back clicking Crack your own Back

Is it Dangerous to Crack your own Back?

We often get asked whether choosing to crack your own back is bad for you. While it is an old wives tale that cracking knuckles will cause arthritis, your back contains many more joints and care should be taken when twisting or extending to make joints ‘crack’ or ‘pop’. Many people feel the urge to crack their backs and describe relief afterwards – so surely it can’t be dangerous?

Scientifically speaking, manipulating a joint until you hear the audible pop will not cause damage to that joint. However, it is still not advised to take control of your own back cracking – read on to find out why.

Choosing to crack your own back

There are various ways to make your back joints crack, but the important thing is finding the underlying reason why your joints need to pop. You’ll notice after the crack of a joint, you experience a greater range of movement in that area. Chiropractors call this a spinal adjustment, and seeing as that’s what we specialise in, we obviously don’t think it is dangerous for our backs – quite the opposite!

However, there is a difference between self-back cracking and seeing a chiropractor. In order to crack your back, you may move and twist in different positions which could cause further harm. If you ask somebody else at home to help you crack your back, unless they are a qualified specialist they could target the wrong areas and cause more pain, rather than relief.

A joint pop or crack which is delivered by yourself or an unqualified person will only provide temporary relief. You will feel the urge to crack once again in a day or so. Many chiropractors believe that the desire to twist and crack the back is the result of an imbalance in the spine, or a sign that it is not moving correctly. Constantly twisting and cracking will not solve this problem, and there’s a chance it could make it worse.

Chiropractic adjustments

The difference between cracking your own back and getting chiropractic treatment is years of study and research! A chiropractor can do a full examination of your spine and the rest of your body to determine problems in mobility. They can then perform targeted movements with expertise (manipulations and adjustments) to reduce joint stiffness and increase range of motion. You will hear a similar popping sound, but a chiropractor is actually getting to the root of the problem, rather than providing a temporary fix.

Contact us to book your first appointment with a specialist to help stop your back cracking habit!

canary wharf skyscraper

Top Reasons Working in Canary Wharf can be Stressful

Working in Canary Wharf or other areas of central London is often associated with stress; high pressure jobs, long commutes and polluted air can all have an impact on health. Commuting to work on public transport can raise stress levels before we even start work – then in the office tensions can rise. Just when we think the strain of the day is over, we have to face the long, busy commute again.

Top reasons why Londoners are stressed

Demanding working culture

Canary Wharf is renowned as a financial hub – and banking is one of the most high pressured industries to work in. Investment bankers work long hours, with 95% saying they are expected to work weekends. The Metlife UK research also revealed that managers do little to combat stress at work – with just 14% saying bosses have taken action after receiving complaints about pressure. In a fast-paced sector where everybody is stressed, people just have to ‘get on with it’ – until it becomes a ticking time bomb and they are forced to take time off work to recover. Over 11 million working days per year are lost due to stress, anxiety and depression.

Financial worries

One of the major causes of stress, regardless of where you live, is money. Trying to manage your finances is difficult, especially in London where prices are rocketing and the cost of living is so high. Many Londoners also have the worry of getting on the housing ladder, which is near impossible for the majority. The uncertainty of living in rented accommodation and sharing houses can cause stress.

Busy commutes

Getting to Canary Wharf, or wherever your office is based, in the city’s rush hour, can be a challenge. Around five million passengers use the London Underground every day – many travelling at peak times to get to and from work. Commuting in London is often a stressful experience because of overcrowding, and you might have a struggle getting on the trains at all – which could make you late for work, and even more worried.

How to deal with stress

If you think you are suffering from work-related stress, it is essential to seek help. If you are not receiving support from your manager, then visit your GP who will be more understanding. In addition to medication or other treatments to support your mental health, you may find stress has had physical impacts on your body, too. If you have been holding tension in your neck or shoulders, consider chiropractic services which could relieve the pain and improve your posture.

Chiropractic Adjustments and back adjustment at chiropractors

The Science Behind the ‘Pop’ in Chiropractic Adjustments

When a chiropractor performs manual therapy on someone with back problems, the hands-on treatment is called spinal manipulation or chiropractic adjustments. These spinal adjustments are quick movements of the spine which usually result in a popping or clicking sound. Naturally, this strange noise can put some people off – but it’s actually completely normal and painless!

