Metaport

Self Manipulation

(Keywords: SELF MANIPULATION ... tingling in arms and hands ... UncoVertebral joint ... arm pain )

Whether it's using forcible means, as in the photo below, or simply cocking your neck into hyperflexion and extension and making it pop, repeated forceful self manipulation, without distraction, is very serious.



Ask any chiropractor, and they will tell you that the most difficult patient in the practice is the one who begins to manipulate their own joints. It leads inexorably to pain and tingling in arms and hands, and degenerative arthritis in tiny joints known as the Joints of Luschka, also known as the uncovertebral luschka joint.


The uncinate process or uncus is a small piece of bone that serves to protect the nerve root from a slipped disc. It forms the delicate uncovertebral joints.

Chiropractic manipulation uses joint distraction, something the self manipulator cannot do, to prevent cartilage on cartilage trauma during the adjustment.

The tiny joints of Luschka, also known as uncovertebral joints,  are also designed to protect the nerve root, by preventing any lateral movement of the bones in the neck. They only exist in the lower cervical spine. But injury to the cartilage in these joints releases harmful chemicals that inflame the spinal nerves roots; vague, constant, and very irritating pain in the neck results.


One wonders how people could possibly start popping their necks in the crazy and dangerous manner. Deaths have been recorded.

Researchers have now established beyond doubt that the hyaline cartilage in all joints is utterly dependent on movement for its proper nutrition. Immobilisation of any joint leads within a very short time, read hours in white mice, anyway to progressive, irreversible arthritic changes in the cartilage.

Immobilisation of a joint inhibits the normal flow of nutrients and oxygen to the cartilage. And removal of the toxic waste products of cartilage metabolism. The nett result is always immobilisation arthritis.

Fixation of the joints is what occurs after trauma, as in the neck after whiplash such as in motor vehicle accidents, diving into shallow water, or cracking your head against the bottom of the pool, a fall down the staircase, falls and collisions in various contact sports and so on; however it can occur to any part of the spine, and the little joints in the ankle after an ankle sprain, for example. Uncorrected such injuries lead invariably to arthritis.

Starving the cartilage endplates of oxygen and nutrients causes an insidious discomfort and irritation in the joint. Enter self manipulation.


Very soon sufferers discover that turning and wriggling their heads, and sometimes manipulating their necks brings relief from the real discomfort associated with degenerating cartilage and irritated nerves. Nothing will be seen on X-rays for five or more years, but the cartilage in the spines of mice, where fixations have been mechanically made, has under the microscope, histologically, has been seen to begin degenerating within thirteen hours.

The problem? The relief is very temporary, and within an hour sufferers need to manipulate their spines again, and again, and again.

See folk contorting and trying to pop their own necks like this? It's a sign that fixated joints are starving the cartilage of oxygen and nutrients. Specialists now acknowledge that early on there is little to be seen on X-ray in the progressive development of neck arthritis.


Manipulation by your chiropractor; can there be too much of that also?

There is regrettably no research on this difficult question, but there is no doubt in my mind that too many adjustments of any single joint, simply adds to the problem rather than the solution. Just as rebound headache is actually caused by over use of analgesics, too many adjustments, in my opinion, can cause rebound cervical spine pain and ultimately radiating arm pain.

That is simply my own opinion, based on nothing more than over thirty years in practice, that adjustment of any joint more than twenty to thirty times in a twelve month period, is probably too much manipulation. Others would disagree. I do it very occasionally in exceptionally difficult cases, but reluctantly, with the knowledge that my treatment may have become, through over-manipulation, part of the problem, rather than the solution.

Is this creating doubt in your mind? Well, just as you need to be doubtful of surgery and drugs, you need to consider just how much Chiropractic adjustment of your spine is healthy. Just as there are doctors who will give you umpteen prescriptions of anti inflammatory drugs I can promise you there are chiropractors who will happily manipulate your spine fifty, or even one hundred times in a year.

And self manipulation ten times every day? Sheer madness.



Self manipulation

Most self manipulators seem to find themselves popping their own necks ten or more times every day. Put differently, in two to three days they manipulate their joints more than I consider healthy in a whole year. Inexorably there is injury to the cartilage lining the uncovertebral joint Lushka and contributing to the cervical facet syndrome. The net result is more and more neck pain, and ultimately pain and tingling in the arms and hands as the nerves are injured.

How to stop popping your own neck is a vexed question. It's become ingrained as a habit, over and above any temporary relief you may get.



Search this site function enables you to find stuff on this site.

Google has gone through an enormous shakeup in the last year, giving webmasters much grief.

Meantime, use the search function near the top of the left column to find more information about subject material mentioned on the page where links have probably been removed.  There are over 360 pages at chiropractic help; it's become a veritable encyclopedia dedicated to better health.

