“Popping” Yourself: Why not!!??

If you or your child is “popping” their neck or back on a consistent basis, please read this Ounce of Prevention!  I have heard many arguments from patients who are addicted to popping their joints from “it feels so good” to “look how much better I can turn.”  The reality is that if you feel like you need to twist or pull a joint until it pops, something is wrong.  If you can lean your head to the side lightly and your neck pops, SOMETHING IS WRONG!

Manual chiropractic adjustment or manipulation is used at Cumberland Chiropractic and Sports Medicine on almost every patient.  Manipulation involves bending or rotating a STUCK joint to the end of its current range and applying a very quick but short impulse past that range.  The result is a “pop” and more motion.

Picture a bolt-nut-bolt-nut-bolt-nut-bolt sequence.  Some of the nuts are rusted to the bolts and some move freely.  If you grab each end and twist, the rust free ones move, right.  The same applies to our spine.  If you sit in a chair and twist your back using your arms, the weak joints pop and get more mobile and the stuck joints stay stuck and get worse.

Why does it feel so good?  There are two types of nerve receptors involved in joints and their motion: nociceptors and mechanoreceptors.  The noci send pain signals to the brain.  The mechano send signals of movement, which we like.  When a joint gets popped, weak or stuck, the mechanoreceptors give the brain a barrage of “good vibrations”.  It’s a temporary good feeling at the price of wear and tear.  What feels good isn’t always right, just like lying or three chocolate cakes at once.

So why do I feel good about adjusting patients?  Because, I carefully analyze the spine and restore the motion to the stuck area in the right directions.  Sometimes the problem is not the spine at all.  Muscles have a tendency to become tight as well and they may need the attention.  At Cumberland Chiropractic and Sports Medicine, we study joint biomechanics from the Motion Palpation Institute, Thomas Michaud, Stuart McGill, etc.  Your joints are in good hands!

The bottom line is that popping weak joints with repetition WILL make your pain worse and the area unstable, long term.  With great consistency I can pick out those patients that are habitual self poppers by watching or feeling them move and instability is one of the most difficult conditions to fix.  If you are habitually popping, stop it!  If it’s your friend, give them our card!  Then, come see us to get the problem actually fixed.  If your family member doesn’t live here, visit www.motionpalpation.org to find a chiropractor who knows their stuff and doesn’t “pop” weak joints.