A subluxation is a misalignment of a vertebra that causes nerve problems ranging from mild to severe. When a vertebra loses its proper position in the spine, this causes strain and damage to the surrounding muscles, ligaments, and intervertebral discs (the cushions between the vertebrae). Once this occurs, swelling develops around the damaged tissues and puts pressure on the nerve that comes out of the spine at that level. When a nerve is irritated in this way, many problems can arise, including abnormal organ function (thyroid, stomach, heart, etc.), loss of motion, and pain. Pain isn’t a good indicator of subluxation because it is the last symptom to show up and the first to leave as the body heals. Just because there is no pain doesn’t mean there isn’t an underlying problem.
In the Gonstead method, the chiropractor uses gentle, hands-on adjustments that help reposition the bone where it is supposed to be. This helps relieve the pressure and irritation on the nerve, and allows the body to heal. The correction of subluxations involves allowing the body to adapt and re-train the muscles and ligaments to hold the vertebra in its proper position. When the body is free of subluxations it is able to function normally, which leads to health.