A Chiropractor’s Thoughts on Self-Adjustments
Has cracking your joints become a habit for you? After long days sitting at a desk, it can quickly become routine to crack your back, neck, or knuckles. Self-adjustments bring immediate, although temporary relief, that sometimes outways the pain of leaving your joints alone. Dr. Justin Lewis of Get Adjusted Chiropractic has over six years of experience working professionally in Chiropractic care. He and our team have been asked countless times if it is good or bad to self-adjust or “self-crack” your joints. Dr. Justin Lewis breaks down the science behind the adjustments and explains his opinion on at-home treatments.
What is an Adjustment?
A chiropractic adjustment differs significantly from the simple cracking you may be doing to your back, neck, or other joints. A chiropractor uses a specific amount of controlled force to a particular area of your body. Adjustments correct your spinal alignment to help with your body’s physical function and relieve any pain. “The point of an adjustment is to fix a subluxation. A subluxation is a joint in the body that is not moving properly and is misaligned,” explains Dr. Justin Lewis. “When doing an adjustment, your chiropractor is introducing more range of motion than the joint is used to, in order to increase mobility and allow for proper alignment.” Joints often pop after an adjustment. An adjustment releases the pressure from the enclosed space of your joints, releasing gasses like nitrogen and carbon dioxide.
How Does this Help?
Most of us sit for the majority of the day. Because of this, the default sitting position leaves our heads unaligned with our spines and our shoulders slouched forward. Most people fall victim to their bad posture — we’re all human! Poor posture puts a significant strain on our spine, however, to support our heads. When our heads move in front of our shoulders, the alignment of our spine shifts and gravity is off-center. Good posture maintains the structure of our spine in a neutral position. The proper posture requires little effort to avoid the pain that often comes with long days behind a desk!
Adjustments help remedy this pain. “When joints are in proper alignment, the body can be at rest and allow for proper functionality,” says Dr. Justin Lewis. “Less stress is put on the discs between joints when they are properly aligned.” An ideal alignment will offset gravity’s force on your spine. To hold your spine in perfect posture, we use our muscles, ligaments, fascia, tendons, and nervous system. When your spine moves out of place, our bodies then use all of these parts to correct ourselves. Regular adjustments with the help of a chiropractor relieve temporary pain and improve your posture, spine health, and discomfort over time.
Should I Self-Crack Home?
It’s tempting to self-adjust at home, especially if you have a typical job that keeps you behind a computer and at a desk for many hours a day. The occasional self-adjustment will, most likely, not do too much damage to your spine or joint health. However, repeatedly cracking your own back or neck can lead to serious health risks over time.
“When a person ‘cracks their own neck,’’ they are bringing certain joints past the end range. Often, these ligaments are being overstretched that otherwise need to support those joints,” states Dr. Justin Lewis. “You are going to predispose your joints and ligaments to early degeneration due to this increase of improperly applied pressure.” Instead of self-cracking or adjusting at home, Dr. Justin Lewis recommends incorporating light stretches and regular exercise into your routine. Stretching is a safe, effective way to ease your pain if you cannot immediately see your Chiropractor. “Simple yoga moves that allow for a full range of motion stretches are a great way to start the day,” explains Dr. Justin Lewis. “You should try to stretch 10 to 15 minutes when you first wake up to allow your muscles the time to warm-up and get ready for your day.”
Prevent long term pain with Get Adjusted Chiropractic! Book an appointment online today or call our office at 845-809-8300 to schedule a visit with Dr. Justin Lewis.