Throughout a normal day many people find themselves in the habit of “self- cracking” or self-adjusting, whether it be your neck, back or other part of your body. Often this type of cracking gives a person temporary relief from pain or discomfort and after a while they will find that they are self- cracking more and more as the day goes on, so is this self- cracking good for you?
Almost all of us sit down of a large portion of our day, and more than likely there is a lot of computer use in our workplaces, as the day progresses most people find themselves slumped over their shoulders and with their head closer to the computer screen than it is to their shoulders. This posture creates a lot of strain on the muscles, ligaments, fascia, tendons and joints of the spine. The reason for this increased strain has to do with our centre of gravity, if our neck and shoulders are not in line with our spine and pelvis, gravity is creating more force on these areas of the body and creates a significant strain due to the increased weight from the gravitational forces as your body fights to keep you upright.
As these structures in the body work harder they will become fatigued over time, this leads to the feeling of stiffness or pain often experienced by people who self-adjust. Eventually this habit will cause permanent structural, postural and movement changes.
Why do you feel good after self-cracking?
When there is pain in the body, pain producing nerves are activated to let the brain know that there is a problem area in the body, the nervous sends signals to reduce movement so as to prevent the risk of possible injuries in this area. When you self-adjust these pain producing nerve fibers are activated which temporarily shuts down the signals sent to the brain. This is similar to taking a painkiller for a headache, there might be temporary relief but the cause of the pain has not been addressed.
Eventually this creates a pain cycle which ultimately is the body adapting to create a more stable structure, the body reduces movement of problem area. When self- adjusting to try and remove these restrictions you are using a non-specific method to try and force an increase in movement, which in the long term can lead to hyper-mobility issues ( meaning excessive movement) ultimately developing a chronic overuse injury of the spine or joint.
How is a Chiropractic adjustment different?
Every Doctor of Chiropractic has trained for five years at a tertiary level, to learn how the body moves and functions. We look for ways to improve performance and function of the body. A chiropractor thoroughly assesses the spine and performs an in-depth examination to determine exactly where in the body an adjustment is needed (we don’t use the term “crack”). Chiropractic adjustments are a gentle and specific movement that helps improve range of motion of the spinal and other joints. Mobility and stability issue are addressed through treatment plans involving at home exercises which are tailored to each individual’s needs. No two people present with the exact same problem, needs and goals.
Rather than self-adjust or self-crack, speak to one of our chiropractors and we will assess why you developed this habit and we can work with you to improve your health and wellness.