A Common Misconception
Why should I go to a chiropractor when I could do it myself? I can crack my own back.
This is a real common misconception that I really need to address. You're right. You don't have to pay me to crack your back when you can do it at home yourself.
Let me explain the difference between what you may do at home should you choose to do it and what I do here in my office.
When one feels the need to crack his or her own neck, it means that the joints in the spine have fixated or lost mobility. Maybe the local nerves within the joints are irritated and discomfort may be experienced. When you stretch and hear that popping sound, the gas build up in the joint has released and tension has been taken off the joint. This is known as a manipulation. Maybe the local nerves are freed up. This usually feels pretty good. The problem here is that as you stretch, the same joint will release every time. This can cause the area to become overly mobile. Other areas of the spine will compensate by becoming less mobile. This can lead to the spine becoming very unstable. I really don't advise this.
When one comes into the office to have his or her spine checked, I'm really not concerned with a lack of mobility unless it also has the component of a misaligned bone with nerve interference. Then we call it a subluxation. When the spine is subluxated, the muscles anchoring the bones will have a certain character or tone that untrained hands could never analyze. Also, the major concern with a subluxation is not the little branches of sensory nerves inside the joints that may be causing some discomfort. It is the big nerve root connected to the spinal cord that is being squeezed as a result of the foramina (the opening where the nerve exits the cord) being closed down as a result of the misplaced spinal bone. When the nerve root is compressed, there is about a 15% chance you will feel it because the other 85% non sensory nerves in that bundle have the job of bringing life to muscles, organs, and other body functions. Those are the nerves that will be affected the most by the subluxation. Therefore, pain is not a reliable indicator of a compressed nerve root. Being checked by an experienced chiropractor is. When it is time for the adjustment, the amount of force and line of direction are specifically coordinated with the tone of the working fibers of the special deep muscles that are responsible for moving the spinal bones. Only someone specially trained in the art of advanced muscle palpation with years of experience in the motor skill of adjusting technique can complete this task with accuracy. This is the difference between a specific adjustment and a manipulation. The latter does not imply the use of precision, specificity, or the correction of nerve interference.
Yes you can crack or manipulate yourself at home. You may also have somebody do it for you should you choose. Are you doing damage????? Are you helping the body get rid of nerve interference or just loosening joints????? Are you creating more subluxations and more nerve interference that you can't necessarily feel?????