Subluxation. Learn About Causes & Supplements for Relief

Updated: 11/29/23

Do you suffer from partial dislocation of the joints, also known as subluxation? Many people experience this painful condition without even realizing it. Subluxation is caused by a variety of factors such as weakened ligaments, incorrect postural alignment or inadequate muscular strength which can all cause damage to the surrounding joint structures. As a result, your ability to move freely and with ease becomes impaired and many times results in limited range of motion and serious pain when attempting simple activities. If left untreated for too long, subluxations can lead to further complications like arthritis and inflammation. Read on to learn more about what causes subluxation and supplements that may help provide some relief!

What is a Subluxation?

If you have ever visited a chiropractor, you have probably heard the term subluxation. A subluxation is a common cause of pain and discomfort that affects millions of people worldwide. Despite its prevalence, many people don’t fully understand what a subluxation is and how it can impact their health.

A subluxation occurs when one or more of the bones in the spine or joints move out of their normal position and become misaligned. This misalignment can create pressure on the surrounding nerves, causing inflammation and pain. The nerves affected by this can be those responsible for not just neck and back pain, but also headaches, digestive issues, and even respiratory problems like asthma.

These misalignments can occur due to many factors like auto accidents, poor posture, repetitive movements, and stress. Subluxations can also be attributed to age-related wear and tear on the body. These misalignments may not always cause pain or discomfort at first but may result in long-term health issues if left untreated.

Subluxations vary in severity. Sometimes joints simply go back into place on their own while other cases require physical therapy or surgery to restore mobility and prevent further damage to the surrounding tissue. Certain dietary supplements can also be useful for reducing inflammation and pain.

Subluxation Symptoms

If not treated as soon as possible, subluxation can lead to painful bone injuries. Luckily, there are less painful signs that infer this condition. Many parts of the body can become subluxated and symptoms can differ depending on the location. Some common locations and their symptoms include:

Patella (Kneecap)

Patellar subluxation occurs when there is a partial dislocation of the kneecap from its usual position in the groove located at the end of the femur — a bone located in the thigh. Signs could be:

Stiffness of the Knee

Subluxation patella can cause the knee to feel stiff or get stuck in one position. This happens due to the dislocation of the kneecap from its normal position. It can be a temporary condition, but if it persists, you must consult a doctor.

Pain While Sitting with Knees Extended

If you experience pain while sitting with your legs extended, it could be a symptom of subluxation patella. This is due to the movement of the kneecap, which can cause pressure and pain around the knee.

Locking of the Knee

The kneecap can also become locked in a certain position due to the dislocation. This causes a restriction of movement and often leads to pain while walking or standing up.

Pain Which Worsens after any Kind of Activity

Subluxation patella can cause severe pain with any physical activities like walking or running. The pain often gets worse with exercise, and if left untreated, it can become unbearable.

Swelling of the Knee

Dislocation of the kneecap can cause inflammation and swelling around the knee joint. This happens due to the disruption of tissues and cartilage surrounding the kneecap.

Slipping of the Kneecap to the Outer Part of the Knee

One of the most common symptoms of subluxation patella is when the kneecap slips or moves to the outer part of the knee. This movement often causes swelling, pain and discomfort in the knee joint.

Popping or Cracking of the Knee

Dislocation of the kneecap can also cause clicking or popping sounds when moving the knee. This symptom can be accompanied by pain and discomfort.


This shoulder subluxation happens when the ball of the humerus (the bone in the upper arm) partially protrudes from the shoulder bone’s socket, also called the glenoid socket.


Numbness along the arm is one of the most common symptoms of subluxation shoulder. This occurs when the nerves in the shoulder are compressed due to the partial dislocation of the joint. The numbness may extend all the way down to the fingers and make it difficult to perform simple tasks like picking up objects or typing on a keyboard.

