Subluxations are mentioned in the diagnostic criteria for EDS, but I’ve come to realise that it’s actually very difficult to describe what exactly they are. They are medically defined as a ‘partial dislocation’ or one that resolves by itself quite easily. So, either the joint comes apart only slightly before falling back into place, or it actually dislocates but then goes back into place almost immediately.
But, what exactly does it feel like? Sometimes you can actually see that the joint is not right, but often it just ‘feels wrong’. I’ve only recently realised that, while I’ve only had one or two dislocations in my life, my joints actually sublux multiple times a day. The worst culprits are my knees, followed by my ankles, which causes me to stumble quite a lot, especially on stairs. My shoulders sublux too, but only if reaching something high above my head. Unlike subluxations in the ‘normal’ population, mine go back into place quite quickly. Mostly on their own, but sometimes with a little ‘jiggling’. Because of this, and because there is no associated swelling and it’s often not visible, I have never been able to show them to my doctor. Lucky my diagnosing rheumatologist took me at my word!
I’ve also recently discovered that ‘subluxation’ is also a word used by chiropractors, but with a very different meaning. They base their entire pseudoscience on it, claiming spinal subluxations are the root cause of all disease. Obviously, this type of subluxation is not the type I’m talking about.
So, there you have it. A diagnostic symptom that’s hard to define, but impossible to ignore. Believe me, if you’ve ever had one, you’ll know what I’m talking about!
[image of a blue background, with the words ‘S is for Subluxations’ in black.]