Snap, Crackle, Pop! A Tale of My Joints

No, not these little freaks.

No, not these little freaks.

I didn’t realize I was so old.  It happened all of a sudden.  One minute I was twelve, and the next I was about to turn 37.  In one month.  June.  June 29th, to be specific, for all of you who I just know are going to write me fabulous blog posts in my honor.  Write that date down.  Are you writing that down?  Because I also want a Super Soaker water gun.

Anyway.  Next month, I’m also going to get a nine-year-old and, dear God, even worse, a thirteen-year-old, because I didn’t feel old enough already.  All our birthdays are in the same month so that by July, I’m starting to not want cake.  There is something wrong when I don’t want cake.

Happy Birthday! Have some cake!

Happy Birthday!
Have some cake!

There is something wrong when I turn 37.  I’m not 40 yet, I mean there’s still three years to go, right, so according to People Magazine I haven’t yet gone over the hill so everything should . . . what was that?  I bent my neck and something made a grating snapping sound.  Snap.  Crackle.  Pop.  Ouch.  I’m not sure which is worse – the actual pain from the popping or the SOUND of the popping.  I’m pretty sure joints aren’t supposed to do that sort of thing.

I went to the doctor a while ago for this.  He said, and I quote, “Bones just do that when you get older.”  And I gave him a look that said something like “WTF I AM THIRTY SOMETHING NOT EIGHTY WHERE DID YOU GET YOUR DEGREE A CRACKER JACK BOX?”  I think I made him nervous with my shouty caps eyes, so he wrote me a prescription for physical therapy.  That was only available from 8 to 5 because that’s just incredibly helpful for something who also works from 8 to 5.  I’ve never met anyone who works from 9 to 5.  Wtf with that song, Dolly?

Dolly, you liar.

Dolly, you liar.

I went during my lunch hour and there was this really cute peppy young woman who worked on me and I immediately hated her.  She put these things on my neck with electrodes and it made my muscles do freaked out jumpy things that did not make me feel magically better.  Muscles aren’t supposed to do jumpy things without you making them do jumpy things.

So I quit going because I can do stupid stuff to myself on my own time and I really preferred to have lunch on my lunch hour.  So my neck is still in bad shape.  I’d gotten kind of used to that, since it’s been going on a while, but now my hip hurts when I lie down sometimes.  And my wrists – wtf, wrists, just because I wrote thousands of notes for years in school and then type during work and then go home and type stupid blog posts that’s no reason to act all wimpy and crap.  Sheesh.

Okay, see, there's your wrist problem.  There's a scalpel in it.

Okay, see, there’s your wrist problem. There’s a scalpel in it.

Most recently, it’s been the knees.  I’m not sure if this is because of my yoga or not.  After dissing that Science of Yoga guy, I’m starting to wonder.  Maybe I can blame this all on yoga.  I mean, look at the postures they have you do.  Put all your body weight on your wrists and stick your butt in the hair!  Good!  Now act like you are sitting in a chair, but there’s no chair, so you’re just there in midair and you look like an idiot and your hamstrings are screaming at you for God’s sake stop!  I started yoga to feel better, not feel worse.

Of course I now have to wonder if it’s the chicken or the egg.  Was I going to have joint pain anyway, because I won the lotto of depression, asthma and arthritis?  Or have I made it worse by contorting my body in weird ways because damn it I sucked at sports but I was always flexible look at me throw my leg back I am a yoga champ and owwww. Snap, crackle, pop.

We just switched Susan's chair with thin air.  Let's see what happens.

We just switched Susan’s chair with thin air. Let’s see what happens.

I really don’t want to give up yoga, because my OCD starts panicking at the thought of having to find something else to obsess about.  Also, I kind of like it.  But is it helping or hurting?  I don’t know.  It doesn’t help that my yoga books completely contradict each other.  For instance, one says for knee pain relief do chair pose, tree pose, or triangle.  And the other book says, and I swear I am not making this up, whatever you do, don’t do chair pose, tree pose, or triangle because that’s bad for the knees.

Anyone else had these joint issues, or am I the only one?  If you do, how do you help yourself feel better?  Does yoga help or hurt?  Also, it would be awesome if you have the magic elixir I’ve been searching for, because lista de email told me she had it but SHE LIED you guyz.  That makes me want to make something go SNAP.

Snap, crackle, pop.

P.S. June 29th.  Write it down.  Super Soaker.

