Vertebral subluxation refers to a set of signs and symptoms that affect the spinal column. Specifically, it is a complex that occurs when the bones of the spine lose their usual position and motion due to chemical imbalances, alcohol, prolonged sitting, trauma or even stress. An automobile accident and improper lifting are just two types of trauma that can cause vertebral subluxation complex, or VSC.

How Does Vertebral Subluxation Complex, or VSC, Affect the Body?

The term “complex” is associated with vertebral subluxation because, as the word suggests, the condition is multifaceted and consists of many elements. This is because VSC is the underlying cause of health care problems. When one or more vertebrae are misplaced or fail to carry out their intended motion, they can disrupt the function of the nervous system. The vertebral bones are designed to contain and guard this system, so interference can lead to pressure on the spinal cord or the nerve roots as they pass out of the spinal column.

When VSC presents, a number of things can happen to affect the spine, its related soft tissues and even the tissues and organs controlled by the affected nerves.

Vertebral Subluxation Complex and Its Five Interrelated Parts

VSC typically has — and is — identified by five major interconnected components, including:

  • Spinal kinesiopathology. This component sounds much like vertebral subluxation itself. Here, the bones of the spine have lost their natural motion and position, making it difficult for the patient to turn and bend. It sets the other four components in motion.
  • Myopathology. When the muscles sustaining the spine weaken, atrophy or become stiff, they can go into spasm. This can result in scar tissue that changes the muscle tone.
  • Neuropathophysiology. If the spine functions improperly, it can obstruct, stretch or agitate nerve tissue. Nerve tissue is delicate. Irritation in these ways can cause nerve system dysfunction and lead to aggravating symptoms elsewhere in the body.
  • HistopathologyA patient’s body temperature can rise due to an increase in blood and lymph supplies. This, in turn, can lead to inflammation and swelling, which can then cause discs to protrude, tear, herniate or deteriorate.
  • PathophysiologyThis is when abnormal bony growths like bone spurs try to meld faulty spinal joints, leading to decay of the spine, scar tissue and nerve dysfunction.
How Chiropractic Treatments Can Help

Your chiropractor will not only detect and minimize VSC, but, once the spinal bones are back in their normal position and have regained their natural function, he or she will try to prevent the problem from recurring. Chiropractic treatments, particularly spinal adjustments, can be used to treat VSC and ward off its associated symptoms. In the case of myopathy, which largely deals with the muscles, massage or soft tissue work is an effective treatment option.

To find out how chiropractic treatments can be designed to address your particular VSC-related condition, contact your practitioner.

Spinal Kinesiopathology

Spinal kinesiopathology is the unusual positioning or motion of the spinal bones, to the point where the patient’s ability to turn and bend is restricted. It is one of five components of vertebral subluxation complex — a set of symptoms and signs that affect the spinal column — and it puts the remaining four components of the complex into motion:

  • Myopathology. When the muscles supporting the spine weaken, atrophy or become stiff, they can spasm. This can then lead to the formation of scar tissue, which is capable of altering muscle tone.
  • Neuropathophysiology. Nerve tissue can become obstructed, stretched or aggravated when the spine does not function properly. Because nerve tissue is fragile, irritation can cause the nervous system to malfunction.
  • Histopathology. If there is an increase in blood and lymph supplies, a person’s body temperature can increase, leading to inflammation and swelling. Discs may then tear, protrude, weaken or herniate.
  • Pathophysiology. This is when atypical bony growths make an effort to fuse defective joints of the spine, causing scar tissue, nerve dysfunction and deterioration of the spine.

Any one of these components, including spinal kinesiopathology, can arise due to trauma (e.g. automobile accident or slip and fall), stress or chemical imbalances.

Though the spinal bones are designed to move and, at the same time, guard the spinal cord and nerve root endings, there are times when they move too much or can become fixed and not move enough. When the bones of the spine are stuck, or become fixated, and do not move adequately enough, they cause other joints to move more than normal. These issues can twist spinal curves and hamper function. Depending on the area of the spine affected, adverse reactions and symptoms can occur in other areas of the body as well.

How Chiropractors Detect and Treat Spinal Kinesiopathology

Your chiropractor can detect this trait of vertebral subluxation complex by examining your posture and gauging your ability to bend and turn. He will also look at your symptoms, one of which will likely include pain.

To treat spinal kinesiopathology, your chiropractor may perform spinal adjustments to realign the spine and release pressed nerves and nerve endings. This should reduce discomfort and improve mobility. Some techniques may include:

  • Toggle drop. The chiropractor crosses his hands and gives a firm press to the spine, before adding a rapid thrust.
  • Release work. Gentle pressure is applied with fingertips to help separate vertebrae that have become connected, or fused.
  • Lumbar roll. The patient is placed on their side, and then the chiropractor employs a quick thrust to the area of misalignment. This is done in an attempt to place the vertebrae in their rightful position.
  • Table adjustments. The patient will lie on a table that has sections that drop down. A quick thrust given by the chiropractor causes parts of the table to release and drop. When the patient’s body drops down with the table, the table comes to a rest, but the body is still in motion temporarily. The thrust and motion provide a more gentle adjustment than other techniques, which may involve twisting positions.

