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back cracking

Can Bone Cracking Help with Back and Neck Pain?

Lots of us may naturally feel slight cracks in our joints. Many people feel the ‘cracking’ in their fingers or toes for example – but others might also experience it regularly in their neck or back. Actually, any joint can be ‘cracked’ and there are some cases of people cracking unexpected joints such as elbows or hips too.

Most people experience the bone cracking sensation themselves – as it’s something that happens when they move, or put pressure on the joint. This is totally normal, and most of the time this shouldn’t cause you pain or discomfort. In fact, for some joints and areas of the body, this cracking can be professionally done to help relieve pain and tension.

For your neck and back, the cracking of these joints can actually be controlled and performed by a chiropractor, in order to help relieve pain or tension. It’s a popular and well-known treatment, and you might be wondering how it works and what it can help with.

But first of all, it’s important to know what we mean when we talk about cracking. It’s not actually the breaking or splintering of bones (although the name would imply it).

What Causes Bone Cracking?

It’s important to know, the cracking word is used to describe the noise the sensation makes – it’s not actually referring to anything being broken or split. There are generally two main causes for this cracking  which we’ll talk about below.

Escaping gas

You might not know it, but there is actually fluids in your bone joints, which helps the bones move together without irritation. It keeps the movement of the joints smooth and (mostly) painless. This fluid inside your joints contains oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide. In certain joints of the body, such as facet joints, you’ll find a capsule around it that is filled with fluid and gas. It’s this gas that makes the popping or cracking noise when the joint is moved or stretched. The noise comes from the gas being quickly released in the form of tiny bubbles.

Movement

Whenever you move one of your joints, you’ll also be directly affecting the muscles and ligaments around it too. If (for example) a tendon near your joint is slightly out of place, it might make a cracking (or snapping) sounds when it moves back into place. This sound can also occur when the ligaments are snapped back into place.

How Does Bone Cracking in your Neck and Back Help?

The practice of neck cracking is often something performed by chiropractors, and it’s recommended that you only have a professional work on your neck and back – especially as they’re such sensitive areas. The process of bone cracking is formally referred to as cervical spine manipulation – and whilst you should attempt to correct anything yourself – going to a professional can help ease any pain or discomfort.

Here are some signs that you may need to visit a professional:

  • You notice unusual or any swelling in your neck,
  • You have chronic pain that doesn’t go away and doesn’t improve,
  • You notice your joints becoming stiff or painful,
  • The pain is stopping you from working or enjoying normal life.

Cracking the neck and back can have wonderful life-changing results for many patients, as it helps with pain relief and tension relief for lots of people. There are (of course) risks with this kind of procedure, but it’s for that reason that you should always check the credentials of your chiropractor before having any treatments. Ensuring that they’re professional, certified and licensed is the best

Neck and back manipulation, when done correctly, can help with the following things:

  • Correct the positioning of the spine,
  • Relieve pain in the spine area,
  • Relieve aching in the back / spine,
  • Relieve pain in the neck area,
  • Relieve aching in the neck and shoulders.

Your chiropractor will discuss with you the approach they will be taking, and how they expect to see improvements and what the outcome will hopefully be. Many patients who have back or neck cracking done with a chiropractor also say they noticed other symptoms improving too, such as:

  • Less migraine pain,
  • Less pressure headaches,
  • Less lower back pain,
  • Reduced hip pain.

Ensuring the Results Stick Around

It is recommended after treatment, that you keep up a healthy lifestyle and make positive changes to your routine which won’t damage your joints, spine or neck and further. A common problem, is that when people feel the pain ease off after a session – they carry on doing harmful habits that then takes them back to the same painful situation again. It’s important that you ensure you’re nurturing the area, rather than making it worse.

A few bad habits to look out for are:

  • Keeping a bad mattress, or falling asleep on furniture that isn’t your bed,
  • Not stretching daily,
  • Carrying heavy shoulder bags or backpacks,
  • Carrying heavy shopping bags at the supermarket,
  • Being too active with children (picking them up, swinging them around, etc).

