Problem: Every time I go to my chiropractor, they tell me that my bones are “out of place”

Solution: Ask more questions about why, how, and what you can do to keep it from happening over and over and over!

Bottom Line: There is no evidence that your bones can, or regularly do, go “out of place”. This term has been used through multiple generations to easily describe the idea of joint fixation/hypomobility. It’s better to think in terms of movement, not something being “in” or “out”.

If you’re following Hybrid Sports Chiropractic to this point, then you already understand about Sports Chiropractic and why your back cracks. If not, head back to the foundational knowledge homepage and give them a quick read.

Today, we will briefly discuss the idea of bones being “in” and “out”… Oh boy

For starters, I can’t tell you frustrating this topic is to me.

Honestly, I cringe every time I hear the words “my back is out” or “my last chiropractor had to put me back in all the time” etc (insert HEAVY eye roll here…)

Here is what I know: there is no evidence that suggests that your bones can, or do, go ‘out of place’. This doesn’t mean that some chiropractors don’t believe what they are saying when they tell you this. But this belief isn’t founded on scientific evidence.

The “bone out of place” model has existed since the beginning of chiropractic. I’m not going to bore you with the details of DD and BJ Palmer; I only mention this to highlight how old this this model truly is (Chiropractic was “developed” somewhere around 1895).

Don’t misinterpret my information here, I’m a chiropractor and I love what I do. But, I think it’s time for the chiropractic profession to evolve… It’s ONLY been 130 years.

My primary goal is to provide and relay accurate information to as many people as possible. I’m not here to change the world, I’m just here to help represent real information.

My interpretation of the bone out of place model is much more simple and very biomechanical; I think in terms of movement. This isn’t something that you need an X-ray to see, either. 

A joint is either moving the way it is supposed to, or it isn’t.

It’s pretty simple; when it feels like you have a bone or joint that feels stuck, maybe it is. We’ve all been in this situation at some point- feeling stuck or “out of place”. Trust me, I know that it feels like something isn’t where it is supposed to be or it might feel like it’s out of place, but that’s because (usually) a very small joint isn’t MOVING PROPERLY.

This is the key. PROPER MOVEMENT.

When one or more joints isn’t moving properly, it can create a whole host of problems. And, there are many things that can contribute to these joint(s) not moving properly in the first place. When this happens, it can be due to localized muscle tension, stress, poor exercise form, prolonged sitting, you get the picture.  And, in some severe cases, the lack of movement between two joints can irritate the local nerves and/or create local muscle spasms of the surrounding musculature.

Let me highlight a few important details of that last paragraph:

  • Lack of proper movement can lead to irritated nerves.
  • Lack of movement and irritated nerves can lead to more muscle spasms.

These two points are important to note, as they both contribute to making the problem worse.

So, next time you feel “stuck” or like your bones are “out”, consider trying to mobilize it yourself (not like this!!).

Try a foam roller, a lacrosse ball, yoga, etc. If those things don’t work, then it’s time to see a professional.

Get moving people!