The best way to avoid vertebral subluxation, which can cause pain and impaired mobility, is to maintain good posture when sitting or standing, use proper lifting technique and avoid repetitive motions that put excessive strain on spinal structures. Once a subluxation has occurred, a number of treatment options are available to restore the individual’s comfort and normal flexibility.
A vertebral subluxation can cause uncomfortable symptoms of pain, stiffness, poor flexibility and limited range of motion that can affect the ability to perform normal tasks. Strengthening the back muscles, as well as the muscles of the core of the body, can help to avoid problems of vertebral subluxation.
What is Vertebral Subluxation of the Spine?
The spinal column is composed of a series of small bones that are connected together with discs that act as shock absorbers during movement. Sometimes, these vertebrae are damaged by accident or disease, which can cause a partial dislocation that can lead to discomfort and problems with normal spinal mobility. This misalignment of the vertebrae can cause back pain, nerve compression and other symptoms that affect movement in daily life. .
Muscle Tension and Spasms
Vertebral subluxation causes the body to move in a dysfunctional manner. As a result, the individual experiences increased muscle tension and spasms of the muscles, as they try to contract and release in response to the unnatural positioning.
Joint Stiffness and Restricted Motion
As a result of the dysfunction in movement caused by a subluxation in the spine, an individual may experience joint stiffness and poor mobility as muscles, tendons and ligaments try to compensate for the changes in movement.
Nerve Compression and Radiating Pain
The displacement of a vertebra can lead to pressure on nerve roots that connect to the spinal column, which can result in nerve compression and radiating pain the extremities. Numbness, tingling and weakness are common problems.
Impacts to the spine, such as those that occur during auto accidents or athletic activities, are among the major causes of vertebral subluxations. Falls that cause injury to the back are also a common cause of subluxation.
The stress on the spine caused by poor posture can lead to painful subluxations of the vertebrae, over time, as the structures become more compressed and movement becomes more dysfunctional.
Emotional stress can often cause chronic muscle tension that can have a detrimental effect on spinal health and can lead to subluxations. Being under stress for long periods of time produce detrimental chemicals in the body that can affect spinal health.
Posture Exercises That Promote Great Spinal Health
The plank exercise is really a whole body exercise that uses back and core muscles, as well as other muscles throughout the body. You lie face down on a mat, with palms down under the shoulders and toes bent for leverage against the floor. Lift the core of the body, holding it as straight as possible, for a count of 10. Repeat 5 times. You can also modify the plank with your elbows on the floor, lifting the rest of the body and using the forearms as the leverage point.
In the bridge position, the person lies face up on a mat, with legs bent and feet flat on the floor. Arms are extended downward at the sides. You then lift your pelvis off the floor, keeping the weight on the feet and the shoulders. Hold for a count of 10. Then, lower the pelvis down to the floor. Repeat the exercise 5 times.
In the cat-cow stretch, the individual gets down on hands and knee on the mat. You then stretch your spine by curving it upward, much like a cat stretching. Curve your head and pelvis downward. Hold for a count of 5. Then, reverse the stretch by curving your abdomen downward, lifting your head and pelvis upward toward the ceiling. Hold for a count of 5 and then, release. Repeat 10 times.
Thoracic Extension Exercise
One thoracic extension exercise uses a foam roller that you roll along your back as you lie face up on a mat. Place the roller behind the back and lift your upper body and roll backward, lifting the arms above your head as you move backward. Then, release and move your body back upward. Repeat several times. Another exercise has you facing a wall, placing your hands on the wall as you bend to a 90-degree angle. Then, keep bending downward until you feel the extension in your upper and middle back. Hold for a count of 5. Then, release the extension. \ Repeat 10 times.
The wall angel exercise has you stand facing away from a wall, with your feet about six inches from the wall. Your head, shoulders waist and buttocks should be touching the wall. Reach your arms up, resting them on the wall, making a “V” shape. Slowly slide your arms downward along the wall, to the level of your shoulders, making a “W” shape and keeping your arms and other parts in contact at the wall at all times. Repeat 5 to 10 times.
One of the most important measures you can take when you have a subluxation that is causing uncomfortable symptoms is to make the ergonomic changes that will prevent further damage to structures that cause increasing pain and pressure on nerves. Wearing protective bracing during athletic activities can help to minimize impacts to the spine. Breaking up periods of repetitive motion helps to reduce injury to spinal structures.
Regular Exercise Routine
Your regular exercise routine should include movements that stretch the spine and strengthen core muscles that help to support the spinal column. At the gym, add workouts on machines that utilize these muscles. Always include stretching to improve spinal function and to strengthen supporting muscles.
Stress Management Techniques
Stress can have a negative effect on spinal function and body chemistry. Managing your stress can help to prevent spinal and nerve dysfunction, as well as immune system function and overall health.
