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Chronic joint poppers--has it lead to your problems today??

TarenTTaren Posts: 524
edited 04/10/2014 - 4:24 AM in Chronic Pain
As a little girl I was always popping a joint somewhere. My neck, as I remember, early on was one of the first areas that I found I could get the "most pops" from as I grew up the neck popping continued. Then it finally got to the point, I felt, that to keep it loose I had no option but to pop it...long story short, I had a neck fusion 8 years ago (successful fusion) but now I can't pop it and it no longer hurts at all, except for the usual tightness and sore muscles around the area.

Popping my spine may not have lead to all my lumbar area problems but I'm convinced it helped the problem along, along with car accidents, age, arthritis....my latest MRI, 2 weeks ago, shows disc problems at L1-L2 & L5-S1 w/central canal stenosis, which, after I see my PM dr. Monday, according to what my pcp says, I will be sent to give PT a try and then I will be sent to a surgeon. She says a surgeon will insist, before seeing a patient, that one has to try PT first.

At this point I "have" to pop because now popping eases the tightness/stiffness I feel in every single joint in my body. But its also causing me problems, that are requiring medical attention/dr. visits. Popping joints are listed below.

I pop both hip joints/upper thigh area: Suspected that my L5-S1 is causing my hip problems on my right side, according to my PCP after getting my MRI results back.

Both Wrists: Rheumatologist says I have RA.

All my finger joints: Again, rheumy says I have RA in my fingers, but says I have osteoarthritis in the first joints of my finger tips.

both elbows: RA again

All my toes, both ankles & several different bones in my feet: Arthritis & a plantar fasciitis diagnosis in both feet last fall. I now wear custom made orthotics when I walk.

My back: A few years ago I was told I had facet joint, SI joint arthritis, DDD & most recently osteoarthritis. Probably about 5 years ago I was no longer able to pop my lower spine and now have all these arthritis's showing up. And after my last MRI, there is a surgeon, according to my PCP, in my future to fix central canal stenosis due to disc problems.

The most recent area that I have been able to pop, that I couldn't before is my thoracic area. When I pop it, it feels like every T vertebra pops along with my chest bone.

**I said all this to say that seems like all my bone popping since I was a child has lead to an arthritis diagnosis of some sort & having to have a cervical disc fusion, maybe popping my neck didn't cause it all but I'm convinced it sure didn't help my situation a bit. And now a possible lumbar fix is coming up. And now that I'm having to pop my thoracic area, is it next, I wonder??? Anyone else have these thoughts that popping has lead you to where you are today?



  • taren
    i don't know what the research says about popping one's joints but i have done it for years also but with no problems. i just know that people who go to chiropractors can get their back popped and that is not good in my opinion. the worse thing one can do if they have sciatica or stenosis is to go to one. their treatments will make things worse. a lot of times my joints pop when i don't try to so i think it is natures way of saying it is ok to do so. i mostly popped by fingers and my knees when i bend down and i have had no problems. i think a lot of the things you are having problems with are to getting older and activity such as running, playing tennis or other activities. my disk herniated due to the fact that i used to run 10 miles a day for years along with playing tennis. the body is not ment to do certain things especially if one's body type is not made for it, like mine is not made for running long distance. so good luck with the doctors. i also had stenosis-75% closure along with the herniated disk which lead to sciatic pain and had surgeries for both. they decompressed my spine when they did the fusion. there is not much we can do when our body goes crazy due to age and activity. go UK and go SJS. by the way why is football not a major deal in Kentucky? just wondering.
    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
  • TarenTTaren Posts: 524
    edited 04/10/2014 - 5:08 AM
    There you are!!! I was just getting ready to post a topic in the water cooler forum, to ask where you were? I guess I figured you ought to show up when I do lol!!!

    What you are saying makes sense about just automatically popping being natures way of saying its ok....But I wonder if there's a difference in the way a person feels in their joints when you force the joint to pop verses nature popping it??

    Never been to a chiropractor & have no plans to, the way I have heard some people describe the way they pop you scares the B-Jesus outta me. I will just continue to make my own joint adjustments lol.

    Not sure what % of closure I have with spinal stenosis, I do definitely have the sciatica though, it has been driving me insane for the last bit. I'm currently having a flare up and the last 3 days have been murder. Ty for your well wish with the dr.'s. Constant ice pack use here. Walking kills me, within a few minutes of it I have to sit down, grocery shopping, I have to lean over the handles for relief. When shopping I would really rather climb inside the cart and have my husband just push me around the stores until I get all I need....but, instead, I grin and bear it and look forward to just getting back home. My quality of life, as they call it, absolutely sucks at this time.

    UK's football problem gets no national attention because they are no good, basically. The university isn't going to pour money into a loosing program. It all goes to the winning program, which in this state basketball is king. They can't seem to land the right coach to make them a winning program. The players are some of the best, but I can't say the same for the coaching staff. In the last 5 years or so they have went through 3 coaches, Hal Mumme, Rich Brooks, Joker Phillips (fans loved him) and now currently, 4th coach, Mark Stoops & I don't think hes doing a good job either.

