How Does A Vertebral Subluxation Affect One’s Ability to Move?

How Does A Vertebral Subluxation Affect One's Ability to Move?

A vertebral subluxation may or may not affect the ability to move comfortably, depending on the severity of the subluxation. A minor misalignment may have no effects at all on movement, in the early stages, but may cause problems as the problem worsens. Even a moderate misalignment can cause pain, stiffness, nerve compression and other symptoms that can cause increasing problems over time. Chiropractic care is often the treatment of choice for vertebral subluxation problems. It offers non-invasive, drug-free methods to correct subluxations in the early stages, so that further problems can be avoided.

A common back problem, vertebral sublaxation can result from a number of causes and can produce different symptoms in each individual. In serious cases, you may have chronic pain as the misaligned spinal vertebrae press on nerve roots in the spinal column. Nerve pain, with tingling, numbness and weakness in the extremities can also occur. Some individuals experience impairment of movement when bending over, twisting, standing for long periods, sitting for long periods or even when walking normally. Severe cases can lead to bowel or bladder incontinence. Appropriate treatment can help to relieve these symptoms, so you can engage in your normal activities without problems.

What is vertebral subluxation?

Vertebral subluxation is a misalignment of the spinal vertebrae, in which one of the spinal bones overlap an adjacent bone. The misalignment can result in poor function, pain, lack of flexibility and other problems that affect the performance of your daily tasks. A subluxation can be minor enough not to cause any symptoms. However, misalignments of the spinal vertebrae can become worse over time and can affect normal movement, so that an individual may experience increasing problems with comfort and range of motion.

What causes vertebral subluxation?

Vertebral subluxation can be caused by a number of different factors, some of which are a result of exterior forces and some of which result from internal medical issues.

Trauma or injury

A vertebral subluxation can be caused by an impact during a vehicle accident or from impact during sports. A severe fall can also cause subluxation of the spinal vertebrae. Any hard blow to the back or spine can result in a subluxation that will cause discomfort and dysfunction for the individual.

Poor posture

Poor posture when sitting or standing can cause constant pressure on structures in the spine, which can eventually lead to a subluxation of the vertebrae. The individual may experience increasing problems with stiffness, pain, reduced flexibility and problems with normal movement.

Muscle imbalance

A muscle imbalance can eventually cause spinal vertebrae to shift out of their normal position. This misalignment can lead to a number of uncomfortable symptoms and poor function.

Joint dysfunction

Medical conditions that cause joint dysfunction can lead to subluxation of the spinal vertebrae. Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and other conditions can affect spinal bones, as well as other joints in the body.

Repetitive movements

For some people, work tasks require repetitive motions that can have a damaging effect on spinal function. Similarly, some athletic activities require repeated motions that can lead to misalignment of the spinal vertebrae. Any action that involves repeated movements such as bending, twisting, lifting or actions that contort the spine into an unexpected configuration can cause a misalignment over time that can result in subluxation, with a variety of uncomfortable effects.

Congenital defect

In some cases, there may be a congenital abnormality in the structures of the spine that lead to vertebral subluxation. This may be a problem with the muscles, bones, ligaments or tendons that make up the spinal column.


Stress has many damaging effects on the body. Simple muscle tension, experienced on a constant basis, can put pressure on muscles near spinal vertebrae and can cause individual bones to move out of alignment. The poor spinal alignment will eventually lead to symptoms of pain and poor range of motion.


Injury or disease can lead to inflammation of tissue around the spinal vertebrae that can cause disruption of normal alignment and subluxation of the bones.

Risk factors associated with vertebral subluxation

Vertebral subluxations can produce a number of effects on the body. Some of the effects are associated with impaired muscle, tendon and ligament function. However, other effects involve nerve impairment and how the nervous system functions.

Effects on the nervous system

Proper spinal alignment has a fundamental effect on nervous system function throughout the body. When a subluxation occurs, nerves become compressed, preventing the free flow of neurotransmitter chemicals in the body and normal nerve function.