To help people understand the process of chiropractic adjustments, and remove the fear of the unknown, we’ve put together this article to explain the science behind spinal manipulation. A quick move and a loud crack can be quite alarming! Read on to find out what that ‘pop’ noise is and why it can actually relieve back pain.

What are Chiropractic Adjustments?

As a type of treatment offered by chiropractors, an adjustment is applying manipulation to the vertebrae which aren’t functioning properly. So what are chiropractors adjusting exactly? It’s what we call a subluxation. This is a misaligned joint which has lost its full range of motion – and as chiropractors our job is to make it unstuck.

These stuck misaligned joints (subluxations) can cause a number of negative side effects. They are often the root cause of a stiff back, or stop you from standing up properly or turning your head. Basically, you lose full range of motion. If they stay uncorrected, subluxations can also cause pain and inflammation in the back.

When a subluxation is detected, a chiropractic adjustment can be applied. This is basically a quick and painless thrust, in the right place, which can correct the joint. It’s at this point that a loud pop is heard, and can sometimes unnerve patients!

What is the pop?

The joints of the spine produce synovial fluid, which lubricates each joint to help it move. When a joint is opened up, a gas in the fluid is released which causes the loud pop sound. The synovial fluid contains a number of gases such as oxygen, carbon dioxide and nitrogen, and it’s these gases which make the noise of cracking joints.

It takes a while for the gases to build up again, which is why once a joint is cracked you can’t crack the same joint for some time. It’s not just synovial joints in the spine which make this popping noise – you may also notice it in your knuckles, knees and neck.

Following a corrective adjustment, you should notice relief straight away and a better range of motion. Want to find out more about chiropractic treatments? Get in touch with our friendly team.

man stretching his back doing exercise at beach

Why Exercise is Vital for a Healthy Back

Staying active and taking part in regular exercise is crucial for a healthy spine, and the symptoms of chronic back pain can usually be mitigated with physical activity. It’s understandable that some sports and activities involve risk, and it is possible to suffer a sprained muscle or hurt the back with too much physical exercise – but a back injury is not the same as ongoing back pain. You can recover from a pulled muscle in the back caused by playing sports, yet chronic back pain is difficult to treat.

Exercise Improves Back Health

This is why even if you suffer from back pain, you should still take part in physical exercise. Keeping the back mobile is vital for spine health, and will stop the back muscles losing their strength. People often self-medicate a bad back with bed rest but this is in fact the opposite of what health professionals now recommend. Sitting down too much and inactivity can cause lower back pain or make it worse.

If you have a tense, stiff or sore back, you should complete an exercise regime which aims to mobilise and strengthen the spine and the muscles. Every case of back pain is different and you should speak to a doctor and physiotherapist about the best exercises and stretches to do to help ease the pain. However, in general, these physical activities are recommended to prevent and treat back pain.

Swimming and other water activities

Swimming is a low impact exercise, which means it’s easy on the joints. Doing some lengths in a swimming pool a couple of times a week can keep the back mobile. However, if you prefer to swim with your head out of the water this can sometimes cause neck or back issues. In this case, try water aerobics or another water based activity.

Walking

Going for a brisk walk, even if it’s just round the block can help to keep your back mobile. From walking the dog to walking to the bus stop, short but regular walks can boost energy and keep you active.

Cycling

Tell back pain to “Get on yer bike!” Cycling is a gentle activity which can be enjoyed by all ages. Always wear a helmet and stay safe on the roads – you may wish to stick to woodland cycle paths. Going for a leisurely bike ride can do wonders for your back.

Yoga

Many chronic back pain sufferers recommend yoga for easing pain. The series of stretching, poses and breathing exercises helps to improve mobility and flexibility, and is reported to be more effective than painkillers and back exercises according to The Daily Mail.

Staying active is key to easing the symptoms and improving your condition.