If you can wipe out any bad habits, and cultivate good habits, you should see lasting results from your bone cracking treatment. Whilst the bone cracking treatments aren’t guaranteed to work for everyone, many people swear by their effectiveness, especially in helping them manage and cope with joint pain.

bones crack

Why Do Bones Crack and Why Does it Feel Good

We’ve all experienced that cracking noise that can sometimes come from joints or bones. For some it’s a cracking sensation, for others it may feel like a snap or a pop.

Most of us don’t feel any pain from bone ‘cracking’, it’s just a part of our bodies, and a part of our joints and ligaments. In fact, for many of us – we might like the feeling! For lots of people, the ‘cracking’ or ‘popping’ can help to temporarily relieve pain, and might even help relieve tension in the area too.

Whilst in the past people would scare others by saying that bone cracking led to conditions such as arthritis, nothing as such has been scientifically proven yet, and is unlikely to be.

Lots of joints in the body can crack and pop – but the most common tend to be:

  • Knuckles,
  • Fingers,
  • Knees,
  • Hips,
  • Toes,
  • Neck,
  • Back.

Whilst most of the time, you’ll experience the bone cracking sensation at home or on your own, it is possible to pay a professional to strategically crack and align your joints. This tends to be most popular with the neck and back, and is often performed by chiropractors.

Cracking your fingers or toes at home is relatively risk free, but you should never attempt to crack your neck or back at home or by yourself. Yes, a cracked back can help ease pain and tension – but your neck and back (because of the complexity of the joints and bones) need to be treated by a professional in these cases.

Should I Be Worried if My Bones Crack a Lot?

It might be a little worrying if you’re constantly hearing your bones crack, but rest assured, it’s relatively normal. As long as it’s not causing you any discomfort or pain, then it’s not usually something to be concerned about.

Do consider swelling or redness though – because if either of these things accompanies the cracking, then you might want to visit a doctor and get yourself looked at properly.

Just approach the cracking with a sense of instinct. If you’re feeling pain of discomfort from it, then something might be wrong. If your joints don’t look regular, then something might be wrong.

What Causes the ‘Cracking’ Noise?

It’s important to understand that when your joints make that cracking sound it’s not actually your bones cracking or splitting. The cracking just refer to sound it makes, not the actual action or cause.

There are a few reasons your body might be making those cracking sounds though – and you can read about them below:

Escaping gases: Probably the most common cause of this noise is the gas bubbles escaping from your joints and making little popping sounds. The gas comes from the fluid in your joints (which is there to help keep joints moving smoothly and pain free).

Movement of joints, tendons and ligaments: When you move any joint in your body, it’ll affect the ligaments and tendons around (big or small). When a position changes, you might hear a snapping sound as the tendon or ligament returns to its proper place. This noise is most common in ankle and knees, and the lower half of the body.

Loss of cartilage: In people with arthritis, their joints tend to be louder than those without. This is often due to a lack of cartilage, which means the bones are rubbing together more and thus, making more noise. This cause tends to be present in a lot of older people, as cartilage naturally lessens with age, regardless or arthritis or not.

Why Does it Feel Good?

When bones crack it feels good because in most cases the cracking or popping noise has relieve tension from the surrounding muscle, tendons or ligaments. It’s similar to having a good stretch in the morning – your body is adjusting and relaxing into a new position.

How Can I Stop my Bones from Cracking?

Some people may feel self conscious about the cracking noises, and may want to look at improving it.

The best tip for this, is to get moving and exercising. As well as strengthening your muscles. It’s not a guaranteed method of stopping the cracking noises, but it can help and you may see an improvement, especially if the noises are bothering you.

back care at a younger age

Taking Care of your Back at a Younger Age can have Long Term health Benefits

For many people, back issues aren’t something they consider or even think about, until the time comes when they start feeling problems and pain. It’s easy to ignore your posture and back health, especially if everything ‘feels fine’ and you’re not experiencing any discomfort or pain in that moment.

