Is Cracking Your Knuckles Harmful?
An estimated 25–54% of people crack their knuckles on a daily basis, most of them being males. To some, waking up and stretching, cracking and popping their knuckles, back, neck and other parts of the body just feels good and comes naturally. “Don’t do that, you’ll get arthritis!” you may have heard people say. It comes off as an old wives’ tale, but does it actually hold any weight? Does cracking your knuckles (or other parts of the body) actually do long-term damage? Here I’ll address the facts and fiction of cracking joints.
What Causes Cracking in Joints?
First and foremost, it’s important to understand what causes the popping sounds when you crack your joints — a mystery that still isn’t 100% solved, but there are a couple of leading theories. The first one involves synovial fluid bubbles. Synovial fluid is a viscous fluid found in synovial joints, which are the most movable types such as the shoulders, knees, wrists, etc. When a joint is pulled, gas present inside of the join is released, forming gas bubbles within the synovial fluid. The presence of the bubbles and the sudden change of pressure causes them to burst, which in turn cause the popping sound you hear when you crack your knuckles.
Another, more probable, theory involves something called cavitation. This is when cavities form inside of a joint when pulled, bent, twisted or otherwise manipulated. These cavities are formed within the synovial fluid and then rapidly collapse, creating the sharp audible popping sound.
Is it Safe to Crack Your Knuckles (or Other Joints)?
The claim that cracking your knuckles leads to arthritis is not supported by any scientific evidence. However, in a study done in 2011, it was found that knuckle crackers are more likely to have chronic hand swelling and lower grip strength than those who do not habitually crack their knuckles. That being said, the study also failed to acknowledge that since knuckle cracking is often used as a stress reliever, habitual knuckle crackers were also more likely to take part in other activities such as manual labor, smoking, nail biting and alcohol consumption which may be the main factors in swollen hands and grip strength. This means that cracking your knuckles is correlated with hand issues, but is not necessarily the cause of them. But all in all, no, cracking your knuckles will not give you arthritis.
While cracking your knuckles has been found to be relatively harmless, other things can cause a snapping or a popping sound, such as when tendons snap over joints. In some cases, people may notice a consistent popping in their joint as they work out. For instance, if you feel/hear your shoulder popping over and over again as you lift weights, it could indicate that the muscles are tight and some extra stretching may be needed before you begin your workout. If the snapping becomes painful and radiates to other parts of the body, cease the workout immediately, take a warm shower to loosen the muscles, and visit a chiropractor. Painful popping in the joints could indicate a torn muscle or other injury. Your chiropractor can help to heal it to get you back on track.
For any further questions or to schedule a consultation, give me a call. I’ll help to develop a personalized treatment regimen that will help you become more limber, coordinated and balanced.
’Tis the season yet again. No, not holiday season. This season is arguably more exciting for parents — I’m speaking of course about back-to-school season! As we all finish up our last-minute shopping for new clothes, accessories and school supplies, it’s important to be aware of the impact heavy backpacks have on our children. Kids wear heavy backpacks to, from and during school for hours on end, 5 days a week. It truly does take a toll on kids’ posture and spinal health. In fact, during a study in Riverside, CA, an estimated 64% of children aged 11–15 complained that they had experienced back pain at some point due to their backpack — 2 of every 5 kids said they experience regular pain WHILE wearing their backpack. This pattern of behavior is not only painful in the short term, it has serious ramifications later on in life. Back pain is a serious matter, so it’s important to avoid bad habits — the earlier the better. Here are some tips to save your child’s spine this school year.
Studies have shown that backpack weight really starts to become harmful when it exceeds 20% of the carrier’s body weight. Most experts recommend sticking to 10–15%. So try leaving the heavy textbooks in the locker if they’re not needed for homework; and if they absolutely ARE needed, try to place the heavier books as close to the back as possible. If the majority of weight is placed away from the spine, the body tends to naturally bend forward to compensate. Over time, this leads to spinal subluxations and can do some real damage to the back muscles.
Get a Rolling Bag
Obviously the most productive thing you can do is to completely eliminate the need to carry large amounts of weight on your back. That’s where rolling bags/backpacks come into play. Students are able to carry everything they need without having to endure back pain day in and day out.
