The question of whether it is safe to crack yourself is something I get asked almost every day as a chiropractor. Some amount of cracking in the body is completely normal and is just a tight muscle or tendon rubbing over the bone. On the other hand, there are some things that are not normal or even safe. Let’s look a little deeper into the joints and try to see what’s right and what’s not.
Although the question of whether cracking your knuckles leads to arthritis or not has been somewhat dispelled, this is what you need to know about arthritis. The word arthritis means inflammation of a joint. Inflammation occurs from a variety of means and could stem from some arduous activity done one day, chronic activities done over a lifetime or even chemically induced due to a poor diet or exposure to other environmental triggers.
If your joints are inflamed from an intense workout or helping a friend move furniture or some other unusual activity, some ice on the affected joint for 15 minutes every hour for a few hours should do the trick. Chemical or environmental triggers can sometimes be difficult to pinpoint, which is the reasoning behind avoiding inflammatory foods like gluten, soy, dairy and sugar whenever possible.
Now let’s look at the chronic arthritis brought on by repetitive actions and poor posture. When most people think about arthritis, they picture an elderly person with gnarled fingers, in seemingly constant pain as they knit a blanket to stay warm. Someone who has a physical job where they do the same thing day after day to parts of their bodies will most likely cause premature degeneration of those joints being used. Sitting at a desk and looking slightly downward at the screen or constant usage of a mobile phone or book reading (Who does that?) will cause arthritic degeneration of the neck. And if you’re wondering why you’ve never heard of arthritis in the neck before, it’s because most MD’s consider it to be a normal part of the aging process. When you place abnormal forces on a joint for long periods of time, those joints start to deform. This is known as Wolff’s Law. You lose bone in some places and begin to form extra bone in places where it shouldn’t be which can lead to joint fusion and therefore, substantial loss of mobility in those joints.
Let’s get back to the difference between cracking and adjusting. Cracking is the simple manipulation of a joint by any means and could happen intentionally or unintentionally. We could turn our heads to the side and hear a crack. So, what cracked? Your response to this question should be, “I don’t know!” because you don’t. I can feel something is not properly aligned in my back, but it’s difficult for me to determine exactly what the issue is because as soon as I reach behind me to feel my back, the simple act of twisting has already distorted the alignment. In order to objectively figure out where and what the misalignment actually is, your body must first be in a neutral position. This is why a chiropractor will evaluate a person while they are lying on their stomach or back or sitting straight. Once the
chiropractor is able to determine the exact position of the bone/joint in question, then they can figure out how best they can make the correction properly and safely. This correction is called an adjustment.
Anyone can crack something- intentionally or unintentionally. These “cracks” can be safe or harmful, but there is no way to tell quickly. Chiropractors deliver precise corrections to reduce subluxations or misalignments throughout the body. This is done in a safe and calculated manner to only the bones/joints that require it. The rest are left alone and not moved just for the heck of it. Find it, fix it, leave it alone.
The Health Insurance industry in the United States is seriously flawed. Premiums are sky-high and deductibles are ridiculous. Still, if you are paying for insurance, you expect to be able to go to any doctor you choose and have your services covered. Most people expect to have a copay of $10-20 and that is all. Another thing many do not understand is the difference between In- Network and Out-of-Network doctors. Insurance companies want you to see In-Network doctors because they usually have contracted rates with the companies. This means the doctor legally can not set their own prices (remember that next time you get hit with a bill after seeing a doctor). Most chiropractors in NYC are Out-of-Network, which means they can set their own prices and if an insurance company only pays a portion of that, then legally, the patient owes the remainder. This too can get confusing for the patient.
Still, the most confusing thing for most people seems to be the concept of deductibles. If you are seeing a chiropractor that bills your insurance $300/visit and the insurance company only pays $150 of that charge, then theoretically you owe the doctor the remainder of that, which is $150/visit. Most offices whose billing is like this will usually write off the patients balance for hardship or other reasons. Here’s where it gets confusing (I don’t enjoy this math).
