In chiropractic terminology, subluxation – sometimes also termed vertebral subluxation – simply refers to a condition that points to any number of complaints that are thought to be traced back to a vertebra that is not properly aligned with the rest of the spine.
After all, the spine itself is just vertebrae that are loosely connected so we can bend, twist, and move. In the course of any such movements, it is entirely possible to knock a vertebra out of alignment.
In some cases, this misalignment may be severe and result in excruciating pain, while in other cases the alignment may just be very slightly affected, and pain may be only experienced when the misaligned vertebra is moved in a certain direction.
In extreme cases, the sudden change of position of a vertebra may cause nerves to be trapped within the confines of the moving portions of the vertebra, thus pinching them or otherwise inhibiting the information that is passed along these sensitive strands.
This may lead to a host of ailments, none of which can be directly traced back to the misaligned vertebra.
While the field of chiropractics undoubtedly borrowed this term from the orthopedic field of medicine, it is important to point out that it does not refer to the same kind of conditions as would be diagnosed and treated at an orthopedic office.
As a matter of fact, while established medicine has viewed chiropractic with distrust and at times sneered at its claims, the idea of shared terminology is definitely not sitting well with many physicians.
So it’s not surprising at all when physicians against the use of medical terminology in a way that is not entirely sanctioned by the American Medical Associations.
Granted, there is room for error, but considering the fact that when chiropractors speak of subluxation, it is a foregone conclusion that they are referring to the misalignment of the spine and any symptoms that may present, it is rare that any errors occur because of interdisciplinary terminology.
Even within the field of chiropractic, there is not a clear-cut definition of the term or even adherence to the terminology.
Some practitioners tend to side with the medical community and seek to circumvent the use of the term subluxation altogether, while others use it within the framework that defines it from its earliest days.
Yet no matter which side of the issue you might land on, the truth of the matter simply states that any kind of vertebral subluxation is a trigger for a host of ailments, problems, and complaints which might be harnessed with the proper intervention – which is, after all, what chiropractic is all about.
In conjunction with medical imaging, a chiropractor will be able to determine the site subluxation, the extent of it, and to some degree also the related problems arising from the misaligned vertebrae.
In the same way, she or he will also be able to determine if a mode of treatment is successful or not.