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Edmonton Chiropractor Explains Subluxations

Chiropractors are trained to diagnose subluxations (nerve interference and spinal misalignment).  Subluxations disrupt the vital nerve communication network between the brain and body resulting in declining health.  Chiropractors use specific Chiropractic adjustments to correct subluxations improving the function of the nervous system and your health.

subluxation.pngWhat are subluxations?

Subluxations are spinal misalignments with nerve interference.  Your spine and nervous system are closely connected.  Not only does your spine protect the spinal cord, but the health of your brain relies on proper alignment and movement of your spine to receive and send nerve impulses for communication and exchange of information.  When your spine loses its normal alignment and mobility, there will be interference in those nerve impulses (subluxation - nerve interference and spinal misalignment) and that vital communication between your brain and body gets disrupted.

How do subluxations affect my health?

Your nervous system (brain, spinal cord, and nerves) controls and coordinates every mental and physical function in your body and allows your body to heal properly.  There is constant communication and exchange of information in the form of nerve impulses between your brain and body via the nerves and spinal cord.  When there is interference in those nerve impulses that vital communication between your brain and body gets disrupted.  As a result, your health declines and you can start to manifest a number of physical and mental symptoms.

Long standing subluxations can also cause accumulated and permanent damage to the spine (arthritis and disc degeneration).  Click here to watch how the spine degenerates

What causes subluxations?

When the nervous system and spine gets overloaded with STRESS (mental, physical, and chemical) you lose mobility and alignment in the spine and the nerve impulses to the brain get disrupted.

  • Physical (prolonged sitting at a computer and desk, falls (even as a toddler), car accidents, sports injuries, repetitive movements, sleeping on a poor mattress, sleeping on your stomach, sleeping on a pillow that is too high, trauma from birth, improper lifting, flat feet, improper shoe wear, and poor posture)
  • Mental/Emotional stress, whether it is a shock or prolonged, overloads the sympathetic part of the nervous system creating tension throughout the body.  Bad feelings such as boredom, annoyance, worry, criticism/blame, anger, revenge, hate, resentment, guilt, depression, fear, jealousy, apathy, and frustration can create a myriad of health problems if they are sustained over a long period of time.  Good feelings such as love, gratitude, joy, happiness, passion, excitement, joyful expectation, hope, and satisfaction activate the "growth" centers in our body causing good health.
  • Chemical (drugs, medications, sugar, alcohol, caffeine, food preservative, pesticides, herbicides, air pollution, and poor diet)

All these stressors can affect the nervous system and its harmonious relationship with the spine.

How do I know if I have subluxations?

Subluxations can be present well before signs and symptoms develop.  Chiropractors are trained to examine your spine to detect and correct subluxations (regardless of pain or other symptoms) to optimize nerve communication between your brain and body. 

The following are a few possible indications that may manifest because of being subluxated:

  • Pain, numbness, tingling, or weakness
  • Headaches
  • Poor sleep
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent colds/flus
  • Poor memory and concentration
  • Digestive problems
  • Poor Posture

See our Benefits sections for other indications that should warrant a spine and nervous system check up.

How are subluxations diagnosed?

Chiropractors are trained to do a thorough health history and examination of the spine (sometimes x-rays are needed as well).   All the pieces of the puzzle are fit together to determine if a patient is subluxated and could benefit from Chiropractic care. 

The examination is focused on determining how the spine and nervous system are functioning together.  Most of the nervous system is responsible for coordinating physical and mental FUNCTION: concentration and learning, emotions, muscle control, and organ function (including immune organs).  A small portion of the nervous system is responsible for the perception of PAIN. We can't measure pain because it is subjective.  We can only ask the patient, "How are you feeling? Are you better, the same, or worse?"  Although we want our patients "feeling" better as quickly as possible, Chiropractors don't treat pain.  Chiropractic care is aimed at restoring FUNCTION to the spine and nervous system.  As a result of improving function, the pain/symptom usually goes away.

Chiropractors also use the examination findings to monitor improvement.

Palpation of the Spine
Chiropractors will usually have patients sitting or lying face down on a table and to feel which spinal bones are misaligned or lack of mobility.

Your body attaches to the bones of your spine.  If you have been subluxated (nerve interference and spinal misalignment) for a long period of time you can develop muscle imbalance in your spine and that can pull the bones in your spine out of alignment and create poor posture.  The extra physical stress on your joints because of poor posture are well documented as are the negative effects of poor posture on your nervous system and whole health (see Posture and Health).  Posture can be improved through regular chiropractic adjustments and exercise.  Custom foot orthotics for unstable arches, a heel lift for a significant shorter leg, and attaining your ideal weight may also be necessary to improve your posture.

Functional Nervous System Tests (Proprioception)
Movement and balance tests can be done with a patient's eyes open and closed to test the function of the nervous system.

Movement (especially the spine) is required for proper brain function for the coordination of activities such as concentration, learning, emotions, motor control (movement, muscle tone, and posture), and organ function (including immune organs).  Over ½ of all nerve impulses being sent between the brain and the body in your spinal cord are for the delivery of movement stimulation to the brain.  The brain requires constant input to keep it charged.  MOVEMENT charges the brain battery and makes you think better, feel better, and function better.

The Functional Nervous System Tests demonstrate how well these nerve impulses are reaching the brain.  Lack of movement in the spine or spinal misalignments will disrupt these impulses (subluxations) and the patient will have difficulty performing the tests.  This is important because we can get some insight into how well the nervous system is coordinating not only physical function, but also mental and organ function as mentioned in the paragraph above.

Digital Infrared Thermography Scan
By taking skin temperature differences along the left and right sides of the spine, we can get some more insight into the part of the nervous system that controls your vital organs (heart, lungs, digestive system, immune system, etc.).  The same part of the nervous system that regulates temperature regulates the vital organs.  There shouldn't be a major skin temperature difference between the left and right sides of the spine if the nervous system is working properly.