A lot of the time when you see these videos where some chiropractors are adjusting someone’s neck it looks very similar to some action movies. Let’s put things into perspective first.
When you are watching an action movie, you are watching actors. Those very same actors are still getting up from the floor at the end of the scene. So the movement that you see the actors create when they make a breaking neck action or move is still not enough to break their neck.
Of course no chiropractor’s intention is ever to break the neck. Also I don’t know how to break someone’s neck, it’s not what we learn and certainly I do not want to learn. That’s not what is important to me.
What is important is for me to learn how to adjust someone’s joints so that it’s actually correcting the function with optimal movement in those joints. The way that we do that is we spend a lot of time (several years) developing a skill called palpation.
Palpation is the ability to fill in a medical Healthcare context. you can really feel a lot of different subtle movements within the joints, within the body, within the movements of what’s going on when this is highly trained and practiced regularly, as I have done.
When you can feel that movement, remember this is on the back of having already gone through a full history and a full examination to determine two things: one what the condition is and two whether this person in front of us is going to be safe to have the treatment.
so we didn’t go through the impacts of those options as well done that when he goes through bringing movements for those joints it will be really for that sat on moving where there’s not enough range of movement in the joints as well
and we can tell that is just by this feel and I feel is palpation that a highly tuned sense of touch
sense sense of feeling at the moment I’m moving on not moving in this case and finding those joints and putting a movement through.
We spend several hours not just developing that sense of touch, along with studying tons of anatomy and physiology. what that means is as chiropractors we know what the normal ranges of movement are.
Now there are two things. One is the theoretical knowledge you gain from textbooks. secondly the hands-on experience we gain marrying up the theoretical knowledge with the practical information.
This means what we are doing is going up to the Natural ranges of movement and not passing the natural range of movement in that patient.
If you did go past the normal range of movement, that is what I imagine would be how you break someone’s neck.
That’s why it’s so difficult if you have gone through studying all the anatomy and physiology you’re taking a full case history of a patient performed a thorough examination and not ever learnt how to break somebody’s neck for a well experienced professional highly trained chiropractor to be able to safely perform a neck adjustment.
So you’ve probably seen my videos where I am adjusting my patients and you may wonder “what is actually making that pop sound?”
I’m not actually caring about the sound effects. That’s the least of my worries. It really comes down to the cause. What I’m actually doing is more movement, therefore allowing the body to function normally again, at its optimum, rather than being stuck, and over working in certain areas more than others.
So I’ll be really looking for those joints that are not functioning optimally, that have a bit more stiffness in them or a reduction in range of movement.
When I find those joints, by putting a specific movement through there, it may create a little popping sound often. The reason is because in those joints, if they haven’t been moving for a while, some gas builds up in the joints. Those tissues are still alive so they release gases in the body anyway. So when I put that movement through the joint, some of the gas can get released and it makes a popping sound.
Often that popping sound has been misunderstood, and instead described as a cracking. I get asked “Can you crack my bones?”
Hopefully not! Because if I do crack your bones, that’s technically a fracture.
So by moving those bones we are adjusting the joint thereby improving its range of movement and achieving optimal function.
Now you may often hear some different pops when you’re moving around some cracks and clicks. In those cases it may be due to some tight tendons flicking over a bone. That’s not quite the same as what we often create in our patients. The noise that you hear is often that the popping sound is created from the joints moving, and the gas releasing from between the joints.
But then also when I put a movement through a joint and I don’t hear a pop it doesn’t mean it didn’t work.
The sound is not the important part. What is important is the movement that we have now achieved in that joint, i.e. the function.
I also have some people tell me that tell me they crack their joints themselves.
But you to avoid doing that yourself, because even for me, I can’t, and it’s impossible for me to align or adjust my own joints that need them the most.
It’s impossible for me to actually generate the force required on those stiff joints that needs that movement.
Instead I will often go to see my own colleagues to get adjusted, rather than attempt it myself.
I would encourage you to do the same. If you are trying to adjust yourself, it is not really an adjustment. That movement is likely to go through space or a joint has already got too much movement anyway. So all you are doing in the long term is exacerbating the problem.
Well it all depends on what the cause of the misalignment is. However in most cases probably – yes!
Most people don’t even know that they may have a misaligned jaw. In fact a partner or loved one may hear you grind your teeth at night, whilst you are fast asleep. A common reason for grinding teeth is holding stress in your subconscious.
Chewing is often done one sided, i.e. we prefer chewing in one direction more than the other. However just like you wouldn’t carry a bag on just one shoulder, the same is true with our jaw joints. We want to ensure we get equal movement through both sides.
We have two temporomandibular joints (TMJ) in front of each ear. That’s where you can often feel some ache or pain from teeth grinding or too much clenching of the TMJ. One of the main muscles that creates movement of the TMJ is the temporalis muscle which spans over the side of the head, commonly causes headaches in this area.
As chiropractors and osteopaths we are trained to know about the deeper connection between the muscles round the back of the neck and the jaw area. So a misuse of the TMJ can have a profound knock on effect to the rest of the spine.
One way of treating the TMJ is via the spinal joints and nerves. Another is by holding onto the jaw joint itself and performing a direct manipulation. Remember that although this can help, we must still consider the overall lifestyle that may be the root cause of the problem.
