Chiropractic holds, as its major premise, that good health depends on a normally functioning nervous system. No discussion of chiropractic can proceed without a discussion of the term “sublaxation”, a central theme in chiropractic practice
The term “subluxation” is widely used in Chiropractic terminology. It is a historical term which was described by the founder of Chiropractic, D.D. Palmer in his early writings. His definition was founded in the Latin roots of the word, which means less than (sub) enough light (lux). In those early writings and subsequent books, his references to subluxation were centered around the concept of “tone” in the nervous system. In his model, too much or too little tone in the nervous system represented a deviation from the optimal state of health. Malfunction or malposition of vertebra was seen as a cause of subluxation.
In classical medical terminology, the term subluxation means “a partial dislocation of a joint”. With the early emphasis (within Chiropractic circles) on the position of the vertebrae with respect to their neighbours, much confusion has arisen by the use of the term.
Interference to the nervous system can occur in a number of ways:
Chemical/toxic – drugs, vehicle exhaust, pesticides, etc.
Disease processes such as M.S., A.L.S., diabetes, etc.
Trauma – motor-vehicle accidents, falls, etc.
Spinal malfunction – V.S.C. – vertebral subluxation is the most common, yet insidious form of nerve system interference.
Our current understanding of the phenomenon of subluxation has actually expanded the conceptual model of D.D. Palmer. In its broadest sense, subluxation is seen as a departure from normal nervous system function. Subluxation may be described as a local malfunction of the vertebral motion units or cranial sutures (joints) which creates either local nerve system irritation (facilitation) or more general effects such as autonomic nerve system over- or under stimulation. A good analogy is static on a telephone line wherein the line is still intact, but the messages are not clear.
In fact, subluxation is now thought, in many instances, to be the effect, rather than the cause, of nerve system malfunction. Long-term stress disorders play a major role in the development of subluxations. Of course, trauma involving the spine and related tissues (including childbirth) can certainly result in the development of subluxation patterns.
One of the primary roles of the Chiropractor is to identify and adjust subluxations. Uncorrected spinal malfunction leads to predictable degenerative changes in the neuromusculoskeletal system. History and examination procedures, including state of the art computerized assessment equipment are used in our office to better understand the pattern of subluxation exhibited our patient.