Subluxation: A Technical Description

Blue brain with electricity lines flowing

This article provides a more technical description of the neurophysiological impact of subluxation – for those that want it!

Subluxation is the ‘entity’ (state of dysfunction) which Chiropractors identify and correct

The various neurological effects as proposed include subcortical (unconscious) reflex responses including Somato-Visceral, Visceral-Somatic, Somato-Somatic and Viscero-Visceral reflexes where aberrant motion leads to aberrant reflex arcs.

These aberrant reflex arcs initiate inappropriate responses, aberrant or reduced mechanoreceptive input and increased nociceptive input that can contribute to the above reflexes or reduce pain ‘gating’ which may lead to increased perception/awareness of pain, increase gamma gain to muscles leading to further compromised sensory (afferent) ‘garbage’ returning through the sensory loops.

This can also lead to changes in movement-pleasure and movement-learning pathways, incoordination of movement; reduced control of tone, posture, balance, conjugate eye-moment, and visceral function.

There are direct effects on the sympathetic distribution/control mechanisms, neuroendocrine, limbic, cardiac, and respiratory function changes.

Nociceptive input also has both direct and indirect influence on the body’s stress response.

Finally, repetition of these effects can (and does) lead to neuroplastic changes in neurological function, changing appropriate patterns to dysfunctional patterns.

Subluxation definition suggested by “The Rubicon Group”

“We currently define … subluxation as a self-perpetuating, central segmental motor control problem that involves a joint, such as a vertebral motion segment, that is not moving appropriately, resulting in ongoing maladaptive neural plastic changes that interfere with the central nervous system’s ability to self-regulate, self-organize, adapt, repair and heal.”

Subluxation definition suggested by the Australian Spinal Research Foundation:

“A vertebral subluxation is a diminished state of being, comprising of a state of reduced coherence, altered biomechanical function, altered neurological function and altered adaptability.”

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