What Is Anterior Subluxation?

What Is Anterior Subluxation?

Anterior subluxation is a sprain or misalignment of the vertebrae in a forward direction. This type of misalignment often occurs in the cervical area of the spine, that is, the upper 7 vertebrae of the spinal column as a result of auto accidents or other impact. However, other causes can also cause this type of problem. Subluxation of this area of the spine can lead to a number of uncomfortable symptoms that may require treatment to avoid impairment of normal function for everyday activities.

When an anterior subluxaton occurs, it can result in pain, poor range of motion, muscle stiffness surrounding the damaged area, headaches and numbness or tingling in the arms or legs. A number of different non-surgical methods can be used to treat anterior subluxation of the spine. The types of treatment and length of treatment generally depends on the severity of the misalignment.

Table of Contents

What is Anterior Subluxation in the Cervical Spine?

The vertebrae of the spine are stacked together with facet joints and disc that help to cushion the bones during movement. These bones can become misaligned, called a subluxation, in various ways from accident, disease or normal wear and tear. The cervical spine is considered the first 7 bones of the spinal column. Different types of misalignment can occur. And anterior subluxation is when one of the vertebrae is pushed forward out of alignment with the others.

What Causes Anterior Subluxation?

Anterior subluxations can generally be traced to a number of common causes that occur in everyday life. An injury to the vertebrae can result from a single incident or repeated incidents that lead to cumulative damage to the normal alignment of the spine.

Trauma or injury

An anterior subluxation often follows an impact, such as an auto crash or a fall. The spine may receive a jolt that causes vertebrae to move out of their natural positions. Impact during athletic activities can also cause an anterior subluxation to occur.

Overuse or repetitive strain

Anterior subluxations can result from overuse, when the individual puts excessive strain on their spinal structures during lifting or carrying tasks. The problem can also occur when the person engages in repetitive activities that strain the same vertebrae over and over while doing tasks.

Muscle imbalances

Poor conditioning of muscles can lead to imbalances that cause pressure on spinal vertebrae This excessive strain can lead to subluxation when one vertebrae goes out of its normal position, leading to stains on adjacent bones.

Joint degeneration

Aging can cause deterioration of the joints from normal wear and tear. Osteoarthritis, also associated with the aging process, can cause inflammation of joints and bones, which can lead to subluxations of the spinal column. Rheumatoid arthritis is a disease of the autoimmune system that can also cause degenerative problems in the bones and joints.

Congenital structural issues

Some individuals may weaknesses in the spinal structure that result from genetic factors. These problems can become apparent after strains of the back occur after normal activities.


Pregnancy can cause a number of spinal problems, due to the additional weight of the growing fetus and the hormones that are produced that help to relax muscles and joints to prepare for birth.

High heel shoes

Wearing high heel shoes on a daily basis can contribute to anterior subluxation by causing the spine to curve in an unnatural position, putting excessive pressure on the vertebrae. As a result, vertebrae can gradually move into a forward position, causing anterior subluxation.

Sleeping positions

Sleep habits can contribute to the onset of anterior subluxation problems. If your mattress does not offer good support for the spine, you may spend long hours of the night in awkward positions that compress the vertebrae. This can lead to a subluxation, over time.

Chiropractic Care for Anterior Subluxation

Chiropractic care is a non-invasive, drug-free method of correcting subluxations of the spine. The method uses a variety of specialized techniques designed to evaluate and realign spinal structures for optimum mobility.

The Role of Chiropractic Care in Treating Anterior Subluxation

Chiropractic care is an alternative medicine practice that offers individuals who don’t want invasive surgery, long recovery periods or continued use of hazardous medications. The practice offers a variety of techniques to reduce pain and improve physical function.

Techniques Used in Chiropractic Care for Anterior Subluxation

Chiropractic uses a number of different techniques to correct subluxation. The mainstay of treatment is manual adjustment of the vertebrae. This may be done using the hands, specialized instruments or the use of specially designed tables that provide traction and movement to re-adjust the position of the affected vertebrae. Other manual techniques may be used to help heal soft tissues that have been affected by misaligned vertebrae.

Surgical Options for Anterior Subluxation

For severe subluxations in the anterior position, surgery may be necessary to re-position the vertebrae to relieve pain and nerve compression problems.

Non-surgical Treatments for Anterior Subluxation

An anterior subluxation of the spine can be treated with a number of non-surgical methods that can be effective in relieving discomfort and improving movement. These methods are often used together to provide maximum effects.

Chiropractic adjustments – Spinal manipulation can help move vertebrae back into alignment and restore mobility. Adjustment techniques like diversified, Thompson, and Gonstead may be used.

Chiropractors do manual adjustment to physically move the bones of the spinal column into their normal position. This technique is helpful in relieving pressure on muscles, tendons, ligaments and nerves for better comfort. Diversified technique uses low amplitude impact to move vertebrae back into position. The Thompson technique uses a drop table, which applies high impact, low amplitude force to adjust spinal bones. The Gonstead technique focuses on careful evaluation and analysis of the lower portion of the spine and how it affects alignment of the vertebrae throughout the spinal column, using alignment techniques where they are most needed.

Traction – Gentle mechanical traction devices or manual traction applied by a chiropractor or physical therapist can help relax muscles and take pressure off the spine.

Traction is a method of using weights to correct spinal misalignments. It is a type of decompression that gentle pulls apart the separate vertebrae to allow structures to fall naturally into position.

