Crack(ing) is Bad

In the immortal words of Whitney Houston…”Crack is whack.”  Why do I so firmly make this statement?  Clinical experience.

When I first started finding my way back to traditional osteopathic work, I had no opinions on the cracking business.  After all, we are taught that in our basic manipulative medicine courses.  I just didn’t like it.  It wasn’t until I started seeing some things that I could not explain that I started to shape my understanding… 

There was a 16year old girl who came to my office for After Hours Care complaining of an elliptical patch of numbness on her left arm.  Numbness.  That is neurological.  Nerves feed a distribution of skin that is distinctive and stretched out in linear patches (called a dermatome); kind of stretched out like when someone has the shingles.  Her patch was cut off in the middle of a linear  patch.  I continue to examine her.  No weakness, no fever, no pain, no spasms.  It came on suddenly.  Was she traumatized?  Did she do something unusual recently?  Yesterday, she was on roller coaster, the kind where you sit and your legs dangle in the air and you are strapped down with a shoulder harness.  After she got off, the numbness started.  I checked her and her muscle tone in her arms and legs were quite high.  I was confused. I asked her if she worked out.  No.  Did she do any sports or cheer?  No.  Dumbfounded, I ask again.  Dead end.  So I rephrased my question.  I asked the mother, “Is there anything in her medical history that can explain what I am finding with her muscles and all this increased tone?  Mom answered that she was very healthy and that she USED to have a scoliosis.  What?!!? What did she mean?  She took her to a chiropractor and he ‘treated her and ‘cured’ her. Uhhh…that was it.  I treated her arm, osteopathically and the numbness went away.  Since then, I started seeing more cases…

I had a woman come in crying.  She is desperate and not sure if I could help her.  She was an engineer.  She was in a car accident  and had whiplash.  She could not move her neck.  Went to a chiropractor and was cracked in her neck and back, several times a week for their usual treatment period, maybe 4wks.  Her pain does not abate and she gives up.  She is still hurting and one day she is sitting at a restaurant resting her chin on her hand.  A waitress walks by and bangs into her table.  The supporting hand slips, her head rotates/twists quickly to one side.  Now, for the last 2 months she is dizzy on a daily basis.  She has to take a break from work.  She consults specialists, neurologist, orthopedic surgeons, radiologists.  No one can help her.  She went to an osteopath teacher I know and only gave her only one visit.  She cries to me, “Now I understand why my neck was in spasm.  It was supposed to spasm -so that it could stabilize my head and neck! Look at me now.” and she does this wobbly bobble-head motion.  My question is the person who hurt her, she gave all that time, visits and her money; and in searching for an answer, she only gives us, real doctors, one to two visits. 

I was flying back from a conference. I happened to sit next to an orthopedic surgeon who gave it up.  I shared this story with him.  This woman suffering exclaimed, “A chiropractor did this to me!”  We (osteopathic physicians) know. Neurologist know.  Neuroradiologists know.  You guys (ortho surgeons) know.  [Even my medical assistant receptionist who went to school to be an xray tech knows].  They hurt people.  Why don’t you guys stand up and say something?  His response.  “It’s a business. They send us patients.”  Wow.

Patients, in general,  when they have things done to them, it changes their body.  They hurt.  They spasm.  It is the body’s signal say, Hey, something is wrong here.  Stop doing.  Rest.  But we don’t listen to our body.  So desperate to relieve the pain, they unkowingly allow others to crack (chiros), pound and rub (massage) and yank (PT).  All this additional trauma, electrically disconnects the nervous system and weeks, months, and years later they still are not right.  Read my post on this, “Don’t Tenderize that Meat.”

I had another woman who had abdominal pain 8 months after delivery.  Of course she ran to her chiro.  I bet you there was plenty of cracking.  Of course he could not help her and told her to go to her doctor (???!!!)  don’t they claim to be doctors?  So she went to MDs and they did everything under the sun – specialists, blood work, tests, scans.  Nothing.  I don’t blame the MDs.  They just don’t look at all the other stuff we look at; but at least they don’t do too much else that hurts people additionally (most of the time).  Read my future posts on Medical Mysteries.  She comes in and she is a musculoskeletal mess.  Needless to say, she is getting partial relief.  I suspect only partial because of all the other crap that has been done to her or she has allowed to be done to her.  It will take more time and visits to undo.

Prior to all this, before the pregnancy, she thinks she is fine.  She thinks she is healthy.  She exercises. She does pilates.  This wonderful chiro who helps her with preventative health? BS, who doesn’t do a lot ( but some) cracking but mostly massage (this so and so technique, blah, blah, blah), so why does she have problems sleeping?  Of course she has problems sleeping because her head is heavy and dense and blood does not drain well because it is been cracked so many times.She will have serious problems later.  But then if cracking is good and is healthy and ‘disease prevention’ why does she need to keep going back?  If this is such wonderful ‘prevention’ why does this woman still have problems?  Read my past blog about Our Most Natural State.  If she existed out there on the plains of Africa, this woman would be a meal for the lions because she would be too tired/fatigued to run away from them.  That is not health.  The  final question to pose is, If she is so healthy, why was the pregnancy and delievery less than ideal?  Then, afterwards, she has this weird musculoskeletal pain that no one except and osteopath has figured out.  Too many things wrong here…Don’t pass the smell test.

If you have a healthy fear and skepticism of us in medicine, but you don’t know what to do for your problem, do nothing at all or do the most benign things.  I like acupuncture – the relief is temporary, but you don’t have additional trauma.  I like reflexology – no additional trauma.  Gentle massage is okay.  Read my future posts on ‘Pseudotumor’ and Medical Mysteries.  Don’t trust anyone unless they can explain to you in a way that makes sense and prove it.

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One Comment on “Crack(ing) is Bad”

  1. William Sole Says:

    Blogging keeps me insane. Keep up all the positive work. I too love to blog. I found this one to be very informative


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