“A SUBLUXATION IN the Chiropractic sense is not a partial dislocation, but an alteration of the normal anatomical or physiological relationships, or dynamics of contiguous structures. Biochemical, biomechanical, pathophysiological, radiological, subjective and objective symptoms, and other manifestations demand attention, investigation and consideration in depth by every Chiropractor.” A.E. Homewood

What causes vertebral subluxation?

In an effort to keep the information overload to a minimum, we can simplify the specific cause of vertebral subluxation by understanding that the universe and the world we live in are governed by laws and principles. Life is governed by principles and laws that allow us to better understand the way in which things work or expected outcomes. 

For example, the law of motion states uniform motion will remain in that state of motion unless an external force acts on it. The law of gravity states that there is force of attraction that exists between any two masses, any two bodies, any two particles. The law of cause and effect is every effect has an expected cause. Every cause has an expected effect. Another law is the law of supply and demand which states that the greater the supply, the lower the demand; the lower the supply, the greater the demand. 

The causes of vertebral subluxation can be understood in general through the law of supply and demand and the law of cause and effect. 

Stress is everywhere and is constantly affecting our ability to function in a normal state, creating an imbalance in the law of supply and demand within. For example, during the middle of summer when the temperature increases and the sun and humidity takes a toll on the skin, hydration and even energy levels; the weather can be looked at as a stressor to our body’s ability to function within a state of condition that is normal. Too much sun and the skin can become affected. Too much heat and the trillions of cells can lose water and dehydration can set in. This is just one example of how universal forces are everywhere and when they come in greater amounts than we can adapt to, the law of supply and demand can create new physiological states of conditions and vertebral subluxation is one of those states. 

So what causes vertebral subluxation? When stress outweighs the body’s ability to adapt to it; vertebral subluxation can develop.

R.W. Stephenson defined Chiropractic in his 1927 Chiropractic Textbook: “Chiropractic is a philosophy, science and art of things natural; a system of adjusting the segments of the spinal column by hand only, for the correction of the cause of dis-ease.” The study of things natural is the author’s attempt to label the relationship our body has with the environment and how the relationship can be affected by stress and result in the necessity of adjusting the segments of the spinal column. 

Chiropractors have categorized the environment of stress that can negatively affect the body into three labels; physical stress, emotional stress and chemical stress. If adaptation to one or more of these three stressors are insufficient, a perfect physiological environment for vertebral subluxation to develop occurs. In other words, when stress outweighs the body’s ability to adapt to it or handle it in a manner of control, then the cells and tissues within the body can become dysfunctional. Stress vs. Adaptation. This process of stress outweighing adaptation creates a tipping point in favor of demand and alters the inner recuperative power to supply normal function.  

Physical stress can be defined as external invasive forces that outweigh the internal resistive forces of the body to be in a state of balance. These external invasive forces can be major accidents or trauma, or they can be small repetitive forces that build up over time and the repetition can be too intense for the body to adapt to. These external invasive forces can cause dysfunction on the body’s muscles, ligaments and vertebrae of the spine creating an opportunity for vertebral subluxation to occur. 

Chemical stress can be defined as external or internal chemicals that trigger physical reactions throughout the body, offsetting the chemical equilibrium or body chemistry balance. Chemicals within our body can be powerful agents of physiological change. For example, hormones like adrenaline, cortisol and melatonin influence health, well-being and specific physiological states of function. Adrenaline affects the body’s ability to increase the heart rate, increase blood pressure, expand the air passages of the lungs, enlarge the pupil in the eye, redistribute blood to the muscles and alter the body’s metabolism to maximise blood glucose levels for the brain.  The body is dependent upon a state of body chemistry balance and when that balance is out of harmony, the neurological and musculoskeletal system can be affected, leading to another opportunity for vertebral subluxation to occur. 

Emotional stress can be defined as internal emotional tension or mental strain that can produce physical responses throughout the body offsetting the chemical equilibrium or physical state of balance. It’s been reported that emotional stress may be the most common and most influential cause of vertebral subluxation due to the fast paced world we live in. When the body’s chemical equilibrium or physical state is out of balance due to emotional tension or mental strain, it can lead to another opportunity for vertebral subluxation to occur. 

Vertebral subluxation can occur in all ages and stages of life regardless of symptoms due to physical, chemical and emotional stress. Stress is real and affects all of us. Life is demanding no matter your age or state of well-being you are in. Regular chiropractic care can be an absolutely positive option to lower the opportunity for vertebral subluxation to occur and increase your resistance towards stress and strengthen your overall function of well-being from within.