Periodic Chiropractic Check-ups
Periodic checkups from your chiropractor can help to identify problems that can be managed before they become more painful conditions.
When You Should Seek Professional Help
Persistent Pain or Discomfort
If pain continues or intensifies, you should seek medical treatment immediately.
Limited Range of Motion
When a subluxation is severe enough to limit your range of motion, you should seek treatment from a healthcare professional.
Numbness or Tingling
Numbness or tingling in the extremities indicates that a nerve root is being compressed by a vertebral subluxation. This condition requires treatment to prevent further discomfort, weakness and poor balance.
Frequently Asked Questions
What causes a vertebral subluxation
Vertebral subluxations have a number of different causes. In some cases, genetic structural vulnerabilities can make a subluxation more likely. Auto accidents are a common cause of subluxations, along with athletic activities that involve player-to-player impacts. Degenerative conditions related to aging can make an individual vulnerable to a subluxation of the vertebrae. Lack of exercise can also make a person’s body more susceptible to subluxation and damage from activities.
How can I improve my subluxation
Rest is one of the essential measures you should take when dealing with a subluxation. Application of ice packs helps to reduce inflammation of tissues. After icing the area, you can then apply hot packs, being careful not to burn the skin. For pain, you can get effective relief by using over-the-counter pain relievers. As you improve, you can begin to do gentle exercises to increase flexibility and range of motion. A chiropractor can provide additional treatment for pain and nerve problems with subluxation, using non-invasive, drug-free techniques.
Where do you stabilize to prevent subluxations
To prevent subluxations, the best strategy is to strengthen muscles, tendons and ligaments that support the spinal column and to keep core muscles of the abdomen and sides conditioned to provide additional support for body movement.
What exercises are good for vertebral subluxation
Crunches, curls and spinal extension exercises can all be helpful for vertebral subluxations because they improve the strength of the core and increase blood flow and oxygen to the structures in and around the spinal column.
Can vertebral subluxation be cured
A minor vertebral subluxation can often resolve on its own, if proper rest and prevention of re-injury is done. More severe subluxations often require chiropractic treatment, manual adjustment of the spine and non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory pain relievers to reduce symptoms.
How do you treat a subluxation at home
At-home care for vertebral subluxation includes rest, icing of the area, over-the-counter pain medications and exercise to strengthen supporting muscles.
How do you get rid of a subluxation
You should ensure you give your back sufficient time to rest to heal soft tissues and to avoid re-injury. Once initial symptoms improve, you can carefully begin gentle exercises to regain strength in muscles and to improve flexibility of the spine and restore full range of motion for daily activities.
How do you fix a spinal subluxation
If you experience discomfort or nerve compression from the subluxation, you may require specialized spinal techniques, such as manual adjustment, decompression therapy or soft tissue manipulation to improve symptoms.
What is the most common cause of subluxation
The most common cause of subluxation is injury to the back and spine, such as from an auto accident or from sports activities.
Is vertebral subluxation serious
Most subluxations are not serious and respond to standard treatment measures. However, a severe misalignment of the spine can occur which can damage the spinal cord and lead to loss of bowel or bladder control or paralysis.
How do you treat a spinal subluxation
When subluxations fail to improve with conservative measures such as rest, icing and pain relievers, you should consult with a chiropractor that can utilize a number of techniques to resolve the problem.
What are the symptoms of a vertebral subluxation
A vertebral subluxation often causes pain in the back or the neck. Some people experience-shooting pains that originate in the back and are referred to other areas. The person may have difficulty with bending or twisting of the torso. Some individuals experience nerve compression that leads to tingling and numbness in the extremities, or weakness in the extremities. Dizziness and balance problems can occur. Frequent headaches are common.
What stresses cause subluxation
Repetitive motions can produce vertebral subluxations. Trauma from impacts can also lead to painful subluxations. If you smoke or drink alcohol excessively, you are putting stress on your bones, joints and spinal column. Poor diet can affect spinal function. Natural aging can lead to weakness of the spinal structures and subluxation.
How do I strengthen my shoulders to prevent subluxation
Arm circles are a good way to strengthen your shoulders to prevent subluxation of the vertebrae. Extend your arms out from the sides and begin to make large circles. Then, reduce the curve of the motion and make medium circles. Finally, make small circles with your arms.
How do you test for subluxation
Health professionals generally use x-rays, MRI and CT scan imaging to determine whether a subluxation of the vertebrae is present.
What is the immediate treatment for subluxation
The immediate treatment for a subluxation is to rest the affected area completely and apply cold and heat packs to reduce inflammation and improve healing.
Can physical therapy fix subluxation
Yes, physical therapy can help to reduce symptoms of vertebral subluxation. A physical therapist can design a care plan that focuses on the muscles, tendons and ligaments of the back, as well as the core muscles of the mid-section, to provide increased support for the spinal vertebrae.