Main Street Chiropractic

Hi I'm Dr. Carl Zaycosky, and this is my way of sharing the resources, insight, and experience I've gained in my years as a chiropractor. I hope they help you chart a course toward whole body health.
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Cracking Knuckles Part 2

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      The argument you’ve probably heard somewhere along the line is cracking your knuckles causes arthritis. For a number of years this sounded logical to me and that’s what I told patients. Here was my reasoning. Popping your knuckles pulls on your tendons (the structures that connect the muscle to the bone). Too much stretching and the tendon loses some of its elasticity and as a result its ability to help in stabilizing the joint. A laxed or unstable joint is more likely to form osteoarthritis, bone arthritis. Good argument … but incorrect.

     The study which blows my old argument out of the water was conducted by a California physician over decades. He cracked his knuckles on his right hand for decades but not his left. He took x-rays of both hands over the years and there was no difference in the level of arthritis in either hand. I thought his self experimentation was cool if for no other reason I admire the self discipline this guy displayed in his quest to find an answer. There was a larger more conventional study done that arrived at the same conclusion.
     There is an old study from 1990 that points to some ill-effects of popping your knuckles. The study involved over 200 people which is a decent sampling size considering the topic. The study found a greater instance of hand swelling along with a diminishment of grip strength in those people who regularly cracked their knuckles.

I’ll finish up this series on joint noises next time.

 Dr. Z

 

Cracking Knuckles Part 1: here

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Cracking Knuckles Part 1

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I get this question a lot especially among the mother’s of teen age children. It goes something like this, “My son/daughter is always cracking his/her knuckles, that can’t be good can it? “ I’m not going to keep you in suspense in as is my approach with my other blogs. The answer is.  It’s not, however it does not do any harm. It’s basically an annoying habit that I’ve seen described as a tension release. I’m not convinced that’s entirely the case. Though I’m sure those of us who are subjected to being around people who habitually crack their knuckles can agree it is annoying.

The term for cracking your knuckles,  or for that matter any joint that makes a popping sound is cavitation. Here’s why you hear a popping sound when you crack your knuckles and for that matter your spinal joints when they are adjusted by your chiropractor. The sound is produced by increasing the space in the joint specifically a structure called the capsule. Increasing this enclosed space produces a negative pressure which causes the tiny gas bubbles (mainly carbon dioxide and nitrogen) to burst. Kind of like pulling an inflated balloon apart until it busts.

For you “knuckle crackers” you may have noticed when you crack your knuckle if you try to do it again it won’t pop. This is because it takes time for the gas bubbles to form again in the joint. Don’t worry about this gas bubbles traveling to your brain or lungs and causing all kinds of problems. It doesn’t work that way.

Up next will be the research. Yes, there is extensive research on knuckle cracking.

 

Your local Chiropractor,

 

Dr. Z. 

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Sleeping Posture Part 1

We spend 1/3 of our lives or at least we should sleeping. You may have heard various people in your life comment about your posture. Don’t slouch. Sit up straight. A well intentioned local chiropractor devoted a blog series to proper posture. So, why do we simply plop down in any old manner when we go to sleep and neglect our sleeping posture? Over the next few blogs I’m going to talk about sleeping posture that may earn you some extra zzzz’s.

Let’s talk first of all discuss how not to sleep. Don’t sleep on your stomach. I know this is going to be tough for some of you. I’m a recovering stomach sleeper. Yes, the habit can be broken. First of all here is why it is bad. You may recall from my Perfecting Posture blog the concave (inward) and convex (outward) curve of your spine. The low back and neck are concave and mid back is convex. When you sleep on your stomach the inward curve of both the neck and low back is made larger. This is a problem because the surfaces of the joints in the spine are on the back part of the bone. Increasing the curve puts more pressure on the pain sensitive surface of the joint causing the back or neck to hurt.

A good way to break this habit and this is what I did; start out sleeping on your back put a small pillow next to both your hips. This hinders the ability to roll over and after a week or two you’ll be comfortable sleeping on your back.

Stay tuned! I will have more sleeping posture tips for you in the next installment.

Your local Chiropractor,

Dr. Z

at Main St. Chiropractic

For Part 2: click here

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What Pillow is Best For Me? Part 1

I get this question a lot. My canned answer goes something like this, “pillows are not one size fits all. An NFL linebacker will not use the same pillow as a 120 lb. soccer mom.” The question is a good one. Practicing over the years, I’ve seen many occasions where an improperly sized pillow created a whole bunch of neck problems. For this reason I suggest patients with neck problems bring their pillow in for me to evaluate. Because, sometimes the pillow is a perfect fit and is not the cause of the neck issue, or a slight modification of the current pillow is all that’s needed as opposed to buying a new one.

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Even without a hands on evaluation there are some helpful things you can look for when making your next pillow purchase. I’ll be covering these points in the next few blogs.

To evaluate a pillow properly you have to mimic your sleeping position whether you sleep on your side or back. You need to assume that postion to do a proper assessment. Notice I did not include sleeping on your stomach. That is bad for both your neck and low back. Remember the concave (lordotic) curves I wrote about several blogs ago (Perfecting Your Posture: Part 1)? Sleeping on your stomach increases that curve resulting in jamming together the joints which are at the back of the bones in both the neck and low back. This isn’t good.

Next time, I’ll talk about proper neck support you should have from the pillow.

Your local chiropractor,

Dr. Z

Main St. Chiropractic

For Part 2: click here

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Choosing a Good Chiropractor: Part 1

In my practice I get questioned on a fairly regular basis about how to find a good chiropractor. My immediate response is “you’re lookin’ at ‘im” (shameless self promotion). But, a patient often asks because he or she will be moving out of town or has a friend or family member living out of the area who wants to try chiropractic.

The first myth to bust is that although chiropractors hold what I consider a special bond (forged through the challenges we’ve faced from more powerful, well-funded organizations), we don’t all know each other on a personal basis. I don’t know a chiropractor in Omaha, Nebraska. 

The largest or slickest ad in either print or online does not make one a good chiropractor nor does it make one a bad one. So advertising isn’t of much help. 

Being a member of the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) or the state association does not make one a good chiropractor. It only means you pay your yearly trade association dues. Though, in my opinion the ACA is a great organization and every chiropractor practicing in the USA should be a member. The same holds true with the Ohio State Chiropractic Association (OSCA) for those docs practicing in Ohio. There is some value to the consumer in knowing your chiropractor is a member of his national and state association. A lot of clinical as well as insurance info is disseminated through the associations and at the very least the chiropractor you’re choosing is in this information pipe line.

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Next time, two tried and true methods for finding a good chiro.

Your local chiropractor,

Dr. Z.

at Main St. Chiropractic

For Part 2: click here

For Part 3: click here

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