Impact on spinal nerves

Subluxation causes the spinal vertebrae to overlap each other, which can compress the nerve roots that are connected to the spinal column. When this occurs, the compression of nerves can cause numbness, tingling and weakness in the extremities.

Nerve interference and communication disruption

One of the problems caused by vertebral subluxation is its interference with normal nerve conduction and the disruption of normal communication between cells of the body. Nerve roots that connect to the spine can become compressed by an overlap in the vertebrae, which can disrupt normal nerve function. Compression can lead to tingling sensations, numbness in the extremities and weakness that affects your ability to move normally.

Effects on range of motion

A subluxation will cause abnormal function of the spinal bones. The misalignment makes it difficult for the vertebrae to support normal movement. You may not be able to achieve the full range of motion of your spine as you bend, twist or reach.

Restrictions in movement

As a subluxation overlaps an adjacent vertebra, it may cause restrictions with normal movement. You may not be able to bend over normally or may find that reaching or stretching movements are limited.

Decreased flexibility and mobility

A subluxation can cause reduce flexibility in your movement. In some cases, nerve compression can cause impairment in your mobility, so that simple actions like walking or sitting can lead to discomfort.

Importance of spinal health

The spine is the fundamental structure in the human body, which supports every other system in the body. The spine provides the foundation for free movement of all parts of the body. In addition, the human body’s nervous system that connects to the spinal column allows the normal function for everyday movement and performance of necessary tasks. Good spinal health supports general health, normal movement and all the activities necessary for survival.

Role of chiropractic adjustments

Chiropractic is an alternative medicine practice that focuses on spinal health to ensure efficient movement and good general function. The method uses a wide variety of techniques to foster proper spinal function. One of the primary methods is manual adjustment of the spine, in which the chiropractor uses his or her hands, along with special instruments, to manipulate the spinal structures into their correct alignment. In this way, the body is better able to move as it was intended, and the stress from poor physical function is eliminated.

Restoring proper alignment

Chiropractic’s main focus is in restoring normal spinal alignment and function. Your chiropractor will do this by using a variety of techniques, such as manual adjustment of the spine, soft tissue manipulation to improve muscle and tendon function and therapeutic exercise to strengthen muscles that support the spinal column. Traction and spinal decompression methods are generally used to gently stretch the spinal vertebrae, which helps to re-position spinal discs that cushion the vertebrae.

Connection to soft tissues

When the spinal vertebrae are out of alignment, soft tissues surrounding damaged area must take up the additional work of providing smooth movement. This can lead to overuse of adjacent muscles and tendon, sore muscles and the development of scar tissue that impedes movement and causes additional discomfort. Chiropractors use special instruments to break up scar tissue and improve blood flow and nutrient uptake to the affected area.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the effects of vertebral subluxation?

The effects of vertebral subluxation can vary from person to person. Some people may have no symptoms of spinal dysfunction. Others may experience pain, stiffness, poor flexibility and limited range of motion at the point of subluxation. Still others may experience tingling and numbness along the sciatic nerve in the backs of the leg. Weakness of extremities can also occur.

Can subluxation cause paralysis?

Yes, a severe subluxation of the vertebrae can lead to compression of the nerves and can cause paralysis. This effect generally occurs when the subluxation is so severe that is impinges on the spinal column, cutting off nerve conduction to the lower extremities. When a subluxation reaches this degree of severity, surgery may be necessary to eliminate impingement on the spinal cord.

How can a vertebral subluxation interrupt function?

A vertebral subluxation can interrupt function by causing abnormal movement of muscles, tendons and ligaments, due to the actions of the overlapping vertebrae. It can also cause nerve compression that results in weakness of the extremities.

What dysfunction is caused by subluxation?

Subluxation can cause a number of problems with function, including weakness, poor range of motion, lack of flexibility, tingling from nerve compression and poor coordination due to impaired movement.

What are the long term effects of subluxation?

