Tag prevention

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.




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



Believe it or not, listening to your body is the best thing you can do for it.



If it is telling you that there is something slightly off, or that it is achy, cranky, or fatigued, it’s important for you to listen to it. It is important to understand why it is telling you these things. Listening is the easy part, solving the “why” is more difficult and might take the aid of one or a few doctors working as a team.



It’s not in your head.

This is often the case with chronic pain cases and sadly is becoming more common in the Doctor-Patient relationship. It may seem silly, but this post is written precisely for those patients who are still searching for answers and are being told that there is nothing wrong with them.  Many patients have told us that they are making it up based upon the results of the examination given and that therefore it must be entirely in their head.


Doctors have told them to take anti-depressants, get counseling, even to search for a bigger meaning in life.  they have also told them to live with it.  This is not commonly accepted and is often an attempt to quickly dismiss a problem that they are too lazy to figure out (in my most humble opinion).  Have hope and keep looking, do more home care, swap your diet, look into other opinions, and see other specialists. When in doubt, ask for help.


Sadly, we have had a few new patients come in this week and it breaks my heart to hear this common “waste basket diagnosis”. Please know that IF you feel pain, it IS truly there and not just in your head as your lazy doctor thinks… Too often patients are given drugs or psychological consults for having chronic pain that does not improve. There are usually reasons for pain, just because your doctor can’t figure it out on their own doesn’t mean you are making it up or that it does not exist.



My experience with incorrect diagnosis and treatment.



As a child I suffered from chronic and severe stomach aches. Finding myself compressed into a tight ball every evening after dinner, we finally went to find answers but the doctor with the tests that he did do got no real answers for my pain, deciding it too must be in my head. It ended up being food allergies and once these foods were avoided, my pain was gone forever. But he had never heard of such allergies (gluten/dairy) and therefore didn’t even contemplate that as an answer!



Learning Points



In our office it is our personal policy to work with you, regardless of your injury, and not to laugh in your face when the going gets tough and you’ve been to see everyone else. If we can’t figure it out, then it is time for more testing, advanced imaging, or sending you to a specialist in the area of your symptoms. This way, you get the care you need and we rest assured that you have the correct reduction of symptoms, regardless of diagnosis.


Tough cases are common in the world where we have work-related injuries, food allergies, and inflammatory disorders that are masked as sports injuries alone.


If your symptoms are not healing on their own, chances are that additional testing or modification of care is needed to assure success.


We are here for you if you need, and we are happy to recommend other specialists in the area for those things in which we don’t specialize.





Dr. Lisa

boulder acupuncture chiropractic doctor treats neck pain and spinal surgical alternatives




In our office, we evaluate patients for lowback pain, disc injuries, joint injuries, and nerve entrapment syndromes. Most patients that come in usually have a pretty good idea of what they think they have from reading on the internet or “family experience.”  This is not always the case. We can fill in the rest with good old science and understanding of biomechanics.




If you have already been injured:


Now we have the most amazing non-surgical options for care. For your family who has been injured, backs and necks which have already become damaged need to be managed wisely to ensure that they do not progress with disease. Studies show that if you have pulled the normal curvature out of your spine, it is at a high risk of degenerating rapidly with abnormal loading of discs and joints. With lots of research these past few summers, scientists have now found that we can actually arrest degeneration and abnormal bio-mechanical wear and tear by use of a home orthodic, mirror image exercises, and in-office adjustments of your spine. Your posture, repetitive habits, work station, and hobbies all play into how healthy you and your spine are in the long run and need to be modified to relieve any stressors to your spine’s health.


As long as you believe that your spinal degeneration is out of your control, you are a victim…Lets end this cycle and help family and friends to rest assured knowing that we can indeed decrease the rate of degeneration by modifying your posture, work station, and repetitive tasks (such as how you sit in the car and your running gait). All of this plays into healing your spine and keeping it healthy in the long run.





Luckily for you and your healthy loved ones, most injuries to the spine are preventable with the proper care and attention to detail.  Though you haven’t had pain, we recommend an exam. Here’s why: The discs hold open the space for your spinal nerves to exit the spine. As that disc shrinks with poor posture and abnormal loading from a variety of reasons, it can damage your spinal nerves with time. This is painless and often you will not know until it is at it’s last end stages. Only 10% of the nerves that exit your spine actually carry pain fibers so you can be compressing 90% of the nerve and be having numbness, difficulty controlling a muscle group, or organ based issues and have no local spinal pain. We can keep it from getting to this point and if it hits this point, we can most-always manage it so that it is not a surgical case. This is why we recommend exams yearly to ensure good health and care every month to ensure that these little issues, which we can prevent, are indeed prevented.  Jump on the exam train and book your exam here.



So there you have it, just because your father had low back pain from degeneration and injury does not mean that you are predisposed to it.  Joint damage and degeneration depend more on your daily habits, such as leaning on the center console of the car when you drive or sleeping in the same abnormal posture when you sleep. Bending, lifting and twisting in combination can damage your discs and lead to herniations, disease, and a need for medical care. Being healthy is more than being just pain free and we hope that you let us evaluate your repetitive stresses (such as desk work, golf, or other hobbies), your level of health, and let us teach you how to protect your spine with correct posture and lifting habits.


For those who are interested, learn more about the newest research in chiropractic care here.




Dr. Lisa


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.

Boulder Sports Medicine Chiropractic clinic


Pop Quiz: What do a blue gel ice pack, ace wrap, and a recycled plastic bag have in common?


A: They are used together as a cheap means of achieving the best icing at home. Yes it’s cold outside. Yes it’s mentally abusive to ice when it’s cold outside. But icing we will as most of our pain is typically caused by inflammation alone. Because pain slows our recovery, lets get going!



Try it Out:


1. Pull your beautiful new blue gel icepack from the back of the freezer

2. Put your icepack inside the used plastic bag (recycling at it’s best)

3. Check for sweat/post-shower moisture of your skin and wipe away if needed

4. Compress the newly bonded pair against your skin with an acewrap

5. Check trio to ensure ensemble is not too tight so you don’t get blue feet or hands

6. Ice for 15-20 minutes



If you are able to walk around while icing, you can get extra aggressive with your inflammation and ice up to 30 minutes. Check it after the first try to make sure your body doesn’t have a bad reaction.


Icepack Dilemmas: If for some reason your blue gel icepack is white and hard, you probably just over froze it at a temperature too low, turn your freezer to a slightly warmer temperature and see if that helps.



Next week, in continuation of self-care kit focused patient education, we are going to cover self-taping/adherents!




Dr. Lisa


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