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What is a Subluxation?

Man thinking in small chairSubluxations are the primary reason for visiting A chiropractor. A subluxation occurs when one or more of the spinal vertebrae move out of position due to injury, stress or chemical imbalances. This can put pressure on the spinal nerves, causing them irritation, and resulting in pain. A chiropractor can locate these subluxations and gently realign your spinal vertebrae to remove the pressure on your spinal nerves.

There is more to a subluxation, however, than simply the vertebrae moving out of place. Chiropractors refer to the state of subluxation as a vertebral subluxation complex (VSC). This refers to five different components of a subluxation that are affecting your body at the same time. These include the following conditions:

* Kinesiopathology – The loss of correct vertebral positioning in relation to the vertebrae above and below. This makes it difficult to bend and turn.

* Neuropathology – An irritation or injury to the spine’s nerve roots due to stretching, compression or chemical irritation from neighboring spinal structures. This disruption to the nerves can cause problems elsewhere in the body.

* Myopathology – Pathological changes to the muscles supporting the spine, which includes spasms, weakness, hypertonicity, muscle atrophy, fibrosis and inappropriate functioning. The scar tissue that results from these conditions results in more frequent subluxations that require adjustment.

* Histopathology – Pathological changes to the spinal tissues, which can cause bone spurs and other abnormal bone growth from the vertebrae and their joints, as well as adhesions and fibrosis of the spinal muscles and ligaments, inflammation, swelling, and dehydration, bulging, tearing and degeneration of the spinal discs.

* Pathophysiology – The biochemical abnormalities that take place in the region of the spine, such as biochemical waste products and inflammatory biochemicals coming from injured tissues.

Among the signs that you may have a subluxation are neck and back pain, soreness or stiffness, headache, joint pain, muscles spasms, and numbness, pain or tingling in the extremities.

A number of things can cause VSC, including auto accidents, alcohol, chemical imbalances, improper lifting, repetitive motion, bad posture, emotional stress and extended periods of sitting. When a person has VSC, it leads to considerable changes in the soft tissue in the area of the spine and also in the other tissues and organs of the body due to the disruption of proper nerve impulses coming from and returning to the spinal cord.

A chiropractor will be able to detect where these subluxations are in your spine and correct them with a spinal adjustment either using only their hands or assisted by a hand-held instrument to deliver a quick and gentle correction to the misaligned vertebrae. Correcting these misalignments sometimes takes a little time, as the tissues need to adjust to the new correct positioning of the vertebrae.

Meditation and Your Health

Young woman doing yoga outdoorsResearchers have found in study after study that meditation can offer both mental and physical health benefits. Doctors of Chiropractic, other physicians and integrative health programs increasingly prescribe meditation techniques alongside traditional treatments to achieve a wide range of health goals, from increasing immunity to lowering high blood pressure and reducing the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. On the surface of things, meditation would seem to offer a variety of benefits-if it actually works. After all, it’s non-invasive, drug-free, and costs nothing. So how effective is it?

Approximately 500 clinical trials have been performed on the health effects of meditation, of which about 40 have been long-term studies. Short-term studies have found that meditation may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s, and that it improves memory and general cognitive functioning.

Of the long-term studies, a nine-year study of African-Americans with heart disease found that those who regularly practiced Transcendental Meditation (TM) twice a day had a 48% lower risk of stroke, heart attack or death than those who had only receive health education. They reported significantly less stress and had 5mmHg lower systolic blood pressure.

Two studies from Ohio State University found that meditation was effective against cancer. The first showed that breast cancer survivors had a lower recurrence of the disease with the daily practice of relaxation meditation. The second found that meditation increased the elderly subjects’ “killer cells,” providing more resistance to viruses and tumors.
Meditation has also been found to cause epigenetic changes by helping to maintain telomere length. Telomeres are the protective sheaths at the ends of our chromosomes, which become shorter as we age, increasing the risk of dementia, heart disease and cancer. A study published in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry showed a 43% greater increase in activity of the enzyme that regulates telomere length in those who meditated as opposed to those who just listened to relaxing music.

Those suffering from irritable bowel syndrome will be glad to learn that meditating twice daily can significantly reduce symptoms of constipation, bloating and diarrhea. It has also been shown to reduce depression and impart a general sense of calm.

Scientists believe that one of the major benefits of meditation is that it lowers stress. Stress causes the release of hormones such as cortisol, which stimulates the “fight or flight” response, increasing blood pressure and stress on the arterial walls. Although one of the roles of cortisol is to control inflammation in the body, with prolonged exposure to it (which is what happens with chronic stress), the body eventually becomes unresponsive to the hormone. Despite the adrenals pumping out more cortisol to try to keep up, inflammation continues to increase. By lowering stress, inflammation is reduced throughout the body, resulting in a reduction in the symptoms of chronic disease.

The practice of meditation is a simple one that anyone can perform once or twice a day for 10-15 minutes sessions. Sit comfortably cross-legged on the floor or in a chair with your feet flat on the floor and your spine straight. With eyes open or closed, simply bring your attention to your breath and notice it as it comes in and goes out. When your mind begins to wander (which it always will), just bring your attention back to the breath. Some find it useful to focus on each part of the body, mentally relaxing each muscle as you focus on it.

While there’s growing awareness among the general public that meditation can significantly improve people’s quality of life, there’s also plenty of evidence that meditation can offer specific physical and mental health benefits. If you’re interested in learning more, we encourage you to call or visit our office!

Young woman doing yoga outdoors