What you have to consider though, is the long game. Your back is going to be supporting you for your entire life, and it’s a part of your body that should be looked after and cared for. Just because you don’t currently experience any pain, doesn’t mean that bad habits or posture won’t affect the way your back feels in 10, 20 or even 30 years time.

Years of hunching, years of bad posture, years of heavy lifting can all weaken your back, and one day when you’re older, it might all creep up on you. But it’ll be too late to cure the irreversible damage you’ve done.

Taking care of your back at a young age is crucial to ensuring your back stays healthy and pain free when you reach middle age and old age. Forming good habits now, can save you a lot of discomfort later on.

So what good habits should you be trying to introduce to your daily routine? Take a read below:  

Sit upright at work (and try not to hunch)

The most important one (especially if you work at a desk or with a computer) is to avoid hunching and to practise good posture at your desk. You probably spend around 8 hours a day sat at your desk, and that’s a lot of time to be bent over or hunched over in poor posture positions.

Replace your work chair / desk with something more ergonomic

If you have the flexibility or the budget to look into new desks or new chairs  – then finding a high quality ergonomic option is ideal. There are loads of brands out there now that specialise in designing posture-friendly and back-friendly items, and you’ll really notice the difference. As well as well-designed chairs, standing desks are also a popular options right now – with many companies in Scandinavia providing them to all employees.

Stretch daily

A few basic yoga moves, or just some good old-fashioned stretching, can really help build strength and flexibility in your back muscles. Your back is always supporting you and your back muscles work extremely hard to centre your body and keep balance. Because of this, letting your muscles relax and stretching them out each day is a great habit to get into.

See a professional

If you experience any back pain in your youth, make sure you see a professional. Something that may seem small and annoying in youth, could end up being a bigger, more painful issue as the years tick by. A Chiropractor is there to assess your back’s posture and function, and they can suggest simple exercises and changes that will help improve even the smallest inconvenience or dullest pain. Start addressing any issues when you’re younger, and you’ll hopefully improve the situation for when you get older.

The sooner you address any back problems, the sooner you will reap the benefits of Chiropractic treatment and live in less pain.

How to avoid being scammed by a Chiropractor

Investing in your health is always a good idea, except for those time when it’s not…

For many people, when the time comes that need to see a chiropractor, they spend days researching the right practitioner and the right clinic. You might spend hours conducting online research, you may have initial phone consultations before paying for an appointment, and you might even scout out online reviews from their previous clients and patients.

But what if you do all this, and you still feel like you’re being scammed?

It’s a horrible thought, to think that your chiropractor might be scamming you and taking advantage of your pain or poor health – but it does happen and for many people it’s a reality.

What are the signs my chiropractor is scamming me?

Luckily, there are some ways you can spot if your chiropractor is scamming you, and our overarching advice here would be: If it doesn’t feel right, don’t continue paying money for treatments.

They use too many scare tactics

In a chiropractic clinic, you’re generally there for a specific purpose, or a specific type of pain. This can be scary and it can feel daunting and worrying – but your chiropractor should try and put you at ease at all times, and you should feel encouraged by progress. If you feel dread every time your chiropractor opens their mouth – because you’re worried about what warning or prediction they’re going to give – they might be trying to scare you into extra appointments and consultations.

Your treatment course seems never ending

Most chiropractors will want to work with you intensively over a few weeks to resolve or improve an issue, and in some extreme cases (such as vehicle accidents for example) the treatment course might take longer (maybe several months). If your chiropractor is recommending months and months (even years) of appointments, with no end in sight – it may be worth reassessing and choosing someone else who can deliver results in a more timely manner.

They offer a ‘miracle cure’

The interesting thing about chiropractic work is that the body can be an unpredictable and confusing thing. Most honest and reliable chiropractors will be open about this with you, and will explore potential avenues for your treatment to go down, before identifying the most effective route. A chiropractor who claims to have a one-size-fits-all miracle cure, is likely lying.  

