Does Cracking Your Knuckles Lead To Arthritis?
You might be suprised to know that I never cracked my knuckles as a kid.
‘Yeah right Dr Brad, you’re a chiropractor. I bet you were cracking every knuckle you could find! Your own, your brothers, the cats. Anything!’
No sorry, I didn’t. But trying to get the cat might have been funny! (Joking, I never practiced on the cat, promise.)
Anyway….. it was generally accepted back then in the 70’s and 80’s that cracking your knuckles can lead to arthritis. My mum also used to tell us that punching each other in the arm would cause cancer, but that never stopped us. So even if I was a knuckle cracker, I probably wouldn’t have stopped. Arthritis was for old people, and I was a young person so I didn’t have to worry about it. But I never forgot about it.
This urban myth, like many others at the time, was well known and it was something that you would hear quite often. But is it actually true?
Well, no. There is no evidence that shows that cracking your knuckles, or any other joint in your body for that matter, will lead to arthritis. In fact Dr Donald Unger, a medical doctor, decided at a young age to test out his mothers warning that cracking knuckles causes arthritis. Dr Unger then proceeded to only crack the knuckles in his left hand, and NEVER in his right hand, for 60 years!
He found that there was no difference in the amount of arthritis in his hands after 60 years. Whilst this is only anecdotal evidence from a study size of exactly 1, it still ended up with Dr Unger recieving the Ig Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2009. (It’s like the Nobel Prize, but highlight scientists whose work is somewhere between silly and serious.)
Some serious research has been done that shows that long term knuckle cracking may cause swelling and a loss of grip strength in some people, but no increased risk of arthritis.
So there you go, feel free to crack away, it’s probably not going to cause any harm. Only to the people around you that cringe every time they hear that crunch!
Did you know that many of the world’s top performers see a chiropractor regularly?
Many top athletes, Olympians (eg. Usain Bolt), golfers (such as Tiger Woods), tennis players including Andy Murray, Venus Williams, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, pro surfers (Dr Brad Moore has worked with several), and even musicians such as Madonna, U2, Metallica and The Wiggles all have chiropractors as part of their team. Anthony Robbins, the world’s top performance coach, is also an advocate for chiropractic, as is Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Do they all have bad backs? Maybe, but that is not the main reason they get chiropractic care.
You see, these people understand the relationship between the spine and the nervous system. They also know that misalignments in the spine can have a detrimental effect on their health, and therefore on their performance. So they get regular chiropractic adjustments to keep their spine in optimal alignment to ensure they can perform at their peak level. These people have to be at the top of their game, and they use chiropractic as one of the ways to help them achieve this.
Whilst we might not be elite athletes ourselves, optimal health and being able to perform at our best is an ongoing wellness goal. It is also a goal we have for the people who come to see us for chiropractic care. At Coolum Family Chiropractic we strongly believe that our modern chiropractic care is not just about bad backs, but also helps you perform at a your best!
So if you want to perform at your best, all of the time, remember to get adjusted regularly!
Water or Coke?
This is really an eye opener! We all know that water is the healthier choice, but if offered a drink which would you’d choose?
Have a look at these interesting, and quite scary, facts. I found this on the interent recently, and while I can’t account for the truth of all of them, it is definitely worth thinking about.
75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. (No stats are available for Australia, but it likely applies to half the world population!)
In 37% of Americans, the thirst mechanism is so weak that it is often mistaken for hunger.
Even MILD dehydration will slow down one’s metabolism by as much as 3%.
One glass of water will shut down midnight hunger pangs for almost 100% of the dieters studied in a Washington study.
Lack of water is the No.1 trigger for daytime fatigue
Preliminary research indicates that 8-10 glasses of water a day could significantly ease back and joint pain for 80% of sufferers.
A mere 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy short term memory, trouble with basic math, and difficulty focusing on the computer screen or on a printed page.
Drinking 5 glasses of water daily decreases colon cancer by 45%, plus it can slash the risk of breast cancer by 79%, and one is 50% less likely to develop bladder cancer. Are you drinking the amount of water you should every day?
Apparently, in many US states the highway patrol carries 2 gallons of Coke in the trunk to remove blood from the highway after a car accident.
You can put a T-bone steak in a bowl of Coke and it will be gone in two days.
To clean a toilet: Pour a can of Coke in the toilet and let the ‘real thing’ sit for one hour, and then flush clean. The citric acid in Coke cleans vitreous china.
