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Vertebral subluxation refers to a set of signs and symptoms that affect the spinal column. Specifically, it is a complex that occurs when the bones of the spine lose their usual position and motion due to chemical imbalances, alcohol, prolonged sitting, trauma or even stress. An automobile accident and improper lifting are just two types of trauma that can cause vertebral subluxation complex, or VSC.

How Does Vertebral Subluxation Complex Affect the Body?

The term “complex” is associated with vertebral subluxation because, as the word suggests, the condition is multifaceted and consists of many elements. This is because VSC is the underlying cause of health care problems. When one or more vertebrae are misplaced or fail to carry out their intended motion, they can disrupt the function of the nervous system. The vertebral bones are designed to contain and guard this system, so interference can lead to pressure on the spinal cord or the nerve roots as they pass out of the spinal column. When VSC presents, a number of things can happen to affect the spine, its related soft tissues, and even the tissues and organs controlled by the affected nerves.

Vertebral Subluxation Complex and Its Five Interrelated Parts

VSC typically has — and is — identified by five major interconnected components, including:

  • Spinal kinesiopathology. This component sounds much like vertebral subluxation itself. Here, the bones of the spine have lost their natural motion and position, making it difficult for the patient to turn and bend. It sets the other four components in motion.
  • Myopathology. When the muscles sustaining the spine weaken, atrophy or become stiff, they can go into spasm. This can result in scar tissue that changes the muscle tone.
  • Neuropathophysiology. If the spine functions improperly, it can obstruct, stretch or agitate nerve tissue. Nerve tissue is delicate. Irritation in these ways can cause nerve system dysfunction and lead to aggravating symptoms elsewhere in the body.
  • Histopathology. A patient’s body temperature can rise due to an increase in blood and lymph supplies. This, in turn, can lead to inflammation and swelling, which can then cause discs to protrude, tear, herniate or deteriorate.
  • Pathophysiology. This is when abnormal bony growths like bone spurs try to meld faulty spinal joints, leading to decay of the spine, scar tissue and nerve dysfunction.

The articles within this section discuss each of the five components further. 

How Chiropractic Treatments Can Help

Your chiropractor will not only detect and minimize VSC, but, once the spinal bones are back in their normal position and have regained their natural function, he or she will try to prevent the problem from recurring. Chiropractic treatments, particularly spinal adjustments, can be used to treat VSC and ward off its associated symptoms.

To find out how chiropractic treatments can be designed to address your particular VSC-related condition, contact your practitioner.

  • Spinal Kinesiopathology

    Spinal kinesiopathology is the unusual positioning or motion of the spinal bones, to the point where the patient’s ability to turn and bend is restricted. It is one of five components of vertebral subluxation complex — a set of symptoms and signs that affect the spinal column — and it puts the

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  • Pathophysiology

    Pathophysiology means the function in an individual or an organ is disturbed due to disease, leading to a structural defect. In chiropractic care, it often presents when unusual bony growths, such as bone spurs, attempt to fuse malfunctioning joints, causing the spine to degrade, joints to become altered,

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  • Neuropathophysiology

    Neuropathophysiology refers to pathophysiological conditions that affect the nervous system. A more recognizable term may be neuropathy. Neuropathy is not a single disease; rather, it is an umbrella term used to describe a host of disorders that affect various nerves in various ways, in various areas

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  • Myopathy

    Myopathy refers to a group of muscle diseases that are caused by muscular dysfunction that results in muscle weakness and waste. It is important to recognize that while some myopathic conditions can be caused by reduced nerve supply or excess nerve supply, the disorders do not stem from a neurological

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  • Histopathology

    Following a car accident, the bones of the spine may shift out of their original position or lose their normal motion, in what’s called vertebral subluxation complex. This condition is characterized by a set of signs and symptoms that affect the spinal column. Histopathology is one of its five major

