• Pathophysiology

Pathophysiology refers to the way a person’s body or a specific organ is affected by disease, which can cause structural damage. In chiropractic treatment, this often happens when the spine starts to break down, joints stop working properly, and bone spurs grow in an attempt to connect malfunctioning joints. This can cause scar tissue to form and the nervous system to be impacted, leading to muscle weakness and reduced movement in the affected area.

How does pathophysiology occur?

Pathophysiology and vertebral subluxation complex (VSC) can be caused by a variety of factors. These factors may include trauma, such as a car accident or a fall, poor posture, repetitive motion injuries, sports injuries, emotional stress, and even poor diet and lifestyle choices. Additionally, age and genetics can also play a role in the development of these conditions. The exact cause may vary from person to person and may involve a combination of these factors.

Pathophysiology and its Relation to Vertebral Subluxation Complex

Vertebral subluxation complex (VSC) is a set of signs and symptoms that affect the spinal column, and pathophysiology is one of its five parts. The other four parts are:

•Spinal kinesiopathology.

This part of VSC starts the process of pathophysiology and affects the other parts. It happens when the bones of the spine are not in their natural position and don’t move like they should, making it hard for the person to move and bend.


The muscles that support the spine may become weak, causing them to shrink or become rigid, leading to spasms. All of this muscle tension can cause the growth of scar tissue that, over time, alters the muscle tone.


When the spine doesn’t work properly, it can hurt or inflame delicate nerve tissue, which is important for the nervous system to function correctly. The spine holds and safeguards these nerves and nerve tissue.


When the blood and lymph supplies increase, it can raise a person’s body temperature and cause inflammation and swelling in the tissues and muscles around the spine. This can result in protruding, torn, herniated, or deteriorated spinal discs.

How to Treat Pathophysiology

Chiropractors can use spinal adjustments and soft tissue work to treat pathophysiological conditions like the one described earlier.
Chiropractors use different techniques to adjust the spine and treat pathophysiology.

These techniques include:

•Toggle Drop:

The chiropractor will press down on the area of the spine being treated with crossed hands and then use a quick thrust to adjust the spine. This helps the vertebral joints move easier.

•Release Work:

This technique uses gentle pressure with the fingertips to separate the vertebrae and restore mobility in the spine.

•Side Posture:

A chiropractic side posture adjustment, also known as a lumbar roll, is a technique used by chiropractors to adjust the lower back or lumbar region of the spine. During the adjustment, the patient lies on their side while the chiropractor uses a quick but manipulative thrust to return the vertebrae to their original position.

•Instrument Adjustments:

This is a gentle method of adjusting the spine that uses a spring-loaded activator instrument.

•Table Adjustments:

A chiropractic table adjustment is a technique used by chiropractors to adjust the spine. During the adjustment, the patient lies on a special table with sections that can drop down. With a swift thrust from the chiropractor, a section of the table drops down as the patient’s body maintains its movement. The thrust, drop, and momentum of the patient’s body work together to help align the spine.

Active Release Techniques

When someone has a pathophysiological condition, just adjusting the spine may not be enough to help them feel better. This is because the muscles around the spine can become weak and scar tissue can develop. So, chiropractors may also use something called soft tissue work to help. This can include things like massage or active release techniques (ART).

With ART, the chiropractor will first feel the patient’s tissues to determine their texture, motion, and tension. Then, they will perform different touch-based techniques to help restore mobility, break down fibrous adhesions, free trapped nerves or blood vessels, reduce pain, and improve blood and oxygen flow to the muscles and tissues.

If you would like to learn more about pathophysiology treatments and how they can help you, contact our office today to schedule an appointment.