We all have a friend or family member that has had this happen to them.  So what is going on in there and what type of treatment should you seek?

The best immediate relief is doing something to decrease the inflammation.  Ice and anti-inflammatory medications like Advil or Aleve are what I recommend.  Of course you have to make sure you can take these medications and they don’t interact with any medical condition or other medications you are taking.  Your body always creates more swelling than it really needs.  This creates a “cast” of sorts to protect the injured joint.  This goes back to our days when we were hunters and gatherers.  If you had this condition while running from a tiger you would want it to brace and cast itself so you can out run your friend and not get eaten (or at least try!)

The popping sound can be one of two things.  Your facet joint is a synovial joint.  Sounds fancy, I admit.  It is a joint like your knuckles that can crack and pop.  The other option is the disc can create a popping sound if it is put under stress.  It may indicate a tear in the disc which could lead to a hernitation.  If the pain is accompanied with shooting pain then typically this is indicative of a disc causing nerve compression.  I talked about herniations in another post.  Since you’re sitting around reading blogs anyway, you might as well read that one, too, if you haven’t already.

If the pain is too bad to be managed with the ice and anti-inflammatory route then a trip to Urgent Care could help with some pain medications and muscle relaxers.  The follow up care is the most important.  You have created a condition in  your spine that requires treatment, even if it starts to feel better with the pain meds.  Chiropractors are experts in spinal care and disc herniations.  We can order x-rays and MRI’s and work with neurosurgeons on a regular basis if the condition is beyond our help.

If you experience a similar episode it is not just a pulled muscle that can be alleviated with stretching and physical therapy.  It is a rotation and damage to your spine that needs to be corrected or you will have this condition again in the future.  Take care of your spine – It’s the only one you get. If you think you might want to visit a chiropractor, we’d love to help you out!