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This is one of the most common questions I am asked (It goes right up there with, "is it ok if I crack my own neck/back.")
This is the age old question. Was Mom right about the dangers of cracking your knuckles, or is it really not that bad?

Sorry mom's around the world. According to the research, cracking your knuckles is not associated with arthritis of the hands. Let's take a closer look.

First of all, what is the popping sound we hear when someone cracks their knuckles?

All  joints contain a fluid called synovial fluid that holds oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide gas. When the ends of a joint are separated the joint space increases by 15-20% creating a temporary vacuum and the gas is rapidly released. This causes the popping sound. 

Contrary to popular belief, it is not actually the "bones cracking or popping", in fact it isn't the bones at all. The noise you hear is the gas being released from the joint.

The question still remains: Does it cause arthritis? 

Approximately 20 minutes after you (or your kids) have "cracked" your knuckles, the joint slowly returns its normal position and the gases will compress back into the joint. The ligaments around the joint were stretched and will also return back to their normal position. No damage done.

Previous studies have NOT shown a link between knuckle cracking and osteoarthritis. One study in particular concluded that "a history of habitual knuckle cracking, including duration and cumulative exposure - does NOT seem to be a risk factor for hand osteoarthritis. 

Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, March 2011So if cracking your knuckles doesn't lead to arthritis of the hands, what causes it? 
To answer this question we need to understand what arthritis is.
Artho = joint
-itis = inflammation
Basically, it's inflammation in the joint. The most common understanding is that the joints of the body, including the hands and spine, will age over time, causing inflammation and eventually pain. Normal wear and tear of the cartilage causing inflammation. 
Other factors that contribute and exacerbate joint pain are toxins, high carbohydrate/sugar consumption, and alcohol. 

Adjusting and mobilizing the joints of the hands, wrist, elbows, shoulders, spine, hips, knees, ankles, and feet immediately decreases the inflammatory response, and reduces the amount or "wear and tear" over time. 


It's interesting to look back in history to see where our beliefs and understanding of "sickness" and "health" come from.

Historically, there are two schools of thought that date back to the 1840's-50's and can best be described by looking at two major players in the medical field.

Louis Pasteur and Claude Bernard - both from France, both top physicians of their time, and both lecturing at the same medical conferences and they have OPPOSING VIEWS.


Louis Pasteur, the inventor of pasteurization believed that whether you are sick or healthy is a direct relationship to exposure to a pathogen (bacteria, virus, etc...). According to this theory, the germ theory, there are germs outside of the body and if they get into the body they will create disease. To "be well" means to do whatever it takes to keep the "invader" from getting in, and if it does, you must kill the germ that made you sick. The germ theory falls in line with much of Western medicine where the idea is to combat the germs; kill them, avoid them, and attempt to outsmart them (drugs, surgery, vaccines, social distancing, masks, washing hands etc ..)

Rather than simply opposing this view, what would it be like to complement it with another important element that is just as important as doing our best to avoid exposure?


Claude Bernard introduced the Terrain Theory in which the focus for good vs poor health is on one's own internal environment. According to Bernard good health is a direct relationship to cellular health. This means maintaining good nutrition, immune system health and detoxification capability. When you have a well-balanced "terrain" you become a bad host for pathogens. Germs thrive in an unbalanced, or sick, terrain. In essence, he believed that trying to control germs is like trying to control the wind, and due to the ubiquitous nature of microorganism's we are all continually exposed to them. Yet, there are countless examples of people who are exposed, but don't get sick. The emphasis here is to be a "bad host" by balancing: nutrition, pH, detoxification, and nervous system. 


As our world begins to open up again and shelter in place ordinance lifted I believe it is as important to continue to social distance, wash your hands, cover your face AND maintain good "internal" health so you are a "bad host" for the virus!

It's estimated that 25-50% of the people who are spreading coronavirus are completely asymptomatic. 81% of people who contract the virus will have mild to moderate symptoms. This is a BIG DEAL when we are facing a highly contagious virus. 

When a virus enters the body it gets into your cells and basically shuts down the function of the cell and turns it into a self replicating factory then releases the newly created virus into the environment.

This is a process called Viral Shedding. The more virus you create, the more that is released into your environment and the more contagious you become. According the statistics above most people won't ever know that they are making and shedding and spreading the virus.

The coronavirus is known to be highly contagious, yet it is not indiscriminately fatal. Some experts say that many more people will contract the virus and never know they have it. This also means that people who contract the virus will shed more of the virus if their own immune system is less than capable of quickly controlling it.

Here are some things you can do TODAY to decrease your chances of having anything more than a mild/moderate reaction AND to help attenuate the spread of the virus IF you are someone who is exposed.



It is well known that the majority of people with poor outcomes are those with pre-existing conditions: diabetes, obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure. The thing these conditions all have in common is poor metabolic health.

