We all know that relieving sound of the pop in a twist of the back or a pull to the neck–it’s the sound of relaxation. After hours sitting at a desk or being at work all day, our ligaments and joints become stiff and painful because of the pressure of being in the same fixed position all day. This habitual act seems safe because of the relief of pain after the act of twisting and turning it is over. Can something that makes you feel better; consequently cause damage at the same time? Studies have shown that many people commonly crack their joints, whether it is the back, knuckles or necks, it’s a practice that has been around for quite awhile.
But is it safe?
There have been some opposing opinions on the safety of “self-adjustment” of joints and the severity of risk. Some doctors believe that since the popping noise is coming from a rush of nitrogen into the facet joints as they open up, it doesn’t cause any harm to the joint. The stretching generally makes the muscle of the back feel better.
Although the “cracking” or “popping” sound may sound alarming, it doesn’t mean anything is breaking. Continually, it is the liquid that is under pressure and forced to escape due to the initial stress that has resulted in the liquid converting to a gas. We usually associate the “pop” with the release of tension in the ligaments when in reality, the sound and feeling just coincides as a result of the movement-they are unrelated.
This doesn’t mean the doctors are telling you to do this every time your back or neck is aching. There is a reason for chiropractors and doctors that are licensed to manipulate the spine. Over time, habitually self-correcting the matter may lead to more serious complications because of the risk of damaging the parts of the body that are contained in the neck area such as:
- Blood vessels
- Spinal cord
The specific doctors for helping correct these issues know how to alleviate pain correctly without affecting those areas. Although self-adjusting isn’t statistically extremely risky, one wrong stretch or twist can result in permanent damage. For example, the ligaments within your body act like a natural rubber band. When you stretch a rubber band too much, it can lose its elasticity and become unstable or snap. By continually stretching your ligaments through cracking your back or neck, they cannot provide the structure and solidity that your body needs to sustain proper alignment. In addition, when you are cracking your body, you’re not actually correcting the area causing the pain; you are just releasing the gas, stretching the ligaments and lubricating joints that are already overstretched.
The doctors, who believe the risk is much higher than others believe, contend their attitude on the possibility of damaging your spine. Repeatedly cracking your back can lead to a condition called hypermobility. Hypermobility is when the spine and the muscles around the spine are stretched repeatedly, losing their elasticity and shape. As the elasticity is lost, your back and spine move in ways that are never intended. This means that your back becomes hypermobile.
Even though both viewpoints clarify the problem of elasticity, the latter opinion explains how detrimental it really is. Hypermobility leads to losing strength and coordinated movements. When you are young, spinal manipulation is relatively safe because you have muscle strength, strength in the ligaments and bone strength. But as you age and your blood vessels get a little bit hard, you have some atherosclerosis (because of the spinal manipulation) you run the risk of artery eruption.
Dolman Law Group
The bottom line is the odds of getting a debilitating injury, either a vascular injury that results in stroke or a fracture or nerve damage is very low, especially if you are have healthy, strong bones, ligaments and muscles. But do you want to take that chance? There are professionals who can diagnose the exact extent of the pain and professionally adjust the problem. Seek their help.
These tips are to ensure that you are aware of what cracking your own back or neck can do. However, if you or a loved one has endure back or neck pain as a result of someone else, call Dolman Law Group to evaluate your claim. The consultation is free and compensation can be rewarded if the injury is the result of someone else’s negligence. Back and neck pain is, well, a pain in the neck. Call (727) 853-6275 to speak with an experienced attorney.
For more information, please contact Clearwater personal injury attorney, Julia McGrath, at the Dolman Law Group.
Dolman Law Group
5435 Main Street
New Port Richey, FL 34652