It looks like this.  Hint.

It looks like this. Hint.


70 responses

  1. When I roll my neck it sounds like pop rocks. It’s so fun.

    1. Isn’t it? I like it when it makes a really audible CRACK. That’s delightful!

  2. I have severe osteo-arthritis AND fibromyalgia! Until a few years ago I thought it was just part of growing older. Then it kept getting worse and worse. I am now disabled because of it. I also suffer from several (pick 3 or 4 letters from the alphabet) syndromes/disorders on the mental health side of things. Oh the joy! It’s all good though…I may be used but I ain’t used up and I ain’t gonna let nothin’ keep me down. BTW, I am 56 years old.

    1. You GO man! I think it’d be hard not to have mental issues if you have physical ones. I know it makes my depression worse. WHY AREN’T PEOPLE AT MY BEDSIDE??? My mother got arthritis in her 30s, so it wouldn’t be surprising if that’s what’s developing. So far, it’s not been very bad. But it’d be nice to be able to walk without constantly creaking my neck and bending it back and forth. I must look like Frankenstein to the college kids around here.

  3. I will be 39 in August. I feel ya.

    1. When did this happen exactly?

      1. Shit, I have no idea. Just yesterday I was drooling over Kirk Cameron..

        1. And now he’s talking to bananas. I guess it could be worse?

          1. He is? What the hell did I see in him? It can ALWAYS be worse.

          2. Something about proving evolution wrong because – bananas. I don’t know. Oh, Kirk, sigh.

          3. Just shut up and give us that dimply smile.

          4. If only Tom Cruise would do that too. Why do they have to open their mouths?

          5. talky..just stand there and look hot. Drink that cold glass of water..that’s words…

  4. If it makes you feel any better, I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis when I was 19 in both my knees. I’m 21 now and have such a hard time doing the things I love (dance and running). I did the whole physical therapy thing too, and it did help, but the key is to do the at-home exercises, which, let’s be honest, I’m preaching to the choir here. I take three fish oil vitamins and B6 to help with joint pain each day (well, again, to be honest, some days hehe) and it tends to help. My advice to you is to do some leg lifting exercises (NOT with weights!) such as laying on your back and lifting one leg at a time, holding it for five seconds and bringing it back down…you should repeat that for awhile. Also, calf raises, and wall-sits are what they had me do in therapy. It strengthens the muscles around your knee joints and also strengthens your hips to help compensate for the knee pain. I hope this helps!! Hang in there!

    1. Oy, that’s terrible when you’re so young. My good friend had a hiking accident as a teen and recently had knee surgery (she is also in her thirties). She’s had osteoarthritis for years. It was recommended I take B and D vitamins – and I take a multivitamin – okay I forget some. I take a lot of pills. I’ll have to try the exercises. Today my knees are way better. It’s my neck again. Got any good ones for that? Oh, and thanks. 😀

      1. Here is a link that shows some of the exercises I had to do in physical therapy for my knees that you could try for knee pain.

        As for neck pain, I’m use to just stretching my neck because of the dancer side of me. I googled these, which both seem like good sources. The second link shows some stretches that I have used in dance myself. Let me know if they help! Just another thought that came to me, maybe try switching your pillows? Your neck could be hurting because your pillows are either too flat or too fluffy.

        I hope you feel better! (:

  5. Dearest Alice – I WISH I was just turning 37… but not wanting cake is pretty serious. There’s a pill for that I’m sure.

    Ok – so I have hip dysplasia (like a dog) and my right hip rocks forward – chiro pops it back…exercise is a must to keep the muscles around the hip joint strong and in place… however the downfall is that in the beginning (especially of Yoga) it hurt so much b/c the muscles around the hip had been adjusting to the wonky hip – and when it goes into place all those muscles around the hip are not having to change their form to the ‘correct’ one – so it was a 2 month process of pain-sore-relief. Now I notice that my hip is not bothering me so much. Whoopie right? I wonder if you’re experiencing something similar – when your body has been out of alignment for a while – everything sort of adjusts to that – and when you correct it – it’s going to cause some aches. On the other hand – if some of the postures are too painful – pull back (I often hurt myself when I move too fast – but going really slow is much easier – then you can take inventory of the actual discomfort along the way to the pose). I think it’s one of those things that takes a while to sort of work out. I’ve been active since my 20s – and it’s always a similar process for any activity (except ice hockey – I always hurt but that’s from making fast contact with the ice – typically right on my hip – my chiro was not really excited about that foray into exercise)…the process always involves some adjustment.

