Tag Chiropractic

boulder acupuncture chiropractic doctor treats neck pain and spinal surgical alternatives



Providing answers to the most common question we delve into the “popping noise” you hear when cracking your knuckles or twisting your back over a char…Most patients that visit us ask if it is ok to pop their joints and why it feels so good. Lets discuss this a bit.


Question: What causes the popping noise?!


A. Bones grinding together

B. Gas coming out of your joints

C. Pressure gradient changes akin to popping bubblewrap

D. Little joints beginning to move again


Answer: B and C. Commonly D.



The “pop” or cavitation has been studied at length and we now believe it is the release of nitrogen gas from the joint line. As the joints undergo tremendous stress from your muscles contracting and compressing them together, they build up excessive stores of nitrogen gas. As this pressure is changed by applying forces, there is a popping noise which acts to allow the joints to move again and normalizes the pressures within the joints themselves.


Why is there a spasm and How do the muscles relax around the joint?


The build up of pressure within a joint causes a reflex spasm of the muscles surrounding it. The body’s goal is to try to produce motion at the joint and you might feel a pop when you are moving or walking around and this is normal. Other times you do not get a pop, such as in small regions of the feet, wrist, and spine where the muscles make matters worse.


Often the joints build up even more pressure with even less motion occurring at the joint line. Over time, if this goes untreated this can cause wear and tear on the joints around the “stuck” one as they are forced to compensate for it’s lack of motion. As all joints receive nutrition and hydration from motion, without it that stuck joint becomes unhealthy with time.


Why does popping your joints feel good?

Popping the joint decreases the pressure and actually releases opiates which is why it feels so good, it’s like a drug. Every time you pop the joint however, if you overly stretch the joint capsule (or the plastic bag  between the bones), it will stretch out and become permanently deformed. This is why we say that popping your joints will stretch them out and permanently make them more flexible however studies do not support the idea that this causes bone spurs or degeneration.


Can I “pop” or “adjust” my own joints?

We do notice in our clinic that patients that self-pop their joints in the same plane, meaning they do the same motion and direction every time, will end up with joints that are mobile in one direction and not in another. This is where issues can arise.


As related to weight bearing joints of the spine, studies show that you can create bone spurs and accelerate the degeneration of your spine by self-cavitation.  This is because of risk to the spinal cord with a floppy unstable joint. Often with self-cavitation, the joints that are the most flexible pop and the ones that are in need of care remain rigid and stuck (not getting nutrients and becoming unhealthy themselves).


Because joint care is a specialty and having it done incorrectly (or attempting it yourself) is why we recommend spinal joint care to a professional who knows which joints to leave alone and which ones need motion at which spots to ensure that your spine and joints of your knees, elbows and feet have equal dispersion of the forces of your daily life.


So the final word is…


Normal joint motion brings health and wellness and elongates the joint’s lifespan. When done by a professional and in a safe setting, you will have increased benefits and will have less spasms and pain.




Courtney Sanders, professional climber and wife to Daniel Woods is treated in our office for prevention and care of climbing injuries.


Myth or Fact:


There is this old notion that adjustments don’t “hold” without homework. Once you stop care, your body goes back to where it was.


Excellent questions that are quite common. The truth is that each visit builds upon the last. When we “adjust” your spine, we are breaking up scar tissue within the joint so it has normal mobility. (Less importantly, the popping noise that one commonly hears is pressure being reduced in the joint which allows nutrition and fluid to enter the joint.) When we “adjust” the joint, the muscles around the joint relax and decrease their spasm by a nerve-feedback loop. Thus every adjustment educates the muscles around the joint to stay relaxed and remind them that there is no reason for them to be contracted unless they are being used. We also do additional muscle work to increase new blood flow into the area, decrease cellular waste, and return that muscle to it’s normal length.


Based on these reasons for care and how they work, each adjustment that you get is a benefit to your body. There is no reason that you have to continue to keep coming back unless you would like to continue improving your body. Improvement does take time and stopping mid-treatment plan will not guarantee success.


We do agree with the notion that muscles have memory and will pull your body back out of alignment however we believe that with each visit you get, you become less and less in need of our care instead of addicted like others are worried about. Your body does not get worse without care simply by not being treated, however it becomes noticeable that your improvement from care depends on your lifestyle, your use of your body, and your daily postural habits.


As we work to undo the damage that you do to your body on a daily basis, if you continue to misuse your body, you will continue to have pain. For this reason we give you postural exercises, homework, desk modifications, and tricks to use at work.


Job and Overuse Relationships


Some patients have jobs that are difficult on their bodies and they will need continuous work to remain pain free. These patients (accountants, dental assistants, hairdressers, small animal vets, elementary teachers, carpenters) have chosen careers which the human body is not designed to do without injury. Our goal is to assist these patients to last as long in their career field of choice with the least amount of symptoms possible.