If you have a $1,000 deductible and your insurance is paying $150/visit, then it will take 7 visits before the doctor receives any money at all from the insurance company. Deductibles in the $100’s of dollars were the norm 10 years ago and earlier, but now, thanks to Obamacare, most individual deductibles seem to be around $5,000. In that scenario, it would take 33 visits with the insurance company paying $150/visit before the doctor gets anything. Most insurance companies will also not allow patients to see a doctor 33 visits or more and so that becomes even more of a problem.
So, you can probably see why more and more doctors are turning to cash only practices. Instead of charging $300 or even $150 for a visit, they are offering more manageable fees so that people can save on their out-of-pocket expenses. It’s still difficult for most people to see that by offering a visit at $75 cash is saving the person from having to pay the $150 or more per visit. Utilizing insurance also incurs the fees associated with the extra time to fill out paperwork, process claims and in many offices, the usage of an outside billing company to process such claims.
Most chiropractors are trying to offer their services at the lowest possible rates to make it easy for the patient. Most patients don’t really understand the value of chiropractic past their aches and pains. When you realize that the real point of chiropractic is to enable your brain and body to work together and allow your body to function and heal despite what life throws at you, then that $75 will seem like the greatest bargain in the world.
Everybody experiences back pain of one form or another at some point in their lives. There are some simple things we can do to help minimize those pains and hopefully prevent them from occurring in the first place. Some women, due to their inherent physical makeup and societal roles, may be especially susceptible to back pain and may have particular difficulty in addressing it. I am here today to address some of those female-specific issues.
The biggest cause of mostly preventable back pain, in my opinion, is posture. Sitting, standing and also sleeping properly are vital to living a healthy, mostly pain-free life. Sitting in a slouched position puts a lot of excess pressure on the joints, muscles and discs in the back and is a direct cause of pain. Sitting up straight is often easier said than done, but having your chair at the right height is definitely the first step. Standing up straight and looking straight or slightly upwards (not down at your phone) is another key. Sleeping in a neutral position without twisting or kinking up the body is also important.
These postural guidelines are important for everyone, but now let’s get into some of the female-specific points. One thing many women do more than men is carry a purse/bag on one shoulder. In order to keep the bag on the shoulder, one must raise the shoulder a bit and that causes an imbalance. Scoliosis is a sideways curvature of the spine and is seen early on in both males and females, but becomes more pronounced in females more after adolescence. In my opinion, one of the biggest factors contributing to the cause of scoliosis is uneven arches developed from walking on hard, flat surfaces with poor support in our shoes. As women tend to wear shoes with less/no support, this is another area that I think could be easily addressed.
The task of childbearing rests on females and their anatomy differs dramatically from males in this sense. Carrying a child puts excess pressure on the spine as well as the rest of the body and it makes it much more difficult to stand upright and sleep in a neutral position. Breasts add to the situation, putting more weight in the front and therefore, even more pressure on the upper and middle back musculature. There are a variety of support belts and posture correctors to help with this and women with larger breasts also have a hard time finding properly fitting bras to support them. Some of my patients have had a lot of success in getting custom made bras and have reported this helping tremendously in their chronic back issues.
Regardless the reason and the duration, chiropractic can help people by restoring the natural order of things in the body and allowing people to better deal with the stresses caused by postural distortion. It is not a quick fix and this is something that everyone has a tough time digesting. The longer your body is in a misaligned state, the longer it will take to change that, and in some cases, the damage done is nearly irreparable. Chiropractic adjustments will help put your body in a place to allow for healing to occur. Weekly checkups for life is, in my opinion, key to a healthy life.
Osteoarthritis(OA) is the loss of cartilage in your joints as a result of wear and tear/chronic
repetitive activities and can be found in any one particular joint. Rheumatoid arthritis(RA) is an
autoimmune disorder where your body attacks your joint cartilage and is usually found on both sides of
the body in a symmetrical pattern (both wrists, etc.). Although there is no proven treatment/cure for
arthritis in the medical community, OA pain is usually managed with NSAIDS and RA with steroids.
Keeping active and maintaining a healthy weight is helpful, but for many it’s a catch 22- you
need to lose weight to be able to exercise and you need to exercise in order to lose weight. There are
many different herbs and supplements that can help manage pain, inflammation and possibly provide
some more joint mobility. I’m going to focus on a couple of those today.
