What Exactly is the "Cracking" Sound?

We’ve all heard about the “cracking” produced during a chiropractic adjustment, but what exactly is that sound? and is it a good thing or a bad thing?

I should preface this post by saying that chiropractic is much, much more than just quickly adjusting a region of the spine in an attempt to achieve “the crack”. At Warwick Family Chiropractic, we focus on how the entire body moves and not just one specific area.

Joints, just like muscles, have a designated range of motion. That is, they have a certain path that they should move through fluidly and with ease. As we age or injure ourselves through daily routines (work, exercise, helping someone move to a new house, walking your 100 pound dog, carrying your newborn on your hip all day, etc.) our muscles and joints begin to tighten up and decrease in their range of motion in order to limit the damage that can be done to the body. In essence, the body enacts a sort of coping mechanism to protect itself.

When this happens, you may feel absolutely no different. You may bounce right back once your body heals itself, which it does constantly. You also may feel symptomatic: tight, achy, stiff, sore, perhaps there is sharp pain, or a headache, and so on. This is where chiropractic can help.

A licensed chiropractor can tell when a joint is limited in it’s range of motion, and in certain instances, providing a slight nudge into full range of motion again is all it needs to facilitate “normalcy” once again. This is what an adjustment is. The “crack” heard during this time is, quite literally, a concentrated gas being released from within the joint space, just the same as when you “crack” your knuckles after writing for a while.

On a final note, please do not assume that all “cracking” is good, and don’t become addicted to it. It should only be produced by a trained professional. No one should be a “crack” addict.

Erik Krebs