To learn about these and other spinal adjustment techniques, contact your chiropractor.

Neuropathophysiology

Neuropathophysiology refers to pathophysiological conditions that affect the nervous system. A more recognizable term may be neuropathy. Neuropathy is not a single disease; rather, it is an umbrella term used to describe a host of disorders that affect various nerves in various ways, in various areas of the body.

It can affect three types of nerves:

  1. Motor – Controls the body’s muscles
  2. Sensory – Is responsible for processing information obtained by way our vision, hearing, touch, taste and smell and sending it to our brain, which then interprets that information. For instance, the sensation of cold, heat and pain
  3. Autonomic – Regulates the involuntary functions of our internal organs (the viscera) such as the heart’s beat and our glands ability to produce sweat
Causes of Neuropathy

Physical trauma, such as that occurred during an automobile accident, can lead to neuropathy, but so can:

  • Infection (i.e., viral and bacterial)
  • Some drugs (e.g., those used to treat cardiac problems, seizures, infections and cancer)
  • Toxic exposure (e.g. excessive alcohol use)
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Repetitive injury

Still, most cases of neuropathy are found in people with diabetes, and it is considered to be a complication of the disease. Known as diabetic neuropathy, this is a microvascular complication that results because of excess blood glucose in people with diabetes. Over time, this surplus can damage the wall of the blood vessels supplying the nerves — often in the legs. Injury to the nerves can lead to a loss of sensation, making some injuries go unnoticed.

Though diabetes is the most common cause of neuropathy, there are other medical conditions that may be involved, such as chronic liver or kidney disease, cancer (e.g., lymphoma), AIDS or Lyme disease.

Symptoms of Neuropathy

Many people describe the pain associated with neuropathy as tingling or burning, but there are also those who suffer a loss of sensation. However, a patient’s symptoms largely depend on the type of neuropathy, as well as the specific nerves affected—be they motor, sensory or autonomic, or a combination of the three.

If sensory nerves are involved, symptoms might include:

  • Burning, jabbing, stinging, sharp or electric-like pain
  • Sensitivity to touch
  • Changes in skin, hair or nails
  • Gradual numbness or tingling sensation, often in the hands or feet
  • Loss of coordination

If motor nerves are involved, symptoms could include:

  • Paralysis
  • Muscle weakness

If autonomic nerves are involved, symptoms could include:

  • Dizziness (due to modifications in blood pressure)
  • Intolerance to heat
  • Digestive, bowel or bladder problems
Treating Neuropathy

In addition to treatment you might receive from your primary care physician, stress-relieving therapies like massage and acupuncture, as well as other complementary therapies, including those given by a chiropractor, can help.

For instance, when the vertebrae of the spine deteriorate, such as in the case of vertebral subluxation, the bones can push on the roots of the spinal nerves, resulting in symptoms of neuropathy. Chiropractors can relieve this pressure by doing spinal adjustments to get the vertebrae into alignment, which should free trapped nerves. In cases where the nerves have become compressed by connective tissue, chiropractors may use the active release technique, which is a movement-based massage technique to apply a contact tension, lengthen the tissue, shorten the tissue or make the tissue slide relative to adjacent tissue.

To learn more about what your chiropractor can do for you or someone you know with neuropathy, contact him or her.

Myopathy: Types, Symptoms and How Chiropractic Treatment Can Help

Myopathy refers to a group of muscle diseases that are caused by muscular dysfunction that results in muscle weakness and waste. It is important to recognize that while some myopathic conditions can be caused by reduced nerve supply or excess nerve supply, the disorders do not stem from a neurological problem. Rather, the issue lies solely within the muscles.

This does not mean that areas like the spine will not be affected. The muscles surrounding the spine can become weak, tight or atrophied and go into spasm. This can cause scar tissue and a modification in muscle tone, making myopathy one of five major interrelated components associated with what’s called vertebral subluxation complex, a set of signs and symptoms that describe what occurs when the spinal bones lose their normal motion and position.

Myopathy Types and Causes

Myopathies vary by types, and some may be present from birth (congenital) while others present later on in life (acquired). Those that are congenital may be the result of a genetic defect, an inflammatory disorder, endocrine problems or a chronic immune deficiency. Acquired types, in contrast, may be due to drug side effects or chemical poisoning.

