Vertebral Subluxation and Chiropractic Manipulation

Chiropractors define vertebral subluxation as the misalignment or dysfunction of the vertebrae in the spine, in which case chiropractic manipulation often is used to regain range of motion, flexibility, and strength. Manipulation is usually a quick process during which a shifted vertebra is guided back into correct alignment. The process of chiropractic manipulation appeals to many because it doesn’t require medication or surgery and can sometimes offer immediate relief.


In basic terms, a vertebral subluxation is the term used to describe a patient’s dysfunction of the spinal column and the symptoms that this misalignment causes. Subluxation can cause a number of symptoms ranging from back and neck pain to neuropathic pain from a pinched nerve.

To better understand the symptoms of a subluxation requires a closer look at the spinal anatomy. In a healthy spine, vertebrae are evenly spaced and cushioned by soft intervertebral discs and interconnected by vertebral joints known as facet joints. These structures give the spine flexibility and the ability to extend and pivot, as well as support most of the body’s weight. Vertebral subluxation occurs when part of the spinal anatomy starts working incorrectly or inefficiently. For example, one of the facet joints loses cartilage and becomes stiff, a nerve becomes compressed by a bulging disc, or a vertebra slips forward out of its normal position (a condition called spondylolisthesis).

An individual may experience a vertebral subluxation and seek chiropractic manipulation if they:

  • Suffer a traumatic injury
  • Have a lingering sports-related injury
  • Are stressed and have tense back or neck muscles
  • Have a degenerative spine condition
  • Have poor posture
  • Have a job that requires repetitive motion (lifting, bending, etc.)


For patients experiencing back or neck pain as a result of a vertebral subluxation, conservative treatments, like chiropractic manipulation, heat therapy and stretching techniques, are usually effective for alleviating the symptoms and healing the spine. If after several weeks, you are still experiencing pain, contact Laser Spine Institute to learn how one of our more effective outpatient minimally invasive procedures may help you rediscover your life without back or neck pain.