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March 26, 2012 | by  | in Opinion |
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Student Health – Physiotherapy Mythbusters: Myths About the Human Body


Is the person sitting next to you in lectures making that annoying cracking sound with their knuckles? Have you told them they will get arthritis, just to shut them up? Fear not knuckle crackers, for there is no empirical proof of a link between this habit and arthritis. The audible noise is simply gas being released from the fluid within the joint, making a small ‘pop’. However, it may be linked to reduced grip strength and decreased hand function. Threaten the knuckle cracker next to you with that! Castellanos, J., Axelrod, D. (1990). Effect of Habitual Knuckle Cracking on Hand Function. Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases. 49:308-309.


You’ve been sitting in lectures all day and now your lower back is in agony. All you want to do is lie in bed and avoid the outside world. Stand corrected! People who stay up and walk around are the ones who do the best. Prolonged bed rest in the early phase of back pain has been associated with a higher long-term disability level, as muscles weaken and bone mass reduces. A routine of back healthy activities such as stretching, walking and swimming can help keep muscles moving and speed up the recovery process.

Verbunt, J.A. Sieben, J. Vlaeyenl, J.W. Portegijs, P. Andre Knottnerus, J. (2008). A new episode of low back pain: Who relies on bed rest? European Journal of Pain, 12 (4), 508-516.


You know that feeling of pain the day after doing a spontaneous run up Mt Vic, when for the last 2 months you have been sitting on your bum in front of the television? That burning in your thighs that gets worse when you’re trying to sit on the toilet or take on a flight of stairs? This is Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). It is a normal response to unusual exertion and is a part of the adaptation process that leads to better stamina and strength of your muscles. Don’t let this pain stop you, just give your legs a rest for a couple of days, do some stretching and then get straight back into it.

Dierking, J. K., & Bemben, M. G. (1998). Delayed onset muscle soreness. Strength and Conditioning Journal, 20(4), 44-48.


Physiotherapists are health-care professionals who are involved in health promotion, injury prevention, injury treatment and rehabilitation. They utilise their knowledge of how the body works to assess, diagnose and treat patients with injury, illness or disability.

So if you have injuries that are bothering you, book an appointment at Victoria Physiotherapy Clinic—located in Mauri Ora. Check out our Facebook page:

Authors are final-year Physiotherapy students from Otago University on clinical placement at the Victoria Physiotherapy Clinic at Mauri Ora, Level 1, Student Union Building.

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