Spinal Range of Motion & Chiropractic Care


The spine is made up of many small bones called vertebrae that are stacked on top of each other. These vertebrae have specific shapes that allow the spine to move through five ranges of motion (forward flexion, backward extension, left and right rotation, and left and right side bending). When a spine is healthy, these vertebrae will move without any pain or stiffness. A “spinal subluxation” is when the back loses its natural ability to move in any or all directions. This can cause mild symptoms like neck pain, back pain, hip pain, shoulder pain, knee pain, and bad posture or more severe conditions like sciatica, degenerative disc disease, disc herniations, disc bulges, and osteoarthritis.

Causes of Subluxation:

There are three main causes of subluxations:

  • Physical Trauma such as car accidents, sports injuries, slips, falls, surgeries, or any other forces that damage the body.
  • Repetitive Stress such as bad posture, bad work ergonomics, being overweight, excessive sitting, spending too much time looking down at electronics, working a physically demanding job, excessive driving, bad form with weight lifting, and many more.
  • Poor Health such as not stretching, not exercising, excessive work or family stress, and not having a maintenance routine.

How a Subluxation Causes Pain:

When the back does not move through its proper range of motion, several things occur:

  • Joint Friction – The joint only moves on a small portion of the bone, and this creates excess wear and tear on that specific section. This is similar to when your car tires are not aligned, and it wears down one part faster than the rest.
  • Adaptation – The muscles and ligaments start to change to match the new range of motion. This means some ligaments start to shrink, and some start to become longer.
  • Weakness/Atrophy – When range of motion is limited, this weakens the ligaments and muscles, making them more prone to injury.

Pain and Injuries Caused by Subluxations:

A spinal subluxation starts out by causing minor pain, stiffness, and inflammation but can eventually cause more serious issues like disc degeneration, disc bulges, disc herniations, sciatica pain, and osteoarthritis. Initially, a spinal subluxation will make it hard to sit up straight, reduce range of motion, and cause minor aches and pains. Unfortunately, if left untreated, the biomechanics of the spine will start to deteriorate, and the inflammation becomes more robust, leading to more long-term consequences. These consequences are a result of the three main factors listed above: Joint Friction, Adaptation, and Weakness.

Subluxation Treatment Options:

  • Spinal Adjustments – Chiropractic Doctors are the leading health professionals for providing spinal adjustments and treating subluxations. The adjustment will help restore normal range of motion and reduce joint friction. Here at Premium Chiro, Dr. Sam strives to provide the best chiropractor in San Diego.
  • Muscle Therapy – These are things such as myofascial release, massage, stretching, cupping, and soft tissue scraping. Dr. Sam at Premium Chiro uses all these modalities to help patients achieve their health goals and to treat spinal subluxations. Dr. Sam worked professionally as a Massage Therapist for 10 years and uses many of his Deep Tissue Massage techniques to help patients feel their best.
  • Therapeutic Exercise – Targeted exercises can help restore spinal range of motion from both physical trauma or repetitive lifestyle habits. Dr. Sam received his B.S. in the study of human movement with an emphasis in Physical Therapy from SDSU. With this advanced training he is able to give personalized exercise plans to help his patients.
  • Improving Overall Health – Common ways people can improve their health include: less time sitting, more exercise, taking yoga, better stress management, losing weight, and increasing their water consumption


A spinal subluxation is the loss of the vertebrae’s ability to go through its normal range of motion. This can cause excess friction, atrophy, and bad posture. Initially, the pain starts out minor, but the long-term consequences produce many of the issues people deal with in their later years. Dr. Sam strives to provide the best chiropractic care in San Diego to help people avoid issues like back pain, neck pain, sciatica, and even surgery.

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