For inflammation, turmeric , ginger, fish oil, pineapple, papaya, resveratrol, boswelia and long
list of other, more obscure herbs can help. I recommend taking a good turmeric supplement such as
APEX energetics “Turmero” ( a liquid variety emulsified with some healthy fat to aid absorbtion), as well
as trying to include it in your food as much as possible along with ginger and the fruits I mentioned. Fish
oil should be a part of your daily regimen as well.
Glucosamine and Chondroitin have been shown to be helpful in increasing joint mobility in many
people. These substances are part of normal cartilage and although have not been definitely proven to
help in studies, have helped millions and have no side effects as they are very safe things to consume (as
long as there is no allergy to shellfish as this is the most common source). To see if Glucosamine and
Chondroitin are right for you, I would recommend a trial period. If you’re taking pills, you’re going to
need to take one pill, 3 times a day for 3 months to give it adequate time to make a difference. I use a
liquid formulation that works a lot faster. You take ½ an ounce 2 times a day for a month and you
should see a difference by then. If you see a benefit, you continue as directed. If not, it may not be the
key for you.
Most quality glucosamine and chondroitin supplements will also contain some addition joint
mobility aids. MSM and vitamin C are crucial for collagen repair. The liquid glucosamine that I use also
contains MSM. SAMe is another compound found naturally in the body that helps with joint mobility
and chronic pain. As an added bonus, SAMe also helps with depression and anxiety. I’ve always thought
that if you have chronic pain, you will probably be depressed as a result and this connection makes
sense to me.
I really wanted to find Glucosamine that I could give to all my patients with joint issues. The Glucosamine that I would recommend to my patients should be easily absorbed and safe. After countless hours of research on existing products and their ingredients, I found a great liquid formula that would work quickly to improve joint mobility. This inexpensive and effective solution is safe for humans and even pets too. Give it a try!
Whether you’ve just been diagnosed with fibromyalgia or rheumatoid arthritis, you’re thankful to finally put a name to why you feel the way you do. But along with that sense of relief, you’re bound to feel a sense of loss and grief as well — along with the pain. From the initial shock to eventual acceptance down the road, it’s all part of the journey. Below are ten tips to help you live well despite the pain.
Studies indicate that meditation also has a positive impact on your stress levels and pain. Creating a healthy, peaceful home environment, complete with a serene meditation space can be of great help. Here are some tips for making your home a stress-free space.
Also helpful are relaxation techniques that have been shown to alleviate chronic pain.
By following these tips, you might find that you’re an even stronger, more patient, and compassionate person than you were before your diagnosis. You’re also about to make some new life-long friends and be adopting healthful habits that will help you in every aspect of your life. Sure, there will be ups and downs, but in time, you will learn to live well on this new road you’re on.
Every year, millions of people get sick with the flu, despite the fact that many of them had a flu shot. This may be explained by this: flu shots containing only 3 or 4 variants of the flu, but people are hoping that they will gain protection against the thousands of possible flu variants. Personally, I do not believe that ubiquitous flu vaccination is effective therefore I choose to opt out of flu shots.
If you are currently sick with the flu, I do hope you get better quickly! This may come as a surprise, but visiting your chiropractor may be very helpful when trying to prevent getting sick or trying to fully recover from the flu you just had. When my practice members miss a visit, I often tell them, “Life happens and it’s no big deal for having to cancel. The only excuse I do not accept is that you are sick, for it is then that is the most important time to get in and get adjusted.”
Our musculoskeletal system is connected to the central nervous system. Every misalignment in the musculoskeletal system jams up the healing signals of our brain and prevents them from reaching the organs. Clear instructions that originate in our brain cannot reach the organs in a misaligned body. You will help your body to heal by aligning your spine and restoring that connection.
Most people would agree that the central nervous system is the control center of our bodies. I think most people look at the immune system as if it is just reacting to foreign bodies, but I tend to believe that it is much more than this. I believe there is a dynamic relationship between the nervous system and the immune system. The fields of psychoneuroimmunology and psychoneuroendocrinology show that there is great interest into the study of these complicated connections.