To remove rust spots from chrome car bumpers: Rub the bumper with a rumpled up piece of aluminium foil dipped in Coca-Cola.
To clean corrosion from car battery terminals: Pour a can of Coke over the terminals to bubble the corrosion away.
To loosen a rusted bolt: Applying a cloth soaked in Coca-Cola to the rusted bolt for several minutes.
To remove grease from clothes: Empty a can a Coke into a load of greasy clothes, add detergent, and run through a regular cycle. The Coke will help loosen grease stains. It will also clean road haze from your windshield.
For your information:
The active ingredient in Coke is phosphoric acid. Its pH is 2.8. It will dissolve a nail in about four days. Phosphoric acid also leaches calcium from bones and is a major contributor to the increase in osteoporosis
To carry Coca-Cola syrup (the concentrate) the commercial truck must use the Hazardous Material place cards reserved for highly corrosive materials.
The distributors of Coke have been using it to clean the engines of their trucks for about 20 years!
Now would YOU like a glass of water or a glass of coke?
Chiropractic Preventing Falls In The Elderly.
As the population continues to age with double the amount of people over 65 now than there was in 1980, there is an important need to focus on helping the elderly to stay healthy.
The most common injuries in the older generation is due to falls. Where once having a fall was a minor, clumsy moment, it can now be a serious and even life changing event. As balance and co-ordination declines as we age, falls account for over 80% of injury related hospital admissions for people over 65.
A recent study published in the Journal Of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics found that a group of older patients who received 12 weeks of chiropractic care showed measurable improvements in their sensory and motor functions, which are important factors in the risk of falls. They also showed improvements in their physical component of quality of life.
This shows that spinal health is not just about aches and pains, or preventing a sore back. Maintaining spinal health is critical for a better quality of life as well as preventing other injuries, particularly as we continue to age.
Coolum Family Chiropractic has been servicing Coolum and the Sunshine Coast for over 12 years. With a variety of techniques, and over 20 years experience, we are able to meet the spinal health needs of all age groups. We recommend regular spinal check-ups as an important part of health care.
Text Neck. A Modern Syndrome.
Is your smart phone literally a pain in the neck?
Text neck is being described as a modern ailment that is due to spending long periods of time staring down at your mobile phone, tablet or other device.
Recent research shows that smart phone users are spending an average of 4 hours each day staring at their device (that's 1400 hours each year!), so it is no wonder that the incidence of 'text neck' is on the rise! And it seems that this relatively new phenomenom is becoming alarmingly common with the increasing prevalence of mobile technology, particularly among younger generations.
The posture we adopt as we stare at our phones increases the stress on the neck and can cause excessive wear and tear that could lead to permanent damage.
The problem with this is that in order to look at your screen, you need to bend your head forwards into a flexed or dropped forwards position. This un-natural position actually reverses the normal backward curve of the cervical spine (your neck). This change can actually be observed on XRays, where we have seen a straightening, or even a reverse of the normal curve of the cervical spine.
The average head weighs around 5 to 6 kilograms. The cervical spine (your neck) is designed so that it will balance the weight of the head effortlessly. It even has a slight backwards curve to absorb the shocks and impacts of moving around. However, as we bend our heads forward, the amount of stress and strain on the neck increases. At a 15-degree angle, this weight is about 12kg, at 30 degrees it’s 18kg, and at 60 degrees it’s 27kg. That is the same as having an 8 year old child hanging unsupported off your neck for several hours each day!
Over time this can lead to muscle strain, pinched nerves and herniated discs. But the most obvious immediate effect is on our posture. Just have a look around, everyone has their head down! Poor posture can cause other problems as well. Experts say it can reduce lung capacity by as much as 30 percent. It has also been linked to headaches and neurological issues, depression and heart disease.
What are the symptoms associated with text neck?
Text neck most commonly causes neck pain and soreness. In addition, looking down at your cell phone too much each day can lead to:
- Upper back pain ranging from a chronic, nagging pain to sharp, severe upper back muscle spasms.
- Shoulder pain and tightness, possibly resulting in painful shoulder muscle spasm.
- If a cervical nerve becomes pinched, pain and possibly neurological symptoms can radiate down your arm and into your hand.
While it is nearly impossible to avoid the technologies that cause these issues, individuals should make an effort to look at their phones with a neutral spine and to avoid spending hours each day hunched over.