With or without a "preexisting condition" anyone with poor metabolic health has a dramatically reduced capacity to fight infection. Good vs poor metabolic health is determined by these 5 factors:

High Blood Glucose Levels
High Blood Pressure
High Body Fat Percentage
High Blood Triglyceride (fat) Levels
Low HDL ("good" cholesterol) Levels

Those 5 factors are directly associated with high carbohydrate diets and impaired immune function. The ability of the virus to spread unchecked has to do with: 1. the ability of the virus to enter the cell 2. the ability of the immune system to combat it.

Individuals with suboptimal levels of the 5 metrics above have more entries points for the virus and a decreased capacity for the immune system to recognize and destroy it. 

Having a low carbohydrate diet and lifestyle is the quickest way to normalize your metabolic health and keep your immune system strong! For some people changing blood glucose levels can happen literally over night. The other 4 factors may take a little longer, but are still directly associated with your daily carbohydrate consumption.

If you are interested in knowing where you stand and making improvements in your metabolic health I'm happy to order these labs for you and make diet/lifestyle recommendations if needed.


It is well understood that Chiropractic care will give your immune system a natural healthy boost.

This occurs by calming the "fight-or-flight" (sympathetic nervous system) response and turning up your capacity to fight infections. 

You may have experienced this yourself, and it is well known that when people have high stress levels are more likely to get sick. 

There is a DIRECT correlation with adjusting the joints of the spine and quieting down the stress response. So whether you want a natural immune system boost, or want to help calm your nerves, chiropractic care can help!! 

Chiropractic care is most commonly known for the "popping and cracking" adjustment, and although I do provide this style for those who prefer it, I have a specialty in gentle, no force, corrective chiropractic care. A chiropractic adjustment can certainly be GENTLE and incredibly effective. 

For more info or to make an appointment visit my website at: 


Department of Homeland Security Identifies Chiropractors as Essential Service Providers

"California chiropractors are essential! The statement by the DHS has validated CalChiro's stance that we are an extremely valuable asset to the healthcare infrastructure. Chiropratcors are providing essential care to patients and limiting the strain on the urgent and emergency care systems."

I am honored to provide services for all Santa Cruzans as we navigate through this crisis. Your spinal care is essential and we are going above and beyond for the safety of our patients. 

It is estimated that approximately 90 percent of Americans have experienced a headache at some point in their lives. Headaches have been categorized into different types, the most common being tension headaches and migraines. The causes of headaches are unknown, however, they are believed to be related to such things as muscular tension, dilated/constricted blood vessels, genetics, chemical/hormonal imbalances and stress.

Much scientific research has been dedicated to looking for an underlying cause of headaches and, throughout this endeavor, has lead to overwhelming evidence that the pain experienced as a “headache” may NOT be due to any problems occurring in the head, but rather is a problem occurring within the structures of the upper neck.

Cervicogenic headache is a relatively new category, yet is becoming widely recognized and accepted within the medical profession due to the substantial amount of evidence pointing towards a cervical (neck) origin. It is now known that there is a cluster of nerve cells located in the spinal cord within the region of the top three vertebrae in the neck that receives sensory information from the head and neck. All painful stimulation coming from the head and neck is sent to the same area located in the upper neck and then sent to the brain for interpretation. By the time the signal reaches the brain, the brain has no way of distinguishing whether that particular pain signal is coming from the head or from the neck, but will often interpret it as a headache. The significance of this information is that problems arising in the upper neck, including the muscles, joints, and ligaments are capable of creating referred pain to the head.

Migraines associated with cervical dysfunction is plausible due to the fact that nerves traveling to the neck region include those coming from the eyes, forehead, inner ear (dizziness) and the GI tract (nausea and vomiting) all of which converge at some point and are capable of influencing each other. Many triggers are known for developing the onset of headaches. The typical example is whiplash, which frequently results in injury and misalignment of the bones in the upper neck. Other triggers include postural distortion, prolonged deskwork, intense physical workouts, caffeine and emotional tension. Whatever the trigger may be, the mechanism is the same and will produce pain characteristic of migraines and tension headaches. Traditional relief care includes medication and trigger point injections, which aid in blocking specific points within the biochemical pathway but fails to address the underlying cause of the pain.

Although researchers are now looking to structures in the upper neck for answers to solving problems with chronic headaches, chiropractors have been helping people with headaches for over one hundred years. It is clearly understood that functional disturbances in the upper neck can cause severe headaches. Upper cervical chiropractors have an organized systematic approach for detecting disturbances of the neck and correcting them using conservative techniques. Correcting dysfunction within the neck will relieve stress on the structures capable of creating chronic, debilitating headaches.


  1. Bogduk N. The Cervical-Cranial Connection. Journal of Manipulative Physiological Therapy, 1992; 15(1):67-70
  2. Barnsley L, Lord S, Bogduk N. Whiplash Injury. Pain, 1994; 58(3):283-307
  3. Lord SM, Bogduk N. The Cervical Synovial Joints as Sources of Post-Traumatic Headache. Journal of Muskuloskeletal Pain, 1996; 4(4):81-94
  4. Kirk Eriksen. Upper Cervical Subluxation Complex: A Review of the Chiropractic and Medical Literature. Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, Baltimore 2004.