Since chiropractic aims to enable full expression of the central nervous system and the nervous system has a very important effect on the immune system, it seems to me that if your immune system needs a boost, besides loading up on your antioxidants, fat soluble vitamins like D, Echinacea and whatever other herbs that may have a positive effect, GET ADJUSTED!
Schedule your appointment with Dr. Lamb today!
One of the most common question asked of and about chiropractors is whether or not they are ‘real’ doctors. DC stands for Doctor of Chiropractic and is what it reads on my diploma from Life West Chiropractic College. It does not say Medical Doctor and I have no desire to be a Medical Doctor at this point. I am proud of my degree, and very happy to be a chiropractor.
Some chiropractors insist on being called ‘Doctor’ (they have earned this right), while others (like myself) do not. Chiropractors’ educational requirements include obtaining a bachelor of science with premedical classes followed by a four year program in an accredited chiropractic college.
They are required to study anatomy and physiology, biochemistry, microbiology, diagnosis, neurology, radiology and most other subjects that MD’s study in their training. In many of these subjects (anatomy, radiology, diagnosis), class hours in the chiropractic training program outweighs the medical training program. In others (obstetrics and gynecology, pharmacology, etc.), the medical training hours outweighs the chiropractic training (most states do not allow chiropractors to prescribe drugs or perform surgery, so this would be unnecessary anyway). To ask if a doctor of chiropractic is on par with a doctor of medicine is silly. It is like comparing apples to oranges. There is a time and place for both and in my opinion, if one completely degrades the other, it does not accomplish anything. Still, there is constantly talk from the chiropractic side about how MD’s are evil for prescribing so many drugs, etc. and from the medical side that DC’s are ‘quacks’. We need to realize that we are getting nowhere by being negative towards each other.
If you are in a car accident or suffer any sort of serious injury, please go to the Emergency Room ASAP and get checked out. If you have chronic pain and want someone to ‘fix’ you or give you some drugs to treat it, again, modern medicine is there for you.
If however, you desire to be stronger, healthier and able to perform better and handle the physical, chemical and emotional stresses of life, then chiropractic can help by restoring the natural ability of your body to heal itself. Structure determines function. Everybody knows that the brain controls every function of the body by sending nerve impulses to every organ, tissue and cell. If there is anything interfering with this normal line of communication, then those parts of the body that are not getting the proper input will not be able to function or heal properly.
Chiropractic helps restore your structure to a more perfect state, which in turn, helps everything function at its optimum levels. Who can benefit from this? Everyone.
Sleep is one of the key components of health and adequate sleep is necessary for our bodies to repair themselves, so I just wanted to spend a few minutes talking about some recommendations to help everyone get better rest. As one of the most commonly discussed topics in my office, having some resources here may be able to many of you. Some of the most common questions I get each day are:
-What is the best mattress to sleep on?
-What is the best position to sleep in?
-What is the best pillow to use?
Let’s try to address these questions. First, a common line of thought is that peoples bodies sometimes hurt when they lie down, or when they wake up, so therefore, it must be their beds or mattresses. For many, the damage was done long before they reach the bed. Bodies are subjected to many different stresses during the day, whether you are engaging in heavy lifting on the job or at the gym, or sitting for long hours at a desk. Muscles get strained, ligaments get stretched and massive forces are imposed upon the body in less than optimal positions.
There are many choices these days when it comes to selecting a mattress and it can be a bit confusing. Firm, soft, plush, pillow top, foam, etc. My recommendation for mattresses has traditionally been a firm mattress with a pillow top. You can start the selection process online or in a store where you can actually test them out live(my preferred method). For many years, I slept on a foam mattress and loved it. Last year, after years of recommending them to others, I decided to try a sleep number bed https://www.sleepnumber.com/sn/en/how-to-sleep-better , a mattress which can be adjusted from firm to soft. This bed is known as the “relationship saver”, as you can have each side a different firmness. My only suggestion on this mattress is spring for a middle tier model as the lower end ones do not provide enough foam between the top of the bed and the air compartments. Their sleep monitoring program is very glitchy and their customer service is poor. Some of the mattress companies have cool questionnaires https://www.helixsleep.com/get-personalized to help you determine your ideal match. As many people are concerned about what their bedding is made of, there are companies like www.saatva.com that are providing eco-friendly and organic materials. Lastly here, I will mention that getting something with a good return policy is useful. One of the best I’ve seen is from Bloomingdales. I will provide a few links/resources here.