The spine has already had too much manipulation, manipulation done without distraction, injuring the hyaline cartilage that lines the bones in the joint. Yet if your chiropractor doesn't adjust your spine occasionally, and regularly, you will start manipulating it ten or more times a day again.

My solution:

  1. Have a regular massage; perhaps ask your chiropractor to show your spouse how to give you a gentle relaxing massage. Then it can be done several times a week. Keep it short, say 2-5 minutes.
  2. Every day do our stiff neck exercises for neck pain ...
  3. When you feel the need to click your neck, do these exercises and/or ask for a massage. Leave the computer, get up, walk...
  4. Go for a proper chiropractic adjustment of the offending joint, occasionally and regularly. How often? Work that out with your chiropractor.

If you don't stop there's trouble coming, and probably BIG trouble. Complications of surgery ...



Cervical facet syndrome

The small joints that guide your neck every time you turn, look up or tilt your head are very prone to injury when there's been trauma such as falls on the trampoline or off a horse. Self manipulation is another of those traumas.

The cervical facet syndrome is one of the more common conditions treated at the chiropractic coalface.  Apart from pain in the neck it often leads to tingling in the arms and hands.

USEFUL LINKS




Did you find this page useful? Then perhaps forward it to a suffering friend. Better still, Tweet or Face Book it.


Interesting challenges of the day

1. Mr B  came initially for a painful and stiff neck and then asked whether chiropractic could help the cold numb feeling running down the side of his thigh for six months. Meralgia paresthetica is a double crush syndrome with the nerve affected in the back and groin. He's 80% improved after five treatments.

2. Mrs C has a long history of severe, disabling migraine headaches since having her wisdom teeth removed. She clenches her teeth at night. After six treatments she has no migraines but some jaw joint discomfort remains; a bite plate is in the offing.

3. Mrs U has the trophy for the worst back this year. After major surgery with plates and screws two years later she still had paresis in the lower leg and severe disabling back pain. She's doing far better than expected, in no little part due to a lift in her shoe for a very short leg.

4. Mr V is 86 years old and hurt his back helping his wife into the car. Just one treatment of the sacroiliac joint and he's eighty percent better. It's not always like that.

5. Mr W lay on his back knocking down a pillar. Turning his head causes severe vertigo. He needs the Epley exercises, not pills, research shows. Update, he's fine.

6. Mrs X, a young mother has severe lower back pain, with numbness down the posterior thigh, calf and side of her foot. It started after a long drive in the car. After six treatments she is 60 percent better, but it's slow and is going to take the full 6 weeks to heal.

And now a setback, after lifting her child she now has leg pain. It's going to the be difficult.

7. This lady is a 70 year old woman, is on maintenance care for a nasty lumbar stenosis despite having to do everything at home. Her husband has a hospital acquired infection after a total shoulder replacement. After four operations he is incapacitated.

8. She is an 78 year old woman, is doing remarkably well with a bad sciatica. But over 200 pounds she is not losing weight; in fact, gaining despite my suggestions. She's high risk for a stroke. I have referred her to a dietician to crack the whip.

9. This man is a 73 year old engineer, still working, is doing fine after a long episode of lower back pain. Some pain on the side of the hip remains after five treatments. I reassured him it's not hip arthritis.

10. A 64 year old woman has had scheuermanns disease; it's left her with a spinal kyphosis and chronic middorsal pain. She responds well to chiropractic treatment provides she come every six weeks or so for maintenance treatment.

11. Mr C has been having severe headaches, and taking a lot of analgesics. It's a non complicated upper cervical facet syndrome, and she's doing well.

12. Mrs D, a middle aged woman with hip pain of one year duration, despite other treatment. Xrays reveal an impingement syndrome and early hip arthritis. There's much to be done.

13. Both Mrs E and I can't believe how much better her lower back and leg pain are. Surgery for a scoliosis and spondylolysthesis three years ago helped greatly for one year. But then her leg went lame and weak. He was responded extremely well despite all expectations.

And so the day goes; chiropractors shouldn't be treating the elderly most medical sites state but that's so much bunkum.



Have a problem that's not getting better? Looking for a different slant on your pain? Want to pose a question?


Interesting questions from visitors

CLS writes:

Greetings, Dr B.
You helped me quite some time back with a soothing and professional response which turned out to be exactly correct. I now consult a local chiropractor. You write a superb newsletter, too.

Your own unresolved problem. Pose a question

Knowing that up to 70% of the time the correct diagnosis is made with no examination, no special tests, no xrays, but just from the history, there's a fair chance I can add some insight to your unresolved problem. But at least 30% of the time, I may be quite wrong! Give plenty of detail if you want a sensible reply.


You visited this chiropractic help site no doubt because you have a problem that is not resolving and want to know more about what chiropractors do.

The quickest and most interesting way is to read one of my ebooks of anecdotes. Described by a reader as gems, both funny and healthful, from the life and work of a chiropractor, you'll love them. Priced right at $2.99, though Kindle fiddles the price without telling me.