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How chiropractic care can help with leg pain

If you’ve been suffering with leg pain, whether it’s rooted in muscle discomfort, joint problems or even a trapped nerve – looking for a solution is likely you biggest priority. Living with leg pain is difficult and make even the smallest tasks (such as walking to the shops) painful and uncomfortable.

For many people seeking a solution and relief from the pain quickly, they may turn to seeking help from independent practitioners, but not knowing with kind of treatment is going to be best for leg pain. If you’ve been looking into chiropractic care as a solution to leg pain, but you’re not sure if it will help – hopefully we can reassure you here.

Yes, a chiropractor may be able to help

Chiropractors don’t just deal with spinal pain, in fact they offer treatments to people suffering with lots of different kinds of pain. Leg pain is one of the most common types of pain, behind spinal or back pain that a chiropractor will help patients with.

Leg injuries can be caused by a variety of things, including:

  • Injury
  • Fracture
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Nerve damage
  • Sciatica
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Infection
  • Arthritis
  • Over use
  • Muscle strain
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Tendonitis

With the human body, often pain is linked to other parts of the body – without you even realising it. This is especially the case for leg pain linked to sciatica, over-use, muscle strain and nerve damage. For example, pain in your left leg may actually be stemming from your left hip or lower back. A chiropractor will be able to help identify and treat this over time, gradually bringing balance and harmony back to your legs and joints.

During your treatment, chiropractors will deliver a gentle, non-invasive, and non-medication therapy. Chiropractic adjustments can help to reduce your joint restrictions, or misalignments, which can result in reduced inflammation and improved function too. This isn’t restricted to the spine – this can be across many areas of the body.

If you’re unsure, just ask

Most chiropractors will offer an initial consultation where they will discuss your pain with you in-depth and in detail, and aim to identify the causes and treatment cause needed going forward. It’s during this time that they will be able to outline the length of treatment, but also the effectiveness too. If you’re still unsure about whether a chiropractor can help with your leg pain, the best thing to do is ask during this consultation.

Your chiropractor will be able to look over your legs, and your joints and assess whether or not chiropractic care is the right choice for your situation. In some cases it may not be, and they may be able to refer someone else who can help.

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 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!

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.