552 Durham Road, Low Fell, NE9 6HX
The Chiropractic Subluxation Complex is the term that chiropractors have used to describe the set of conditions in the spine that are believed to cause health problems. It is a model that hypothesises that disruption of the communication between the central nervous system and the rest of the body may lead to reduced health potential.
This complex includes abnormal joint mobility, changes in articular (joint) health, reflex nerve stimulation or inhibition, muscle reactions and altered sensation (commonly pain although not always).
In medical terminology, a subluxation describes a joint injury that is less severe than a full dislocation. The chiropractic subluxation does not mean the same thing, although the trauma involved in joint injury will probably lead to the development of problems.
In essence the survival of animals, in the short term, has been selected through evolution. Man is the first big experiment on what happens in the long term where the rules have been changed. We no longer succumb to injuries that would have killed our ancestors. However, our systems have not developed an adaptation to correct the consequences of the injury, or even the subsequent healing process. For instance, scar tissue can cause complications with mobility, blood flow and neural functions once the initial trauma has healed.
The chiropractic approach is designed to seek out the segments which display abnormal mobility and use corrective adjustments. The adjustments specifically target areas where poor mobility shows signs of nerve irritation. These signs may include muscle spasm or weakness, skin temperature imbalance (autonomic effects), muscle weakness, alteration in skin sensation, referred pain patterns and non pathological organic symptoms.
The subluxation model has yet to be fully supported by blinded placebo trials. However mechanical changes in the spine have been shown to be linked to the development of referred pain patterns, skeletal muscle spasm, blood pressure changes and headaches.
The chiropractic subluxation can been seen as the failed attempt of the body to fully recover from the trauma. Most of us will have accumulated many injuries during our life due to sports, trips and falls, or simply poor posture. The body has been equipped to heal the short term damage, however over longer periods the repair systems can leave less than optimal tissue repair or organ function.
After injury, poor posture or inactivity, the mechanisms that maintain the health of the spinal segments are undermined. The chiropractic subluxation is established.
Degenerative changes begin and left uncorrected will develop into medically significant osteoarthritis.