What Is A Subluxation (The Joint Kind)

If you’ve recently experienced joint pain or discomfort, and now it’s not arthritis, you may have a subluxation.

What is a subluxation? A subluxation is when a part of your body becomes misaligned or partially dislocated and no longer functions properly. Because joints fit into sockets and join other bones, they must remain carefully aligned to avoid pain and discomfort.

The smallest hair out of place can disrupt nerves and muscles, affecting the shoulders, spine, knees, feet, or wrists. A subluxation causes pain and discomfort, especially when you use the affected body part.

If you think you may be suffering from a joint subluxation, this guide will go through everything you need to know. Keep reading to learn about the different types of subluxation, the causes, and how you can recover from partially dislocated joint injuries.

Symptoms of Subluxation

As joint and spinal subluxation is a partial dislocation. Although it is quite painful, it is perhaps less pronounced as full dislocation symptoms. That said, if you’re experiencing a lot of pain around your joints or spine, look out for these other symptoms that may come with subluxation.

joint pain

Joint, spine, and subluxation neck symptoms include:

  • Pain and swelling in the joint and surrounding area
  • A feeling of joint instability
  • Lack of full mobility and standard range of motion
  • Some numbness
  • Bruises

You may not experience all these subluxation symptoms. However, if you’ve recently had an injury or you have a medical condition that would destabilize your joints, you may want to seek medical attention.

Types of Subluxation

You have many joints that could experience subluxation, but some joints that are more prone to misalignment or dislocation. Here are the most common areas:

The Subluxation of the Shoulder

If you’ve been experiencing shoulder instability, you may have a case of dislocation, or shoulder subluxation.

The top of your arm fits into the socket of your shoulder, similar to when you place your fist in your other hand. When properly aligned, the arm can move around freely in the socket with a full range of motion.

When the ball isn’t in the socket correctly, you can experience pain if you try to move your arm as you normally would.

With how often we are moving our arms in all kinds of ways, it’s easy to see why shoulder subluxation may be one of the most common culprits of shoulder injury. The tiniest amount of dislocation can lead to a completely limited or lack of range of motion for your arm.

Shoulder subluxation often comes from doing the same movements repeatedly, wearing down on your ligaments. And after all, your ligaments hold a lot of responsibility for holding everything correctly in place.

The Subluxation of the Patella

Your patella—or kneecap—fits into a specific groove at the end of your tibia— the lowest point of your thighbone. If dislocated, it can cause pain every time you take a step. We put a lot of pressure on our knees, and sometimes they can’t take it.

As noted, shoulder subluxation results from repeated wear and tear. In contrast, patellar dislocation causes usually involve impact-related injuries. Falling or taking a direct hit to your kneecap may cause knee subluxation.

This injury-related dislocation may be why patellar subluxation is the most common in young people.

The Subluxation of the Vertebrae

One of the most common kinds of joint subluxation you may experience is spinal subluxation. Your spine has 33 vertebrae, with each vertebra carefully aligned to support your back. Because of this, even some minor subluxation of spine cases can cause a lot of worry and pain.

Your vertebrae are some of the most critical parts of your body. And the fact that 12,000 people suffer serious spinal injuries every in the United States shows how quickly they can get damaged.

Subluxation of the spine occurs when a vertebra becomes dislocated or the ligaments surrounding the vertebrae become misaligned. You also can experience subluxated vertebrae in your neck.

A subluxated spine will cause shooting pains. You may feel pains when you’re moving or when you’re still.  This pain can worsen over time, which is why subluxated vertebrae are nothing to ignore.

The Causes of Subluxation

There are many causes of joint subluxation, the most common ones being injury or medical conditions. Either one can weaken and cause a partial dislocation of your joints.

The three most common subluxation causes:

  1. Overuse and repetitive motions. When you use a joint over and over, you overwork that joint. It can lead to a subluxated spine, shoulder, or elbow. Think of conditions like tennis elbow or swimmer’s shoulder.
  2. Trauma to joint. A one-time force to your joint could be enough to cause subluxation neck symptoms, shoulder, or especially the patella. With car accidents being the number one cause of spinal injury, you can see how just one hit from a car accident could change your spine.
  3. Weakened ligaments. As you get older or suffer from different injuries, your ligaments weaken over time. Age may lead to hyperextended joints that are more likely to sustain injury.

How Subluxation Can Be Treated

Thankfully, just as there are various causes, there are several options for treatment like pain relief, therapy, or in severe cases, surgery.

Once your doctor has diagnosed you with subluxated joints, it’s vital to take action. Seek out the best subluxation spine treatment and follow your doctor’s directions for a full recovery.

Resetting the Joint

The first step is having your doctor reset the joint back in place. You may feel tempted to “pop it back” into place yourself. However, we don’t recommend this.

A chiropractor can reset the joint properly for optimal alignment. They also can check for other issues like damaged nerves or muscles. With the proper examination, a chiropractor can provide treatment that doesn’t lead to further injury.

Following RICE

Once the joint is back where it should be, you can begin healing. The treatment after resetting will often follow the RICE treatment: rest, ice, compression, and elevation.

RICE may lead to a fast recovery, depending on the extent of your injury and your overall health.

Taking Medication

Besides RICE treatment, you can supplement your treatment by taking an anti-inflammatory medication. A doctor may prescribe you something, or you can take over-the-counter medications to reduce swelling for faster healing.

Considering Surgery as a Last Resort

If these non-invasive treatments aren’t enough, your doctor may need to refer you for joint surgery. The specifics of your surgery will depend on your injury and the joint involved. Surgery may involve joint replacement or repair for the connecting ligaments and tendons.

Rehab and Recovery

If immediate and short-term treatments are not enough to restore your body to its pre-subluxation state, a long-term treatment plan can help.

If you and your doctor pursue long-term joint and subluxation spine treatment, you should see an experienced chiropractor like Dr. Doug Loehrer or physical therapist. Expert treatment in addition to at-home exercises can significantly improve your recovery process and have you back to life before your injury.

Once you know that you have suffered from a joint or spinal subluxation, it’s crucial to take action. Only when you take your injury seriously and take care of yourself can you begin on the path to a full recovery.

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