Back Cracking chiropractor adjusting woman's neck

Top Myths About Back Cracking and Other Joints

Sometimes our bodies make strange noises, from a gurgling tummy to popping joints and bones. Many people are able to purposely crack their joints, with the most common being the knuckles, neck and back. Back cracking and clicking of the joints can be alarming whether it’s deliberate or not, and the rumour is that it can even cause arthritis.

Before we debunk the myths about back cracking and joint clicking, let’s find out what’s actually happening when we move the joint and hear a crack.

Why do our joints crack?

It took decades for researchers to figure out what’s happening inside our bodies when our joints crack. Some people feel the need to crack joints, and experience relief once they have ‘popped.’ When muscle joints are pulled apart, the pressure is reduced and small bubbles of gas are released from the joint fluid. It’s almost like creating a vacuum within the joint, which makes a popping noise as it collapses.

The gas takes a while to dissolve in the joint fluid, which is why when joints are cracked they can’t be re-cracked straight away. It’s also been found that joints temporarily increase the range of motion after they have been cracked, thanks to lowering the pressure.

Myth Number 1: Knuckle cracking causes arthritis in the hands

This is an old wives’ tale that has been passed around for decades, however there is no evidence to support it. People are often grossed out by knuckle cracking, but studies have proven that it doesn’t cause long term damage or arthritis – and could actually be good for you. It’s strange that this common belief only applies to the knuckles, as plenty of other joints get cracked regularly including knees, hips, toes and the spine.

Myth Number 2: Back cracking is painful

The cracking that occurs in the back is the same as the joint cracking in the hands, and any knuckle cracker will tell you that it’s painless and actually brings relief. Professional spine adjustments by a chiropractor may look and sound painful, but they do not cause any immediate pain in the affected joint.

Myth Number 3: Only old people get joint pain

It is definitely widely perceived that you only suffer from joint pain as a part of ageing. While many people do develop arthritis and aches and pains as they grow older, joint pain, back pain and arthritis can actually occur at any age.

If you feel like you need your back cracking, find out about professional spinal adjustments at Canary Wharf Chiropractic.

child using an exercise ball

Does Back Pain get Worse in Winter?

Many people who suffer from chronic pain in the spine will report the symptoms getting worse as the weather gets colder. Similarly, people who don’t have regular back pain may also experience some aches and pains in their neck, upper back or lower back during the winter months. Sciatica sufferers also seem to experience symptoms at this time of year. Why is it that pain seems to increase as the temperature drops?

There is no proven link between sudden lower back pain and changes in the weather, including cold temperatures, humid conditions, wind and rain. However many studies have been carried out across the world to try and find a medical reason as to why more people suffer musculoskeletal pain during cold weather.

With the UK facing a back pain epidemic and bracing for a cold winter, we need to understand why symptoms can suddenly appear or become worse.

Why back or neck pain gets worse in winter

Tight and tense muscles

When we are exposed to really cold temperatures, our muscles tense up. The spine’s muscles may become tight and tense for a long period of time, which can result in back pain further down the line. Tension in the back can also increase the risk of a muscle sprain, which will also cause short term pain.

Extra stress

It’s also possible that the challenges winter brings could put extra stress on the back muscles, and increase the injury risk. Shovelling snow, pushing trapped vehicles, falling on ice or slush and carrying around Christmas trees can leave you pulling, twisting or damaging your back. Sometimes, the mental stress of the holiday season can also cause tension in the body.

Inactivity

You’ve probably heard doctors, physiotherapists and chiropractors say that the best way to relieve back pain is by staying active. When we sit still for long periods of time, muscles stiffen up so it’s really important to keep moving and stretch back muscles often. However, during the winter’s cold, dark days, exercise is the last thing you feel like doing. It can be tough braving the cold weather and the short gloomy days make you want to stay in bed for longer. This decline in physical activity in winter can trigger back pain.

Many people do experience back pain symptoms at this time of year, but there are ways to prevent it. Wrapping up warm every time you go outside and staying as active as possible is a good formula. If you’re suffering with lower back pain or neck pain, visit a chiropractor for some manual therapy and expert advice.

first visit to a Chiropractor

What to Expect on your First Visit to a Chiropractor

If you have never visited a chiropractor before, it’s natural to be apprehensive and wonder what the appointment might involve. Lots of people visit a chiropractor, from athletes and office workers to pensioners and new mothers. Whether you’ve been referred from a GP or booked privately through insurance, the experience will be the same.

