chiropractic and subluxation

Often described in practice as a partial dislocation, a subluxation occurs when the vertebrae move slightly out of alignment causing pressure or irritation to the nerves involved. The spine loses normal motion and/ or position which has an affect on both the nerves and vertebrae around the subluxated area. Because vertebrae are no longer functioning properly, wear and tear on the discs and associated ligaments, muscles, and other spinal tissue can develop. But most importantly, the associated nerve interference results in the body operating at a reduced rate. Pain, inflammation, and tenderness often follow. Once the nervous system has been impaired via a subluxation, the overall health and well-being of the person is reduced.

What Causes Subluxations?

Subluxations are caused by our bodies inability to respond to a stress in our environment. The stress can be physical, emotional chemical, or genetic.


Birth process, slips, falls, car accidents, poor sleeping habits, repetitive motions, sports injuries, bad posture, etc


Family problems, divorce, death in the family, money troubles, work stresses, life problems, an inability to manage stress properly, etc


External pollutants in the environment: smoking, drugs, car fumes, alcohol, poor diet


Many health problems run in families. Muscle weakness or imbalance, obesity, diabetes, hypertension, Chrones, cholesterol problems, infertility, etc

These stresses all contribute to the formation and sustaining of subluxations.

What are the Symptoms Associated with Subluxation?

Most patients wait until they have symptoms such as pain until they seek chiropractic help. Symptoms have a wide, expansive range including:

  • Inflammation & Swelling

  • Neck Pain

  • Back Pain

  • Low Energy

  • Tenderness

  • Reduction or Loss of Mobility

  • Muscle Spasms

  • Tingling Sensations

  • Loss of Sensation

  • Weakness

  • Stiffness

  • Loss of Control over Muscles or Organs

  • Poor Overall State of Health

  • Headaches

  • Dizziness

  • Colic

  • Asthma

  • Depression

  • Poor Weight Control

  • Constipation

  • Diarrhea

  • Arm and Leg Pain

  • And the list goes on….

It must also be noted that people who are not experiencing any symptoms are not necessarily ‘subluxation free’. It is common for pain to be the last symptom to occur and the first symptom to disappear. Just like tooth decay, we may not be aware of it until the tooth has been decaying for months or possibly years. The decay has been slowly killing your tooth for a longtime before we feel any symptom of ‘toothache.’

Functional disorders (fixations) of the spine in children. Lewit K. Manuelle Therapie, J.A. Barth, Leipzig, 1973. Chap 2.7. Pp.50-54.

Functional disorders are considered to be the first manifestation of spinal or vertebrogenic disease, with first symptoms appearing at a young age. In a total of 57 children’s migraine cases, 48 had excellent results after manipulative therapy. Functional disorders in children may manifest themselves as sleep disorders, loss of appetite, psychic problems, or dysmenorrha and may never exist as spinal pain.

Studies of healthy children revealed pelvic subluxations in 40% of all school children and cervical fixation in 15.8%. After manipulative treatments, the problems rarely recurred.

The concept of research of vertebrogenic disease in CSSR. Stary O. Clinic of Neurology, Charles Univ. Prague, Acta Universitatis Carolinae (Med) Suppl. 1965.

More than half the population suffers from vertebrogenic diseases for certain periods of their life. Disorders of the vertebral column may start in childhood many years before clinical manifestation.

Blocked atlantal nerve syndrome in infants and small children, Gutman G. ICA Review, 1990; July: 37-42. Originally published in German Manuelle Medizin (1987) 25:5-19.

From the abstract:

Three case reports are reviewed to illustrate a syndrome that has so far received far too little attention and which is caused and perpetuated in babies and infants by blocked nerve impulses at the atlas. Included in the clinical picture are lowered resistance to infections, especially to ear nose and throat infections, two cases of insomnia, two cases of cranial bone asymmetry, and one case each of torticollis, retarded locomotor development, retarded linguistic development, conjunctivitis, tonsillitis, rhinitis, earache, extreme neck sensitivity, incipient scoliosis, delayed hip development, and seizures.

The importance of chiropractic care for children. Abram, N. The Chiropractic Report. July 1992 Vol. 6 No. 5.

