What is Spinal Subluxation

If you’ve ever experienced pain around your neck or back, you’re probably familiar with spinal subluxation. Patients often refer to it by saying their back is “out” or that it “needs and adjustment.” Essentially spinal subluxation is a misaligned vertebra in the spine. It can be extremely uncomfortable, especially when it puts pressure on the nerve roots and remains untreated.

What Causes Spinal Subluxation?

The misalignment of joints can occur in anyone at any age. The most common causes of spinal subluxation include:


The most obvious way to experience subluxation is when a significant trauma occurs. Major trauma include falls, car accidents, or sports injuries. However, minor traumas can also cause a subluxation. These would consist of simple, everyday activities that put a strain on your spine, such as wearing a purse on the same shoulder every day, sleeping on your stomach, looking down at your phone for long periods, or wearing high heels.


Our environments can significantly affect our joints as well. Air pollution, harsh chemicals, and processed foods can cause an imbalance in our muscles that causes them to contract, leading to subluxation.


Mental and emotional stress can cause tension in our bodies. Many people carry that stress in their neck and upper back, usually between the shoulders. When your muscles get tight from stress, they can cause the spine to move out of alignment.

Symptoms of Subluxation

A spinal subluxation can cause a wide variety of symptoms that include:

  • Back and neck pain. These are the most common areas to experience a misaligned joint. The severity of back pain or neck soreness can range from a mild ache or discomfort to complete debilitation. Misalignment is often the most likely cause of neck or back pain. 
  • Headaches. Recurring headaches especially are a telltale sign of subluxation. For many people, pressure builds up, causing what is commonly described as a tension headache. They can even become migraine headaches if left untreated. 
  • Immobility. At times the pain can be so bad, or nerves can be affected so that it feels impossible to move. Inflexibility or stiffness can make your everyday routine feel impossible.

When to Get Help

Some people find that performing soft stretches, improving their sleeping habits, destressing, or using ice packs relieves many of their symptoms. However, once a vertebra is misaligned, it is difficult for it to move back into place on its own. While you may be overcoming some of the symptoms with these at-home treatments, you are not treating the underlying cause.

The best thing you can do for your spine in addition to lifestyle changes is to see a professional who can isolate the problem and realign the joint. Here at Spine Health & Wellness, our award-winning clinical team will help you find the right treatment options for you. 

Request an appointment today! We are happy to meet with your in-person, or you may request a telehealth assessment from the comfort of your home.

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