What the Crack Noise Really Is
Crack, crack, crack! It’s the distinctive sound of chiropractic treatment. Although people find it to be a euphoric release from persistent, unrelenting discomfort, many people actually fear the ‘crack,’ thinking it is painful. We are here to clarify the ‘crack’ you feel in an adjustment is nothing to be afraid of, but rather a natural, safe process of pain alleviation!
So what actually is that ‘crack’ sounding noise?
In between each of the joints of your spine is a ‘lubricant’ type fluid known as synovial fluid. When the joints of the spine are corrected or adjusted in a quick movement, the facet joint is gapped open. The negative pressure produced from this causes a gas called nitrogen to try to fill the space created by this vacuum effect. The result – the pop or click you hear during an adjustment! This is also known as ‘cavitation.’
These adjustments have positive benefits in:
- Lowering pain intensity
- Increasing synovial fluid production, which improves joint mobility
- Breaking up adhesions around the joint / releasing trapped joint capsules
- Releasing endorphins – that is, the warm fuzzy feeling of relaxation you feel after an adjustment.
So, it is safe to say that ‘cracking’ noise is nothing to fear. Although cracking yourself at home is overall safe, it is important to be wary of the risks of doing so incorrectly:
- Cracking your neck may pinch a nerve, which may inhibit neck mobility and exacerbate neck pain
- Cracking your joints excessively can also cause hypermobility, in which you can move some or all your joints more than the average person. Although this is not necessarily a bad thing, people with hypermobility may be more prone to dislocation and injury.
Although cracking yourself is ultimately harmless, it is likely that most of the time, you won’t release the joint that is the true root cause of your pain. If pain persists after you crack yourself, it may be time to see a chiropractor!