Lumbar dysfunctions in children. Bourdillon JE, Day EA, Bookhout MR: Spinal Manipulation, 5th edition. Oxford, England, Butterworth-Heinemann Ltd, 1992.

In school children’s orthopedic clinics, one of the authors saw many primary school children with symptoms arising from lumbar dysfunctions. In most of these, a parent would remember an injury when specifically asked, but the history had to be searched for before it was mentioned. Unless they are treated by the time these children reach adulthood, the compensatory asymmetries will almost certainly have become fixed and require treatment.

Are radiographic changes in the thoracic and lumbar spine of adolescent’s risk factors for low back pain in adults. A 25 year prospective cohort study of 640 school children. Spine. 1995; 20:2, 298-302.

This is a study of 64014-year old children who were followed from 1965 through 1990 to determine risk factors for the development of low back pain in adulthood. Low back pain during the growth period and family history were both associated with an increased risk. The lifetime reverence for back pain was 84% for this cohort study. The proportion of subjects having radiographic abnormalities was 36% and this was associated with an increased incidence of back pain in adulthood. Interestingly, the investigators did find an increased incidence of mental problems, such as fear or depression, in the group of patients with radiographic changes in the T11-L2 area.

“The goal of education is to create man who are capable of doing new things, not simply repeating what other generations have done - men who are creative, inventive, and discovers.” Jean Piaget

Vertebral Subluxation Correlated with Somatic, Visceral, and Immune Complaints: An Analysis of 650 Children Under Chiropractic Care.

Ogi Ressel BSc, DC, DACBR(C), FICPA Bio and Robert BSc, DC, FICPA Bio [October 18, 2004 pp 1-23]

Background: Children’s neuromuscular, biomechanical, and neuro-homeostatic development and patterning were examined in order to gain some insight into the perplexing problem of health attainment. This paper describes the nuances and effects of a new subluxation pattern seen in children - the Pelvic Distortion Subluxation Complex (PDSC). The authors feel PDSC is responsible, partially or fully, for a number of adaptive neurological patterns and kinesiopathological reflexes that can propagate a myriad of conditions - these seem to arise in childhood and plague individuals into adulthood. The authors maintain that PDSC is an entity amenable to correction - thereby restoring homeostasis.

Objective: It is the author’s contention that many, if not the preponderance of conditions seen in adults, have their origins in childhood years. The objective of this paper is to describe a new subluxation pattern seen in children - the Pelvic Distortion Subluxation Complex - which was found to be a common denominator in many children’s health issues.

Methods: Children of varying ages, complaints, and levels of health were examined. All children in the study were chosen randomly and were patients of the author’s Centre. All examinations were performed by 6 staff doctors with pediatric certification from the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association. The initial sample consisted of 677 children, 27 were excluded for the following reasons: no pelvic information was available, child was under the age of two, child was over the age of 18. The final sample consisted of 327 boys and 323 girls. Analysis of examination findings, radiology, Surface Electromyography and Infrared Thermography was statistically evaluated. 5 parameters of complaints complaints disclosed by children (or mentioned by their parents) were used and arranged according to the class of complaint; a. Somatic, b. Visceral/ Autonomic, c. Behavioral, d. Immune, e. Other. All data was also arranged according to three age groups; a. 2-4 b. 5-12, c. 13-18, and was also categorized by sex and total scores.

Results: The preponderance of PDSC is to present with a left pelvic fixation and a corresponding right hypermobility. It was found that 96% of all children posses, and are subjected to the effects of Pelvic Distortion Subluxation Complex. The PDSC was a common denominator in complaints plaguing our sample of children. These are summarized into a percentage of the total sample; the most common complaints being mainly of somatic nature with some visceral and immune components.

Conclusion: The process of neurological learning or programming of the central nervous system with respect to locomotion, posture, proprioception, and body kinetics begins within a few short months of birth. This study reveals a pattern of pelvic dysfunction correlated with numerous somatic, visceral, and immune complaints. These dysfunctions should be discovered as early as possible in a child’s life to elicit a correction for proper nervous system programming and child development. The relationship between these dysfunctions and ill health should be further studied.