Difficulty Moving Joints

Difficulty moving the joints found in the shoulder area is another common symptom of subluxation shoulder. This occurs because the partial dislocation causes inflammation and swelling in the shoulder joint, making it difficult to move. As a result, you may experience pain while raising your arm or performing shoulder-related activities like throwing a ball.


Weakness of the arm is another symptom that often presents in individuals with subluxation shoulder. Due to the partial dislocation of the joint, the affected arm may feel weaker than the unaffected arm. This can make it difficult to perform certain tasks that require the use of the affected arm, such as lifting weights or carrying heavy objects.


Visible deformation of the shoulders is a dramatic symptom that is sometimes associated with subluxation shoulder. This occurs when the partial dislocation is severe enough to visibly alter the shape of the shoulder joint. This can be a cause for concern as it indicates that the injury is more severe and may require more aggressive treatment.

Swelling and Bruising

Swelling and bruising are other possible symptoms of shoulder subluxation. It can occur near the shoulder joint, and bruising may be present around the shoulder or upper arm. These symptoms may occur immediately after the injury or several days later.

Limited Range of Motion

Finally, shoulder subluxation can result in a limited range of motion. You may have difficulty reaching behind your back, lifting objects overhead, or performing other activities that require arm movement. This limited range of motion can be accompanied by pain and weakness.


Spinal subluxation develops when a spinal vertebra is misaligned compared to the other vertebrae.

Immobility or Difficulty in Moving

Subluxation happens when the spinal joints are not in their natural alignment. This can then hamper the flow of energy and information that your nervous system passes between your brain and the rest of your body. This is why subluxation is also referred to as a “silent killer.” Some of its symptoms include difficulty in moving or immobility. Whenever your nerves are impeded, it may be hard for you to move freely, leading to stiffness and pain. Therefore, if your movements become increasingly difficult over time, it may be a sign of an underlying problem in your spine.

Persistent Headaches

Another symptom of subluxation would be persistent headaches. As pressure builds up in your spine, it may lead to pressure points and irritation, which can cause tension headaches. The pain usually originates from the back of the neck before radiating to the forehead. This type of headache can last for extended periods, and medication may not always alleviate it.

Neck Pain

Subluxation can also lead to neck pain, which can be prominent in the back. This is because your neck is connected to your spine, and the pressure build-up can extend from there. This type of pain can be severe, and it can radiate to other areas of your body. It’s important to identify the root cause of your pain to alleviate it properly.

Causes of Subluxation

Subluxation Causes

Injury or Trauma

Subluxations can occur due to traumatic events such as car accidents, sports injuries, and falls. This type of injury can misalign a joint, causing the surrounding muscles, tendons, and ligaments to contract and spasm, which can lead to subluxation. Treatment for a subluxation caused by trauma may require chiropractic adjustments, massage therapy, and physical therapy.

Poor Posture

Poor posture is another common cause of subluxations. Leaning forward while you sit at your desk, hunching your shoulders, and slouching can all put undue pressure on your spine and joints, causing them to move out of alignment. To prevent subluxations caused by poor posture, make sure you sit up straight, take breaks to stretch, and invest in an ergonomic chair and workstation.

Repetitive Motion

Repetitive motions, such as typing, texting, and playing certain sports, can also cause subluxations. These types of motions can cause overuse of certain joints, leading to muscle imbalances and subluxations. To prevent subluxations caused by repetitive motion, try to take frequent breaks to stretch and change up your routine to avoid putting too much strain on any one joint.

Food and Nutrition

What we eat and drink can impact our spine’s health also. Nutrients such as calcium, vitamin D, and protein are essential for maintaining strong bones, muscles, and connective tissue. Dehydration can cause spinal discs to become brittle and lead to subluxation as well. Drinking plenty of water and consuming a balanced diet with plenty of nutrient-dense foods is important to prevent subluxation.


Dehydration can also be a cause of subluxations. Water helps to keep the discs between your vertebrae lubricated, and when you are dehydrated, these discs can become compressed, leading to subluxations. Make sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially if you are engaging in physical activity.