    Go UK & SJS!!!!!
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  • remember, i live on the worse coast so i am a few hours behind you guys. i get up at 4 but by the time i get to school it is 7. i am watching a guys guided studies class now where basically i have to do nothing because the kids are supposed to be working on homework, yea right. basically 2 hours to tell them to be quiet and to get back to work, glorified baby sitting. it is called full inclusion where there are no longer special ed classes. all the kids are mainstreamed whereas we are supposed to go into classes and support the teachers. so they said a few years ago, you guys are going to be doing full inclusion and we did not get a choice. so i no longer really teach which i miss a lot. well anyway, sorry life sucks for you. i guess i am lucky because i just have gotten used to the pain and issues. it is like a crazy aunt that the family keeps locked up in the basement. it is there but out of touch. i just take my meds, work, and get ready to retire in june. hopefully i am done with any more surgeries, 4 fusions, i lamenectomy, i laser diseconomy, one hardware removal and a few injections. thank god for insurance. my first fusion was 500k but after a while if you go over a certain amount of monies, they will pay 100% or a little less so i acutally pain about $500 for it. but i am glad you don't use chiropractors because they all say your back is out of alignment. i can only walk for about 50-100 ft or so before i have to sit down. it limits things we have to do so when we go to disneyland or sea world, i just rent a chair to get around. hard to go surfing now and i miss tennis. are you going to have surgery soon? let me know and i can try to give some pointers, no not the one on top of my head. i would not worry about the popping. but i feel your pain
    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
  • Ah yes, I did forget about the west & east coast time difference-You are 3 hours behind us. Ha Ha, on the glorified babysitting, I think they referred to it as that when I was in school. So, are you saying it isn't called Special-Ed anymore but instead called "Full Inclusion" If that is the case I agree with the title change because, imo, just that word "special-ed" can give some kids a complex. And its so hard on kids at that age anyway. Some kids can be very cruel, so can some adults, but that is another story...

    Naaa, life doesn't suck for me, even with chronic pain I feel very fortunate, I have a beautiful daughter, who has her head on straight, she never gave me a bit of trouble as I was raising her. I definitely got the pick of daughters when I had her. I also have a great husband, without him, I shudder to think where the road would have taken me without him. He works very hard, and had his difficulties growing up too. He's the kindest man I have ever known. I can not say enough good about my husband and my daughter, I am truly blessed.

    Geez, I hope you are done with surgeries too. Sounds like you have had more than your share of them. Is it safe to assume that all yours have been in the lumbar area? How did the laser surgery work for you, I have read about those? Could you better explain to me what a laminectomy is? That was mentioned to me along with a discectomy by my PCP, after my MRI. I understand what a discectomy is but I have trouble understanding the laminectomy..And if I may ask was one of your discectomy's done at the same time as your laminectomy was done?? And I do agree, thank God for health insurance, lets hope that doesn't become a problem for us all-- I have Tri-Care through the military, but even that could change at any given time--yes, I know we can't get into political stuff, but......lol. Ok, I better change the subject!!

    No, I would never use a chiropractor, some people swear by them. Personally, they scare me to death and like you say if you go there will be something out of alignment, as I have heard people say on more than one occasion. I will just stick with my PCP, PM & Rheumatologist for all my bone issues. I'm to the point, that like you, with the walking, I can't walk far without the pain and without having to sit for a bit-but I can walk more than 50-100 ft @ the moment anyway. Yes, spinal problems do limit your life but at the same time, I feel that your mind and your body learn to adapt to those limits and you figure out other ways of doing things and still being able to live a full life. For example, you and your family went to Disney Land, even though you knew you would have trouble walking long distances you used a wheelchair-problem solved!! You got to go and enjoy that with your family, even though you had your limits you found a way around those limits!! Good for you and I'm sure it was a memorable time for you and your entire family. Even with having to give up some things, life is still good, I gave up running a few years ago, gave up most of my wood crafting projects, and sewing has become a challenge, because of not being able to sit as long as I need to to finish a project, I gave up line dancing completely (yes, line dancing, please don't laugh lol), horseback riding is no longer part of my life. Now, I never did do any surfing, I take it that you were a surfer dude? Hang 10 lol!!

    Am I going to have surgery, that is the question?? After my MRI a couple of weeks ago, my pcp said she would be sending me to a surgeon, however she said I would have to try PT first because, in her words a surgeon wont look at you unless you have at least tried PT first. She said that I am having issues with L1-L2 & L5-S1, with L5&S1 being the area that is causing all my symptoms at the moment. There is a disc protrusion that is causing central canal stenosis which is causing a deformity of my thecal sac. I have CCS at L1-L2 also but its being caused by bone spurs....so, I don't know as of right now what exactly they are going to do. I see my PM Monday, and he had scheduled RFA for me on the 22nd but all this MRI stuff has come up since he scheduled this procedure, so I will be talking things over with him Monday. I'm sure we wont be doing the RFA at this point, as it is done more for when they suspect that facet or SI joint issues are the problem source. I was pretty sure that this was the case, but I asked sandi here and she told me the same thing, so I feel confident that there wont be any RFA now. Ewww, I know this is long and I do apologize, I hope you can get through it all. I tried to answer your questions as well as ask you a couple. And ty for offering to give me advice when and if my time comes for lumbar surgery, I appreciate that, I'm sure I will use all the advice you can give me, since you have been through it..I know a little of what to expect because I did have an ACDF a few years ago, but I'm sure that, as sandi says, they are 2 different animals lol.

