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Neck and Back Pain

What is a Subluxation?

The subluxation is an important element of manipulative theory and practice. But what does it mean? Actually, the definition of the word has evolved as it has received attention and investigation by the chiropractic profession, and it differs from the medical definition of the term. A consensus by chiropractic colleges, having status with accrediting agencies recognized by the US Department of Education, leads to the following definition:

"A subluxation is a complex of functional and/or structural and/or pathological articular changes that compromise neural integrity and may influence organ system function and general health."

What the above means is that a subluxation is a joint problem (whether a problem with the way the joint is functioning, a physical problem with the joint, a disease of the joint, or a combination of any of these) that affects the function of nerves and can therefore affect the body's organs and general health.

You spine is a column of bones (vertebrae), cushioned by spinal discs, that are moved and supported by muscles, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage. Built into these bones are openings top to bottom and through each side (see diagram 1 below).

Diagram 1

Through these openings pass most of the body's nerves from the brain. These nerves pass out from the spine on each side to all of the body's tissues and organs (see diagram 2 below).

Diagram 2

The Subluxation theory identifies that a problem in the joints of the spine is able to affect the nerves that exit at that point in the spine, thereby affecting the tissue or organ to which that nerve goes.

Physicians specializing in manipulation believe that if joints function properly, nerves will function properly, and the body will be better able to keep itself healthy. A great deal of neck and back pain is due to subluxations.