Buy a Higher Quality Bag
Get a backpack that’s made of sturdy, lighter material. Ensure that the straps are padded and that your child always wears the bag with two straps on the shoulders. Using only one strap will cause uneven weight distribution and such lopsided weight will cause problems in the spine. Additionally, be sure to adjust the backpack straps so that they’re fit snugly around the shoulders, so the bag can’t sway or flop around.
These simple steps are easy to take and they’ll help your child’s spine in the long-term. If your child has already complained about back pain, they may need extra help. As a family-oriented chiropractor, my practice is viable for people of all ages — from toddlers to kids to teenagers to adults. Get in touch to schedule a consultation today!
I take pride in the fact that my chiropractic practice is family-oriented. This means that I can help anybody in the family — from toddlers and kids to teenagers, adults and even senior citizens. Many older people have the mindset that it’s either too late in life for them to get help with their pain issues, or that chiropractic care is harmful to elderly, frail bodies. But this is at best a misconception. Chiropractic care is helpful for people of all ages, even if you think it’s “too late”.
The vast majority of chiropractic patients make their appointments in the first place because of pain issues. The fact that 80% or more of Americans will experience back pain at some point in their lives says it all. Take into account that the elderly do, in fact, become more fragile as they age, and there’s no surprise that pain and chronic conditions such as arthritis become much more common. Daily tasks may become more difficult, pain becomes prevalent and in many cases, multiple medications are taken daily.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. I custom tailor each of my treatments according to the needs of each individual. This means that if I need to be gentle, I’ll be gentle. If you suffer from arthritis, I’ll forgo certain techniques and implement others. My job is to ensure treatment — even if it is supplementary working with other types of pain remedies. I will fix the subluxations that affect the spine, relieving pain and inflammation using drug-free and non-invasive methods.
Improve Range of Motion, Coordination and Balance
Because bones grow fragile and muscles become weaker as we age, it only comes naturally that range of motion decreases and balance becomes harder to maintain. An estimated 33% of seniors fall down each year; and when flexibility and fragility are increased, so too is the chance of serious injury.
Chiropractic care aims not only to relieve pain, but to strengthen the muscles around the spine by prescribing simple daily stretches and exercises. They don’t take long to do, but they go a very long way in improving balance to decrease the odds of falling down. And since the exercises strengthen the muscles, they also help to neutralize any severe injuries that come with falling down.
Stay Out of The Nursing Home
A study titled “Chiropractic for the Elderly” was done in the Journal called Topics of Clinical Chiropractic. In it, they found that senior citizens showed a decrease in the severity of arthritis in those that had received regular chiropractic care as they aged. Other findings included:
So it’s never too late to start improving your range of motion, relieving pain, or decreasing the severity of your chronic condition. Chiropractic aims to strengthen your spine and increase healthy activity in general, so if you’re ready to start on the path to a healthy you, give me a call today!
It’s no secret that a sedentary lifestyle isn’t the healthiest. While most jobs involve physical activity — manual laborers, healthcare workers, education, childcare, etc. — it goes without saying that large swaths of the American population work in offices and hardly ever get out of their chair during a typical 8+ hour work day. For those that work in offices, if they don’t take extra care to exercise and be active in other ways throughout the day, it can lead to weight gain, poor blood circulation, weaker bones and muscles, a decrease in metabolism and a weak spine. All of these factors can lead to some serious health conditions. But the relationship between sedentary lifestyle and spinal degradation, decreased range of motion and negative impacts on flexibility are correlated. Here are a few tips to stay healthy at the office and stave off potentially crippling back and neck pain.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: daily stretches are your best friend. Take 10–15 minutes each morning after you wake up, before you get ready, to start your day off right — not with coffee, but with a few simple stretches that will improve your flexibility, strengthen your spine and retain your range of motion.
Take it one step further and do them at the office periodically. Feeling stressed and down during a rough day? Take a few minutes to stretch it out and do some deep breathing. Relax your body and your mind and let go of that stress. It may feel silly at first, but closing the door or going out into the hall to stretch for a few minutes can vastly improve your mood and physical health.