There is too much sales-talk

If you feel like you’re constantly being sold to, and being offered discounts, deals and referral codes, then you may start to feel as though you’re being scammed. With anything health related, you want to be getting the best treatment – not necessarily the quickest or the cheapest.

Here at Canary Wharf Chiropractic, we will never scam you and have a number of quality standards that we upload on each and every visit.

We look forward to seeing you. Book a consultation here.

posture

Exercises you can Do at your Desk to Improve your Posture

It’s common knowledge by now that sitting at a desk all day can be harmful for our posture. For a lot of us, our day jobs involve being hunched over a computer or laptop, and we’re already feeling the negative impacts that can have on our general wellbeing and back health. Bad posture at your desk can result in the following:

  • Shoulder pain
  • Elbow pain
  • Hip pain
  • Knee pain
  • Neck pain
  • Migraines
  • Headaches
  • Back pain (upper, mid and lower)

Slouching and leaning over our desks make bad posture an easy (but damaging) habit to get into. Addressing your bad posture might seem like a lot of effort, but there lots of easy exercises you can do to take the pressure off and relieve some of that tension, and in-turn improve your posture too!

5 easy things you can do at your desk to improve posture

Tip 1: Keep your ears in-line with your shoulders

If you find yourself craning your neck forwards to see your computer screen, then your posture is way off and you need to try and start adjusting it. Your ears should always be inline with your shoulders, and often, this little adjustment can have a knock on effect to the rest of your posture too. So it’s a good exercise to ensure you keep this in check throughout the day.

Tip 2: Every hour, consciously reset your posture

It’s a good idea to set yourself a phone reminder every hour to reset your posture. Even if you start the day with best intentions, sat in your ideal body posture, in 45 minutes you might have already slipped out of it into bad habits. When your posture reminder goes off, bring your head back so it’s level with your shoulders, pull your shoulders back, push your chest out, straighten your spine and uncross your legs.

Tip 3: Head rolls

A head roll is a basic exercise where you let your head roll slowly from one shoulder to the other. The key is to do this slowly and gently, and to take deep, long breaths. When done right it can help relieve tension in your neck and shoulders, which gives way to a better and more relaxed posture.

Tip 4: Shoulder shrugs

Shoulder shrugs are another way to encourage your body to release tension and relax. Shoulder shrugs involve revolving your shoulders in circles – raising them up to your ears and then back down again. A lot of people who work with computers carry a lot of tension in their shoulders, so this can be a key exercising to unlocking better posture and feeling more flexible and relaxed.

Tip 5: Fingertips to toes stretch

A few times a day it’s good to engage your whole body in an all-over stretch. The fingertips to toes stretch involves stretching out as long as you can and focussing on engaging the whole body and all your muscles in the stretching motion. You can do this in your seat, by reaching up and back with your arms, and reaching forwards and up with your legs under the desk. Use this as a chance to reset your posture afterwards too.

wait before seeing a Chiropractor

Should you wait before seeing a Chiropractor?

Back pain can often be the result of an accident or injury (such as a strain or a sprain) but it can also pop up unexpectedly or gradually over time too. Whatever the cause for your developing back pain, it often occurs because something is off in the way your core muscles, spinal discs, spinal joints and nerve endings work together or move. It could be strain, inflammation or injury – but if the discomfort is causing you pain, and is affecting your day to day routine, you shouldn’t wait before seeking chiropractic treatment.

Having back pain can be a frightening and unnerving experience, and something you should never overlook. Many people simply brush off their discomfort and think that ‘rest and time’ is recipe enough to see the improvements they want. But doing nothing can in some cases make things worse, as you may end up increasing the strain, or worsening the injury.

Here are some types of back pain to look out for, when we would recommend chiropractic care. While you may think you need to simply strengthen your core or maintain good posture, it’s always best to seek advice and treatment from a professional.