There are so many benefits to our health, lifestyles and well-being.
Of course make sure you get permission from those who want to give a hug.
Hugging reduces cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone, and if found in large quantities for long periods of time in the body, can be quite destructive.
Most people tend to be living stressful lives, so have high amounts of cortisol in their body. A hug from a loved one for a few minutes can help balance the cortisol to normal levels.
Linked to that, studies have found hugging can reduce high blood pressure.
Another benefit is reducing anxiety. I have seen a trend in members of our local community with ever increasing levels of anxiety. A hypothesis for one of the causes is that nowadays there is more of a taboo with physical touch, and we are losing our sense of touch with one another.
See who you can go and give a loving warm hug too, and let me know in the comments.
If you are unfortunate enough to be suffering with some sort of lower back pain and it just so happens to be at a time with it’s rather difficult to get hold of a health professional, such as on the weekend, during a national holiday, or when abroad in a remote area.
There are a few things you can do in the interim until you are able to get to a health professional. Remember this is not a fix, but just a simple way to potentially help you through the uncomfortable period.
Even if it starts to feel better it’s still worth taking the time to seek professional advice to be fully sure.
The first thing you must do is avoid anything that aggravates the pain. Although some general advice says to keep active, if that particular activity is aggravating your symptoms then stop – this is NOT a no pain, no gain scenario (quite the opposite)
Calm The Fire
Most of the time a lot of pain is due to inflammation. That means it’s hot and red, so we need to cool it with ice. Of course make sure you wrap the ice in a thin towel otherwise you may end up with frost bite on top of all the other problems you already have going on.
WIth an area that is inflamed, it’s “flame-atory” meaning it’s hot, so applying heat can potentially add more fuel to the fire.
If it was just muscle tightness then it may be suitable to apply heat – however the real question then becomes “Why is that muscle tight?”
So if you’re unsure go for the ice. The other advantage is your nerves don’t work very well at low temperatures anyway, so this can help give some comfort and relief by dulling the pain.
If you are suffering with lower back pain when bending there are a number of different structures that we need to be looking at, addressing and potentially be concerned about too.
When we look at a typical spine, it is made up of bones called vertebrae. In the lower back (lumbar spine) there are a total of 5 vertebrae.
The bumps on the back are called spinous processes. These are what you can see or feel when you run you hand down the back. Near these spinous processes are the joints which allow the vertebrae to articulate with each other. These joints are called facets.
In between the vertebrae are the spinal discs. We want these to be nice and spongy to allow for efficient shock absorption from any movements of activity.
When bending the lower back, these discs can get more compressed, which can cause them to bulge if there is already a problem there. This bulge can potentially pinch the nerves as they are exiting the spine.
Pain can also be caused by the stretching of the capsule around the facets if bending forwards. These facet joints can get inflamed, and if they get inflamed to the point where they start pinching on nerves they can also add to pain.
Softer structures in the area such as ligaments and muscles can get stretched when bending. If they are tight due to an injury or poor posture the pain may be an indication of requiring some guided lifestyle changes.
So as you can see there is not an easy fix such as performing a stretch or sitting a certain way to “cure back pain”. As I always say, pain is a symptom indicating that there is a problem. It’s the cause that needs to be addressed to remove it.
If you have ever suffered from constipation you will know how uncomfortable it can be. Especially if it has been there for a long time, it can be very horrible and potentially dangerous for your health too.
Things that can help are to have a high fibre diet or staying hydrated to help move the contents of your bowels more efficiently.
However we have to also consider mechanical challenges too.
Have you noticed that your body might click if you move a certain way, ankles might click, or the wrists might click.
See the body does click in different ways for different reasons. The most common reason for clicking if it’s been from your movement is a tendon flicking over a bone. A tendon is a piece of connective tissue that connects a muscle belly to a bone so that it can control movement of the joint.
If the muscle fibres are tight due to poor posture, poor stretching habits or lifestyle choices, the tendons become more taut. This can lead the the tendon flicks over a bit of bone, creating that clicking sensation.
The most common area I have found this to be, is in the shoulder area. There are a lot of muscles around the shoulder girdle which are prone to become tight and causing such tendons to click or flick.
If it happens for a short while, it is not a problem. However if it continues to happen for a few days, weeks, months or even years doing movements where you keep getting this type of clicks can put increased risk of inflammation of the tendon – tendonitis. This can be quite painful, you may need to stop some of the activities that are aggravating that for some time until it has recovered.
It’s often a relatively easy fix, by reducing the tightness in the muscle. Chiropractors and Osteopaths also check the underlying reason for why that muscle is tightening up in the first place. Without doing that, the muscle is likely to keep tightening.
Another reason for your joints to click is if some joints are stiff, other joints may have to overcompensate by moving more than normal. This may lead to some gas in that joint releasing, creating a popping sound.
This is similar to the sound you hear when having a chiropractic or osteopathic adjustment. The difference however is that when your body does it on its own, it’s more likely the joints that are already working too hard are moving. When a chiropractor or osteopath performs this technique, it is specific to the joints that are stiff and so they require the additional movement to restore balanced functional movement back into the body.