Spinal subluxation is described as when one or more vertebrae are out of alignment. This misalignment usually causes cervical, thoracic and/or low back complications. Due to the subluxation, pressure is placed on the spinal nerves, affecting its normal impulses. This may cause headaches, backaches, and neck aches.
Usually a subluxation is caused by an injury or accident - anything from a car accident to an innocuous trip-and-fall incident. Not all nerve cells are sensory cells that send pain signals to the brain, so if a motor nerve cell is affected by a subluxation, the muscle contracts and only a mild discomfort may be felt. This condition can continue for years until another accident or incident aggravates the condition. Stretching and exercise can alleviate the pain, but may not fix the misaligned vertebrae.
How does this happen? When left untreated by chiropractic care, exercise, and proper diet, a subluxation forces the rest of the body to support the weakened vertebra and the body begins to deform in its attempts to correct the problem. (For example, if your left hip hurts, you may unconsciously begin leaning on your right side in an effort to lessen the pain.) This only makes the misalignment worse until, over a period of time, the muscles become rigid and the disc deteriorates. If left untreated, a subluxation can lead to more pain, arthritis, and even bone and nerve damage.
References and sites of related interest:
American Chiropractic Association: http://www.amerchiro.org
Canadian Chiropractic Association: HTTP://WWW.CCACHIRO.ORG