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Chiropractic Care for Vertebral Subluxation

Published Date: 
September 22, 2023
Mature woman sitting on the edge of bed with back pain caused by subluxation.

Chiropractic care is one of the best treatments for vertebral subluxation. It’s safe, all-natural, and effective. It can also help you prevent future subluxation problems and enhance overall health and well-being.

If you’re experiencing subluxation or believe you’re at risk of developing misalignment in your spine, chiropractic care can help. Here’s what you should know about this common spinal health problem.

What Is Vertebral Subluxation?

A vertebral subluxation is a disorder of the spine. It causes problems with the alignment and physiological function of the spine. When someone is experiencing spinal subluxation, their spine moves from its normal position, leading to excess pressure and nerve inflammation. Subluxations are like a partial dislocation. There’s still some contact within the spine, but it’s misaligned, which can be painful in some cases and, untreated, can cause degeneration in the surrounding areas. 

There are three different types of spinal subluxation, including: 

  • Anterior Subluxation (forward): Most common, localized, and ligamentous, without bone involvement.
  • Posterior Subluxation (backward): The rarest, it usually develops due to trauma.
  • Inferior (downward): Also rare, it usually entails the joint being displaced downward. 
  • Spinal subluxations involve five components. These components include:
  • Osseous: Vertebrae are slightly out of position, not moving correctly, or degenerating.
  • Nerve: The nerve is malfunctioning, usually due to improper spinal function blocking, pulling, or irritating nerve tissue, which can cause symptoms throughout the body.
  • Muscle: Muscles become tight, weakened, spasm, or atrophy, which changes the muscle tone.
  • Soft tissue: Misaligned vertebrae and pressure on the spinal nerve change the surrounding soft tissue, causing changes in tendons, blood supply, and ligaments.
  • Chemical: When the four other components occur in the body, it triggers some chemical change, varying from slight to severe depending on which area of the body is affected.


Several things can cause a subluxation, including: 

  • Poor posture
  • Car accidents
  • Frequent sitting
  • Improper lifting
  • Alcohol and drug use
  • Chemical imbalances
  • Emotional stress
Man sits at a desk hunched over his laptop.

Subluxation can affect anyone of any age at any time. Although it isn’t entirely necessary, it can help your chiropractor (and you!) determine the subluxation's root cause. 

In general, the cause of subluxation falls into one of three categories: 


Trauma is the most common cause of subluxations. It can include car accidents and slip-and-fall accidents. But the cause of trauma-related subluxations isn’t always so severe. Sleeping in a bad position, bad posture, and poor ergonomics can all lead to subluxation. The cause can also be a positive event, such as childbirth.


Our bodies are filled with chemicals. When these chemicals are in balance, we’re healthy and balanced. When they are out of balance, it causes various issues within the body. For example, a chemical imbalance can lead to muscle contraction and changes to the muscle fiber lengths, both of which can cause subluxation. Typically, chemicals become imbalanced because of exposure due to what we eat and drink and other environmental factors.


It surprises many people to learn that their emotions significantly impact their physical bodies, but it’s true. When you experience stress and other emotional distress, it can cause an imbalance in your body. It’s probably less surprising to consider the back tension and neck tightness that often accompanies stress. 

Occasional stress usually isn’t too much of a problem, but ongoing stress can cause tight muscles to pull your vertebrae out of alignment. It also causes chemicals like cortisol to be released into your body, exacerbating the problem because there are now two contributing factors. 

Symptoms of Subluxation

Symptoms of subluxation include:

  • Tingling or numbness in the extremities
  • Joint stiffness
  • Frequent tension headaches
  • Limited range of motion
  • Back or neck pain

When to Consider Chiropractic Therapies

The sooner you seek treatment for subluxation, the better. Over time, subluxations tend to evolve and worsen. Early treatment ensures that joints stay in the proper position. 

Chiropractic care is one of the best options for treating subluxation. Chiropractic treatments keep the body aligned, which corrects subluxations and prevents them from worsening. Ongoing chiropractic maintenance can also reduce your risk of developing subluxation. 

The better aligned your body, the easier it is to bounce back from trauma, whether or not you have an existing problem with subluxations. 

If you’ve experienced or are experiencing any of the contributing factors that lead to the development of subluxation – trauma, exposure to toxins, or emotional stress – it’s a good idea to schedule a visit to the chiropractor.

Chiropractic Methods for Treating Subluxation

The most common chiropractic treatment for subluxation is chiropractic adjustment. Following a physical exam to locate and assess the subluxation, the chiropractor will use their hands and instruments to realign the vertebrae in the spine.

They’ll also suggest and demonstrate at-home treatments you can do to manage the problem further. These include: 

Remember, these at-home treatments are helpful but do not correct the subluxation. They are done to enhance healing and promote overall well-being after the correction. 

Chiropractor adjusts the lower spine of a male patient.

Benefits of Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic adjustment is all-natural, safe, and effective. In addition to helping with subluxation, chiropractic benefits also include:

  • Improved joint function and mobility
  • Improved circulation
  • Blood pressure reduction
  • Removal of waste from muscles
  • Better healing
  • Improved nerve function
  • Stress reduction
  • Depression treatment
  • Improved sense of well-being
  • Better sleep
  • Improved flexibility
  • More energy
  • Reduced risk of injury
  • Less reliance on pharmaceutical medications
  • Improved digestion
  • Better quality of life

These are just a few of the benefits of chiropractic adjustments. If you have a specific health issue or you’re just looking to improve your overall quality of life and reduce your risk of health problems, chiropractic care can help.

Dr. Darren Faherty D.C.

In 2004, Dr. Darren Faherty graduated with a Bachelors of Science degree in Biology from UWEC - University of Wisconsin Eau Claire. Dr. Darren continued education at the highly esteemed University of Western States (formerly Western States Chiropractic College) where he obtained his chiropractic degree in 2007. He has been helping people recover from injuries and return to their normal lifestyles ever since.

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