Chiropractors use the term SUBLUXATlON to describe a specific problem or disease of the spinal column. A subluxation is defined as a misaligned vertebra that is ?stuck? or unable to move correctly. When movement between two vertebra is restricted, the animal will not have total flexibility of the spine. Stiffness, resistance and lack of ability results.
Subluxations also cause problems in the nervous system especially at areas where nerves exit between two vertebra. Misaligned vertebra cause problems in nerves by interfering with nerve transmissions. Nerves are the communication lines of the body carrying information back and forth between the brain and the cells. Subluxations may be pictured as pinching off or altering that flow of information. Depending on the area and amount of nerve interference, problems may then develop in the body.
Every movement from simple swishing of the tail to the piaffe in dressage requires a constant synchronization of muscles in con- traction and relaxation. If proper nerve messages to muscles are obstructed, this coordination will falter. Minor interferences may only result in slight changes in performance. In high levels of com- petition, however, even these slight changes may affect performance success. Lack of muscle coordination can cause missteps resulting in damage to the joints and tendons of the legs. Nerve pressure can also result in pain. Pain also prevents horses from working at optimum potential.
Subluxations in the spine may cause the animal to compensate in movement or posture. The animal may attempt to avoid pain of a subluxation by shifting weight or by avoiding certain movements. When the spine is not functioning correctly in one area, stress is placed on other vertebral joints. Secondary subluxation can occur in other areas of the column further complicating the problems.