These 2 simple tips can help to minimise the risk of developing text neck.
- Look down at your device with your eyes. No need to bend your neck.
- Exercise: Move your head from left to right several times. Use your hands to provide resistance and push your head against them, first forward and then backward. Stand in a doorway with your arms extended and push your chest forward to strengthen the muscles of good posture.
But probably the key point is to try and reduce the amount of time we spend staring at our phones. You can't live a life through your phone, and there is a beautiful world right in front of your eyes. Just look up from time to time!
Go For A Walk!
Walking is our most natural movement. We have literally evolved over millenia to be walking machines, and are capable of walking many kilometres a day as we forage for food and explore. (The whole paleo movement is based on the fact that humans have not genetically changed for over 10,000 years, from when our lifestyle and diet revolved around hunting and gathering.)
Many of you will be aware of how important it is to go for a walk after your spinal adjustment, as it helps the adjustment to settle in and hold better. But did you know that walking has many, many other health benefits? And some of them are quite remarkable.
Here is a list of just some of the scientifically proven advantages of 30 minutes walking each day.
- Prevent 91% of cases of obesity and Type 2 Diabetes
- Prevent 50% cases of all heart disease
- Reduce stroke risk by 25-30%
- Reduce risk of breast cancer by up to 60%
- Restore and maintain cholesterol levels
- Reduce lung cancer, even in smokers, by 72%
- Reduce melanoma by 72%
- Prevent 50% bowel cancer
- Improve digestion and bowel function
- Increase immune response
- Prevent osteoporosis and increase new bone formation
- Decrease all cause mortality by 67% in general population
- Increases sex binding hormones which slow aging
- And many others!
Walking is quite simply the number 1 thing you can do that will improve your health!
And it is the cheapest health tonic you will ever find, and it only takes 30 minutes a day.
In fact you could say that walking is an essential nutrient, and the more you get, the better off you are!
Fun and easy exercises to improve kids posture.
As we are seeing more spinal problems developing at earlier ages, it is important to teach your kids how to look after their spine.
By promoting balance, strength and flexibility in the spine, the risk of developing problems with your child’s spine now and in the future can be substantially reduced. Poor posture has also been linked to many other diseases and ill health.
This simple 3 minute posture care program is designed to help children look and feel their best. This daily routine will help improve their posture and spinal health.
The program is divided up into three quick sessions and only takes around 3 minutes. It is also a lot of fun and is a great way to spend some time with your kids, and it might even benefit yourself!
But first, here are some other things to be aware of regarding kids posture:
School Backpacks This can be a real back strain for kids and deserves some attention. Read more details here.
Best Foot Forward Good footwear is important. Shoes with a good heel support and a good grip will make it easier to carry heavy bags.
Exercise Lack of exercise is a child’s worst enemy. Make sure they are keeping active or playing sport regularly - the fitter the child is the less likely they are to injure themselves.
Keep Moving! Staying still for long periods is bad for the spine. Limit time at the computer or TV to a maximum of 40 minutes at a time. Get up and take a break - do something else for a while.
Computer Posture When using a PC, tablet, or computer console be sure to sit up straight and comfortably, with the spine supported. Kids often don’t realise they are uncomfortable when they are absorbed in games etc.
The following exercises are designed for healthy children; please check with your Chiropractor or GP before continuing with this program.
First, STAND TALL!
* Stand straight & tall with your head high.
* Put your ears, shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles in a straight line, just like Jake is doing.
* Pull your belly button in.
And here is an exercise you can do between the others, called the TRAP OPENER:
* Breathe deeply & calmly. Relax your tummy.
* Let your head hang loosely forward and gently turn from one side to the other.
* Using your fingers, gently rub the area just below the back of your head on your neck.
* Relax your shoulders & roll them backward and forward. Keep doing this while you count to 15!
Following is the daily exercise program. Why not have some fun with your kids and join in!
Your posture is a good indicator of your spinal health, and spinal health affects your overall health.
This simple, fun, 3 minute daily routine is a great investment in your kids health and well being.
And it is never too early to start to learn about, and look after our spines!
Feel free to give us a call, or make an appointment to get a professional postural assessment at Coolum Family Chiropractic.
You can call us on (07) 5446 4088.
School Backpacks Can Be A Pain In The Back!
As children are returning to school, Coolum Family Chiropractic would like parents to be aware of the risks of the potential long term spinal damage that can be caused through incorrectly packed and fitted school backpacks.
