Popped, cracked, misaligned, subluxated

What do all of these terms have in common? 

Skeletal joints are made to be strong, most of the time they are healthy and function properly. So why do we get issues such as pain, decreased motion and dysfunction in our body? Let’s look into this deeper.

Imagine you have 4 spinal vertebra or bones. In this scenario there are 3 joints, the top and bottom of the vertebra and the facet joints. There are three points of movement on each connection that are held in tact by muscles and ligaments. These connections allow for movement but only to a certain point.   

The injury:

Now imagine if a bone is pushed past its limits, every bone in our spine has a physiologic barrier. Injury can when the bone is forced passed its limit, examples are trauma, repetitive movement, over-extension or an abnormal position held for an extended period, think sleeping on a plane. The result is a bone that has stopped moving and functioning as its normally should. Chiropractors call this a restriction or subluxation.

The Science:

What has occurred is that the muscles and tendons have become looped in a neuromuscular contraction or a Gamma loop. The causes are stress, trauma, pain, injury or incorrect biomechanics. This creates a negative feedback loop. The body engages the neuromuscular spindle and Golgi tendon spindle to prevent further injury. This signal contracts the muscles and tendons which created a bracing and therefore immobility and stiffness. During this loop, the body does not “release” or let go of the injury. It becomes ingrained in your body’s memory and becomes the new normal. This can prevent us from being able to do the things we love such as exercise, golf or lifting our children.


A chiropractor’s goal is to create healing in a joint that is dysfunctional. We treat the subluxation or restriction by breaking the negative feedback loop that is created in the body. We determine the length of treatment by how long the problem has been present. Usually it is anywhere between 20-30% of the total time the issue has been present. Once the loop is broken patients can regain function and mobility, which prevents future damage. My goal is to return patient’s back to health and function as soon as possible.

Dr. Stalmack

Renew Chiropractic and Functional Medicine