Tag Archives: vertebral subluxation

Vertebral Subluxation

What Is A Vertebral Subluxation?

What is a Vertebral Subluxation?

People often say that they have:

  • “a pinched nerve”
  • “slipped disc”
  • “thrown out their back”
  • “I don’t feel right”
  • “bone out of place”
  • “crooked back”
  • “curved spine”
  • “back spasm”
  • “lumbago”
  • “sciatica”
  • “back pain”
  • “pain in the neck”
  • “kink in the neck”
  • “kink in the back”
  • “numbness in their arm”
  • “numbness in their hand”
  • “numbness in their foot”

Subluxation is those things…and more!

Definition of vertebral subluxation

“Subluxation is a neurological imbalance or distortion in the body associated with adverse physiological responses and/or structural changes, which may become persistent and progressive. The most frequent site for the chiropractic correction of subluxation is via the vertebral column.”

-This definition comes from the Council on Chiropractic Practice 2013 Clinical Practice Guidelines. 

Will I know if I have a vertebral subluxation?

Sometimes a subluxation can hurt, but most of the time they are not painful but will slow your body’s ability to function well.  Most of the time you will not know if you are subluxated.  When someone is under regular chiropractic care, they can become more in tune with their body and are better able to recognize when their spine becomes subluxated.

Chiropractors are specifically trained to identify and correct the vertebral subluxations that occur in your spine and nerve system in order to help you live well, naturally.

By checking your spine regularly for subluxations you can enjoy a greater expression of health.

Who should be checked for vertebral subluxations?

Every person, both young and old, should have the opportunity to be checked for vertebral subluxation.

Children are constantly learning new things and frequently are in situations to subluxate their spines and nerve systems. Kids are also growing so quickly, so any barrier to a child growing and learning has a bigger impact on their future life and health.  Kids need Chiropractic Too!

Our chiropractic techniques can be used to adjust the infants all the way to centenarians!

Why do vertebral subluxations happen?

There are 24 movable vertebrae (bones) in the spine plus the skull and sacrum. These bones have to move perfectly with each other in order for us to stand up straight and move throughout the our sports, jobs, and life.

If one of the bones has some trouble with its job it can start impacting the movement (biomechanics) of the other joints in the back. This hinders function of the body mechanically, but can also interfere or irritate the nerves travelling through the spine and exiting between the spaces of the bones.

The impact that this has on a functioning body can be described as having a smart phone that is only functioning at 3 bars of connectivity to WIFI instead of the full connectivity of 5 bars. The phone is physically okay, but the information is not flowing quickly or efficiently from the internet to the smartphone.

Now imagine your body experiencing the same difficulty, what would happen to the functions of the body?

Is there research on vertebral subluxations?


Below are some excellent articles that help you better understand how a vertebral subluxation can impact your health and how removing a vertebral subluxation through a specific chiropractic adjustment can positively impact a body to function at a greater capacity.

A British Medical Journal study from 1995 found that chiropractic patients’ most dramatic improvements were associated not only with pain reduction BUT with quality of life factors such as sitting more comfortably, sleeping better, lifting, walking, standing, sex life, social life and ability to travel.  Meade, T. W. “Follow-up to Meade study.” British Medical Journal (1995).

A study of 2,818 patients under Network Spinal Analysis (chiropractic) care observed significant improvements in physical health and mental/emotional health. The chiropractic patients also reported feeling less stress in their lives and more life enjoyment. These benefits became evident as early as 1 to 3 months under chiropractic care, and showed continuing improvement as long as patients stayed under care with no indication of a maximum clinical benefit.

An Italian study of 17,142 chiropractic patients from 22 clinics found that the chiropractic patients had 55-75% less absences from work. The study concluded that: “A most meaningful indicator of the effectiveness of chiropractic is the improvement it produces in the quality of life, not only because of its curative effect but also thanks to its preventative and rehabilitative functions.”

A study of people 75 years and older revealed that those visiting chiropractors had better overall health and a higher quality of life. Chiropractic patients reported better overall health, fewer chronic conditions and fewer days spent in nursing homes and hospitals. They also reported being more mobile in their communities and were less likely to use prescription drugs than non-chiropractic patients. 87% of chiropractic patients described their health as excellent compared to only 67.8% of non-chiropractic patients.

