What is a Subluxation?
A problem with
the spine where an abnormal position or movement
of the vertebrae disturbs communication within
the Central Nervous System causing a disturbance
in the body.
How does this affect you? Your
nervous system controls and coordinates all the
functions of your body. If you interfere with
the signals traveling over nerves, parts of your
body will not get the proper nerve messages
and will not be able to function at 100% of
their innate abilities. In other words, some
part of your body will not be working properly.
Doctors of Chiropractic are the only health care
professionals who are thoroughly trained in the
detection, location and correction of vertebral
subluxations. It requires years of training and
clinical practice for a chiropractor to master the
analysis and procedures needed to understand and correct
We will call this picture a "near normal" spine.
Compare this spine with the ones you will see
below on this page. Notice the normal forward
curve of the neck. This curve helps absorb
shock. Notice how each of the disc spaces
between C2 (second bone in neck) and C7 are
thick and even, this again is normal. Also
notice how the front portions (right on the
x-ray) of each of the vertebrae (called the
'body' of the vertebrae) are fairly square with
clear and well defined borders. This type of
arrangement is normal in the neck. Normal
vertebrae in other parts of the spine also have
similar characteristics to what we see here.
When subluxations occur and are left
uncorrected, ongoing relentless changes occur
that result in damage to the structure and
function of the spine along with nerve damage
and the resulting problems caused from improper
Phase One Subluxation Degeneration is seen in subluxations that have been present for up to twenty years. This phase is characterized with a loss or change in the normal curve in the spine. On this example you can see that the normal forward (lordotic) curve is lost. This spine even has developed a reverse curve in the neck. The disc spaces have also begun to exhibit a slight change in shape. One good point is that the bodies of each of the vertebrae (the square part in front) still exhibits clean clear borders. Segmental motion may be abnormal but overall motion is probably not affected. Chiropractic reconstructive care for a phase one can take from 6 to 18 months. More than 80% of people with Phase One Subluxation Degeneration have no pain. Therefore, if left uncorrected, phase one continues to progress with time until it eventually reaches the next phase.
Phase two subluxation degeneration is normally seen in subluxations that have been present between 20 and 40 years. This phase has some of the same characteristics of the previous phase including a loss of normal curvature and position as well as an alteration in segmental motion. In addition, spines with Phase Two Subluxation Degeneration many times show a reduction in the patient's range of motion in that area. X-rays of a phase two begin to show calcium changes or buildup at certain levels of the spine. These changes are sometimes called by many names including spurs and arthritis. Disc spaces between the affected vertebrae are noticeably narrower and may appear to be flattening out. Although most people with Phase Two Subluxation Degeneration may not exhibit any symptoms, some may start to feel stiff or achy. Chiropractic reconstructive care for patients in phase two ranges from 1.5 years to 2.5 years. Again, if Phase Two Subluxation Degeneration is left uncorrected it slowly advances to the next phase.
Phase Three Subluxation Degeneration is caused by subluxations that have been continuing on for between 40 and 65 years. This phase has all of the attributes of the previous phases, only worse. The curvatures are abnormal, the disc spaces are vastly decreased and changed. Calcium changes on the spine are abundant in this phase. Normally, people in phase three have a restricted range of motion and probably exhibit symptoms of some kind. In phase three the vertebrae show obvious changes and mutations in shape. Projections made of calcium, sometimes referred to as "spurs or lipping", can be readily seen on x-ray. Chiropractic reconstructive care for patients in phase three ranges from 2.5 years to 3.5 years. This does not mean that at the end of this time that any or all of the calcium changes will be gone. In many instances the body adapts to the presence of the calcium and positive changes can only be measured from a functional standpoint. As before, if Phase Three Subluxation Degeneration is left unchecked it slowly advances onward into the next phase.
Phase four subluxation degeneration is seen with subluxations that have been raging on uncorrected or altered for over sixty five years. Phase four is a grave condition that will negatively affect the patients longevity and quality of life. The massive amount of neurological damage caused by years of subluxation that have lead to phase four are probably taking a serious toll on this person's health status. X-rays in phase four show serious severe structural changes. Vertebrae exhibit massive calcium changes, disc spaces appear blurred, and the bones themselves appear fused. In this scenario the patient will have a severe restriction of range of motion in addition to probably a number of other health issues. Reconstruction may not be possible in phase four, but care can be directed to some reduction in subluxation with the goal of improvement in the quality of life remaining. Patients in Phase Four Subluxation Degeneration have a serious situation both structurally and neurologically, but they are certainly not beyond hope. Many patients in phase four report significant improvements in symptoms, conditions, mobility and quality of life.
Have you or your family checked for vertebral
subluxation today! Call for an appointment
with Dr. Greg Nelson at:
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Chiropractic Terms and Definitions.
The controlled pressure applied
to a specific area to correct a misaligned (subluxated)
The process of discovery before each
treatment is given. By motioning out the spine
problem areas are found that need correction.
When discussing the spinal column, this
refers to the region of the neck.
A wear and tear phenomena. When the joints of
the body wear out, it is referred to as
osteoarthritis, also known as degenerative joint
The soft tissue between that separates
Correct posture and positioning of
the body while at work, rest and play.
Condition of the intervertebral disc, whereby
some of the material which makes up the disc
shifts to a position which irritates the nearby
nerve for that spinal area.
The health and function of soft
This is the soft tissue found between the bones
of the spinal column. They help cushion the
spine from everyday stress. Through
improper posture, discs can wear out
(degenerate). This can lead to the condition
known commonly by the laymen, as a "slipped
disc", or a disc herniation.
When discussing the spinal column, this refers
to the region of the low back.
The assessment done by your
chiropractor before treatment is giving.
The health and function of
The communication system of the
body. Your spine is the main conduit for the
The health and function of the
entire body as it relates back to the health and
function of the spine.
Total function of the
spine, including mobility, alignment and
Improper alignment of the spinal
bones (vertebrae) irritating or choking some of
The 24 moveable bones that make up
Trauma to the soft tissue in the neck,
such as over stretching or tearing, as a result
the head jerking in one direction and then the