Other patients have correct daily habits, have minimal computer use and have correct home care self-treatment habits to undo what they do daily to their bodies. These patients need less care as they have less inflammation and injury than the previous group.


The Final Verdict.


The notion that patients become addicted to care and without it they will have more injuries is bogus based on this reasoning (and studies upon studies support it). It’s common sense.


Doctor Lisa does muscle work as well as just adjust. Get quality care quick!

Healing fast starts with understanding why.



We have found that educated patients are usually the healthiest and happiest patients. This is why we want to educate you about your spine and why it needs monthly care.



How Much Time Does it Take?

Seeing a chiropractor for joint care is usually quick and can take as little as 5 minutes. Sports Chiropractors such as Dr. Lisa usually add assisted stretching, muscle work, exercises, and homecare in addition to the work done in office to your joints. Visits at LifeSport are 15 for routine prevention and 30-45 for injuries. Often patients comment with happiness about our massage based addition of focused muscle and ligament work that we add into your visit each time. We find this helps you to heal faster and have longer lasting effects.



Why Would You Need Joint Care:


  • Improper Loading and Weight Bearing


  • Poor or Abnormal posture


  • Overuse and Fatigue


  • Spasm of Surrounding Muscles


  • Previous Injury to the Structure


  • Compensation for Nearby Injuries


  • Car Accidents or Trauma


  • Sporting Injuries


  • The Birth Process Itself


What Does Joint Care Do?


Joints that are bound with scar tissue or muscle spasms do not get the motion that they need to be healthy. As the joint only gets nutrition and bloodflow through pressure gradients, it is VERY important that we keep the pressure inside the joint even with or lower than the surrounding areas. This allows us to keep the nutrition flowing into the joint and the cellular waste flowing out of the joint. Motion from things like Yoga, Stretching and your favorite sports of choice can increase blood flow to nearby structures, but if the joint is bound with scar tissue or spasm, it is not affected by such large regional care. This is where selective and localized in-office joint care comes in.


Is Care for Herniated Discs Safe?


Research Says Yes. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1996 (Nov);   19 (9):   597—606
Clinically, 80% of the patients studied had a good clinical outcome with postcare visual analog scores under 2 and resolution of abnormal clinical examination findings. Anatomically, after repeat MRI scans, 63% of the patients studied revealed a reduced size or completely resorbed disc herniation. There was a statistically significant association (p < .005) between the clinical and MRI follow-up results. Seventy-eight percent of the patients were able to return to work in their predisability occupations.



How Does LifeSport Treat Joints with Chiropractic Care?


Before adjusting any patient’s joints, we discuss treatment options. Some patients are used to types of care used by other chiropractors and we do our best to offer the same or comparable care. For new patients, as there are a variety of ways to put motion into an affected joint, we usually start with the most gentle yet effective method (based on research) which is the handheld Impulse Tool. This tool gently taps on the joint to restore motion and sometimes works quite quickly without pain or stress to the patient. If a joint has more damage than first thought or its immobility is resistant to our gentle tool, we might add in more muscle aid with our vibration tool or do some gentle massage before we use the tools on our table or use gentle adjusting by hand.


What is the Research on Adjustments made with handheld tools?


J Manipulative Physiol Ther 2006 (Jan);   29 (1):   51

Patients expressed improvement in symptoms after the first visit (average improvement in subjective pain rating scale of 41%). Patient symptoms improved between the first and second visits for 70% of patients (average improvement in subjective pain scale for all patients was 58%). The majority of patients achieved complete resolution of symptoms between the third and fourth visits. Maximum benefit for patients across all symptoms required an average of 4.2 visits. The half-life for response to multiple impulse therapy for all symptoms was 17 to 26 days. The half-life for response to multiple impulse therapy using the PulStarFRAS for low back pain was 9 to 16 days.



Are There Side Effects?


With all care there are side effects. Often patients are sore after their first visit as we do quite a bit of muscle care and put motion into joints that might not have moved in years but this is the most likely side effect of our care and occurs in roughly 1 out of 3 patients. As we do an examination to evaluate the health of your spine, patients that have certain risk factors (heart disease, high blood pressure, past strokes, anti-coagulant blood thinners) will receive upper cervical and mid-back care by instrument or drop table only unless otherwise decided by the doctor and patient. Some patients heal slower as they have autoimmune risks or are smokers and special care must be taken to ensure that they are treated gently enough not to irritate their bodies. Our only goal is to make you better and we tend to error on the side of caution versus over aggressive joint care. Again, this is decided by the patient and doctor together and unless we have a good reason to do otherwise, we usually make our recommendations and treat you as you wish. We might send you out for x-rays to make sure that you do not have any bone softening diseases (elderly and osteoporosis) where very very rarely ribs do get injured with aggressive treatment. As our doctor is female and of a smaller build, this has not ever occurred in our office and is highly unlikely. If you are of certain risk factors or are demonstrating unusual patterns of pain, we will recommend further imaging which has its own rare associated risks.  A link to the research on the risks associated with chiropractic based care can be found here.


