When a vertebrae becomes misaligned or moves out of its normal position, this is referred to in the chiropractic profession as a subluxation, or more precisely, the Vertebral Subluxation Complex (VSC). VSC can be caused by a wide range of issues ranging from a minor slip or bump to a car accident or any sudden trauma. When a vertebrae is subluxated, it begins to put pressure on nerves, blood vessels and other surrounding structures.
The subluxation interrupts the natural nerve pathways that carry messages to and from the brain. In addition, as time goes by and the subluxation remains untreated, the spine and surrounding features such as discs can begin to degenerate.
This degeneration becomes more difficult to reverse as time goes by and the surrounding muscles, nerves and bones begin to adjust to the new shape. Because the body is a remarkable machine, it will start to accommodate these changes by compensating in other areas. The longer the subluxation is untreated, the longer it will take for treatment to return the vertebrae to its normal position.
A vertebral subluxation can be identified by its five components:
- Spinal Kinesiopathology (movement of the bones)
- Neuropathophysiology (nerve dysfunction)
- Myopathology (muscle changes)
- Histopathology (tissue damage)
- Pathophysiology (abnormal growth)
Chiropractors are experts in the manipulation of soft and hard tissue. Small, quick movements to the spine can reposition the vertebrae into its natural position. Through treatment, a vertebral subluxation can be corrected back to healthy functionality.
Degeneration Phase 1
The first stage of spinal degeneration is when there is a minor loss of normal spine balance and spinal curvature. The surrounding features of the spine such as nerves, discs and joints begin to age quicker and are continually more stressed. This stage of the degeneration process rarely is accompanied with any major pain. At this point, there is a good chance that with the proper care, you can return to normal.
Degeneration Phase 2
In the second stage of spinal degeneration, there is a often narrowing of the discs and potentially deformation in the bones. Your posture is often beginning to degenerate as well at this point. As the spinal canal, or opening begins to narrow, there are often significant aches and pains associated. Fatigue and stress are more common at this stage. There is a good chance of improvement at this stage with the proper care.
Degeneration Phase 3
In the third stage of spinal degeneration, there is significant physical and mental involvement due to the level of issues here. There is most likely nerve damage as well as deformation of the bones and discs. There would a significant loss of energy and height at this point. Some reversal is possible.
Degeneration Phase 4
In the fourth stage of spinal degeneration, most damage is permanent including scar tissue, nerve damage and deformation. At this point, the condition is irreversible. Management of pain and discomfort is the best option here.