Emotional Stress

Emotional and mental stress can lead to tense muscles, which can cause a misalignment of the spine. This phenomenon related to the misalignment of the spine due to prolonged stress is called a “vertebral subluxation complex”.

Lack of Exercise

Exercise is crucial for maintaining a healthy spine. When you don’t engage in regular physical activity, your muscles can weaken, and your posture can suffer. This can lead to subluxation, especially if you have a job that requires you to sit for long periods. Make sure you exercise regularly to keep your spine healthy and aligned.


Finally, genetics can play a role in subluxations. Some people may be born with weakened ligaments, making them more prone to subluxations. If you have a family history of subluxations, make sure you take steps to prevent them, such as strengthening exercises, maintaining good posture, and eating a healthy diet.

Chiropractic View of Subluxation

Subluxation occurs when your vertebrae (the bones that make up your spine) are misaligned. This misalignment can cause pressure on nerve fibers, impairing their ability to transmit signals from your brain to the rest of your body. This lack of communication can lead to a wide variety of health issues, including pain, numbness, and tingling sensations. Chiropractors believe that subluxation interrupts your body’s natural healing ability and that fixing subluxations can help keep your nervous system functioning correctly.

Chiropractors deal with subluxations in a few different ways. The most common method is through adjustments, which are the manipulation of the vertebrae to realign them correctly. These adjustments are done manually, and they access the joints that are most affected by subluxations. Chiropractors understand that every patient’s body is different, and their adjustments are tailored to suit each individual, taking into account their age, condition, and general health.

The benefits of receiving chiropractic care for subluxations are numerous. Firstly, chiropractic adjustments are a non-invasive and drug-free way of treating pain. They also help improve spinal mobility and promote better body alignment. Additionally, removing subluxations from your spine can improve your overall nervous system’s function, leading to fewer health issues in the long term.

Historically, the profession of chiropractics hasn’t enjoyed the same esteem as conventional medicine. Even within the chiropractic community, debate continues over the role that “subluxation syndrome” should play in the way DCs treat their patients. Nevertheless, many people have found great relief of back pain and other ailments through chiropractic treatment.

Subluxation Treatment 

For a subluxation to heal, the displaced bone needs to put back into place. This can be relatively easy to do. For example, a professional healthcare provider could put a bone back into its socket by applying pressure. In other cases, it can be a tricky undertaking requiring a surgeon. After the bone returns to its proper position, focus of the treatment shifts to reducing swelling, discomfort and chances of reoccurrence.

Understand the Cause of Subluxation

To know how to treat subluxation, you first need to unearth what causes it. Subluxation can either occur as a result of a traumatic injury or prolonged incorrect posture. The latter is the most common cause, and it can create pressure points in your spine, leading to restricted blood flow and nerve interference. A chiropractor can assess your condition and identify the source of your subluxation, which will inform the treatment recommendations.

Seek Chiropractic Treatment

Chiropractic care is a non-invasive, drug-free medical approach that specializes in correcting spinal subluxations. Chiropractors use spinal adjustments to manually apply force to affected joints, creating movement and realignment. This entire process is gentle and will provide fast relief for subluxation symptoms. Chiropractic treatment recommendations vary depending on an individual’s specific form of subluxation; some individuals will require frequent and more prolonged sessions, while some can release in as little as one session.

Decompression Therapy

Another treatment option for subluxation is spinal decompression therapy. This particular therapy uses traction to create a negative intradiscal pressure, which can remove the pressure that’s leading to the subluxation. Decompression therapy can also help to increases in blood flow, nutrient, and oxygen to the affected area, which is necessary for optimal healing.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy for subluxation usually combines targeted exercises with massage and chiropractic adjustments. It is essential for taking care of your body by strengthening muscles, improving blood flow and circulation, and improving flexibility. When done correctly, physical therapy can help prevent subluxation from becoming chronic and potentially damaging.

