The spinal muscles that control the normal movement of the spine will either spasm, weaken, or both.
4. Abnormal soft tissue function. (histopathology) Spinal ligaments, tendons, discs, and other soft tissues can become either acutely or chronically inflamed. This inflammation causes alterations in those tissues and exacerbates the effects of numbers 1-3.
5. Abnormal function of the spine and the body. (pathology) With reduced function, the body is stressed, and less able to adapt to its environment. This makes it more vulnerable to disease. In the spine, the most common disease process is degenerative arthritis.

When a vertebra is subluxated, all five of the listed components occur even if there is no obvious symptom associated with that component. Adjusting the subluxation begins the process of healing and restoring more normal function in the five components. Metaphorically, if you think of the nervous system as the wires that carry the life energy through out the body, each subluxation has the effect of a dimmer switch, gradually reducing the amount of life force to the body. Correcting the subluxations turns on the power. Beginning with (and including) birth, we are suceptable to traumas that can cause subluxation. Therefore, we are never too young to get subluxated. Consequently, we are never too young to have our spines checked for subluxation then adjusted.