Subluxation and spinal misalignments are terms used in chiropractic that indicate the changed or wrong position of one or more vertebrae in the spinal cord. Subluxations create pressure on spinal vessels, nerves, and surrounding structures, causing problems for normal bodily functions and often initiating a painful response. If left untreated, subluxations can worsen into more complex issues that affect the quality of a person’s life. 

Regular visits to a chiropractor’s clinic are helpful in managing the effects and problems caused by subluxation. 

Signs and symptoms of spinal misalignment or subluxation 

The spine is made up of vertebrae that extend from the base of the skull to the pelvis. If any one of the vertebrae is out of alignment, it can present in the following ways: 

  • Chronic headaches 
  • Neck pain 
  • Tingling or numbness in the hands or feet due to nerve compression 
  • Knee pain 
  • Lower back pain
  • Stiffness
  • Fatigue
  • Walking abnormalities 

Having a spinal misalignment can affect your general well-being and can be a cause of a lot of pain and discomfort in your life. 

Causes of subluxation 

Injuries, accidents and genetic spinal weakness are commonly associated with spinal misalignment. Other causes might involve poor posture, poor sleeping habits, a sedentary lifestyle, or obesity. 

How can exercise cause subluxation and misalignment? 

Subluxation can occur for several reasons. It sometimes happens as a direct result of strenuous exercise or repetitious physical activity. While exercise is beneficial and helps promote health, it can also place a lot of stress on our back joints if we are not careful. Lifting heavy weights at the gym, even when done properly, stresses back muscles, leading to subluxations or misalignment of the spine, often leading to problems in other parts of your body. Other exercises like squats if not done properly can shift all the stress to the back muscles causing strain and injury to the spinal cord. The same with jerky movements and sudden forceful movements. 

To maintain a healthy lifestyle as well as a healthy spine, you need to be careful about your gym routine, or see a chiropractor regularly to re-align your spine, so that the chances of cumulative, long term damage to your spine are minimised. 

Subluxation due to sedentary lifestyle 

On the other end of the spectrum, if you have a sedentary lifestyle, you can also seriously harm your back in several ways. When we sit in one position for too long, particular if we hunch or have bad sitting posture, our spine can become misaligned. It starts in a very subtle manner and progressively grows until a small deformity compromises nerve integrity and becomes painful, affecting your quality of life.  

Proper lumbar support while seated, proper positioning of your feet, arms and neck help minimise subluxations, but it takes a lot of continual, conscious effort to maintain these practices until they become habitual. That’s why Chiropractors play an important role in managing the underlying causes of the pain and discomfort you might be experiencing in being sedentary by making adjustments to your spine.  

Chiropractic is a very hands-on approach to correct spine and nervous system issues. Chiropractors are highly-skilled professionals who have a holistic understanding and and targeted approach to each patient’s wellness. They perform various techniques of controlled manipulation and articulation to correct misalignments. The primary goal of these therapies is to restore function to the spine and nervous system, thus eliminating key sources of pain. The secondary goal of chiropractic is to impart wellness through intervention, so that a person may be able to avoid the surgery or medication that may result from a worsening of the condition causing them pain.  

What techniques can be used to re-align the spine? 

There are several methods a Chiropractor may use to manage subluxations. These are the most common methods used alone or in combination with others to bring about the most beneficial results.  

Chiropractic adjustments are painless, even if they appear otherwise. As pressure on a joint or nerve is lifted, a person might feel an immediate sense of relief. 

  • Hands-on or Gonstead technique: 

This is the most commonly-employed technique, where the Chiropractor uses short thrusts at specific points to bring vertebrae back to their rightful position.  This treatment is efficient to realign the lower back, ensure better mobility and get rid of pain and stiffness. 

  • Activator technique: 

This technique uses a machine to deliver gentle pressure to the spine or anywhere the patient is experiencing pain. This is a good option for people who are afraid to go through full-on spinal manipulation. 

If you are experiencing any issues from too much or too little exercise, allow one of our Chiropractors to  help you maintain the lifestyle you desire.  


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  1. Hinkeldey N, et al. Spinal manipulation and select manual therapies: Current perspectives. Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics of North America. 2020; doi:10.1016/j.pmr.2020.07.007. 

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