    Read more

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Testimonials

  • "I was in constant pain for years. I started getting adjusted with Gateway Family Chiropractic in Dec. for CRPS (chronic regional pain syndrome). After 4 visits the pain has dramatically reduced and is now at a 2/10 from a 10/10 on a pain scale. Now I come in one a month for maintenance and have no complains!"
    Bruce E - Longmont, CO
  • "Gateway Doctors, with only a few visits under my belt I feel so much better. On a regular basis here recently I encounter a rib problems where they were pushing on a nerve to where it became hard to breath I couldn't deal sith the symptoms. I called Dr. Hughes for much needed immediate relief. I caught them at the office after hours and explained my situation. They worked on my for about 20 minutes and I left with less side pain & was walking up right again. Gateway is the best would recommend 10 x over sincerely"
    Don C. - Loveland, CO
  • "All the staff at Gateway Chiropractic are wonderful. Dr. Mike Hughes has given my pain relief for the first time in over a year. Can't wait to continue my treatment!!!"
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  • "Drs. David and Michael Hughes are wonderful. My son had been going to another chiropractor with no results. Within just a few visits to Gateway Family Chiropractic, my son was able to return to work. Thank you Drs. David and Mike Hughes."
    Joe A. - Fort Collins, CO
  • "I came to this office a year ago with debilitating hip problems. I was so missed up it took about 6 months to get it to hold. After my first appointment, I no longer was needing pain medication. The most amazing part about this office is that Dr. Dave and Dr. Mike really take the time to know what was happening in my body. They recommend much needed supplements that helped in me get my life back. I could not function before I started coming here and will always be grateful for their knowledge and expertise in their field. THANK YOU GATEWAY. Don't forget how amazing the office staff is as well. Best chiropractic office in Northern Colorado. I definitely recommend you guys every day to others who need you!"
    Marissa S. - Loveland, CO
  • "Our Infant, Merrick, was placed with ear infection, congestion, and cough. Antibiotics were not helping and made things worse. He began vomiting. We were all exhausted & frustrated. We couldn't find anything that worked! We brought him to Gateway Chiropractic in Loveland. With steady treatments his ear infection and other symptoms went away. He is healthy and now growing without ear infection complications. This was a blessing for our baby and our family! We are so grateful!"
    C. Muth - Loveland, CO
  • "After a thorough and thoughtful review of the x-rays of my back and hips, Dr. Hughes adjusted me from my head to my knees. Yep, my knees! I was able to kneel down on the floor with my kids for the first time in years with no stiffness or achy knees. During the adjustment I felt unhurried and relaxed. I left with more range of motion in my neck, shoulders... & knees. Thank you! I recommend Dr. Hughes as a qualified and caring chiropractor!"
    Richard T. - Loveland, CO
  • "The staff is amazing. The practitioners were more than happy to try and treat my severe neck pain and limited range of motion. I could hardly move my head and upper back 2 weeks ago. After a series of x-rays to I.D. the problem, some other quantitative testing, both chiropractors were able to treat my PROBLEM in addition to diminishing my SYMPTOMS. After 2 weeks, I have full range, hardly any pain, slept better and more energy. I would HIGHLY recommend beginning ANY un-wellness at this clinic prior to MD approach to medication. THANKS FOR MAKING ME BETTER!"
    Rose W. - Loveland, CO
  • "My whole family LOVES Gateway Chiropractic. Dr. Mike and Dave are excellent! They are knowledgeable and take the time to explain how the body works & what they're doing to help the body heal. All the members of the team are friendly and helpful. I always enjoy my visits and love that they keep my healthy!"
    Stacey R. - Loveland, CO
  • "I was in constant pain for years. I started getting adjusted with Gateway Family Chiropractic in Dec. for CRPS (chronic regional pain syndrome). After 4 visits the pain has dramatically reduced and is now at a 2/10 from a 10/10 on a pain scale. Now I come in one a month for maintenance and have no complains!"
    Bruce E - Longmont, CO
  • "Drs' Mike and David are competent, concerned, and caring chiropractors. I am impressed with the tables they use to administer adjustments. The dropping mechanism makes the adjustment so focused and exact. I feel less pain and have more flexibility and range of motion now than before I began my treatments."
    Diane L. - Berthoud, CO
  • "I have severe arthritis. The pain getting worse & I thought I might need to have a hip replacement. Even after the first adjustment my hip felt better and I could finally sleep all night without waking in pain. Now I have almost no pain most nights and I am walking without limping. I am now doing yoga and Zumba, two activities I ahd stayed away from because my hip pain just wouldn't allow it! I had never gone to a Chiropractor before, now I don't think I will ever stop!"
    Dixie S. - Loveland, CO