Spinal Joint Dysfunction


Despite the fact that the back is just one small portion of the body, there are dozens of different factors that can cause back pain. Often the pain is located in one spot but we feel that pain in a different place altogether, which can make diagnosis and treatment tricky. There are many types of pain that accompany back pain in its varying forms; shooting pain, sharp pain, radiating pain and all over pain, just to name a few.

Sometimes however the back pain is very localized the injury or problem can be easier to determine. On occasion localized back pain can be due to spinal joint dysfunction. While it may sound like a big complicated-and scary-back problem, understanding spinal joint dysfunction is relatively easy.

Spinal Joint Dysfunction 101

Spinal joint dysfunction, also known as vertebral subluxation, occurs when at least one bone in the spine is out of place. This displaced bone may create pressure on nerves in the spine, which can have a negative impact on a person's range of motion.

The detailed explanation of spinal joint dysfunction is that the nervous system controls the functions of the body, but if the signals from the brain to the different parts of the body are interrupted or interfered with the messages aren't being received and interpreted properly. The end result is that your movements aren't as fluid as they should be.

Not all back pain is caused by spinal joint dysfunction so it is important to know which symptoms to be on the lookout for.


In addition to localized pain and limited range of motion, there are other signs and symptoms to indicate you may have spinal joint dysfunction. When combined with localized pain, the following symptoms may indicate vertebral subluxation:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Lack of balance
  • Discomfort of the joints
  • Numbness or tingling on the back of legs and arms
  • Limited spinal mobility
  • Pain or soreness localized to one area
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue or lethargy

Due to the way in which the spine affects many different aspects of the body and its movements, patients exhibit symptoms in a variety of ways. Not all patients with spinal joint dysfunction will experience fatigue or headaches but some do complain of discomfort in the neck, hips and shoulders.

If you have exhibited several of these symptoms for more than a week it is important that you see a back specialist as soon as possible.

Causes of Spinal Joint Dysfunction

There can be reasons that one person develops spinal joint dysfunction and another doesn't. For some the cause may never be known, while for others the cause can be an injury or trauma to the back. The trauma can be due to an auto accident, a sports injury, a minor fall or even something as seemingly benign as missing a stair on the way down.

Abnormally stretching the joints in the back can cause joint dysfunction, particularly if the stretching is a repetitive motion. This is especially true for athletes or those whose work requires repetitive movements.

Ingesting chemicals may interfere with the brain's ability to receive and respond to signals, which can cause a delay in movements. This interference can cause limited mobility and muscle function, which can lead to spinal joint dysfunction. In fact for some, the chemicals found in food can lead to this type of dysfunction.

Over time these symptoms will worsen, causing diminishing mobility and muscle strength. Do not allow the symptoms to persist for longer than a few weeks as the risk increases for more serious problems to develop. The sooner you receive a diagnosis, the faster you can begin a treatment plan and alleviate the pain.

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