As far as sleeping position goes, this is a very difficult question, as people have developed their sometimes bad sleeping habits over their lifetimes and resistant to change. The key is trying to get your body in as neutral position as possible. If you’re a back sleeper, a small pillow or a neck roll under the curve of you neck is best while trying to keep a pillow behind your knees. If you’re a side sleeper (most people), having enough pillow under your head and neck to support it and keep it in line with the rest of your spine while keeping a small pillow between the knees is our goal. If you’re a stomach sleeper, I’ve got some bad news – it’s not good for you no matter how you spin it. Some of the worst spines I’ve seen, riddled with arthritis and incredibly tight upper back and neck muscles stem from sleeping on your stomach with your head twisted in one direction or another. Most sources will recommend that you sleep on your left side to relieve or minimize acid reflux as well as improve heart circulation for pregnant women. Either side is fine in my book as long as you are well supported and comfortable.
The pillow question may be the most common one I get in the office. I mentioned some suggestions along with sleeping positions, but as far as specific pillows go, there is a vast number of choices out there. For many years, I carried Tempurpedic pillows in the office. They are somewhat expensive and there are many cheaper alternatives. I do like the support of foam pillows, but there are others that do the job as well. The most popular pillow recommended by chiropractors for years is the Tricore pillow, available on Amazon for about $40 Buckwheat, microbeads, beans, rice, water, air, down, etc. Whatever feel you prefer is fine as long as it’s the right size. Some pillow companies like tempurpedic make pillows of different sizes. The pillows I’ve recently been recommending for the majority of my patients are the Proper Pillow and the Ortho Bone pillow.
Please contact the office for any further questions.
Chiropractic is a science, art and philosophy that concerns itself with the relationship between the nervous system and function (health) of the body. Chiropractic is based on the scientific fact that the nervous system controls the function of every cell, tissue, organ and the system of the body. The chiropractic approach to better health works to detect, reduce and prevent nervous system dysfunction (subluxation). Chiropractic is much more than a means for symptomatic relief. By addressing the root causes of dysfunction and dis-ease in the body, it enables the body to heal itself the way it was designed to- from above- down and inside-out. ”The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.” - Thomas Edison
No matter what state your health is in, chiropractic care offers improved health for your body. The chiropractic concept is simple, yet unique. Chiropractic focuses on the body’s ability to heal itself. The natural harmony of bodily functions is what makes the science of chiropractic work. Chiropractic care is a natural form of health care, aligning with natural processes of the body and offering lasting results without the risk of dangerous side effects. It simply improves the flow of nerve impulses, thus helping to maximize performance. Chiropractic care is a sensible solution to body wellness and health.
Naturally Chiropractic When a patient seeks chiropractic care and we accept such a patient for care, it is essential for both to work towards the same objective. It is important that each patient understands both the objective and the method that will be used to attain it. This particularly will prevent any confusion or disappointment. A chiropractic adjustment is the application of forces to facilitate the body’s correction of vertebral subluxation.
Our chiropractic method of correction uses adjustments to the spine. Health is a state of optimal physical, mental and social well being, not merely the absence of disease. Vertebral Subluxation is a misalignment of one or more joints of the body. This can cause pain or alteration of nerve function and interference of the transmission of nerve impulses, lessening the body’s innate ability to maintain maximal health. We do not offer to diagnose or treat any disease or condition other than vertebral subluxation. However, if during the course of a chiropractic spinal evaluation, we encounter non-chiropractic or unusual findings, we will advise you. If you desire advice, diagnosis or treatment for those findings, we will recommend that you seek the service of a health care provider who specializes in that area. Regardless of what the diagnosis, we do not offer to treat it. Nor do we offer advice regarding treatment prescribed by others. Our only objective is to eliminate a major interference to the expression of the method is specific adjusting to correct vertebral subluxation.