Clinical utilization and cost outcomes from an integrative medicine independent physician association: an additional 3-year update.

Evaluation of a standardized wellness protocol to improve anthropometric and physiologic function and to reduce health risk factors: a retrospective analysis of outcome.
Psychological response in spinal manipulation (PRISM): a systematic review of psychological outcomes in randomised controlled trials.
Early predictors of lumbar spine surgery after occupational back injury: results from a prospective study of workers in Washington State.
Chiropractic use in the medicare population: prevalence, patterns, and associations with 1-year changes in health and satisfaction with care.
Objective Physiologic Changes and Associated Health Benefits of Chiropractic Adjustments in Asymptomatic Subjects: A Review of the Literature
Reorganizational healing: a paradigm for the advancement of wellness, behavior change, holistic practice, and healing.
Effect of chiropractic care on heart rate variability and pain in a multisite clinical study.

Are There Best Clinical Practice Guidelines Regarding Subluxation Chiropractic Practice?

The best practices guidelines combining the most recent clinical research to be implemented into practice is organized by the Council on Chiropractic Practice.  They produce the Clinical Practice Guidelines which can be accessed from their website mentioned just above.  The Fourth Edition from 2013 is titled: “Subluxation Chiropractic Practice”

Below is the a great paragraph regarding the practical impacts of addressing the vertebral subluxation written by Dr. Dana Kent Metzger in her research paper the experience of a patient undergoing chiropractic care improving her health to the point that she overcame infertility, polycystic ovarian syndrome, hypothyroidism, and ulcerative colitis.

“The profession of chiropractic is based upon the notion that mental impulses supply the information necessary for all the cells of our body to function, and that the interference of these mental impulses, known as a subluxation, leads cells distal to said lesion to dysfunctional action.  This term, “subluxation”, has been around for longer than the chiropractic profession itself. In the 1896 medical textbook, Henry Hollingsworth Smith described a subluxation as “An incomplete Luxation, or a Subluxation, in one in which the bone is displaced from the articulation surface still remaining in the natural cavity or upon its edge”.   In 1895 Daniel David Palmer adopted the term to describe the phenomenon that he experienced in his clinical “discovery”. DD Palmer proposed that the “subluxation of a vertebrae is a slight deviation from its normal relation to adjacent vertebrae”, and this is said to cause “an alteration and narrowing of intervertebral foramina”. This concept was later explained upon by Stephenson in his 1948 Chiropractic Textbook as “the condition of the vertebrae that has lost its proper juxtaposition with the one above, or the one below, or both; to the extent less than a luxation; and which impinges nerves and interferes with the transmission of mental impulses”. This chiropractic definition of subluxation is similar to the medical definition, however it goes further to imply that the misalignment causes neural interference. Therefore, to identify a subluxation, it is not sufficient to simply have a misplaced bone; there must be some sort of neurologic involvement.”
Dana Kent Metzger, DC, CACCP

What Exactly do Chiropractors do regarding a vertebral Subluxation?

Dr Koren’s 2011 paper on “Does the Subluxation Exist?” highlights some interesting questions regarding chiropractic and subluxation.  A great take home point from this paper is that the best way to understand and research subluxation is to observe the effects it has on a person and the changes that occur when that person is adjusted. Here is a short excerpt from his paper:
What Exactly Do Chiropractors Do?
What exactly are chiropractors doing when they look for “subluxations” in patients? First the doctor performs an analysis using various tools and techniques: palpation of the spine and body structure, analysis of motion, posture, leg length, muscle strength, electromyelograpy, biofeedback, temperature differentials, muscle or blood flow asymmetries, symptomatic and/or other physiological changes and determines if a subluxation is present.However the chiropractor, using all these tools is not really viewing a subluxation. Instead he/she is observing what is believed to be some of its effects.After determining that there is a “subluxation” a chiropractic adjustment (a force) is introduced into the patient’s body to correct the “subluxation.” After the adjustment the patient is re-analyzed and if certain physiological changes are found we infer that a subluxation has been corrected or reduced.Does the Subluxation Exist? J. Philosophy, Principles & Practice of Chiropractic – February 24, 2011

The best way to understand how a vertebral subluxation can impact your health is to have a chiropractic spinal check up and live life without vertebral subluxations! Try Chiropractic Today!