You back pain began because of trauma or injury

If you’re experiencing back pain because of an accident or trauma, it may be something that needs to be worked on slowly by a Chiropractor. Often, in situations like this, something may have been knocked or put out of place, so a Chiropractor can help identify what happened, and begin treating back pain.

The back pain has been consistent and won’t go away

Any back pain that has been constant for more than a week or so, should be looked at by a Chiropractor. Sometimes we can experience slight back ache after exerting ourselves (trying a new exercise or moving house for example) but temporary soreness should usually ease up after a week or so. Constant pain that is frequent throughout the day is a sign that something is wrong.

The back pain is constant and seems to be getting worse

We often mistake pain for muscle ache. And whilst the natural function of our body is to slowly improve muscle issues over time (where rest and stretching can aid in recovery), if the pain is constant it may not be a muscle related issue.

If you feel the backache getting worse instead of getting better, it may not be muscle pain, it may be something else. If time is making the pain increase – you need to see a professional Chiropractor.

You feel back pain in resting positions

If you’re feeling pain when in resting positions (such as sitting or laying down) it can be a sign that something is wrong. It is also hard for us to heal properly if we’re missing sleep or losing out on rest because it’s difficult to get comfortable. A Chiropractor can help advise on this, so you can recover quicker.

You feel off balance and struggle with good posture

Any issues with balance and poor posture could cause you safety worries in all areas of your life. If standing straight or walking slowly is too painful or too difficult (because of loss of balance and a bad posture) then you need to resolve the issues quickly.

Improving your posture and the way you hold your body would be a good place to start, but people with back pain should always seek professional help from a Chiropractor.

correct your posture

How to Correct your Posture

If you find yourself experiencing back pain or dull aches, it could be your back posture that needs correcting and adjusting. Good posture is the key to good back health, and yet so many of us fall short of what’s recommended. You might also suffer from poor posture for other reasons, such as hunching your back whilst driving. Below are some tips to help you improve and correct your posture:

See a Chiropractor

Of course, one of the most effective things you can do to improve your posture is to see a chiropractor. It’s a chiropractors job to recognise any issues in your posture and also identify any reasons why these problems may have occurred over time. They can recommend exercises and stretches for you to carry forward at home, as well as inspecting and analysing your back and seeing where and what is most affected.

Make time for stretching and meditation

In the morning or evening, make time for stretching or meditation – two things that can slowly help correct posture. These activities can help you warm up your muscles, become more flexible, and gain more confidence in the way your body moves. The more supple and flexible your body is, the more you’ll be able to improve your posture.

Recognise when you’re slouching, and correct yourself

One of the biggest indicators of bad posture, is slouching. Most people slouch all the time, throughout the day, and it’s an easy habit to fall into. If you take a look around, you’ll probably see people slouching as they walk, or people slouching over their phone, or even slouching into their seat (for example on a train or in the car).

A good trick is to recognise when you slouch the most, and make a conscious effort to correct yourself. When you’re on your phone, hold it to eye level, so you don’t need to bend to look at it. When you’re walking stand up straight, or when you’re sitting straighten your back and sit upright. Simple corrections like this can make a big difference.

Sleep comfortably

You may find yourself slouching or having bad posture because your body is compensating for a bad night’s sleep. If you wake up with back ache, it’s easy to slouch or adjust your posture to compensate for the pain. Instead, try and work out what is preventing you from sleeping peacefully, and aim to resolve it. You may need a softer mattress, or a firmer one, or maybe more supportive pillows for your neck.

Work from a better position

You spend most of your day at work, so correcting your posture during working hours is really important, especially if you want to see an overall improvement. Posture isn’t just something to take into account when stood up – posture is important when sat down too. A quick solution, is to purchase simple posture

Carry weight evenly

If you carry a handbag or a briefcase most days, then you could be jeopardising your posture. Constantly carrying a weight on one side of the body and pull certain muscles and joints out of alignment without even realising it. Aim to carry all weight evenly, for instance with a rucksack which equals the weight over both shoulders.

