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Word-of-the-day: Subluxation

Dr. Karim and staff at Family & Sport Chiropractor are big believers in patient education.  The initial intake includes x-rays and a thorough investigation about your current and past health, family history and is followed up by a Report-of-Findings analysis on your second visit. To use our state of the art equipment properly and individualize each adjustment, laser treatment, physical therapy session, massage, and all the other services we offer it is important Dr. Karim knows your specific case history.  It’s also important to us and for you to understand what your ailments are, preventative measures, and options on treatment.

Sometimes the medical world brushes over educating patients, but that is the opposite of what we do here.  Think about all of the medical jargon that can be confusing and sometimes intimidating to engage.  Let’s check out some words you may hear when upon your first visit so you can be more aware of what exactly is going on in your body.

Word-of-the-day: Subluxationvertebral-subluxation

Pronunciation— sub-lux-a-tion; noun

Definition: a partial dislocation; a slight misalignment of the vertebrae, regarding in chiropractic theory as the cause of many health problems

Subluxation and Chiropractic

Subluxation was first added to the chiropractic vocabulary in 1907 by D.D. Palmer, a man who is considered to be the father of chiropractic in the United States. Some chiropractors still frequently use the term “subluxation” today while others refer to it from a historical perspective only.

The term “subluxation” is used by doctors of chiropractic to depict the altered position of the vertebra and subsequent function loss, which determines the location for the spinal manipulation.  Chiropractors view subluxation as a process rather than a static condition during which the tissues undergo constant changes, including:

  • Hyperemia. Referring to an excess of blood in a specific area of the body, hyperemia may develop when there is an obstruction preventing the blood from flowing normally.
  • Congestion. Joint dysfunction affects the muscles in different ways, with some muscles developing trigger points, or areas of congestion, where toxins develop, irritate the nerve endings within the muscle, and produce pain.
  • Edema. When the body’s tiny blood vessels (capillaries) are damaged or pressurized, excess fluid may leak from them and build up in the tissues, leading to a swelling known as edema.
  • Minute hemorrhages. Referring to a small amount of bleeding or an abnormal flow of blood, minute hemorrhages may develop within the body’s blood vessels as a result of certain triggers, underlying conditions and other risk factors.
  • Fibrosis. Detailing the replacement of normal tissue with scar tissue, fibrosis commonly occurs in people dealing with recurrent back pain.
  • Local ischemia. A very specific type of muscle pain, ischemia refers to a lack of blood flow in the muscle (often from a muscle spasm), leaving the muscle very painful to touch.
  • Atrophy. With muscle atrophy, the muscle shrinks and may partially or completely waste away as a result of inactivity or various diseases and conditions.
  • Tissue rigidity. Eventual rigidity and adhesions form not only in joint capsules, but also in ligaments, tendons and muscles themselves.


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