Myopathy Symptoms and Regions Affected

Regardless of which category or type, there are a number of general symptoms, including:

  • Stiffness
  • Muscle spasms
  • Cramps
  • Atrophy

The areas of the body that are affected vary, but may include the:

  • Hips and legs
  • Face
  • Arms and forearms
  • Legs
  • Trunk
  • Hands
  • Spine
Can Chiropractic Treatment Help?

The symptoms of myopathy can be painful and incapacitating, but they can be alleviated by undergoing chiropractic treatments. In addition, combining chiropractic treatments with acupuncture and physical therapy may provide further relief. Taking a multidimensional approach can mean the irritating symptoms triggered by this muscular disease can be mitigated, because the muscles in the body are being addressed through a group of efforts, each of which are designed to stimulate the muscles in different ways.

For instance, massage — a type of manual therapy often used in chiropractic treatment — uses a hands-on technique to knead, strip or rub the soft tissues. Pressure may be soft or it may be deep, but its purpose is to increase circulation and blood flow, ease muscle tension, reduce pain, relax muscles, break up scar tissue and redistribute fluid.

Or, if the muscles surrounding the spine become weak, tight or atrophied and go into spasm, the resulting scar tissue can change muscle tone. This will require multiple spinal adjustments.

If you have a myopathic disorder, contact your chiropractor to better understand how he or she can help.

Histopathology

Following a car accident, the bones of the spine may shift out of their original position or lose their normal motion, in what’s called vertebral subluxation complex. This condition is characterized by a set of signs and symptoms that affect the spinal column. Histopathology is one of its five major interrelated components, and it occurs when a person’s body temperature rises due to an increase in lymph and blood supplies. As a result, inflammation and swelling occur, causing discs to rip, project, herniate or depreciate.

The individual may experience:

  • Pain and discomfort
  • Loss of mobility
  • Degradation of the spine
  • Scar tissue
How Does the Lymphatic System Work?

The lymphatic system is a subdivision of the circulatory system, and it consists of lymph vessels, lymph nodes and lymph (translucent fluid containing white blood cells). The lymph vessels transport lymph throughout the body, allowing the white blood cells it contains to fight off foreign substances and rid the body of toxins and waste.

Lymph flows in one direction — up toward the neck — and within its own system. It travels into the venous blood stream via the subclavian veins (located on the sides of the neck). Plasma, the yellow liquid component of the blood, distributes nutrients and removes waste, before leaving the blood cells and going back to the venous circulation system where it will continue on as venous blood. That which does not leave becomes lymph. It too makes its departure, leaving the tissue and entering the lymphatic system throughout lymphatic capillaries.

Histopathology and the Lymphatic System / Venous System

After a car accident or other trauma, if the spinal bones lose their natural motion and position (spinal kinesiopathology):

  • The muscles of the spine can weaken, atrophy or stiffen, causing them to spasm. Over time, scar tissue can develop, changing the individual’s muscle tone. This is known as myopathology.
  • Delicate nerve tissue can become chocked, stretched or irritated, leading to nerve system dysfunction (neuropathophysiology).
  • Bony growths may attempt to fuse defective spinal joints, which can cause the spine to decay, scar tissue to form and nerve malfunction (pathophysiology).

In these instances, the body may react to these traumas by increasing its blood and lymph supplies. This is how the body reacts to the perceived threat. However, this excess in blood and lymph supplies can have adverse effects. Beyond causing the body temperature to rise, the discs of the spine can become inflamed and swell. As a consequence, they may protrude, tear, herniate or deteriorate.

How Chiropractic Treatment Can Help

To help, your chiropractor may first choose to perform spinal adjustments to get the spine back into alignment and free trapped nerves. This may not only reduce pain and restore mobility, but could allow the lymph and venous system to reduce its supplies since the trauma is no longer considered a threat that needs to be corrected.

Some spinal adjustment techniques may include, but are not limited to:

  • Toggle drop. With hands crossed, the chiropractor gives a firm press to the spine, and then adds a rapid thrust.
  • Release work. Using the fingertips, gentle pressure is applied to help separate vertebrae that have become connected or fused.
  • Lumbar roll. With the patient on their side, the chiropractor applies a swift thrust to the area of misalignment, with the goal being to place the vertebrae in their rightful position.
  • Table adjustments. The patient lies on a table that has sections that drop down. A rapid thrust is employed by the chiropractor, causing parts of the table to release and drop. When the patient’s body drops down with the table, the table comes to a stop but the patient’s body remains in motion temporarily. The combination of the thrust, drop and continued motion are designed to help the spine align.

Once the spine has been realigned, your chiropractor may then implement soft tissue work to loosen the muscles around the spine and push fluid out of inflamed and swollen areas.

If you are suffering from vertebral subluxation complex, talk to your chiropractor about what he or she can do to help treat your condition and relieve your symptoms.