A study conducted by the Chiropractors’ Association of Australia (CAA) revealed 90% of school children have bad posture when carrying their bags which could result in spinal damage.
Heavy weighted backpacks can cause muscle strain, irritation, and negative postural changes, which can lead to back pain and spinal disorders, particularly after carrying a heavily loaded backpack for twelve years or more of schooling. Many of the current bags children use may be fashionable, but unless they allow for even weight distribution across the back, they can cause a lot of discomfort for children.
Findings published in the Australian Spine journal revealed that the weight of the average backpack is often heavier, proportionally, than the legal load-bearing limit for adults. Another international study revealed daily backpack carrying is a frequent cause of discomfort for school children. School backpacks were felt to be heavy by 79.1% of children, to cause fatigue by 65.7%, and to cause back pain by 46.1%.
School can be a challenging time for children, so ensuring they are as comfortable as possible is important for their physical and mental development. The following tips are a good guideline for school backpacks.
Tips for carrying heavy backpacks
1. Backpacks should be ideally no heavier than 10% of a student’s weight when packed.
2. Make sure the backpack is sturdy and appropriately sized – no wider than the student’s chest
3. Put comfort and fit at the top of the priority list, rather than good looks
4. Choose a backpack with broad, padded shoulder straps
5. Use both shoulder straps – never sling the pack over one shoulder
6. Use waist straps attached – they are there for a good reason
7. Don’t wear the backpack any lower than the hollow of the lower back
8. Don’t overload the backpack – use school lockers and plan homework well in advance
9. Place all heavy items at the base of the pack, close to the spine, for a better weight distribution
Another postural concern for our kids is the increasing use of technology and the incidence of ‘Text Neck’.
‘Text neck’ is a relatively new phenomenon. It can occur due to your neck position when you look at your phone for an extended time.
In order to look at your screen, you need to bend your head into a dropped forwards position. This unnatural posture actually reverses the normal backwards curve of the cervical spine (your neck), changing its’ natural shape and placing excessive strain on the muscles and ligaments in the neck. Over time this creates a posture where the head pokes forwards, potentially leading to permanent spinal damage.
Chiropractors are uniquely positioned to educate parents, teachers and students about spinal health care through their minimum five years university training. Each week, there are over 215,000 visits to Australian chiropractors for a broad range of reasons.
Chiropractic care has been proven to be safe and effective, even for kids. Chiropractic can help to restore correct spinal function and relieve pain associated with carrying heavy backpacks.
If you would like to have a postural assessment for your kids, give us a call!
Chiropractic for Kids, and Adjusting Babies.
Most people think that chiropractic is only for adults with bad backs. Although it is very successful at helping those kinds of people, chiropractic is way, way more than that.
Brad checking baby Byron's spine (age 7 days).
In fact it is not even a treatment for bad backs! Chiropractic is basically about maintaining optimal spinal function, and therefore our overall health. The reason why it is so successful at helping things like back pain or headaches (among many other symptoms of poor health) is because it simply helps your body to function better. And when your body is functioning better (or even at its absolute best!) you are far less likely to have back pain, or headaches, or indigestion etc etc.
So who can benefit from this style of chiropractic care where the end goal is optimal spinal function?
You guessed it. EVERYONE!
Kids are especially prone to spinal misalignment. They run around like little maniacs, falling and tumbling, bouncing off walls and each other.
Most of the time if they have a fall they might have a bit of a cry for a few minutes, but a cuddle from mum or dad, and maybe a band-aid and they are good to go again. But, all these little crashes can accumulate to become misalignments in their fragile little spines. Even the birthing process can place an enormous amount of stress on a newborns spinal structure.
So knowing this, and the potential health problems that it can cause now and in the future, it is not just a good idea but, in my opinion, it is essential to have your children's spine checked by a chiropractor. Who doesn't want the very best for their children, especially when it comes to health.
Chiropractic care for kids is extremely safe, with no reported injuries. Ever. Special consideration is taken for their fragile spines, and any adjustments or corrections are done very gently. At Coolum Family Chiropractic we never do any manual adjusting (or 'cracking') on kids until there spines have stopped fully developing (between 18-21 years of age).
Our chiropractors have also undergone extra training in the specific discipline of pediatric chiropractic care, so you can rest assured that your kids will be getting the best, and safest care available.