Knuckle Crackin’, Do it right or don’t do it

Distract don’t crack

I see kids (mostly) knuckle crackin’ all the time. Some of us have become blind to it and think it’s just what they do. There’s not really a problem with the process if done properly but most do it incorrectly. Most people become habitual crackers in a very short time, once they start, and then they will crack their knuckles 10 to 20 times per hour. Add that up through the day and you’re talking about some serious joint distress. The other aspect of this is that most people compress the joint to get the pop. This is where the arthritic changes can occur. The proper approach is to distract or pull the joint farther apart to get the pop. This can stretch the joint capsule, but at least it’s not causing wear on the bony joints. If you’re prone to knuckle cracking, limit yourself to once or twice per day or less.

Wise Guys eh?

I never thought about it when I was young but so many kids want to show me that they can do it themselves. You’d be surprised how often, when a teenager comes in, the first thing they will do is twist and “crack” their own neck. They’ll sit knuckle crackin’ about 30 times in a row, just to show me they can do it. It really doesn’t bother me but it makes it more difficult for me to get to the joint that I am focusing on. Sometimes I’ll talk to them and tell them the proper way to do it, so they are not doing damage. I care deeply about my patients and their long term health, but I’m not the thought police. Choices are choices, some are good and some are less so. I will care for you, no matter the choice and I try to give you the information that helps you move forward in a positive way. If you chose cracking knuckles as a habit, that’s your business and there could be worse things.

Here’s to happy and healthy knuckles for years to come.

Dr. Roy

Inversion Therapy can Change Your Life.

I’ve had a lot of people ask about Inversion Therapy and what it does.

What it is and What it does

If you’ve been in my office in the past several months, you will have noticed the inversion table sitting prominently inside the door. Basically, on this table, you set your height, hook your feet into the bar at the bottom, raise your arms over your head and lean back. If it’s set properly, you should have a gentle tip backwards until the bar stops you from going any farther over.

This table I have is safe for people up to 300 lbs. but some of the others I have seen only go to 250 lbs. I usually recommend no more than 5 minutes like this because of the blood pressure that goes toward the head. You will feel it and not want to stay over too much more than that. When you are done, bring your arms back down to your waist and you should slowly tip back up to the upright position. At that point, take your time and let your body get used to being upright again.

Why use Inversion Therapy?

There are a couple of great benefits.

1. It reverses the forces of gravity so muscles can stretch out and the spine can decompress. This opens up the discs and allows new fluid into them through diffusion and blood vessels. As more of the spine loosens up, the fascia can stretch slightly and loosen some of the adhesions that develop.

2. There’s a structure in the lower back called Batson’s Venous Plexus. It is a larger area where several veins come together. These veins are the only area in the body where the veins don’t have valves to help push the blood up toward the heart. Thus, there is pooling of used blood in this grouping of veins and toxins build up there. These toxins cause a lot of lower back pain and need to be drained. Inversion allows this venous plexus to drain to the heart and exchange the blood.

Warning about Inversion…

Inversion is not for everyone. If you have a lot of extra weight, it can be hazardous to invert. Those who have hypertension can have problems with it. It can be hard on the ankles, so if you have weak ankles it’s not for you. If you have a really painful lower back, definitely don’t go there. Going over doesn’t hurt but coming back up is crazy painful.

Kind of a long article, but it gives you the basics about how I feel on the subject of inversion. Here’s to your health.

Dr. Roy

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Solutions for Knee Pain

There are a lot of surgical solutions that help with knee pain. There are also tons of home remedies that may or may not work.  Here are a few things that I have found beneficial for folks over the years of practice.

