Is this bad for me? -aka- Is there a chiropractor in the house?

Ross Williams

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Usually every night after work, I lie flat on my back and slowly swing my legs to each side cracking my spine. My back feels much better afterwards. I want to know if I'm causing myself any permanent damage. The same question goes for the cracking of the neck trick.
I remember hearing that if you crack your knuckles it causes arthritis. But I don't remember if that's an urban legend or what.
Any help?
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Julie K

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I'm not a medical doctor. I would not ask a chiropractor about this subject (or any other medical matter, but that's just my opinion.)
According to the physical therapist I saw after I dislocated my knee cap, if cracking or popping a joint causes pain, then you shouldn't do it. If there is no pain, then there seems to be no indication that you shouldn't do it, ie, there's no indication that this puts you any more at risk for arthritis than if you don't pop the joint.
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Rain

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I remember hearing that if you crack your knuckles it causes arthritis. But I don't remember if that's an urban legend or what.
I'm not a doctor, but I have played one in my bedroom.

Seriously, I posed this question to my own family doctor, the medical consultant in my workplace and also heard another doctor speak about it on the evening news. It is an urban legend.
The popping sound is caused by gas in the joints somewhere. If I recall correctly, nitrogen. When you crack your knuckles, you are moving the gas in such a way that it makes a sound, similar to what happens when you blow a bubblegum bubble and pop it.
No worries.

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Andrew Pratt

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I'm not a a Dr. either but I do visit my chriopractor on a regular basis. Cracking your back or neck may feel good but you're really not doing yourself much good. Generally what happens is all you'll do is stretch the muscles, tendons etc so that the misaligned vertabre will have an easier time being out of alignment and thus hurt more. Some people sware by chiro's some don't trust them but IMO if you can find a good one that isn't into the quick fix they are very helpfull.
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David Lambert

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I just asked my doctor about arthritis the other week. I brought up the knuckle-cracking. He laughed. He assured me it is an "old wives tale", and that I can crack my knuckles if I want to. He told me that rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis (I think I spelled those right!) are two very different things, and that neither involve knuckle-popping. The first is a blood-and-immunity system disorder, detectable by blood test. The second involves the skin disease psoriasys, where the skin disorder has spread to the joints. He assured me that in no way does stretching or popping the joints and ligaments will contribute to arthritis. He simply told me not to pop, pull, or twist so hard that something goes out-of-joint!

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I can crack my neck really loud and it grosses people out!

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Ross Williams

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So I guess what you guys are saying is that it's not good for me, but it's not bad for me either. For now I'll just keep on doing it. Next time I go to the doctor I'll ask to make certain it's ok. One thing I know is that it makes my back feel a lot better. (The noises it makes are fun too.)
And one thing I never understood is why there is such animosity towards chiropractors? You mention chiropractor and a lot of people think you said witch doctor.
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Julie K

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And one thing I never understood is why there is such animosity towards chiropractors? You mention chiropractor and a lot of people think you said witch doctor
Maybe that's because trying to cure an illness by 'adjusting' the spine is every bit as ineffective as jumping around, chanting, and waving a yak tail at the patient.
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Trey Fletcher

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Ross,
Actually, you are doing exactly what my Dad's chiropractor has prescribed for his back, and it has helped him immensely. In the "flat on your back, feet flat on the floor position ( extremely crude effort at illustration: ,/__o )" pull one knee toward your chest and hold for ten seconds. Alternate with other knee, again holding for ten seconds. Then, do this with both simultaneously. Finally, do as you have been, and gently roll your legs from side to side so that your knees roll to the floor. He spends about 20 min. each morning stretching his back with these exercises, and he has not thrown his back out since he started this regimen. Mind you, he doesn't do this with the sole intent of "popping" his back (though this does happen frequently), rather to help keep the muscles loose. You may want to try this both before and after work, especially if you have a job that requires lots of lifting and bending. In any event, good luck. Nothing is more painful or debilitating than back pain. TF
[Edited last by Trey Fletcher on September 20, 2001 at 11:35 AM]
[Edited last by Trey Fletcher on September 20, 2001 at 11:38 AM]
[Edited last by Trey Fletcher on September 20, 2001 at 11:42 AM]
 

Ross Williams

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Thanks Trey, I also do those same kind of exersizes, they seem to help.
And Julie, they're not trying to cure an illness. They're keeping your spine in good shape.
We have all kinds of specialist doctors for every part of our bodies. So why is one that works specifically on your spine considered a low-life? I don't know about you people, but I consider my spine way up there on the list of important parts of my body. #2 after my brain. (It's also weird how psychologists are viewed, but that's another discussion.)
I know that chiropractors don't go to medical school. But they do have about the same amount of schooling. Can someone else give me a better answer why they're hated?
 