The benefits of walking and jogging are so numerous they’re impossible to count. Too often we spend the day at the office sitting down. Maybe we’ll walk to get lunch, go to grab more coffee or take bathroom breaks, but it’s not enough. Walking more is especially important if your form of unwinding at the end of the day involves sitting to watch TV, play video games or being on a computer. Instead, try to get in the habit of going for frequent walks both in and out of the office. After you eat lunch, don’t just go back to sitting at the desk. Go for a 10 minute walk as you digest to clear your head — invite your coworkers to join, if you want company. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Go walk around the office for 5 minutes every so often. It’ll make you feel better, more alert and at the same time helps to improve balance and coordination.
Invest in an Ergonomic Chair
You’ve probably heard of them, but may not know a whole lot about them. An ergonomic chair is great for both helping to relieve back pain and preventing it in the first place. They are designed to improve posture and retain spinal integrity. You’re sitting for 8+ hours per day, so it goes without saying that you should be as comfortable as possible; and while you’re at it, be proactive in your health, too. Sitting down all day is unhealthy, period. Sitting down all day in an ergonomic chair is slightly less unhealthy. But combine it with these other tips and you’ll see definite improvements in posture, mood and overall spinal health.
Schedule Regular Chiropractic Visits
One of the best things you can do when you live the sedentary office life is to visit a chiropractor. When patients schedule first-time consultations with me, I make sure to get all the relevant information — lifestyle, past surgeries, recent injuries, pregnancies, etc. — in order to custom tailor a treatment plan for them. Each patient has different needs and chiropractic isn’t a one-size-fits-all practice. During regular visits, I not only administer treatment, but I’ll make lifestyle recommendations, provide advice on how you can be more proactive in your health, and show you how to do some crucial stretches on your own at home.
The health consequences of the sedentary office lifestyle are often flippantly disregarded by modern society, since it’s so commonplace in the American workforce. But office life with no supplementary exercise, care for the spine, or proper treatment, is taking a serious toll on our bodies over time. I can help you deal with daily stressors and prevent the health decline that comes with an office lifestyle. If you’re ready to take your personal health into your own hands, give me a call and schedule a consultation today!
It’s that time of year again where the home’s best friend can be the spine’s worst enemy. I’m speaking of course, about summer gardening. Doing yard work can be cathartic and rewarding; hauling wheelbarrows of mulch, carrying bags of clippings and planting flowers help you not only beautify your property, but also to learn new crafts, get a good cardio workout and enjoy a productive hobby. But the wear and tear on your body can really take a toll throughout the warm seasons, so it’s important to warm up properly and take simple precautions to avoid back injury. After all, staying hunched over a plot of dirt all day isn’t good for your spine.
Stretch, stretch and stretch
Before you begin any sort of rigorous physical activity, you should take a few minutes to stretch. In fact, while you’re at it, stretch every day regardless. It helps you retain flexibility, improves your range of motion and gives you a better sense of balance, helping you to avoid injury during everyday activity.
But it’s particularly important to stretch before rigorous or prolonged physical activity. Generally speaking, yard work can take anywhere from a couple hours to a whole day. This is a long time to remain physically active. Whether hauling leaves or grass clippings, pushing a lawn mower, planting flowers or trimming trees and hedges, it’s important to prepare yourself to avoid injury. I’m not saying you need to do yoga every time you trim the hedges, just a quick 5–10 minute stretch will suffice.
Don’t go all-in all at once
You’re a hard worker. You deserve a break once in a while. Seriously, when you dedicate a day to yard work, take breaks every so often. Cool down inside, grab a glass of ice cold water and take a load off for 5 or 10 minutes before resuming. Being so focused on the task at hand can make time fly, but try to set an alarm on your phone every hour or so to take a break to re-hydrate and give your body some rest. It’s also beneficial to break monotonous tasks into segments. If you’re spending hours on end hunched over plants, it’s not going to go well for your spine. Instead, try switching activities every 20 minutes or so and come back to finish them later. Repetitive, strenuous motions should be avoided.
Take proper care of your spine
Getting regular chiropractic adjustments is healthy, especially during the warmer seasons. Between outdoor yard work and general increased outdoor activity in the summer, it’s important to ensure that you won’t injure yourself. Visiting a chiropractor will help you become more flexible and protect your joints from the natural wear and tear that comes with doing yard work and other strenuous physical activities. If you plan on doing some DIY projects this summer — whether simple gardening or tearing out hedges, consider scheduling a consultation today. Your physical health is my number one priority. I’ll create an individualized treatment regimen custom tailored to you to improve your flexibility, balance, range of motion, joint and spinal health, and more. Get in touch to get started.