Massage Therapy

Massage therapy is particularly effective when it comes to subluxation, such as extended sitting or standing. It also works well in conjunction with other therapies such as chiropractic and physical therapy. The benefits of massage are profound as it helps to reduce overall stress, improve circulation, and promote muscle relaxation, which can all contribute to correcting subluxation.


Resting, while so easy, is often the hardest thing to do. It’s important to try to keep the injured area still, however, so that tissue surrounding the bone can begin to heal. Resting may include use of a sling, crutches or splint, depending on what part of the body is subluxed. Putting a limit on the pressure and force of the targeted joint may also reduce the swelling of the joints.


Applying ice on the swollen part of the body can reduce the inflammation. Using ice on inflamed joints at least 2 to 3 times per day for 20-30 minutes at a time (per your healthcare professional’s advice) can relieve pain and swelling.


Elevating a subluxated area can help reduce swelling.

Supplements for Subluxation

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are essential for maintaining the optimal health of joints and reducing inflammation. The best sources of omega-3 fatty acids are fish like salmon, tuna, and sardines. If you do not consume enough fish in your diet, you can opt for omega-3 supplements that contain eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) to promote joint health and prevent subluxation.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is essential for the absorption of calcium in your body, which is crucial for maintaining healthy bone and joint structure. Low levels of vitamin D can lead to osteoporosis and other joint complications that can cause subluxation. You can get vitamin D from sunlight exposure and foods like egg yolks, beef liver, and fatty fish. If you have low vitamin D, it is recommended to take supplements that contain this essential nutrient.


Glucosamine is an amino sugar that is naturally found in the joints and cartilage, and it can help alleviate joint pain and improve mobility. As we age, the levels of glucosamine in our body decreases, leading to a weakened joint structure and increased risk of subluxation. By taking glucosamine powder, you can promote joint health and provide your body with the necessary nutrients to combat subluxation.


Collagen is the primary protein that makes up our connective tissues, including our joints, tendons, cartilage, and bones. Additionally, collagen supplements can promote bone health, prevent osteoporosis, and reduce the risk of subluxation. Collagen supplements can help reduce joint pain and stiffness and improve mobility. 


Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory agent that can help reduce joint inflammation, pain, and stiffness. It contains curcumin, which is a potent antioxidant that can protect your cells from oxidative damage. Adding turmeric to your diet or taking turmeric curcumin capsules can provide your body with the necessary nutrients to prevent joint complications and reduce the risk of subluxation.


Magnesium is an excellent supplement for subluxation and muscle pain. It helps regulate muscle and nerve function, energy production, and blood pressure. Magnesium also plays a crucial role in bone and joint health. It is found in foods such as spinach, almonds, and black beans. In some cases, magnesium supplements can help reduce symptoms of subluxation.


Ginger has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for pain and inflammation. It contains gingerols, which help alleviate inflammation and soreness in muscles and joints. Ginger tea, ginger supplements, and even fresh ginger in recipes all provide similar anti-inflammatory effects.

The Bottom Line

While it may not be life-threatening, subluxation can cause permanent damage if it goes untreated or becomes complicated. The most common cause of subluxation is traumatic force, i.e., accidents or sports injuries. However, some people are more prone to recurrent subluxations due to factors like unusually flexible connective tissue, their bone structure, genetic predisposition, or prior injuries. Seeking prompt medical attention to put the bone back into place, as well as taking measures that allow it to heal properly minimize the risk of permanent nerve damage and loss of mobility. Rest, ice, physical therapy, and even surgery may all be necessary.

Subluxation can be a debilitating condition, but by incorporating these supplements into your routine, you can potentially reduce inflammation and pain symptoms. Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, turmeric, magnesium, and ginger all provide powerful anti-inflammatory support to the body. By including these supplements in your daily life, you may experience less pain and better overall joint health. Of course, maintain routine healthcare visits and consult with your healthcare provider before starting any new supplement.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Author: James D