Is It Safe To Adjust Myself?
We have all seen someone do it or maybe you even tried it yourself. It looks like a stretch but then all of a sudden someone takes their neck or lower back and forcefully twists it until it pops. The person seems to get relief, but is this really a healthy habit to have? This week’s blog addresses questions about self adjusting including, “Is it safe to adjust myself?”
What is a chiropractic adjustment?
To begin with, we first must understand what a chiropractic adjustment is. Stresses to the spine and organs can cause the spine to misalign or get subluxated. Once the spine has subluxations, there is not only decreased motion and function, but nerve pressure in those areas. This nerve pressure negatively affects the body and brain’s ability to communicate with one each another and eventually disease sets in. Pain usually comes last so you can have this dysfunction with zero pain. Delivering a chiropractic adjustment helps to not only restore the normal motion but removes this nerve interference. This brings back balance to the nervous system and allows the body’s inner ability to heal, work that much better. Chiropractic adjustments are usually done by hand, but instruments can also be used. The frequency of adjustments needed vary for each person depending on their individual condition.
Is it safe to adjust myself?
Providing yourself with adjustments may seem like a good idea and it may even feel good for the moment. However, when adjusting yourself, you run a greater risk of injuring yourself further. The spine is a fragile part of the body and when it is manipulated in a way that is not favorable, it can lead to more pain and nerve dysfunction than what was experienced prior. In fact, the more you perform self adjustments, the more you may put your spine at further risk for injury. This is because the self adjustments are not correcting the spine in anyway and instead may be placing the vertebrae in a position that leaves the individual more prone to injury. For example, in the neck there is a major artery that runs through the spine and supplies the brain with much needed oxygen and nutrients. This artery is called the vertebral artery. If people chronically try to self adjust their own neck, then that vertebral artery may be affected. Especially if those same people have a history of stroke or heart disease in their family or with themselves.
Does “cracking” knuckles lead to arthritis?
We all know a handful of individuals that like to “crack” their own joints, like knuckles. With that, we all know the individual who tries to deter them by saying “cracking your knuckles leads to arthritis.” However, there is no scientific evidence that says cracking these joints will increase your risk for developing arthritis. But it is known that when someone cracks their knuckles enough throughout their days, the knuckles can become swollen and sore. In some cases, people even can experience feelings of weakness in the hands. In conclusion, as we stated previously, cracking knuckles does in fact make the individual more susceptible to injury in the long run. If you feel a pop on your own during a normal range of motion, than that’s ok. Just don’t force anything.
Why does it feel better after a person self-adjusts?
Self adjusting may seem like a good method for back pain; however, it does not help in the long run. When we self adjust we are releasing built up gases in the spinal joints and that is what results in the “cracking” sound. Releasing these gases and hearing the “cracking” noise may lead to some short term relief but doesn’t realign the spine back towards normal. It is an unhealthy habit for a person to do and may result in areas of the spine to have too much motion while other areas of the spine are still locked up.
In conclusion, not even an experienced chiropractor can perform proper chiropractic adjustments on themselves. Instead of performing self adjustments here are a few alternative things that you can do to promote good spinal health:
- Schedule routine chiropractic visits
- Practice proper posture
- Follow and use any home instructions or devices that have been provided by your chiropractor
- Avoid looking down for long periods of time (i.e. when performing desk work or on your phone/tablet)
- Do exercises to strengthen your core and back muscles
- Get routine massages when possible
These are a few methods that may be used to help relieve any pain or discomfort you have and hopefully deter you from attempting to self adjust your spine. Just remember that your spine is a delicate, yet powerful part of your body. It holds your nervous system in tact and helps to be sure that all your nerve impulses are traveling to and from brain efficiently and smoothly; the way they were designed to. This is not a part of your body that you want to manipulate on your own. Leave the adjustments to a licensed chiropractor and instead ask them about ways you can help to manage and support your spinal health at home—without performing your own adjustments!