Posture training – Learning proper posture and ergonomics through programs like Foundation Training and the Alexander Technique helps prevent unwanted spinal forces.

Your posture has a significant effect on spinal function. Holding the body in awkward, uncomfortable positions for long periods of time can lead to damage to the vertebrae of the spine, as well as to the spinal discs that acts as cushions between the bones.

Targeted stretching and exercises – Stretching tight chest and hip flexors while strengthening back extensors and posture muscles helps rebalance the spine

An anterior subluxation can be improved by using specific kinds of stretching and targeted exercise that helps to realign spinal structures to correct the misalignment of vertebrae.

Massage therapy – Soft tissue release techniques applied by massage therapists help loosen tense muscles contributing to subluxation

Individuals who are under constant stress may experience muscle tension that leads to subluxation of vertebrae in the spine. Massage can offer significant relieve from muscle tension, allowing spinal vertebrae to fall back into their normal positions for reduced pain and better function. A technique called soft tissue release breaks down adhesions and scar tissue to provide improved healing and mobility to damaged muscles, tendons and ligaments.

Orthotics or spacers – Shoe inserts or small height enhancers can improve spine alignment by lifting front portion of feet

Orthotics are devices that are put into shoes to change the biomechanics of the foot to prevent pain to correct problems with pain and pressure that may occur. These devices can help to shift weight to the front of the feet to compensate for misalignment of the spine caused by an anterior subluxation, relieving pressure and improving comfort.

Lifestyle modification – Improving ergonomics for daily activities, ensuring supportive mattresses, and quitting smoking helps minimize degeneration.

If you smoke, talk to your doctor about cessation medications or support groups to help quit. Check your work area to ensure good ergonomics that avoid strain to your neck and back. Make sure your chair offers lumbar support. Position your computer monitor to put the least strain on neck muscles. Ensure your mattress offers good support during the night and use pillows to support the neck and abdomen during sleep.

Pain medication

Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen and naproxen are non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory medications that are often recommended for musculoskeletal pain and stiffness. These drugs can effectively manage discomfort from anterior subluxations.

Preventing Anterior Subluxation

Good spinal health habits can help individuals avoid anterior subluxations of the spine that lead to pain and poor function. Taking the time to check posture, manage ergonomics in your environment and regular exercise can help to avoid many spinal issues.

Lifestyle Changes to Prevent Anterior Subluxation

Maintaining a healthy weight can help to avoid subluxations and other spinal problems. Actively maintaining good posture is another way to can prevent spinal subluxations. Check your posture when sitting or standing for long periods to see if your spine is in good alignment. Make an effort to ensure your head is properly supported on the spinal column when watching TV or working at the computer.

Exercises and Physical Therapy for Preventing Anterior Subluxation

Regular exercise focusing on routines that work the back muscles and core muscles goes a long way to support spinal structures. Yoga positions like the “bridge” position that strengthens the lower back help strengthen the lumbar region. “Cat-cow” position improves spinal flexibility and strengthens core muscles.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the meaning of subluxation?

The word “subluxation” means a misalignment or partial dislocation of a joint. It is generally used to mean the bones are not in proper contact with each other, due to injury or disease.

How do you fix a subluxation of the spine?

Correcting a subluxation of the spine involve re-positioning the bones and ensuring that the cushioning discs are in their natural position to act as shock absorbers for the bones during movement. A number of different types of techniques may be used depending on the severity of the problem.

What is a subluxation of the spine?

Subluxation is a misalignment of the vertebrae. The term refers to spinal bones that are pushed out of their natural position by a variety of factors.

Is cervical subluxation serious?

A cervical subluxation may be minor or severe, depending on the extent of the misalignment of the bones. A minor subluxation may cause few or no symptoms. More severe subluxations can lead to chronic pain and poor mobility in the upper spine and neck.

Is subluxation good or bad?

Subluxation is a misalignment of the vertebrae of the spine, which can usually cause problems over time. You may not have symptoms immediately after an injury to the vertebrae, but the poor alignment can continue to cause stress on related muscles, tendons, ligaments and nerves that can worsen over time.

What is the best treatment for subluxation?

The best treatment for a subluxation is first to try to determine the cause of the problem. This may be a habit of poor posture, repetitive motion, overuse or degenerative disease that is contributing to misalignment of the bones. Cold and heat therapy is often used to relieve discomfort and reduce inflammation of tissues. Manual adjustment by a chiropractor realigns spinal structures into their normal position. Corrective exercise is important for strengthening muscles, tendons and ligaments that support the spinal column. Soft tissue techniques help to reduce pain and improve healing.

Can subluxation be cured?

With appropriate treatment, subluxations can be corrected so that symptoms are relieved. However, regular spinal checkups are recommended to avoid recurrence of the subluxation.

What causes anterior subluxation?

Anterior subluxations can be caused by accidents, impacts during sports, postural problems and degenerative conditions of aging. Some diseases can also lead to deterioration of the bones and subluxations.

Anterior subluxation treatment?

Treatment of anterior subluxation may include manual adjustment from a chiropractor, heat and cold therapy, bracing, traction, massage, corrective exercise and medications to relieve discomfort. For severe subluxations, surgery may be necessary.

What is anterior subluxation lumbar spine?

The lumber spine consists of the last 5 vertebrae of the spinal column. An anterior subluxation is one in which a vertebra is shifted forward in position, leading to pressure on nerves and other structures connected to the spine. Subluxations in the lumbar area lead to low back pain and nerve compression that can affect the legs.

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