Knee pain knees
man massaging knee with apparent pain

First off, have your knees checked by a licensed chiropractor.  The knee can rotate or go posterior, out of its normal juxtaposition, which can be painful. This can cause undue wear and tear. It also makes the knee more susceptible to further injury as you participate in strenuous activities.  There are a variety of adjustments that can be done. Each doctor of chiropractic will have developed their own protocol that works for them.  I have three different types of adjustments that I can perform, depending on the type of injury.  There are orthopedic tests that we can do to determine the cause of the pain and this drives recommendations for treatment


Some joint remedies can be helpful also.  I usually recommend a joint formula that contains Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Chondroitin Sulfate, and MSM.  Collagen supplements (i.e. shark cartilage) have been on my radar as a supplement that works also.  My suggestion is that, if you are going to try a supplement, add one, take it for several months before adding anything else.  Most of these supplements can take up to 3 months before you start seeing a difference.  Rate your pain before starting on a supplement and then at the 3 or 6 month point.  A lot can change in that time so there may be other factors for your knee pain improvement.

Sometimes, the goal of the adjustments and/or supplements are simply to be more comfortable until your condition is bad enough to be a surgical candidate. Adjustments can slow the progress of arthritic degeneration and really delay the inevitable surgery for a good amount of time.  I hope this gives you some alternatives for knee pain, besides jumping right into surgery.

Peace to your day.  Be safe, wear your mask, and wash your hands. Be a light in these dark times.

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Digital Neck

Text Neck

In these days where everyone has a phone that they spend countless hours on, we need to start being concerned about the reversal of the neck curve. I see text neck syndrome a lot and the numbers of people with neck pain are increasing.

Cause of Text Neck

So, countless hours on a phone or device. The problem is not the device, it’s how you hold it. If you’re going to be on your phone for a long period, get the phone up at eye level. By simply sitting at your desk or table and putting your elbows on the table, you bring the phone up. When working on a computer, use a stand and separate keyboard to get the screen up even with your eyes. If you wear bifocals like I do, you can have the screen down a little. Don’t ever prop a pillow up and lean your head back so your neck is at 90 degrees while on your phone. This is a sure way to reverse that curve.


First, get adjusted. One other way to help yourself at home is to lay on the bed and hang your head over the edge. Let gravity do the work for you and just relax. Of course don’t do this if you have a heart condition or are susceptible to a stroke. The first time you do it, have someone who will check on you and help you if you can’t get up. Use common sense and know your health conditions before you try this. It can help to elongate the neck, stretch the muscles, open up the discs, and ease the tension on the joint capsules. It’s something I do when my neck starts to feel bound up.

Prop a neck roll behind your neck while laying down and bring the phone into your field of vision. There should be really good support for your neck and almost feel like you have it tipped backwards.

This problem will only get worse as the computer age advances. One thing I can see in the future is the heads up display (HUD) glasses there your screen is built right into the glasses. This might wreck your eyes, but your neck should be great. We’ll see what technology does for us in the future.

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Neck Conditions for Seniors

The main neck conditions that I see for older folks relate to arthritis and loss of range of motion. The most common sign is the inability to turn the neck far enough to back the car out of parking places. This becomes dangerous and problematic when in a highly traveled area like a grocery store parking lot. If you are noticing that it is harder to get backed out and is difficult to see because you can’t turn your neck, it’s time for an assessment.

Arthritis Causes

When looking at the cause of the arthritic neck, we look at past history. Some people spent their youth “cracking” their necks and now, the scar tissue has caught up with them. Other causes include past trauma, which can be from car accidents, sports injuries, or work related overuse injuries. Previous history of surgical intervention in the neck can cause additional scar tissue. If you have had a previous surgery involving a fusion, often times this will preclude you from getting a neck adjustment at all. When you come in, if you have had a fusion, please bring x-rays of the post surgery neck so I can see what I’m dealing with. With some fusion cases, it is possible to adjust with the light force instrument adjusting technique and get some relief.

Neck Adjusting

Often times the arthritic neck conditions can be adjusted in the same way as the non-degenerated neck. The forces necessary are very different in these circumstances. I have found, especially with arthritis, it is better to use less force and better technique. There is also potential for using lower force instrument adjusting to relieve the fixations and restore the motion desired. Most often, I combine very specific adjusting by hand with instrument adjusting to get a maximal outcome with each visit. Additionally, I usually will suggest a stretching regime to decrease the fascial restrictions between muscles, increase pliability of scar tissue, and increase muscle length.

Many arthritis types can be dealt with and respond nicely to chiropractic care.

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