Because a subluxation causes a dysfunction in how the spinal vertebrae move, they become subject to irritation and inflammation at the point of the abnormality. The vertebrae can become more vulnerable to injury because they are not in their normal position. The abnormal movement causes increased wear and tear on the damaged structures, which can facilitate the development of arthritis inflammation in the spinal joint. Other vertebrae and muscles must take over the work of the abnormal movement, which can lead to aches and pains elsewhere in the body. Proper treatment can help to avoid these problems and restore the spinal structures to normal function.

What does a subluxated vertebrae feel like?

You might not notice any symptoms from minor subluxation of a vertebra. However, the misalignment can worsen as you engage in your usual daily activities and movements. Over time, you may have pain in the area of the subluxation. You may notice limitations in your flexibility as you engage in your usual movements. Range of motion may be reduced.

What happens if you don’t treat a subluxation?

If a subluxation is not causing symptoms, you may be tempted to omit treatment. However, the poor function of a vertebral subluxation puts additional stress on other adjacent structures in the spine and back that can cause worsening symptoms and impairment of normal mobility. In addition, poor function in the vertebrae can lead to inflammation of tissues, which can set the stage for damage from arthritis.

Can a subluxation get worse?

Yes, if a subluxation is not properly treated, it can become increasingly worse. Impaired movement can begin to impact your daily activities.

Is spinal subluxation serious?

Spinal subluxtion can be serious because it can cause increasing symptoms over time. A severe subluxation can cause compression of nerves and can lead to loss of bowel and bladder control or even paralysis of the legs.

Can vertebral subluxation be cured?

A subluxation can be treated, so that the misalignment is corrected. Once the spinal vertebrae are in normal alignment, symptoms such as pain and nerve impingement disappear.

What is the most common cause of subluxation?

The most common cause of vertebral subluxation is trauma that can result from impacts during car accidents, during sports activities or from falls. Poor posture is another common cause of subluxations of the spine.

How do you treat vertebral subluxation?

A number of methods are used to treat vertebral subluxation. Conservative treatments are often effective for minor misalignments of the vertebrae. These methods include resting the back, applying ice packs, application of heat packs, over-the-counter pain relievers and bracing of the spine. More serious subluxations often require chiropractic treatment. Depending on the severity of the misalignment and your own individual needs, the chiropractor may do manual adjustment, recommend corrective exercises, provide spinal decompression measures or provide massage to increase circulation and aid healing. If a subluxation is very severe, surgical correction may be necessary.

What exercises are good for vertebral subluxation?

Any exercise that stretches the spine can help to re-align the vertebrae and reduce symptoms of subluxation. The standard yoga “cat-cow” pose has the person kneeling on hands and knees on a mat and curving the spine, first downward in the “cow” position, and then, upward in the “cat” position. This pose stretches the individual vertebrae and allows spinal structures to fall back into their natural position, helping to relieve stress on bones tendons and ligaments of the spine. A forward bend, holding the pose for several seconds at a time, can also help to stretch out vertebrae and spinal discs, allowing increased blood flow and nutrients to the spinal column.

Vertebral subluxation symptoms

Symptoms of a subluxation may present as pain in the affected area, a feeling of instability in the vertebrae, problems with stiffness or poor flexibility, and nerve compression that causes numbness or tingling.

Vertebral subluxation causes

Vertebral subluxations are caused by a number of different factors. In some people, genetic weaknesses in the spinal structures can make them prone to misalignments that affect function. Individual who have been in car accidents, may develop a subluxation from the impact. A fall can cause subluxation of the vertebrae. Poor posture, over the years, can lead to subluxation. Repetitive movements performed during work or during sports can cause subluxation. Constant stress and resulting muscle tension can produce a subluxation. Some medical problems that affect the joints and bones can lead to subluxation of the spinal vertebrae.

Is spinal subluxation real?

Yes, spinal subluxation is very real. Because subluxation is a misalignment of the spinal vertebrae, the problem often causes discomfort and various levels of impaired mobility. These misalignments of the vertebrae can be detected on x-ray imaging. Fortunately, treatment is available to help relieve symptoms and restore normal function.

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