Thursday, January 20, 2011

Part 4

There are many definitions of what a subluxation is but I will try and make it as simple as possible to understand. A subluxation refers to a joint that has moved from its normal position to a point that it’s stuck and is now affecting normal motion of itself and the joints adjoining it. When a joint becomes subluxated, pain receptors will “excite” and fire impulses which are recognized by the brain. The brain will then go into a protective mode which may cause many reactions like muscle spasms or inflammation. Joints are not meant to rub up against each other (in the case of a subluxation) but rather to glide by each other. Joints contain fluid to assist in movement and reducing friction but when a joint subluxates, the fluid can act as an adherent and keep the joint from moving back to its normal position. As a chiropractor, it’s my goal to locate a subluxated joint and move it back to its normal position. During this process (or what I call an “adjustment”) a “popping” sound may occur. The popping sound is created by separating the joint surfaces during the adjustment. Let me explain further; when two surfaces are pushed up against each other and they have a viscous material (joint fluid) between them, the fluid acts as an adherent. When you pull those surfaces apart it, a vacuum phenomenon is created. Once the vacuum phenomenon is released, a “popping” sound will be heard. I use the example of two wet pieces of glass against each other. If you tried to pull the wet glass apart it would be difficult, but once you broke the suction a popping noise would be heard. Maybe I went a little too far with my description, but many people ask about the popping sound. Some people envision the joint surfaces grinding over each other when it’s completely the opposite.

When a joint is subluxated many other things can be affected. Located around a vertebra are nerves that can become pinched which will often radiate pain to the surrounding areas of the back, the leg or arms (depending on which area of the spine we are talking about). Also, small muscles and tendons can be stretched which are also have pain sensitive nerves. The discs between the vertebrae can also become irritated by a subluxation. The main point is that having one joint subluxated can affect many surrounding areas and can create a great amount of discomfort. It must be pointed out that the longer a subluxation is left in place, the more possible the surrounding structures can be pre-maturely degenerated. So, if you suspect that something may have shifted in your spine, it’s important to get it checked as soon as possible. It’s not worth the possible headache!

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