Pathophysiology

Pathophysiology means the function in an individual or an organ is disturbed due to disease, leading to a structural defect. In chiropractic care, it often presents when unusual bony growths, such as bone spurs, attempt to fuse malfunctioning joints, causing the spine to degrade, joints to become altered, scar tissue to develop and the nervous system to stop functioning properly.

Additional outcomes include:

  • Muscle weakness (in the area of the spine)
  • Loss of range of motion
What Causes Pathophysiology?

While a pathophysiological condition can be brought on by age and genetic factors, it can also result from trauma, such as an automobile accident.

Pathophysiology and Vertebral Subluxation Complex

Pathophysiology is just one of five interrelated parts associated with vertebral subluxation complex (VSC), which is a set of signs and symptoms that affect the spinal column. The other four are:

  • Spinal kinesiopathology. This component sets pathophysiology and the remaining interconnected parts of VSC into motion. This occurs when the bones of the spine lose their natural position and motion, which makes it challenging for the individual to bend and turn.
  • Myopathology. The muscles supporting the spine can weaken, causing them to atrophy or stiffen, and, as a result, go into spasm. All of this flexion of the muscles can cause the development of scar tissue that, over time, changes the muscle tone.
  • Neuropathophysiology. The spine houses and protects the nerves and nerve tissue. When the spine functions improperly, it can cut off, distend or inflame fragile nerve tissue and cause the nervous system to malfunction.
  • Histopathology. If the blood and lymph supplies increase, a person’s body temperature can rise, leading to inflammation and swelling of the tissues and muscles around the spine. With this may come protruding, torn, herniated or deteriorated spinal discs.
Treating Pathophysiology

When treating a pathophysiological condition, such as that described above in the first paragraph, chiropractors can use spinal adjustments and soft tissue work.

There are many types of spinal manipulation, some of which include:

  • Toggle Drop. Here, the chiropractor crosses his hands, and then presses firmly down on the area of the spine that is being treated, before apply a quick thrust that adjusts the spine. This should help the vertebral joints move more easily.
  • Release Work. Because pathophysiology causes bony growths to fuse malfunctioning joints of the spine, release work is a common technique used. During release work, the chiropractor uses his fingertips to apply mild pressure and separate the vertebrae in order to restore mobility.
  • Side Posture (also known as the lumbar roll). The patient lies on his or her side while the chiropractor uses a quick but manipulative thrust to return the vertebrae to their original position.
  • Instrument Adjustments. This may be one of the gentlest methods of adjusting the spine. With the patient facing down on the table, the chiropractor utilizes a spring-loaded activator instrument to implement the adjustment.
  • Table Adjustments. The patient will be asked to lie on a table that has sections that drop down. When the chiropractor gives a quick thrust, a section of the table drops. The table lands and comes to a complete stop, but the patient’s body continues its motion. The thrust, drop and momentum of the patient’s body all work to align the spine.
Active Release Techniques

Treatment may not end with spinal adjustments alone. Because the muscles surrounding the spine can become weakened and scar tissue can develop, soft tissue work may be needed. This may come in the form of massage or what is called active release techniques (ART).

With ART, the chiropractor begins by getting a feel of the tissues, specifically looking at texture, motion and tension. Once he has determined the state of the patient’s tissues, he will perform a number of touch-based techniques to do one or more of the following:

  • Shorten or lengthen the tissue
  • Apply contact tension
  • Make the tissue glide relative to the tissue nearby

By performing these movements, mobility can be reestablished; fibrous adhesions can be broken down; trapped nerves or blood vessels can be freed; pain can be diminished; and oxygen and blood can be successfully transported to the muscles and tissues.

To schedule an appointment to learn more about pathophysiology treatments, contact our office today.

Auto accident injuries are one of the leading causes of spinal and whiplash injuries.

These types of injuries, whether they occur as the result of an auto accident or another type of trauma, must be treated properly, or they could lead to chronic pain. Fortunately, undergoing chiropractic treatments can help relieve the following symptoms, often without the use of pain medications or surgery:

  • Headaches
  • Neck pain or stiffness
  • Shoulder pain
  • Arm pain
  • Low back pain
  • Decreased range of motion in the neck, shoulders, arms or back

To learn more about the types of problems chiropractic care can treat or the types of treatments used in chiropractic care, please visit the pages below.

We Offer the Following Services

Doctors of Chiropractic – often referred to as chiropractors or chiropractic physicians – practice a drug-free, hands-on approach to health care that includes patient examination, diagnosis and treatment. Chiropractors have broad diagnostic skills and are also trained to recommend therapeutic and rehabilitative exercises, as well as to provide nutritional, dietary and lifestyle counseling.

Here is a brief overview of the array of specialized services offered by our clinic. Please take some time, and explore what we have to offer.

Chiropractic Manipulation San Antonio
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