Does a Chiropractor Crack Your Back?

You’ve probably heard the expression before, so you may be wondering, “Does a chiropractor crack your back?” The short answer is – yes, somewhat. Chiropractic treatment frequently results in cracking noises that have nothing to do with bone cracking. The cracking is more of a popping sound, and there’s a solid reason for this noise.

Facet joints are surrounded by synovial fluid. It lubricates your joints and allows you to move around, more or less in a pain-free manner. When a chiropractor adjusts any particular joint, the air pressure changes in that joint, and that causes the collapse of an air pocket in the synovial fluid. This cracking is the popping sound heard during spinal manipulation. Once completed, it takes some time before the synovial fluid can settle back into place. This settling accounts for why you can’t crack the same joint immediately afterward.

Should You “Crack Your back?”

Studies have been conducted in two related areas to answer this question. The Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine conducted a study to discover whether cracking one’s knuckles is healthy or harmful. Their findings were that no long-term adverse effects appeared in subjects who routinely cracked their knuckles. Evidence suggested the practice was an indicator of good joint health. A similar study looked at chiropractic care, and the results were even more conclusive. When administered by a skilled chiropractor, ‘cracking the back’ delivered some powerful health benefits, primarily pain relief, reduction of inflammation, and spinal realignment.

chiropractic back adjustment, or cracking your back, at Elevation Spine Center in Bend Oregon
crack your back, chiropractic adjustment, Bend chiropractor

Why cracking your back is useful

The main reason why a chiropractor cracks your back is to move the spine past its everyday range of motion, thereby creating more space and freedom of movement. Whatever kind of pain or discomfort was being experienced by a patient is usually relieved by this practice. The precise manipulations carried out by a professional chiropractor will differ depending on the patient’s condition. Here are some of the types of ailments that spinal manipulations can be very effective at treating:

  • edema – a buildup of fluid that leaks into neighboring capillaries
  • atrophy – muscles that go unused lose their strength and usability
  • congestion – a buildup of toxins sometimes occurs in joints that have become misaligned
  • hyperemia – a buildup of blood in an area, often caused by some obstruction
  • minor hemorrhages – a small amount of abnormal blood flow
  • local ischemia – muscle pain triggered by inadequate blood flow
  • fibrosis – when normal tissue gets replaced by scar tissue.

Chiropractic treatment rarely results in pain or discomfort to a patient. Just the opposite is true. There is generally an immediate pain relief experienced by the patient since the nerves impacted by a subluxation are no longer under pressure. So if you were wondering whether cracking the back causes any actual pain, the answer is – no, it does not.

Seek Professional Help to Crack Your Back

Although you can get temporary relief from popping your own back and neck, and although your friends can offer to give you a hand and crack your back, it is far to easy to apply too much pressure and cause more harm than good. In order to prevent permanent damage or injury to your spine, it is always best to leave the neck cracking to the professionals. Only get adjusted by a licensed medical professional such as a physical therapist or a chiropractor.

If you would like to try an all-natural alternative for treating your aches and pains come for chiropractic care at Elevation Spine Center in Bend, Oregon. Give us a call @ (541) 480-0518 or fill out our online form for a FREE new patient consultation.


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