Note: ALWAYS inform your chiropractor if you’ve recently been in any sort of accident or if you’re pregnant — it will drastically change your treatment plan!
Being in a car accident is terrifying no matter what the circumstances might be. The best outcome you can hope for is to walk away with no injuries. If you’re unfortunate enough to sustain even minor injuries, chiropractic care is your best friend on the road to recovery. It is designed to heal many injuries that typically result from car accidents. Despite the severity of the crash, it’s a good idea to see a chiropractor afterward — even if you feel fine in the moment. Here’s why:
As noted above, chiropractic is perfect for injuries sustained by car accidents — whiplash, muscle injuries, back and neck pains, strains and spinal subluxations just to name a few. It is great for treating soft tissue injuries, which even small-scale accidents can cause. Minor fender benders can cause serious whiplash or other injuries to be discovered at a later time. In the event of a car accident, your adrenaline will skyrocket and you may not even notice that your body took damage that disallows your usual range of motion, increases your pain levels, causes tingling in the extremities and leads to serious problems later in life. A good chiropractor will know exactly what to look for during your initial examinations and while planning your treatment regimen. Be sure to tell you chiropractor that you were recently in an accident so they know to adjust accordingly.
In certain extreme circumstances, surgery is inevitable. However, if costly and invasive surgery is at all avoidable, consult with a chiropractor before making any big decisions. It’s a non-invasive way of speeding up the recovery process, meaning you won’t have to interrupt your busy work/life schedule, you don’t need to go through tedious post-surgery recovery, and you’ll hopefully avoid the need for costly and often-dangerous prescription pain medications. Even in cases where surgery is necessary, seeing a chiropractor makes for great physical therapy and will increase the rate of recovery by strengthening your muscles to get back to their former selves even quicker. It’s the ideal supplement to surgery.
No Need for Pain Pills
Say you get into an accident but don’t suffer immediate, emergency-causing pain. You think you’re fine but suddenly a few days or a few weeks later you’re getting sharp back pain or neck pain that wasn’t present before. Your first reaction might be to take pain medication, but that only treats the symptoms, not the source! If you suffer from any sort of pain, it’s well past due to see a chiropractor. The pain indicative of deeper injury and, depending on the severity, can cause issues later on. Pain pills can be expensive and aren’t effective for long-term health. Chiropractic care will target the root of the problem. It not only treats your current pain but will help your body become strong enough to protect itself from future harm. Additionally, you’ll be steering clear of America’s opioid epidemic.
No matter the severity of your accident, it’s always a good idea to schedule a consultation to be safe — even just for a checkup! Chiropractic is focused on long-term pain relief and core strength, so if you or a loved one have unexplainable pain and have been in an accident, make an appointment today!
It’s been proven time and again that chiropractic care is the most effective, drug-free and non-invasive method to treat back and neck pain. But different methods of chiropractic can be used to treat even more ailments such as headaches and migraines, sports injuries, whiplash, sciatica, fibromyalgia, scoliosis, knee and ankle pain and more.
There’s no “one size fits all” approach to chiropractic. Each patient has their own unique issues, and since my practice is focused on long-term health, I’ve adopted many methods of chiropractic that are viable for any individual’s needs.
Massage therapy isn’t just relaxing; it’s also quite beneficial when combined with chiropractic care. In many situations, it aids in creating a speedy recovery from injury, it can vastly improve range of motion — especially in the elderly — and it supplements chiropractic treatments by relieving stress, inducing muscle relaxation and increasing the effectiveness of chiropractic. As an added bonus, it feels good, too!
Physiotherapy and Rehabilitation
I employ many methods of physiotherapy and rehabilitation to not only enhance the effectiveness of chiropractic, but to allow the patient to have more say in their health. Whenever necessary, I’ll prescribe patients various daily exercises and stretches so they can strive to improve without having to be in my office. This is because, while chiropractic is immensely beneficial, it’s not a one-and-done process. Particularly when it comes to recovering from injuries, constant incremental improvements are necessary. And since patients can’t come to my office every day, I’ll guide you on how to improve yourself at home.