Bill Catherall

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And Julie, they're not trying to cure an illness.
Julie will probably come defend herself. But before that I'll just say that there are some chiropractors that do believe they can cure illnesses through their therapy. Not all of them though. Just some.
Now, whether or not this is possible I leave up to you. My wife's grandparents had a business based in this and other homeopathic cures. I've seen some pretty bazaar stuff and I've been cured myself through pretty bazaar methods, but homeopathics cannot (in my opinion) cure everything. Her grandfather thought it could and he died from kidney cancer. If it had been caught in time it probably could have been treated successfully. But he hates doctors and wouldn't go see one until it was too late. He trusted his methods and visited chiropractors frequently (not for treatment, but to teach).
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Andrew Pratt

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As stated above I do visit my chiro on a regular basis and do believe that there are real benefits for doing so. I will never say that going to them will cure cancer etc but in promoting good health in all respects will always do good. I have (had) pains in my neck and lower back both of which are now much better but then it might have been the little voodoo doll he was playing with that cured me

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D. Scott MacDonald

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My sister is a chiropractor and she can do some truly amazing things. They seem like total vodoo when she does them, but we cannot argue with the results she gets most of the time. I can absolutely say that she has cured some conditions that you would not expect a chiropractor to cure.
To keep from getting publicly ridiculed, however, she does not market herself as a person that can do these things. Instead, she sticks to the basics when dealing with her regular patients, and only does the really cool stuff to her family and friends.
As to why they are hated, there are several reasons. For one, chiropractors vary wildly in both their abilities and their claims. Some aren't very good and don't spend much time helping people (I went to one of these for a while). Others make wild claims that seem unbelievable, and often are, while a good chiropractor will usually play things conservative. The harm comes when a person has a condition that is usually best served by a normal doctor, but some chiropractors will convince them to not to. We've all heard of stories of people that die of cancer largely because their chiropractor talked them out of seeing a normal doctor.
Another reason they are hated is because it's very difficult to scientifically prove WHY their cures work. Our bodies are very complex systems and there is a lot that we still don't understand.
 

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This thread could get as bad as any religious or political argument, so I'll keep my comments brief.
Suffice it to say that I am not a believer. I am convinced that chiropractic and homeopathy are placebos at best and quackery at worst.
A good site for loads of information on bogus medical treatments is http://www.quackwatch.com/index.html . It's true, the site goes overboard in favor of MDs, but there's also a lot of good information there which is a breath of fresh air in the midst of all the outrageous claims out there.
 

Julie K

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no said:
If you injure your back, you should see a medical doctor and a qualified physical therapists. I consider chiropractic "doctors" low-lives because they think they can cure things like pneumonia, menstrual cramps, migranes, and so on (just the few things they tried to convince my grandmother of). Others promote homeopathic medicine or the practice of examining a person's eye to determine any and all other physical problems. None of these practices have been shown to have any benefit or any grounding in scientific fact.
And many try to manipulate the neck. That's just downright dangerous.
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Ross Williams

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Okay, I guess I was wrong. I've never heard of such a thing. I've only been to a few chiropractors in my life, and they've only adjusted my spine for me. No promises of curing anything else. And I definately wouldn't go to one expecting it.
Although I wouldn't be surprised if the possibilities are there. I've never tried using herbs or acupuncture, but I do believe that they are legitimate means of medicine. (This could quickly turn "political".)
It's funny how far this thread has veered from its original intent.
 

Terry Hansen

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I've been using chiropractic care for many years and have been treated by good and bad chiropractors. A few or them have claimed they could help cure other problems I had in addition to my neck pain. I have had great success with regards to my neck pain.
Much of the animosity towards chiropractors came directly from the medical community in the past. In recent years however, more and more doctors are recommending chiropractic care for many types of back pain.
The best advice I've ever got regarding health care came from an MD years ago and she said to explore every avenue in regards to your health. So if chiropractic works for me then I say give it a try. YMMV.
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The difference between medical doctors and chiropracters is very simple:
- what medical doctors practice is based on scientific medical research;
- what chiropracters practice is not.
-Robert
 
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Thank you, but no, really! I was being serious!
It is some kind of wacky philosophy about channeling energy or something, but I didn't want to sound too inflammatory.

That is not to say that some of what they do is not beneficial, but it is sort of coincidental. I imagine the person that came up with it had some kind of actual physical therapy training and extended it with his own ideas. He probably at least had enough experience to know how to avoid injuring people or chiropracty would be a lot less popular.
-Robert
 

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