Why do joints crack & pop?

This is a really common question we get asked – “what’s the cracking noise?”

First off – it’s nothing to worry about.  I always explain it’s not bone on bone, or anything popping back in.  When the pressure within a joint space is reduced it alters the way the gases within the synovial fluid behave – they form a bubble which makes a ‘pop’ and is amplified through the bone.  This video is a really great, clear explanation:   why joints crack

Because of this popping sound people often assume that something has ‘popped back in’, but this is not the case; we don’t pop joints or discs back in (that’s anatomically impossible).  The one exception to this is the joints where the ribs join the spine – these can become subluxed (partially dislocated) and we can ‘pop them back in’ sometimes.

The click of a joint is actually NOT what improves the joint function – it’s just a side effect.  So it doesn’t matter if your joint clicks or doesn’t click during spinal manipulation.  In-fact there are some techniques we use where we would never expect a click but we still see improvements.  What improves the joint function is the neurological effect of the specific, quick, controlled impulse we apply to the joint.  This quick movement fires off lots of little nerve endings within & surrounding the joint (mechanoreceptors) which sends signals up to the brain, improving feedback from that joint.


Does gardening = backpain for you?

For a lot of people the good weather is a prompt to get outdoors and sort out that garden.  Suddenly the weekend is full of digging, weeding, moving pots (or gravel, rubble, & paving stones!) and generally doing all sorts of activities that your body has not been used to for a while.  For some, this ends up in back pain.  Does that mean you shouldn’t garden?  Of course not!  But there are some things you can do to help reduce the chance of ending up cursing your garden, and being able to relax and enjoy it instead.

The main problem is that for several months of the year we’ve most likely not done much of these activities, and then we plunge into doing several hours all in one go.  This is like suddenly taking up a new sport or exercise, and doing several hours at full intensity, in one go.  So, try and spread out your gardening tasks over a longer period – do some gardening more often as part of a regular routine that will keep your general activity levels up – see it like a regular exercise class (hey it’s free, it’s outdoors, it’s good for relaxation as well as the body).  This will help keep your back strong and is good for your general health. Read more

stressed is desserts

Just what is “stress”? part 1

We hear the word “stress” used a lot in daily life these days, and people often ask me “can stress be affecting my pain?”, so I thought I’d explain all about it.

The stress response itself is not ‘bad’. It’s actually a survival mechanism and is responsible for why we’re still here as a species. It’s commonly referred to as the “fight, flight or freeze” response – and that’s exactly what is sets up our body to do. Technically it’s called the sympathetic nervous system. Read more