First Chiropractic Visit

If you’re thinking about booking your first appointment, read on to find out what you can expect on your first visit to a Chiropractor.

A general health assessment

A chiropractor is a trained medical professional, so they will want to understand your medical history and current health concerns before recommending any treatment. You may be asked questions about your general health and lifestyle which could help identify the causes of any pain you are experiencing. This general consultation will only be carried out on the first visit, to help establish an overall picture of your history and what is wrong.

A physical examinationphysical check

In order to establish the cause of the problem, the chiropractor will then carry out a physical examination. You may be asked to remove some clothing for the examination but it’s nothing to be worried about. They will perform a range of tests to inspect your posture and range of movement, and may also carry out other tests such as blood pressure to rule out certain conditions.

 

Referral for further tests

In some cases, if the chiropractor needs to investigate your symptoms further they may recommend more tests or scans. This will all be explained to you by the chiropractor, including the reasons why you should have an X-ray or MRI scan.

Recommended treatmentchild using an exercise ball

At this stage, the chiropractor should have a good idea of what is causing the issue and a range of treatment options and techniques which could help relieve the symptoms. A care plan, including the type of chiropractic treatment and frequency of appointments will be discussed. The cost of the treatment will also be available upfront to help you decide if you want to go ahead.

Once you’ve agreed the care plan and signed the written consent to begin treatment, the first session of manual therapy can begin straight away. As part of the care plan, you will also be given lifestyle advice and exercises you can do at home.

If for any reason the chiropractor believes chiropractor treatment won’t help you, then they will explain why and refer you to the appropriate medical professional such as a GP or specialist.

Book your first visit to Canary Wharf Chiropractic today.

close shot of woman neck

4 Causes of Neck Pain and How to Treat Them

Neck pain or ‘a stiff neck’ is relatively common, and some people can suffer from repeated episodes of intense pain. You might feel pain on just one side of the neck, or feel tense in the whole of the neck and shoulders. The intensity of the pain can also vary from person to person depending on the cause of it – you may feel a sharp pain when you turn your head, or it may be a dull, persistent ache. Neck pain can have an impact on everyday life, and if it doesn’t go away in a couple of weeks you should seek treatment.

Treating Neck Pain

The best way to treat neck ache is to prevent it from ever returning by understanding the causes. Most neck and back pain is caused by factors of a modern lifestyle, so once we are aware of them we can do our best to carry out preventative treatment. Here are four common causes of neck pain.

  1. Text neckman twisting his back texting

As the smartphone becomes a permanent extension of the body, it seems it is having a negative impact on the neck and spine. Constantly looking down to text and use a phone puts extra pressure on the neck and upper back. Poor posture during smartphone use is starting to cause problems for younger patients who shouldn’t yet have neck or back issues, according to experts – The Daily Mail has reported the younger generation could be plagued by text neck.

  1. Injury

The most common neck injury is whiplash, which is often the result of a car accident. A neck sprain or strain can cause intense pain for a short period of time, and some injuries can last for months. You can also acquire a neck injury from a fall or a sports related accident.

  1. Bad posture

An incorrect sitting or standing posture can also lead to pain in the neck. If you sit for long periods at a desk staring at a computer, you may experience neck or back pain at some point. Make sure you don’t slouch in the chair and that screens are level with your eyes so your neck isn’t in an awkward position.

  1. Sleeping in an awkward positionwomen sleeping in a bad position

Sometimes a person may wake up with a stiff neck when they were fine the day before, which indicates the problem has occurred during sleep. Try not to sleep on your front and don’t twist the neck while in bed. You should also make sure your pillows aren’t too high which can cause the neck to be at an awkward angle.

Neck pain is a real pain in the neck…excuse the pun! Visit our chiropractors today to try manual therapies and relieve the pain.

image of massage stones on a back

Top Signs of Scoliosis

Scoliosis is a spinal condition which causes the spine to twist and have an abnormal curvature. In many cases it is not serious and may not require treatment, but scoliosis can also cause back pain in adults, and the curve could possibly get worse over time.