For more info, contact Dr. Michelle Bean, NUCCA Chiropractor at her new location: Endless Possibilities, 845 Cedar Street, Santa Cruz, Ca (831) 426-1093 - -

What you do for the majority of your day is more telling about your health than if you exercise or not. Most people believe that if you want to lose weight, feel happy, and be healthy then daily exercise should be on your agenda? New science is showing us that our daily exercise routine cannot counter the effects of some habits, and in fact, it’s the other choices you make throughout the day that will determine how healthy your body is. 


In today’s world it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to tell us that exercising 30-60 minutes a day will never offset the detrimental effects of smoking for the rest of the day. However, it is taking a rocket scientist to tell us that prolonged sitting is just as bad as smoking, and in fact your daily exercise habits, if you are fortunate enough to have one, will not counter the damaging, life sucking effects of prolonged sitting any more than it would counter the effects of smoking. 

Dr. Joan Vernikos, former director of NASA’s Life Sciences Division and author of Sitting Kills, Moving Heals provides a simple scientific explanation of how our sedentary bodies behave and perform much like those of astronauts that are spending extended periods of time in low gravity environments. People who sit for prolonged periods show the same signs of premature aging as astronauts returning from space travel. The common risk factor is gravity, or the lack of gravity. Our body responds to the force of gravity to keep our muscles toned, our bones strong, our joints healthy, and our brain’s active. When we don’t challenge the force of gravity, the force gravity will challenge us. 

The human body is primed and ready for physical movement, with an intricate interaction of joints, muscles, blood vessels, and a nervous system all working together to allow us to move through a gravitational environment. But what happens when we don’t move, or we eliminate gravity. It turns out the effects are very similar. A decrease in the regeneration of muscle, bone, and soft tissue that supports our upright and moveable posture causes poor body mechanics, and compromises joints of the spine. There is a loss of elasticity in the muscles and soft tissue causing them to become stiff and achy.  

Prolonged sitting causes a decrease in blood circulation and turns off an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase. The function of this enzyme is to take fat from the blood into muscle tissue where it can be used as fuel, ie: it burns fat. This enzyme is activated each time you stand up, and is deactivated with periods of inactivity. You don’t have to exercise to burn fat, all you have to do is stand up and move throughout the day, and not sit idle behind a desk or in front of the TV. 

Most of us take for granted that can walk, but there are intricate mechanism in the nervous system occurring with every step we take. This is learned behavior. 

Chronic sitting teaches the brain and nervous system that balance and coordination is not a priority for this human body and begins to prune the nerves and receptors responsible for these tasks and causes your body and brain to become less efficient in movement.  

Dr. Vernikos explains that the solution to counter the effects of sitting is quite simple. It’s as easy as a change in posture. Literally to go from sitting to standing, throughout the day is the key to counter the effects of gravity. Yet, changing posture multiple times in a short amount of time is not the same as changing posture consistently throughout the day.  Dr. Vernikos makes the distinction that squatting 32 times in one hour is not the same as standing up 32 times throughout the day. Each time you change posture you are challenging the gravitational pull on your body and your brain, and all your cells have to respond. 

Just like our body has organs; heart, lungs, liver, spleen, stomach and so on, each one of our cells has little tiny organs called organelles. The organelles have very specific functions just like our organs do. The organelle that supplies all the energy demands for the body is called the Mitochondria, or as I like to call it, the MIGHTYchondria! This little tiny structure inside all our cells takes the food we eat and the air we breathe and converts it into energy (in the form of a molecule called ATP). This molecule is then dispersed throughout the body to provide all the energy we need to keep us alive and functioning. 

Obviously this happens without our having to think or do anything. But thankfully someone did think about it and research has shown us that the way our MightyChondria breakdown food is not equal. Specifically when we are talking about fats vs. carbs. 

When our cells break down food, in addition to creating the energy molecule ATP, it also generates free radicals as a by-product. You may have heard of free radicals for the damage they create in our cells and the recent upsurge of antioxidant supplement to help neutralize the free radical damage. 

Free radicals are a natural by-product of metabolism and they serve a purpose. However, too many of them can wreak havoc on your health. The important thing to know about food and energy metabolism is that carbs create 2x's MORE free radicals and 1/2 the amount of energy than when you are metabolizing fats. THIS IS A BIG DEAL FOLKS!! 

Nutritional Ketosis is an incredibly effective method for fat loss. When you reduce the amount of carbs in your diet, your body will go to the next most available source of fuel, your stored body fat. YaHoo! But understand this > Nutritional Ketosis is so much more than just a weight loss diet. It will literally change the health of your cells, reduce inflammation and pain, reduce free radical damage, create more energy, reduce cravings, improve brain function, and so much more.

If you want to hear more about how Ketogenic Lifestyle can create enormous amounts of health and fat loss, I invite you to click on the link below and enter your email address and I will send you the first video of my complete Nutritional Ketogenic Program for FREE!

Chiropractor In Santa Cruz, CA | 831 531 7449

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    Dr. Michelle Bean

    1414 Soquel Dr, Santa Cruz, CA 95062
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