When a vertebrae becomes misaligned or restricted in movement, this is referred to in the chiropractic profession as a subluxation, or more precisely, the Vertebral Subluxation Complex (VSC). VSC can be caused by a wide range of issues ranging from a minor slip or bump to a car crash or any sudden trauma. When a vertebrae is subluxated, it begins to put pressure on nerves, blood vessels and other surrounding structures.
The subluxation interrupts the natural nerve pathways that carry messages to and from the brain. In addition, as time goes by and the subluxation remains untreated, the spine and surrounding features such as discs can begin to degenerate leading to a condition termed Degenerative Disc Disease.
This degeneration becomes more difficult to reverse as time goes by and the surrounding muscles, nerves and bones begin to adjust to the new shape. Because the body is a remarkable machine, it will start to accommodate these changes by compensating in other areas. The longer the subluxation is untreated, the longer it will take for treatment to return the vertebrae to its normal function.
A vertebral subluxation can be identified by its five components:
- Spinal Kinesiopathology (movement of the bones)
- Neuropathophysiology (nerve dysfunction)
- Myopathology (muscle changes)
- Histopathology (tissue damage)
- Pathophysiology (abnormal growth)
Chiropractors are experts in the manipulation of soft tissue and osseous structures. Small, quick movements (spinal adjustments) to the spine can release the joint and soft tissue tension thus allowing the vertebrae to regain normal function. Through treatment, a vertebral subluxation can be corrected back to healthy functionality.