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What the Crack? Secrets Behind the Sound

By Chris Brown

The most viscerally satisfying part of any chiropractic visit, for me, is the back crack. The firecracker of pops that reverberates from inside your body under the chiropractor's practiced hands, followed by a wave of lightness and relief. I'd go so far to say that a joint or back crack is the ultimate ASMR, inducing a fulfilling sensation akin to the best soothing whisper. To find out what causes this beautiful sound, and why your back pops at all during chiropractic manipulation, we need to investigate what is happening inside the joint itself.

What is that Crack?

The cracking noise heard when manipulated by a chiropractor is the result of gas being released from the capsules around your joints. Gas release occurs when the joint capsules are stretched, and pressure on the capsule fluid is reduced. Despite what you may have been told as a child, cracking your joints will not cause arthritis or dysfunctional joints by itself.  

How Do Chiropractors Create the Crack?

Chiropractic adjustments can create large sounding cracks because chiropractors deploy manipulation of limb joints and the spinal column to optimize bodily function. The movement of these joints is the perfect environment to create bone cracking goodness as the capsules are stretched and twisted into place.

Is Audible Cracking Required for Adjustments?

No, it is a common misconception that a crack is the indicator of a successful adjustment. Although common, a chiropractor may complete adjustments silently depending upon the anatomy of your spine or joint. A 2004 study in The Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association confirmed that audible releases did not improve chiropractic outcomes. The chiropractor's purpose is thus not to cause the cracking sound, however satisfying, but to properly adjust the joints and spine to reduce restriction. Any cracking is an added bonus. In fact, forced or amateur cracks can be dangerous or cause further joint or spinal disfunction. This is because, without the professional guidance of a chiropractor, the ultimate cause of a joint's dysfunction is not corrected and the joint may even overstretch beyond its normal range of motion. Additionally, the need to crack the joint will soon return and ultimately cause increased irritation from repetitive cracking.

To experience refreshing and productive cracks, visit the doctors at The Joint Chiropractic. Chiropractors are available anytime during The Joint's convenient night and weekend hours for walk-in patients. Sessions are affordable without medical insurance and consultations are included in initial visits. Come in today to crack your way to tension relief.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Concord, N.C.

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