The causes are not fully understood, and the majority of cases are defined as idiopathic when the cause cannot be identified or prevented. Sometimes it runs in families or could be caused by a genetic condition. Other types of less common forms include:

  • Neuromuscular scoliosis – caused by a nerve or muscle condition such as cerebral palsy
  • Congenial scoliosis – when the bones in the spine don’t form properly in the womb
  • Degenerative scoliosis – wear and tear of the spine which occurs in old age

Although scoliosis affects people of all ages, it is most common in children aged 11-15. The condition can be present at birth, or can develop as the spine grows, and sometimes children need specific treatment to stop the curve getting worse until they stop growing. However, most people can live normal lives and the condition doesn’t affect physical activity except in extreme cases. There are no other health problems associated with scoliosis and usually it doesn’t cause recurring pain.

Symptoms of scoliosis

How do you know if you have scoliosis? If you think your spine is curved in an ‘S’ or ‘C’ shape then you may have the condition. Here are some other signs:

  • Uneven shoulders
  • Visible curves in the spine
  • Leaning to one side
  • Uneven hips
  • Ribs sticking out on one side
  • One shoulder or one hip sticking out

If you are experiencing back pain along with any of these signs, you should see a GP who will be able to diagnose scoliosis. An X-ray scan will be carried out so doctors can view the spine, and if it has an abnormal curve they can see how severe the curve is. A chiropractor can also refer you for a scan if they suspect scoliosis. If diagnosed you can see a specialist who can discuss treatment options available if needed.

Treatment depends on how severe the curve is and if it is likely to get worse. Adults may require pain relief in the form of spinal injections or even surgery. Toddlers, children and teenagers may be given a back brace to wear to control the growth of the spine.

For more information, visit http://www.sauk.org.uk/

Image of Long Haul Travel Back Pain

How to Alleviate Back Pain Whilst Travelling

Sometimes long trips are unavoidable, especially if you love travelling to long haul tropical destinations. Whether you’re a long term backpacker or have a long road trip coming up for work, you should take time to consider your spine health. Sitting in a car or on a plane for a long period of time can be uncomfortable and lead to ongoing back pain for the duration of your trip.

Deal with Back Pain on Holiday

If you already suffer from back pain, then you will dread long car journeys or flying because you know that sitting for long periods of time can make it worse. Being in one position can stiffen the muscles in your back and cause aches and pains. However, there are some things you can do to alleviate the discomfort and avoid an episode of chronic back pain. Here are some top tips from the Canary Wharf chiropractors.

Use supportive cushions

Sitting correctly is really important for keeping your spine happy, yet many car seats and airplane seats aren’t designed well to correctly align the body. You want to sit up straight in the seat, with both feet firmly on the floor and the knees on level with or slImage of Airplane travel Causing Back Painightly higher than the hips. With limited leg room on planes we know this is difficult. Bring a cushion or roll up a scarf to place between your lower back and the back rest, which adds extra support to your spine. If travelling in a car or coach, always make sure you feel comfortable and the seat is adjusted for you before setting off.

Move as much as you can

The main culprit that causes back pain is sitting still for too long. If you can’t stand up and walk around during your journey, at least try and change your position every 20 minutes or so. There are also stretches and small movements you can do while in your seat – clench your buttock muscles, roll your ankles and stretch up with your arms to keep the muscles awake. It’s easy for your back to stiffen up on a long flight or car journey. If you are driving, be sure to stop every couple of hours for a walk around and a stretch.Image of Train Station Travel Causing back Pain

Pack light

The last thing you need after a long journey which has aggravated your back is heavy luggage. Try to lift your luggage as little as possible, and when you do always bend your knees and use your legs to lift rather than your back. Pack light – how many books are you really going to get through in a week? Can you pick some up at the hotel instead? Just because the airline offers 30kg of luggage allowance doesn’t mean you should pack enough for six weeks. If you’re unloading luggage out of the boot of a vehicle be extra careful and ask for help to share the load on your back.

Planning a long haul journey? Follow these tips to keep your back safe during the trip, and beforehand you may want to consider preventative chiropractic treatment.