One of the reasons I became a chiropractor in the first place is because when I was a young athlete playing basketball, I suffered an injury and experienced severe back pain — pain so intense I could barely walk or stand. After seeing a chiropractor, it changed my life. I made a quick recovery and knew what I wanted to do with my life. I know firsthand how sports injuries can affect your life, so I work with athletes not only to aid in injury recovery, but also to prevent injury in the first place and to optimize player performance.
Yes, chiropractic works for kids. Yes, it’s safe and it’s actually extremely beneficial especially before puberty. In times of rapid bone growth, it’s important to ensure that everything is in the right place and that the spine is developing correctly. It has life-long, positive effects on the child’s future well-being. As a family-focused center, we are trained in the unique needs of infants, children and teenagers.
I’ve covered the benefits of chiropractic during pregnancy extensively before, but many people don’t realize that it can greatly reduce the unwanted and negative symptoms of pregnancy including nausea, dizziness, back and neck pains and even morning sickness. Not only will it help the mother during the pregnancy, but chiropractic methods also strive to ensure a proper and speedy birthing process. By aligning the pelvis, it helps to shorten the labor period and avoid birth complications such as a breech or the need for a C-section.
Athletes understand that what they do is very physically demanding and there’s a high potential for injury every time they do it. Running, jumping, swimming, fighting, tackling and exerting your body to its fullest potential takes a toll and often results in sprains, strains and muscle tears. When any of these present themselves, it’s easy to turn to painkillers to treat the pain.
But pain pills present health hazards within their own right, plus they only treat the symptoms — they don’t tackle the root of the issue.
This is why chiropractic is so beneficial to athletes. Not only does it help the body heal after injuries occur, it also improves flexibility, range of motion, and optimizes the body in order to prevent future injuries from occurring in the first place.
What are Common Sports Injuries?
It’s important to note that not only does chiropractic care benefit those that have already been injured, it also helps to keep the body limber, preserve range of motion and strengthen the muscles and spine to better prevent injury in the future. If you lift weights once, do you just suddenly wake up stronger and with bigger muscles? No. And likewise, going to the chiropractor once will not suddenly cure your injuries or make you immune to it. Regular visits and checkups combined with recommended at-home stretches will slowly but surely improve your body’s healing process as well as build strength. If you’re considering visiting a chiropractor, always inform them if you’ve recently experienced an injury, had surgery or have any other health complications such as illness or pregnancy. Get in touch today if you’re ready to take the first steps to a healthier you!
Many assume that as we age, we become less capable of simple physical tasks. While it is true that the elderly are more fragile and are more likely to hurt themselves from slips & falls, it is a misconception that nothing can be done about it. For some, it may become a self-fulfilling prophecy; they assume they cannot complete physical tasks, so they don’t attempt in the first place. Being proactive in our physical health becomes more and more important as we age; and a lack of trying can become a major contributor to increased fragility later in life.
Aging is natural — but if you take care of your body earlier in life, you’ll be more equipped to deal with obstacles that present themselves later on. There are plenty of news articles about octogenarians that still run marathons, play hockey, go biking and more. We may think of them as anomalies, but they really don’t have to be.
Anyone can administer proper care for their bodies by staying active and eating healthy. Nevertheless, the body does still become slower and more fragile — that’s why chiropractic as you age is so crucial. It will help to preserve range of motion, improve your balance and keep you strong and limber.
How Does Elderly Chiropractic Work?
Chiropractic works the same for everybody, barring certain circumstances such as recent injury, surgery or pregnancy. As our bodies age so too do our spines. This degeneration can cause aches and pains that make mundane tasks more strenuous, which also contributes to mental decline, stress and a sense of worthlessness. Needing help doing simple tasks or being physically incapable of participating in hobbies is always a downer. But try not to let it get you down. You have a say in your own physical health.
One of the main reasons that people visit chiropractors in the first place is pain. Chiropractic care will help to relieve pain by strengthening the spine and central nervous system. A regular regimen of daily stretches, chiropractic and dietary recommendations go a long way in preserving range of motion and strength, allowing you to keep up with hobbies you love and creating a more positive outlook on life.
