Why Not "Pop" Your Own Joints?

If you or your child is “popping” their neck or back on a consistent basis, please read this article. Manual chiropractic adjustment or manipulation is used at In Motion Spine & Joint Center. Adjustment involves bending or rotating a “stuck” joint to the end of its range of motion and applying a very quick but short force beyond that range. The result is increased range or quality of motion.

So why do joints get stuck?

1. Gravity and Posture: Gravity encourages slouching and slouching habits make joints stiff or stuck in that poor posture.

2. Injury: Injuries cause muscle spasms, muscle spasms, after only days cause joints to get stuck and stay that way.

3. Body Type / Genetics: Some people are just stiff.

When joints get stuck in one area, we feel tight and restricted, and some people will try to “pop” their own neck or back, a wildly common trend among students these days. Patients may say that they have learned how to fix themselves but for some reason cannot fix it this time. Self-adjusting may cure your tight or restricted feeling temporarily, but very likely the pop is coming from the weaker joints in the area and with repetition WILL make your pain worse and the area unstable. Research is inconclusive at best on the subject of whether “cracking” your neck, back or fingers causes arthritis. With great consistency I can pick out those patients that are habitual self crackers by palpating the area and finding segmental instability. Instability is one of the most difficult conditions to fix. Joint popping feels good at the time because it stimulates the sensory portion of the nervous system in such a way that our brains love, but it’s only helpful if used in the right spots.

At In Motion Spine & Joint Center, knowledge and research about how joints should move is applied both to analysis and treatment. Study under the Motion Palpation Institute, of which both doctors are certified, is applied specifically to the joints that are stuck and NEVER to the ones that are not. After the joints are adjusted Dr. Hawkins goes one step further to find out why they got stuck. Tight muscles are stretched with Active Release Technique and proper movement patterns are trained through specific rehab exercises. My personal opinion is that “cracking” your knuckles is not damaging, however “self cracking” the neck and lower back greatly increases your risk for instability and injury. If you are interested in replacing your or your child’s bad habit with the correct stretches or rehab exercises, please call 302-4747 or visit www.imsjc.com.