The spinal column is an intricate framework of interlocking bones that, when viewed from the side, form a gentle "S" shape. The spine is a sophisticated system-both fragile and sturdy-of muscles, bones, joints, ligaments, discs, a spinal cord, and nerves.
Daily activities such as lifting and exercise, or traumatic experiences such as automobile accidents, can sometimes cause obvious, and at other times, subtle, problems with your spinal cord. The most common problem involves a misalignment of the small bones in your spinal cord.
We call these misalignments "subluxations." Often, these misalignments create pressure or irritation on the various nerves in your spine, and can cause a wide variety of symptoms throughout your body, such as localized pain, soreness, irregularity, and weakness. When pressure is applied on a nerve in your spine, the nerve energy is interrupted, and sometimes this can profoundly affect the function of other systems or organs in your body.
The vertebral subluxation complex is medical terminology for the ways chiropractors categorize the various locations, or "components," where subluxations are known to occur. The five components of the vertebral subluxation complex:
- Chemical component - Biochemical abnormalities can sometimes occur when one or more of the other vertebral subluxation components occur.
- Muscle component - Problems that occur when impinged nerves cause vertebral muscles to malfunction.
- Nerve component - "Neuropathology" is another term for this, which essentially refers to undue pressure on a spinal nerve.
- Osseous (bone) component - This occurs when one or more vertebrae are either not in correct position or moving improperly. Sometimes, degeneration of the vertebral bones can cause this.
- Soft tissue component - When subluxations occur, they can affect the soft tissues, including ligaments and veins, surrounding your spinal cord.