    I would say keep moving – pull back on some stuff – go slow and take note of what’s painful. Tylenol doesn’t hurt either…

    1. Tylenol and I are old pals, though sometimes I cheat on him with Ibuprofen. I’ve never been to a chiro – I have heard too many bad stories about quacks (one worked with an ambulance chasing lawyer in my town and, well, long story). Of course I know a lot of people who swear by them, so I don’t know.

      That’s a thought about the being out of alignment and the muscle adjustment. I’ve picked up on some of that from my yoga reading. There’s a lot of anatomy in that, something I’ve been fascinated about anyway and I love learning. It’s a weird thing about me. My husband also mentioned that maybe it’s just cause I haven’t worked those muscles in a while or possibly ever.

      Have you ever tried those massage rollers or any of those massage balls? There’s one called Yoga Tune-Up – I liked her video, but her balls (snort) cost a quite a bit for, you know, balls and stuff.

      1. Um…I’ve never tried THOSE kinds of massage balls 🙂

        I go and have massage done every once in a while and hot tub soaks.

        I know the chiro can be scary – we are fortunate that we have Dr. Eric in Tucson…he’s excellent. Being a hippy kind o’town, we have a lot of alternative healing type stuff to chose from – some too touchy-feely but enough variety to make it easy to find something good… like massage! I’ll pass on the crystal healing – acupuncture/acupressure are also a great for a lot of what ails me in my body.

        1. I have a friend in Tempe and she’s as alternative as you get, so I believe that. Even in my small town, you can get massages, though. I’ve never had one done. I may try it. They’re not cheap but I hear they are worth it. If only they had some of those hot Swedish guys – no, wait, that would probably not be a good way to relax, lol.

          1. hee hee …

            Nope – not cheap – but soooo worth it if you find an ‘inspired’ person – not someone that you can tell is doing 10 min here, 10 min there, etc.. it feels ‘phoned in’… most are great – if you can go to a school where there are student massages, they are cheaper and those students are pretty enthusiastic and haven’t experienced the weight of the world crushing them down 🙂

          2. Haha, that’s all I need is a Sad Pony doing my massage. “My life really sucks, now let’s work those kinks out”

    1. I bet a few hits of old-fashioned Nyquil help too.

        1. Ny-Quil will help you get your zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz . ..

  6. Alice,
    I’m not there yet, as I’m a year behind you, so while I can I’d like to say…HA HA HA!

    1. Yeah, just you WAIT, ya baby!

      1. I know, but you still beat me there.

        1. Not if I freeze time. Um. And speed it up for you. Is that a super power?

          1. No, that’s mean. That’s what that is.

  7. Getting old sucks. We share a birthday month! Yay June birthdays!

    1. I did always like that I didn’t have to go to school on my birthday like those other suckers. I was also the youngest in my class. I used to be the youngest at so many things . . . now I work with a 25 year old – who gets paid more. Sigh.

      1. I was always annoyed that everyone got school birthday parties but us summer birthday kids.

        1. Sometimes they would do one little end of year thing for all the leftovers (summer kids) lol. I remember being slightly annoyed at that too, while still being happy not to be at school. No pleasing children.

  8. Mmmmm…Rice Krispies…

    1. I like cooking those little creepy guys with melted marshmallows and then eating them. Notice you never see Snap Crackle and Pop anymore? Are they on unemployment? That’s sad.

      1. I would guess they probably went deaf from not wearing proper ear protection and didn’t hear the phone ring for the next commercial shoot, and then their agent just gave up on them.

        1. Hollywood is so unforgiving. I heard the Fruit Loop bird ended up in the mental ward.

          1. And Lucky is still trying to convince the shrinks at the mental ward he is a real leprechaun.

  9. Lista de email is a big fat liar!!
    You could always tell your yoga instructor what’s bothering you and they could help? I’ve never done this (the instructors are already disappointed with me enough, lets not add to that), but a bunch of people do and they come in the next morning claiming miracles do exist! You know, almost. 🙂

    P.S. June 1st. Write it down.

    1. Really, another June? Cool we is SOUL SISTAHS and BFFS.

      Do you want a super soaker too? Thing Two already got a slip n’ slide the other day, so you know, what else could I ask for?

      1. SOUL SISTAHS! 😀

        A super soaker? Awesome! We can battle to death….er lunchtime.

