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Do Chiropractors 'Crack' Your Back?

Popping Back: What Causes the Sound You Hear During Chiropractic Adjustments?


That popping or cracking back sound you hear when receiving your chiropractic adjustments, or when you do upper body stretches at the gym, often gets mischaracterised. Many operate under the assumption they're popping a bone or a joint, or 'cracking' bones. That's actually not the case.

In the following article, we're going to explain what it is that happens. We're also going to discuss the reasons for having it done at the chiropractor and what benefits you may receive as a result. Let's start cracking!


What Happens When Your Back Pops? 

If you think we're popping backbones or joints, it's time to get rid of that image once and for all. It's not a pleasant one, and it could keep you from enjoying the benefits of chiropractic care. So, here's what happens.

As the chiropractor manipulates problematic areas and joints along your spine, it releases air pockets that make a cracking sound. That's the short answer. Below is the longer version.


Spinal Facet Joint

During the day, our spine and joints my become inflexible or have uneven pressure build up. This is especially true if you work 9 to 5 in a deskbound environment.

Chiropractors identify these inflexible areas and open them back up. It's the gentle stretching of your spinal facet joints that causes cracking or popping noises. 

You see, there is fluid (synovial fluid) that surrounds your joints and when the joint is subject to an adjustment, small pockets of air or bubbles form in the fluid that surrounds your joints. When joint tissues are stretched, the pockets of air 'pop' or 'crack' which creates that unique sound you hear.

After this treatment, you may feel more movement in your back. However, the muscles may still be sore and tight in some cases, similar to a post-gym workout feeling.


Back Cracking Video

Why not watch the short explainer video below, thanks to Howcast, on what that popping sound is.


Reasons to Have a Chiropractic 'Back Crack'

Who knows where the chiropractor popping bones myth got started? We're not for certain but it probably spun out of the ailments chiropractors tend to treat. Things like: 

  • Stiffness
  • Frequent Headaches
  • Backaches
  • Severe pain rendering you almost incapable of simple movements

All of these factors tend to target the lower and upper vertebrae. There are 33 bones (but only 25 movable spinal segments) in the entire spinal column. Since the attention is focused on this area, the assumption for many is that bones are making all that racket. 

Now that you know better, let's consider each of the benefits of having your back regularly adjusted. There are five main ones.


1. Better Functionality

The stiffness that'll send you to the chiropractor can feel immediately better with one session. That's not to say the issue may not come back around if you're sitting for long periods of time or leading a relatively sedentary lifestyle. But it can get you moving again.


2. Instant Pain Relief

Back pains occur for dozens of reasons. Chiropractic care won't necessarily be your miracle cure-all. But it may provide significant relief for pulled muscles or strains and other movement-based injuries. 


3. Full Mobility 

The Back Clinic often treats former and current athletes lamenting the loss of their golf swing or another form of strenuous activity. Stimulating the back muscles and hearing the back crack is music to many of their ears because it can mean a restoration of their range of motion in the affected joints.


4. Lower Stress Levels

When you can no longer do what you once could, it's easy to get down on yourself. In fact, the Mayo Clinic acknowledges that chronic pains such as back pain can be directly linked to the onset of depression. Any relief can help lower the stress that depression brings with it.


5. Restored Enthusiasm for Life

Chiropractic care usually isn't a one-and-done fix. But it has helped many patients feel better about their health challenge. That crosses over into a person's enthusiasm for life and their willingness to take on and conquer new challenges.


So Embrace the Popping Back

It may sound unpleasant when you hear it, but your popping back is more likely to bring relief than further pain. Infact many practice members enjoy the relief that comes from their adjustment and subsequent 'cracks'. If you're ready to pop back into the life you once had, what have you got to lose? Book an appointment with The Back Clinic today and explore the possibilities of knowledgeable chiropractic care. 


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