Chiropractic care

Autonomic Nervous System and Chiropractic

Chiropractic care can help many health problems due to its impact on the autonomic nervous system.


 The brain controls the body’s ability to adapt

Transcript from video of Dr. Peever speaking in Mississauga:
Your body has a far greater ability to heal then you’re led to believe and the curious part that connects to this, it’s co-ordinated by your brain! Remember that your brain connects to everything. It co-ordinates how your body heals, functions and adapts – It is essentially an adaptation machine. It adapts, you challenge it, it adapts. It takes time but it learns. It figures out new ways to solve problems.

I hope that you are curious to learn more about how the brain adapts and how the autonomic nervous system connects to chiropractic.  Read on and get curious to make changes to your nervous system! Chiropractic can help.


The research paper linked below highlights the evidence to date (2009) regarding the impact that the spine and nervous system has on the function and healing of the body functions. As a practicing Chiropractor, I enjoy reading papers like this that summarize the research in the past as well as pull it together to learning points with quotes. Check it out:


What a great read of some of the evidence to date regarding the autonomic nervous system.

The quotes were great to read in terms of quick lessons with great wording. The list of papers that have researched into this domain is impressive as well.

In Chiropractic, we have a huge admiration for the nerve system. The autonomic nervous system is the part of the nerve system which is out of our conscious control. It is the “automatic” system. This autonomic system is incredible at running our bodies and has an incredible ability to adapt itself and our bodies to the experiences it runs into.

As a Chiropractor, we try to stimulate, assist, encourage, support, and adjust the autonomic nerve system. When this system functions better, the body is able to handle so much more. This is why we see so many incredible things happen in our patients who are adjusted. They come in to our offices with problems that they “…thought would go away.” These problems can be anything from athlete’s foot to adenoids problems. When we check the patient’s spine, we are looking for where the spine and nerve system are struggling. The term we use to describe this in Chiropractic is subluxation. The term in this paper to describe this process is segmental neurospinal dysfunction as well as the vertebral subluxation complex. When we use specific Chiropractic adjustments to correct subluxations in the patients spine and nerve system, the autonomic system gets back into the proper gear and can appropriately address the challenges that have been negatively impacting the patient.

Besides watching the improvement of a patient clinically over time, the autonomic nerve system can be watched working through special tests. Some of the tests include thermography, surface emg, and heart rate variability. It is really amazing to see patients whole neurological system balance after a course of Chiropractic care.

Check out this article on the effect of Chiropractic care on heart rate variability and pay in a multi-site clinical study.

This paper also describes aspects for researchers to look into in the future which will be exciting for a practicing Chiropractor in the field to read, watch evolve, and further our understanding of how a specific Chiropractic adjustment of a subluxation positively impacts a person’s health naturally.

Read this story below from Dr. Fred Barge as he communicates how Chiropractic can help with people suffering with many different health problems because of its impact on the nervous system.

“If this is your first Chiropractic experience, you may wonder why you see so many patients at this clinic. Let’s say you came to us for care of your backache because this is a common reason for people to seek Chiropractic care. You may wonder then that so many, many people are suffering like you, assuming that they all have backaches. Wrong! The patients you see are suffering from many different problems. I often say, “From adenoids to athlete’s foot.” Now before you say, “absurd, you Chiropractors claim to cure everything,” let me explain. Chiropractors do not claim to cure anything! We quite simply say only the body heals, but if your body has nerve pressure because the spine is out of line, it can cause many health problems.” – Dr. Fred H. Barge, D.C.

Dr. Fred Barge had an amazing ability to communicate Chiropractic.

The above description from him is one of my favourites. It not only comments on how people suffering with many different health challenges find help through Chiropractic care, but also touches in the vitalistic values of Chiropractic.

Here to help,

Dr. Callum Peever – Chiropractor in Mississauga at Erin Mills Optimum Health

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