        1. But be careful on the slip n slide. I have an old slip n slide scar. No really. It’s on my knee. I say it’s from The War.

  10. I’m with you. I always seem to have one nagging injury bothering me. I almost don’t want it to go away because I just know that something else is going to show up to replace it.

    1. Oh, I know! And if you go to the doctor and tell him all your complaints you can see him secretly writing down “She’s psychotic!” on his notepad.

      1. I just imagine he’s writing down that I’m a whiny wuss.

        1. That too. I love the House show where he throws some lemon drops in a bottle and hands it to the guy.

  11. At 48 now, all I can say is “I resemble these remarks.”

    Yoga should be good for your body and mind, but aren’t there different “degrees” of yoga. Perhaps you need to move into the senior citizen division. 🙂

    1. Sadly, I tried a video with senior citizens entitled “Yoga for Every Body”. Yoga for every body my ass. I couldn’t keep up with those oldies. WTF.

  12. I enjoy the involuntary groans I emit whenever lifting or lowering myself out of seating mechanisms.

    1. Isn’t that fun? And when did they make all the seating mechanisms so much narrower? Somehow my butt no longer fits in them.

  13. Thusly noted lovie! ❤

    1. I have never had a super soaker. My parents were cruel, CRUEL.

      1. My brother and I had the goal to aim for the eye!

  14. blast I turn between 57 and 59 in July. I groan to bend down, I groan to stand up. I Umm and I ahhh. Some actions I simply cannot do unless I let out a noise (from my mouth that is).. so yes welcome to ‘age’ dear Alice you have sometime to go before you reach my stage. Thankfully all I suffer is a sore neck now and then, and RSI from yes typing too much. I think it’s called the ‘joys’ but I’ll be fecked if there is anything joyous about it! Great post. x

    1. Ah, thank you. If it helps, I work with a 25-year-old and someone wrote on her birthday card welcome to your first quarter century! Yippee. I bet NO ONE says welcome to your second quarter on threat of death. On the other hand, I would not want to go backwards, would you? I mean, maybe backwards on some of the physical, but otherwise? UGH.

  15. I agree with Rutabaga on the alignment/getting muscles accustomed stuff. I’d go to an osteopath rather than chiro though. The training for osteos is more rigorous and sciencey I believe. Even if the one I went to was damn rude and patronising, he did help unscrunch my back.
    My joints started making noises in my 30s too (I’m 42). I only had pain in my right knee, which went away when I stopped running (though that knee still cracks like a gun going off). Like you, I looooove anatomy and I’m quite fascinated by the way I am basically built squint and that puts more pressure on certain joints and affects how I move and what I can do in yoga. I’ve been whining a bit on my blog about it – especially the new ache, the joint at the base of my right thumb/wrist, which is almost certainly early osteoarthritis – my mum and granny started getting that in their early 40s too) and someday will do a full post whine.
    My husband started coming to the yoga class I go to about 3 years ago, when he was 44. He’d had a lot of shoulder and neck pain, sporadic hip pain, and described his knees and feet as ‘fucked’ (due to playing lots of football on hard surfaces in his yoof). For the first few months, he sat out of a lot of poses and just watched and did what he could manage. He had a period where he was quite down and saying he couldn’t do yoga, and it was making everything hurt more. I told him he shouldn’t feel sharp pains or any pain that seemed to be inside a joint, and if he did, he should back off that pose or ask the teacher about it, so she could provide a modification that didn’t hurt. After a few months it all seemed to get better and these days he has no shoulder/neck pain, only very occasional hip pain, and his feet are much more flexible. He sleeps better, too.
    So I’d say persevere but don’t push through pain – you’ve got to be patient and kind to yourself and try to get that frame of mind where you’re enjoying the process rather than end-gaining in a teeth clenched ‘I *will* touch my fecking toes today’ kind of way.
    Oh yes, I know it can be hard to get that frame of mind, though!
    As for those poses you listed being good/bad for knees – an awful lot depends on how you do them – alignment, etc. Did you find a class/teacher you like? I think that’s important, especially in the early stages of doing yoga – it’s great to practise at home, but if that’s all you do, it’s extremely hard to know how your alignment is and whether you’re actually doing something that might do more harm than good.
    Good luck!