Why Should I Consider Chiropractic?
All things said, chiropractic isn’t a cure-all; visiting once a month won’t replacediet and exercise, but it will help your body make the most of them. Chiropractic care promotes whole body wellness and is designed to relieve stress, strengthen the muscles around the spine, and reduce inflammation, aches, and pains. It’s non-invasive, drug-free, healthy and safe for people of all ages from every walk of life. Your chiropractor will create an individualized treatment plan that best suits your needs. They will also make dietary recommendations and give you daily stretches when necessary. While you may not be in the news, running marathons in your 90s, it goes a long way in improving your everyday life by helping motivate you to be physically active and feel a sense of purpose.
Just because chiropractic is useful as you age doesn’t mean you should wait to make an appointment. It’s a useful supplement for people of all ages because it’s all about preventative maintenance to ensure a healthy future. The earlier you start, the easier the aging process becomes. That being said, it’s never too late to begin, either! So if you’re interested in making strides toward a healthier you, then schedule a consultation today.
Millions of Americans each year suffer from temporary or chronic neck pain. It can be a disabling condition because it will limit your physical abilities and take a significant toll on the mind. This affects all aspects of your life — work, social life and hobbies.
When you suffer from pain, it may be tempting to turn toward pain killers; but those only offer temporary relief. They don’t address the root issue and repeated use is detrimental to your health in the long run. As a chiropractor, my practice is dedicated to treating patients by fixing the causes of pain, not just treating the pain itself. I encourage my patients to employ stretches and exercises outside of my office for muscle strengthening, conditioning and expansion of range of motion.
Whether you have a kink in your neck caused by sleeping funny, you’ve had a stressful work week, or if you just want to get more limber, neck exercises are a great way to reduce pain and prevent it in the future. Here are some stretches you can do any time — even at work!
Standing Neck Stretch
This stretch targets the main muscles that contribute to tension pain. Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width and a slight bend in the knees. Slowly tilt your head to the left, bringing your left ear as close as possible to your left shoulder while looking forward. Slightly turn your chin toward the floor and hold this pose for 15 seconds. Slowly lift the head to an upright position and repeat, this time to the right side.
To restore or maintain your neck’s range of motion, do head turns once or twice every day. To begin, sit up straight in your chair or stand up, feet shoulder-width apart. Take a deep breath and slowly exhale. As you exhale, slowly turn your head to the left as if you’re looking over your shoulder. Once your head is fully turned, hold the position for one second and slowly begin to inhale. As you inhale, slowly rotate your head back to its original position. Hold for one second. Slowly inhale once again and this time turn your head to the right. Repeat this entire process 4 times.
The Arm Pull
This stretch is done standing up and stretches the sides of the neck. Stand up straight with your feet hip-width apart. Let both hands hang behind your back. Grab your left wrist with your right hand. With your right hand, slowly pull your left arm to straighten it and gently pull it straight back, away from the body. Increase the stretch by lowering your right ear toward your shoulder. Hold this pose for 15 seconds and switch sides.
This is one of the easiest yet most effective stretches. You can do it standing up or sitting down. Simply sit or stand up with your back straightened. Look straight ahead. Slowly lower your head, bringing your chin to your chest. Hold for 15–30 seconds. Take a deep breath and bring your head back to its original position as you exhale. Tilt your head up so that you’re looking at the ceiling, bringing the base of your skull to your back. Hold for 10 seconds and then slowly bring your head back down to its original position. Repeat 5 times.
Shoulder rolls are one of the most common and prominent stretches among athletes — and for good reason. They relieve tension, stiffness and stress while promoting better circulation in the joints. Simply raise your shoulders up toward your ears and move them in a circular motion as your hands remain at your sides. Do this 5–10 times. Return to the starting position and repeat, this time rotating the shoulders in a circular motion backwards.
Stretches are great at-home exercises to relieve temporary pain caused by stress or tension. It’s also great to strengthen the muscles and build better range of motion to prevent injury in the future. However, if you suffer from intense and chronic neck pain, every day, there may be a more elaborate underlying issue — especially if you’ve experienced a recent accident or injury. To maintain your health, it’s in your best interest to schedule a chiropractic evaluation.