Can I Become Addicted to Care?


No. Usually patients return for care because they feel that it helps them to do their daily activities with less pain and allows more enjoyment of their life. Yes adjusting joints can release opiates which are chemicals of happiness, but we often recommend patients come in under a certain treatment plan that is based on your injuries and goals and not just because it feels good.


How Many Visits Should I Come In?

Medical guidelines usually recommend a trial of 12 visits for low back pain and headaches. Patients with joint injury or damage might need to follow a more aggressive plan if there is joint narrowing and bone spurs starting to develop. Patients who have healthy spines are welcome in monthly or as needed.


When Should I Start?


Make an appointment today through our automated website or give us a call. If you are a current sports medicine patient, you can elongate your visit for spinal care by choosing a chiropractic sports medicine visit which is only $20 more than your normal sports medicine visit. Don’t worry about the cost as studies show that you are saving a bundle in the long run.


At our office we use the Neuromuscular Impulse Tool.


This gentle device is for spinal manipulations or “adjustments” on those who are shy about chiropractic. Joint care is a necessity, regardless of age. This tool helps us to gently and painlessly give care to those with osteoporosis, whiplash, and diabetes. It is the perfect choice for those who might be more physically or mentally fragile than others or for those who want guaranteed focal treatment of their spine. Offering many types of spinal care based on your choices and needs, this is one choice and is a new take on the old Activator tool methods. We believe this tool to be the most user friendly choice of your options for spinal care.



Beginning with a light pediatric setting, we gently assess your response to the tool and if you are satisfied with it’s care, we gently modify the setting to the region (the low back takes the highest force and the neck takes the least) and your inflammation or injury status. The spine has 3 joints between each vertebrae, the disc on the front and two little winged joints called “facet” joints on the back. Studies have shown that the correct motion applied to a stuck misaligned vertebrae or facet joint allow motion again to return to the spine and even out the force applied to angry discs, muscles, and ligaments which are the pain-generators around the spine.



Above all, our goal is to return your joints to pain free motion without fear of additional injury or pain.


What a marvelous weekend of climbing at Movement Gym in Boulder, Colorado. No injuries or accidents made the scene fun and something for which the medical tent was giving thanks. No falls, no breaks, no tears.



Competitors came from all over the US as well as from around the world to compete at the SCS National Championships. There was quite a full seating section at Movement as we watched the very best compete to be on the US Team.



In the Men’s division of Sport Climbing, it was the closest placing in history.  Still under intense scrutiny due to the ranking and points systems, the sport climbing’s overall points leader placed third as calculations also included climbing points from the qualifying rounds. As Carlo Traversi was the leader after the finals, we waited with hushed excitement as the results were tabulated and compared with the previous qualifiers in which Magnus Midtbø was the leader. After 15 minutes the results were calculated. Though Traversi climbed hard and blew all other competitors out of the water in the finals, it wasn’t enough in points to out climb the world champion in the sport who won with an overall 200.39 calculated points from an amazing qualifying round. Followed by Matty Hong, who had won it last year and also out climbed Carlos in the final rounds. Barely pushed out of the first two places ( Hong placed with a final calculation of 200.1 points), Carlo Traversi placed a third place with the best finals climb and total points calculation of 194.84.  As Magnus can not qualify for the US Team is rounded out with the 4th Place competitor, Jon Cardwell, who is from Albuquerque, NM. Alex Johnson placed fifth however he won the overall speed climbing competition that same morning, not bad!




The points are quite a big deal as there is a $2,000 pot for the winner. The overall points are cacluated under different systems depending on whether the climber is trying to qualify for the US Team or win the event overall.  The US Team Points are taken from both the finals and the qualifiers. 15% being from the qualifiers and the rest (85%) from the finals. Overall winners are usually calculated based on the final climbs only in all other points calculations. Traversi might end up at the top or stay in his current ranking after the re-calculations are over. Stay tuned!





The Woman’s Climbing hosted many beautiful and talented competitors who made me want to beef up my upper body and get into GI Jane shape.  First Place went to Sasha DiGiulian, a Female US Champion and pan-American Champion. Paige Claassen, a 19-yearold local favorite out of Estes Park, placed second. A texan holding the Youth World Champion title, Dana Riddle rounded out the US Team placing third and giving a great show. Chelsea Rude, a local favorite climbed well and picked up the 4th place spot.




Speed Climbing Wrap Up:


1. Marc Puccio           -7.22 Sec

2. Alex Johnson         -7.31 Sec

3. Joshua Levin         -7.33 Sec

4. Alek Pouliopoulos -7.73 Sec





1. Amanda Sutton     -9.33 Sec

2. Dana Riddle        -10.25 Sec

3. Delaney Miller     -10.65 Sec


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3775 Iris Ave. Ste. 2A&B
Boulder, CO 80301
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