Minneapolis-area Chiropractic Clinic: Kelly ChiropracticGwendolyn E. Kelly-Kohnke, DC
8421 Wayzata Blvd. Suite 220
Golden Valley, MN 55426
Phone: (763) 231-0143
Certified Chiropractic Sports Practitioner®
Chiropractor Dr. Gwen Kelly
Back Pain Relief

Chiropractic Subluxation

One of the primary sources of back pain is subluxation.  A subluxation is the malposition of and/or abnormal function of a motion segment (a joint and surrounding bone and tissue) that can affect the nervous system, muscles, organs, and other systems of the body. The following is what the Association of Chiropractic Colleges has to say in it's Position Paper #1 concerning chiropractic and the treatment of subluxations.Human Spine and Pelvis

"Chiropractic is concerned with the preservation and restoration of health, and focuses particular attention on the subluxation.

A subluxation is a complex of functional and/or structural and/or pathological changes that compromise neural integrity and may influence organ system function and general health.

A subluxation is evaluated, diagnosed, and managed through the use of chiropractic procedures based on the best available rational and empirical evidence.

Chiropractic is a health care discipline which emphasizes the inherent recuperative power of the body to heal itself without the use of drugs or surgery.

The practice of chiropractic focuses on the relationship between structure (primarily the spine) and function (as coordinated by the nervous system and how that relationship affects the preservation and restoration of health. In addition, Doctors of Chiropractic recognize the value and responsibility of working in cooperation with other health care practitioners when in the best interest of the patient."

A subluxation can happen in any joint, so chiropractic care also involves the extremities (arms and legs).  Chiropractic can help with a variety of health problems that include back pain, but are not limited to back pain.  Throughout the rest of this web site you can learn about some of the other problems that chiropractic care can help.

Note: You may also hear this problem referred to as a non-allopathic lesion, vertebral subluxation, vertebral subluxation complex, or segmental dysfunction.

For a video about this issue and how chiropractic works click here


Disc Injuries

Disc injuries, like subluxations, can be a source of back pain.  The vertebral disc is made of cartilage.  It does not have very good vasculature (blood vessels) or innervation (nerve supply).  Because of this, disc injuries take a long time to heal.  

Picture a disc like a jelly doughnut in between two bones (vertebra).  The inside of the disc, the jelly, is called the nucleus pulposis.  The outside of the disc, like the outside of a jelly doughnut, is tough and called the annulus fibrosis. The outside of the disc is made of fibrous tissue.  A herniated disc is when the jelly (nucleus pulposis) squishes out of the doughnut (annulus fibrosis).  It is then possible for the squeezed out jelly to compress nerves and cause pain.  

Chiropractic is helpful in relieving pain due to disc injuries.  There are many gentle techniques used to decrease pain, and increase function of the injured area.  Chiropractic is a good place to start in the treatment of disc injuries, because it is more conservative than surgery. 



Sciatica is pain caused by impingement of or interference with the sciatic nerve.  There are many causes of this impingement.  Disc herniations, muscle tightness or imbalance, chiropractic subluxation, and others, can cause sciatica.  The pain sciatica causes is usually sharp or tingling pain, in the back of the thigh above the knee.  There are, however, many different descriptions of pain that people with sciatica have.

The sciatic nerve can be affected in many ways. Your chiropractor will need to do a history and exam in order to tell where the problem is coming from. The sciatic nerve originates from spinal nerves in the low back (from the ventral rami of L4-S3 or the forth lumbar nerve root through the third sacral nerve root) . From the spinal cord it exits in between the vertebra (bones) of your low back, as well as from your sacrum (below your low back and above your tailbone). At this point there are many things that can cause the sciatic nerve to be irritated. Injured discs and spinal degeneration are two possible ways that the sciatic nerve can be irritated as it exits the spinal cord (actually there is no cord at those levels because the chord has branched off like a horses tail, but talking about the spinal chord is less complicated). A less serious and more simple cause of sciatic irritation at the spine is subluxation (malposition of bones and dysfunction of the joints that can affect the nervous system and surrounding soft tissue), subluxations are what chiropractors adjust which often results in a cracking sound (cavitation). There are other possibilities, but above are three of the more common causes.

After the sciatic nerve exits the spine it runs under the piriformis muscle (on the anterior aspect of the muscle).  In some people the sciatic nerve actually goes through the piriformis muscle.  This means that any tightness of the piriformis muscle can irritate the nerve. Sometimes simple stretches and exercises can take care of the problem. The piriformis muscle attaches to the sacrum and the femur (thigh bone). So if there are any subluxations of your low back, sacrum or ilium (pelvis), hip, knees, or ankles, the piriformis might react by splinting and becoming tight which could irritate the nerve.

Note: there are things that can cause sciatica like symptoms that are not due to the sciatic nerve.

Chiropractic Treatment
Chiropractic treatment is extremely effective in treating sciatica.  The techniques and types of treatment used depends on the cause of the problem.  Typically treatment includes chiropractic adjustments and stretches, sometimes various therapies and nutritional supplements may be used.


Kelly Chiropractic, P.A. serves patients from the Twin Cities - Minneapolis area including Bloomington, Edina, Minnetonka, Eden Prairie, St. Louis Park, Hopkins, Wayzata, Plymouth, Maple Grove, Brooklyn Park, St. Paul, Anoka, Shakopee, Hastings, Eagan, Burnsville, Crystal, Golden Valley, New Hope, Robbinsdale, Hennepin County, Anoka County, Ramsey County, Dakota County, and Wright County.

Thank you for visiting the Kelly Chiropractic, P. A. web page. Please note that the information located on our site is not intended to provide specific chiropractic advice. You should consult with a chiropractic doctor and not rely on any information contained herein regarding your specific condition. We welcome the receipt of electronic mail. Please be advised, however, that the act of sending electronic mail to this office or to Dr. Gwendolyn E. Kelly-Kohnke, DC does not alone create a physician-patient relationship. We will neither accept requests for chiropractic advice or treatment nor offer specific chiropractic advice over the internet.  The information here is presented for general information purposes only and is not intended to be used as a substitute for medical advice.