The (Bad) Habit of “Self-Adjusting”
It has become a common question asked by our patients: is it okay for me to
“crack” my own back? It’s a fair question, as many people put this into
regular practice. Sometimes it feels like the spine needs a bit of a
release to get you going again, and it sure feels good. But there are some
things that we need to clarify before you decide to “self-adjust”.
WHAT’S THAT SOUND?
Unless it makes you cringe, for most people there’s something satisfying
about hearing that “popping” noise once the joint is released. In the
Chiropractic community, we know that sound like a “cavitation”, which is an
audible release from a joint. The sound is caused by a sudden release of
gas (mostly nitrogen and carbon dioxide) from the joint capsule/fluids that
surround the affected joint. The joint space is suddenly increased and out
pops the gas, similar to when opening a champagne bottle or soda can. This
sound does not represent actual bones “cracking” or joints “popping” out of
place. Some adjustments depending on their techniques do not rely on an
audible release in order to be deemed effective.
IS IT THE SAME?
Although similar mechanics will produce a similar sound, “cracking your own
back” is not the same as a Chiropractic adjustment. A Chiropractic
adjustment is a very specialized ability that your Chiropractor has learned
skillfully produce and can take a lifetime to perfect. The specialty of the
a chiropractor is to find areas of the spine that are restricted or are of
most need and apply a specific adjustment in order to increase the
mobility and improve the alignment of those segments. This is all done with
quick and precise movements, with just the right amount of force needed.
When a segment in your spine is restricted, unfortunately, this causes
changes in the segments adjacent to it. These segments become “hypermobile”
or MORE mobile than they should be. Often enough, when you are “adjusting”
yourself, you are targeting these areas as it is easier for them to
release. Following the audible release, endorphins are released from the
joint, which brings on that great feeling afterward, but at the end of the
day, it doesn’t fix the initial problem: the restricted segment.
Hypermobile joints are actually overcompensating for another problem and
can often lead to changes early if not detected and taken care of properly.
“Self-adjustments” are NOT specific, and often people release their whole
back as a result of the movement. Although it sounds great and feels great
momentarily, it’s an effect of a greater problem that needs attention. So
constantly having to “release” your own spine can be a sign that your spine
is undergoing restriction and change and should be assessed by a
Your Mississauga Chiropractor is skilled to detect changes in your spine
and provide the necessary adjustments required to get your spine back in
optimal shape. The beauty of Chiropractic is that it allows a body under
stress to improve in function and healing at its greatest potential, all by
improving the alignment of your spine. If you’d like to see a Chiropractor
today, please contact us at (905)821-4951.