  • Lord, I didn't realize it was that long until I saw it upon the actual page lol...again, I apologize for that. I'm gonna change my settings so I can make the letters smaller so it wont look like such a long page, that might make me feel a lil bit better about it lol
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  • all surgeries were in the lumbar area and a laminectomy is where they cut of the lamenella (sp?) in the back instead of cutting out the disc i believe. i am not sure but if you check the videos on this site it can show you. all i know it did not work so they did a fusion a little later. after this surgery was when all of the problems i had occurred. leg swelled and fluid leaked out lympatic fluidt. i have had chronic infections of that leg, cellilitus, and chronic pain along with other sexual problems that were the result of nerve damage. the laser disectomey was done before the fusion. we had to wait for the laser to come and then they had to calibrate it which all took an extra 2 hours. then i woke up in the middle of the surgery and felt them burning the disc. i was not put completely out but given the drug where you think you are out but are awake. but it did not work so then they did the fusion. and 2 years later took out some of the metal, then a while later the disc above the fusion herniated dut to the stress of the fusion on the disc below then the laminectomy and fusion. my wife and son are great for the most part, she gets upset sometimes at the extra work she has to do and like yours my son is great and no problems except for a little senioritis this year. he has been accepted to U of Portland UCSanta Cruz and UC Merced and a school in Denver called Regis. When i retire this summer, i will sit on my rear and then substitute in the fall to get extra monies.
    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
  • TarenTTaren Posts: 524
    edited 04/10/2014 - 2:48 PM
    I hope I'm allowed to say that...Jon, you woke up in the middle of your surgery and felt what they were doing to your disc?!!?!?? That could have caused one to end up with PTSD. The drug that keeps you awake but you don't remember is called Versed aka as twilight. I have been given it a few times, but it must of been a very light does because I remember everything they did to me, I remember the conversations and all. Then once they gave it to me for a colonoscopy, when I had been in the hospital for a week with a pancreas attack, They gave me valium and versed (must of been a much higher does this time) the last thing I remember saying to my nurse was, "I have had that before for facet injections and it does not work on me!!" Then the next thing I remembered myself saying was, I asked the nurse, "Are we gonna be doing this soon?" She replied, to me, "Sweetie, its over, you are done!!" It must of knocked my butt out cold because, I remembered nothing of it!! I have also heard it referred to as "truth serum" have you ever heard it called that?

    Am I understanding that when they did your hardware removal that they did not take out all the hardware at the same time? Did taking out the hardware cause the disc above to herniate? And this is when they chose to do the laminectomy & the fusion? I think I understand.

    Are you ready for retirement? How many years have you taught? Have they all been at the same school? I don't think you ever said, but which college is your son leaning towards? Do you have your preference? The in state choice would be a lot closer to home-he could come home for the holidays. Btw, the closer to graduation day the worse the senioritis will get, imo, That's how my daughter got and if memory serves me correctly I was the same way.
  • anelsen15 said:
    I dont know about damage, but everytime i had injury to spine the need to pop increased. Side note, when I had ESI that worked in thoracic all popping there was no longer an issue, stopped feeling need. I think its facet joints, inflammation , ligaments and muscles that contribute in my opinion

    Aaron, I am the exact opposite, with each new injury the need, more like the ability, to pop is gone. My injured joints no longer pop nor does the fusion area.
  • what was weird was the doctor saying you were screaming and probably did not remember it, i said oh hecky darn i did at least to that effect. i don't think the removal caused the herniation according to my doctor it was the stress of the surgery on the disc above it but to tell the truth i never thought about the removal causing the herniation. it is too late now because he retired and it has been 13 years. i ve taught for 26 years all but four in high school. i think my son is leaning to both portland and UCSanDiego. his grades dropped the last couple of months and i was not a happy camper. instead of yelling i gave him the cold shoulder and he felt guilty and apologized to me. back at home now with my pc instead of the mac i use at school. i was going to take the day off to take them to the airport but i forgot i have an IEP and have to show up to work tomorrow.
    I have 4 fusions from L5-3, the latest last May '12 where they fixed my disc that broke.They went through my side this time. I take 40 mg of oxycontin 4x a day and 4 fenatyl lollipops 300 micro gms 4x a day.
  • TarenTTaren Posts: 524
    edited 04/10/2014 - 3:02 PM
    Lol, Oh hecky darn among other things I can imagine!! One good thing about it all is you don't remember the screaming, I guess you could consider that your silver lining to waking up. Just curious, How long after the hardware removal was the disc herniation?

    I guess with my daughter I was more a reasoning w/a little bit of screaming type lol.
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