    1. I will have to look at your latest posts. It’s reassuring to know that it’s normal to feel some aches and pains. I haven’t had any sharp shooting pains, so that’s good. It’s just the constant ache and that popping crackling creepy noise that gets me. And then I get all obsessed about curing that one thing, and something else pops up and besides – the anatomy is teaching me that I need to strengthen all of me in order to strengthen an individual part. Like your back and shoulders and spine are all related to the neck bone, and the hip bones, and the yadda yadda.

      My teacher is pretty nice. I haven’t told her much about the neck and other issues, but I might to see what she says. She has offered modifications – like if say I just won’t do it along with the others which sometimes I won’t. I have to fight the “must make an A” mindset I’ve had so long. But when we’re all running thru sun salutations it’s like a pain to make the others stop. She does offer private classes – for 50 bucks a pop, which is five regular classes. But the one on one might be worth it, and only needed once.

      Have you tried massage balls and / or those foam rollers for the aches? I’ve seen some of these and some programs with them. One is called the Melt or something and the other one is Yoga Tune Up. I rented one of her videos and I liked the girl teaching (Jill Miller) – it’s a lot more like physical therapy stretches than yoga really. She offers this massage ball program, but it’s a little pricey (like 50 bucks for the balls and the instructional DVDs, but a lot of people swear by it). Have you heard of it?

  16. No, I haven’t heard of it…I’m not very cutting edge, up here in the faaaar north west!
    I think the noises are called ‘crepitus’, which…makes it worse, frankly. As soon as I read ‘crepitus’ my brain says ‘decrepit’.

    1. It also sounds like creeper-itis.

  17. I recently turned 40. I did not accept it very well and nearly sent myself into panic attacks every time I thought about it. People kept saying “oh don, it’s not that bad”. It turns out the people who were saying that were in their late twenties or early thirties, mostly. People in their 40s already would never say it’s not so bad. 40 isn’t so bad if you’re 65 though, so I’m looking forward to being 65 so I can enjoy being 40 properly.

    1. Ha! My husband turned 40 last year and we all forgot his birthday. In our defense, I’d had pneumonia then one of the kids got sick right after that, so we were all out of it. But poor guy – he kept dropping hints like “I’m going to go buy ice cream. And cake.” And we’re like, okay. Fortunately he is very forgiving and thought it was funny when the shocked looks came on our faces with realization – oh CRAP!

  18. Cod liver oil and probably evening primrose oil are supplements that could help lubricate your joints.

    I’m *counts on fingers* 4 years younger than your good self and my joints do all sorts of crazy things noise-wise, and there is also random pain for no apparent reason on occasion. The crazy things noise-wise include a crunchy noise from my neck and that’s been going on for, well, probably at least the last 13 years that I can recollect. Apparently being skinny is better for your joints (less weight) but I think there’s a fine line because being too skinny is clearly not good for anything. Stairs are a killer for knees, as is jogging. In fact, most exercise isn’t all that good for the joints, unless it’s something like swimming where your weight is supported by the water and not by your joints.

    I’ll stop whittering now.

    1. But how do you get them onto your joints? Do you rub them on the outside or cut into your skin? If you do the latter, it would certainly make you forget your original problem.

      Yeah, I get you with the skinny / fat thing. Yeah fat is going to add extra weight, but then you see these bird boned people and think “If I bent her just a tiny bit she’d go SNAP like a twig.”

      Exercise is bad for joints. NO EXERCISE. Haha. Well, at least no running. I only run when chased.

      1. You have to take them as tablets and then your body somehow knows what to do with them, apparently.

        The other danger with skinny people is that when you hug them too hard, you give yourself bruises or a paper cut…

  19. Hilarious. You are funny. Hope you get that super soaker. And look at it this way. 37. Add the 3 and the 7 and you will be a perfect 10!

    1. Thank you! I hadn’t thought of it that way. I haven’t been a ten in a while now. Woot!

  20. My shoulder has been hurting for, oh, I don’t know, 7 years now. At first I thought I had just slept on it funny because it hurt and then went away. When the pain came back and never went away I was concerned enough that I had done something to it playing volleyball that I went to the doctor. He said: “Get more exercise.” Awesome. So, playing volleyball once a week, going running, hiking, camping, backpacking, etc… aren’t enough, I need to do more. So, I’ve let it hurt for 7 years. Sometimes it doesn’t hurt and sometimes I can’t move my arm, but it’s good to know that there is nothing wrong with me… Hmm, maybe I should have sought a second opinion? I wonder if all the doctors around me also got their degrees out of cracker jack boxes…

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