Have you ever had the urge to crack your own joints? Have you been obsessed with watching all these chiropractic videos online which shows people having their joints adjustments and spine cracked?
I’m going to tell you whether it’s safe and if you should even have it done.
As a professional chiropractor and osteopath I don’t actually “crack” anything. That’s because “cracking” implied a break or fracture. So let’s redefine what we are saying. The space between the bones are the “joints”. It’s the joints that get mobilised.
When I palpate (fancy word for clinically examine using sense of touch) someone’s spine I can tell how well those joints are moving, or not.
Like any skill, palpation takes years of training and practice to hone in that skill. In fact you can see this in a lot of my videos, right before I adjust someone’s spine I will palpate their joints to find which levels I will be adjusting at that particular session.
Although I can treat others and adjust their joints, I find it really frustrating that I cannot adjust myself.
That’s purely because it’s not possible for me to be able to generate the force on the joints that require it if I try it on myself.
If you have clicked your own joints, the chances are you most likely have cavitated the joints that were already moving, or probably moving too much.
“Doesn’t cracking your knuckles cause arthritis?” Actually that’s a myth and simply not true. I think it originated from a couple of places. Either to scare children from doing it. Or because when a joint cavitates, it creates more movement, and if your fingers happen to get caught and injured, that injury is a predisposition to earlier onset osteoarthritis.
If you’ve ever suffered in pain, you will know how difficult it can be to get to sleep.
When you are in pain and can’t sleep well, the problem is you don’t fall into the healing phases of sleep.
Now sleep is important as we do it for a considerable amount of our lives. The healing phases of sleep are what allow your body to regenerate and recuperate so that you can build back a stronger body, then enabling you to carry out the tasks you enjoy doing in life.
When you are in pain, it’s similar to when a building is on fire. All the alarms are going off, it’s raging and really angry! So of course we must find the source of that problem. If it hasn’t already had the chance to calm down, then you really need to think about seeking professional advice.
Whilst you are waiting to get an appointment, or want to get comfortable before attending the appointment, there are few things you can do that may help the pain calm down and make you feel more comfortable.
Find the most comfortable position for you. It’s difficultl to be specific about which position is best, until we have found the root cause of the problem, your body will tell you what aggravates the pain the least.
Avoid lying on your front. No one lies flat on their front, which means that you will end up twisting your body and potentially making the problem worse, or give yourself a secondary problem.
Avoid lying on your side. By lying on your side you end up putting too much pressure on one side than the other, causing further imbalance in your body.
Sleep on your back. This is the easiest way to ensure you body is balanced and symmetrical. If it is a strain to your lower back, try placing some cushions under your knees to reduce the tension in your thighs.
You would never sit or stand for 6-10 hours a day in the type of position you would be in when lying on your front or your sides. So why do it when you sleep?
If you have an old mattress (8-10+ years) then chances are it is no longer supporting your body’s posture in a healthy way and may need changing.
Allow 60-90 minutes when shopping for a new mattress or bed. This is because most of the time when we go to these large stores and are looking for other large furniture items we have already been on a feet for a considerable amount of time.
The mistake a lot of people make when it comes to trying the beds and mattresses in the store is the lie down on it for a few minutes. This is far too tiny a fraction of time that you are actually looking to use it for at home, and because you have probably been on your feet for a long time, most mattress and beds would feel comfortable anyway.
You want to pick your top 3 mattresses before you get to the store and lie on each one for at least 20 to 30 minutes. This is still a small fraction of the time when you sleep at home, but it’s long enough for your body to relax into, to know whether this is the one that will support your posture correctly. I often advise taking a good book or some music with you to enjoy whilst you do this.
Oh and don’t worry about the sales people. If they come over, politely ask them to come back after 30 minutes, and if they happen to find you sleeping, chances are that’s the one you’re probably going to buy.
You also may consider getting a new pillow. Most pillows tend to need replacing every 6 months. Think about applying an 8-10 lbs bowling ball (approximately how much a human head weighs) on a new cushion for around 6-10 hours a day.
A good way to check if you have the right thickness of pillow for you is my super secret but highly effective “Vadi Pillow Test”. Find a clear wall and stand against it the way you would prefer to lie down (pretend the wall is your bed so if you like to lie on your side stand against the wall with your side, or if you lie on your back stand with your back against the wall).
Use your current pillow and see if it takes up the space between your head and/or neck. If it does – perfect! If you have too many or too few then your neck will be side bent and you need to get a new pillow that provides better support.
Top Tip: if it’s only a little difference then try using some thick towels to help make your pillow thicker and provide the correct amount of support.
Have you, or do you know someone who has been suffering with low back pain for a short while or a really, really long time, perhaps for many years?
Most people suffering with low back pain get very concerned, really stressed and worried. Quite rightly so! The pain is a good indication that something is wrong with the body, and needs urgent attention.
A lot people tend to contact loved ones for tips or advice. Others may look online for an attempt at a self diagnosis. However the best thing to do in any case is seek professional advice.
I see thousands of patients every year suffering with low back pain, or some sort of symptoms. At the first meeting they often tell me “Trishul, I’ve tried everything!”
That’s when I will take down a detailed case history, asking questions about what they have been up to, what has been going on in their lives seeking the possible cause of their symptoms.
I will also ask about what they have tried, what makes it feel better or worse. They may have tried painkillers, heat, ice, certain exercises, some gadgets or supports. Due to sheer desperation to find relief they attempt all these things, sometimes at the same time, causing even more confusion and chaos within the body. Ultimately in a lot of cases these leads to a point where they are in a state not able to fix the problem themselves.
Some people get very worried about seeking professional advice, as if by chance if they don’t confirm a diagnosis, then it may not actually exist. (This is madness in my opinion!)
The sooner you get a professional diagnosis, the better the prognosis (chances of improving the condition) and the more efficient it is to get onto the correct path to fix the problem.
I was speaking with someone recently who told me they had been taking a whole bunch of painkillers. I explained that painkillers are not going to help the problem in the long term, because their condition was not due to a deficiency in painkillers. In fact I have yet to meet someone who has a deficiency in painkillers (no such condition exists).
Another person I spoke with said they were not sure why they suddenly had this pain, because they had done nothing out of the ordinary. However, the thing they had not understood is whatever they had been doing, in terms of any lifestyle choices they had made, was slowly but surely leading them on a path where their body could no longer compensate, and therefore ending up with this enormous pain!
We get everything checked regularly to prevent problems, from teeth and eyes, to cars and heating boilers in your home. Your spine and body are the same! (Most people probably look after their cars better than their own body). By having regular check ups, it increases your chance of preventing a problem from occurring in the first place. In the off chance that a problem occurred anyway, then because of those regular check ups they get picked up quicker, meaning the prognosis is better – yay!
However if you are already in a lot of discomfort then we need to find the root cause of your problem. You would never expect a surgeon to ask you to jump up onto the surgery table to perform surgery at your first consultation without first having taken the time to go through a full case history, a thorough examination and determine the best course of care for you. The same is true for your chiropractor or osteopath. Before I treat any patient, the reason I have been able to achieve great results is by carefully analysing that patient’s condition, and prescribe the best solution for their problem based on published research and my years of experience.
If you have any questions feel free to reach out to me on any of my socials and I will always take the time to help you out.