Take care of your neck

Pain in your neck can throw your whole body off balance, and it is usually caused by repetitive actions. Continually looking down at a smartphone is bad for your neck and because everyone does this regularly, it is hard to persuade people to forget about their phones. Another bad posture deed is holding a phone between your ear and shoulder, so try not to cradle a handset.

Postural correction

If you really want to take steps to improve your posture, and in turn improve your health and wellbeing, you can visit a chiropractor for a postural assessment and correction. A back specialists, chiropractors can evaluate a person’s posture and identify what is out of balance before recommending any treatment. Patients will understand what causes poor posture and learn the best ways to stand and sit.

Everyone is guilty of poor posture sometimes, so why not correct the problem before it turns into a long term issue?

osteopath helping man's back pain

What’s the Difference Between Osteopathy and Chiropractic?

When suffering from back, joint, ligament or neck pain, it can be difficult to know which specialist is best placed to meet your needs. Should you see an osteopath or a chiropractor? What even are the differences between the two?

The reality is that while both disciplines share much in common, they do differentiate from each other in subtle but important ways. Here’s a rundown of exactly what unites the two practices – and what sets them apart.

Similarities between osteopathy and chiropractic

  • The primary goal of both disciplines is pain relief
  • Both share a similar philosophy in that they look for alternative methods of treating this pain, instead of surgery or medication
  • Both conduct observational and tactile diagnoses to find the root of the problem
  • Both manipulate the blood supply and nervous system in order to treat not only bodily pain, but also the symptoms of many other conditions, including circulatory complications, migraines and more

Differences between osteopathy and chiropractic

  • Chiropractors concentrate largely (but not exclusively) on the spinal column, preventing damage of the nervous system and associated pain by achieving correct alignment
  • Osteopaths attempt to improve the overall function, comfort and performance of the body by taking a more holistic approach, which generally means they treat less concentrated areas to achieve pain relief
  • Chiropractors are more likely to qualify diagnoses via the use of qualitative procedures, such as blood tests, urine tests, MRI scans and X-rays – though only when necessary
  • Chiropractors specialise in manipulating the vertebrae in the spinal column, while osteopaths include more muscle and tissue massaging (although chiropractors do employ these methods as well)
  • Chiropractors may utilise shorter but more frequent appointments, whereas osteopaths may practice longer sessions that have longer spacing in between the two

Which should you choose to treat your pain?

The simple answer is that both chiropractors and osteopaths are fully-trained and fully-qualified specialists in many different kinds of joint and muscular injuries and complaints. It’s therefore important to find out which kind of treatment you feel works best for you, and then source a trustworthy, competent professional in that field. Above all, you should find someone who values your welfare, listens to your needs and devises an appropriate method of treatment accordingly.

At CW Chiropractic, we are members of the British Chiropractic Association and all of our staff have the experience and training to alleviate all kinds of back, neck, joint and muscle pain. We prioritise customer satisfaction above all else and are dedicated to delivering excellent service, quality of treatment and efficiency with each and every patient.

To find out more about how we can help, drop by our Canary Wharf practice or get in touch with us today.

image of a physio rubbing someones back

Why you Should see a Chiropractor

If you’ve never been to a chiropractor before, you may not see why it is necessary. Anybody can improve their body with chiropractic care, whether you’re a senior citizen with back pain or an athlete trying to enhance performance. You also don’t need to experience ongoing back pain to visit a chiropractor, which is a common misconception.

Chiropractic is a type of complementary and alternative medicine, which means you can try out a chiropractor as well as taking conventional medication for your symptoms. This type of alternative medicine involves the manipulation of the spine and other manual therapy techniques to realign the body – which can relieve pain and reduce symptoms of other conditions.

Here are some reasons why you should see your local chiropractor. Read more