Does the ‘Pop’ or ‘Crack’ Matter? Does the ‘Pop’ or ‘Crack’ Matter?

Does the ‘Pop’ or ‘Crack’ Matter?

July 3, 2023

By Nathan Reynolds: Chiropractor at Victoria Point Chiropractic

Restricted joints manually adjusted by a chiropractor may or may not produce a ‘popping’ or ‘cracking’ sound.

When chiropractors use their hands to apply a gentle but rapid impulse that separates the surfaces of a restricted joint, any associated ‘popping’ or ‘cracking’ sound is known as cavitation. Cavitation is not from your bones or cartilage snapping against each other but is considered to be from healthy gasses being released into the joint.

Many chiropractic patients believe if they haven’t heard or felt a ‘pop’ or ‘crack’ with an adjustment that the adjustment hasn’t been of benefit. However, major research study that examined this issue concluded chiropractic adjustment is equally beneficial regardless of whether a joint pops or not.  They found there was equal reduction in pain and increase in joint motion in patients that had an associated pop with the adjustment and those who did not. This is likely because the benefit of a chiropractic adjustment is in increasing joint range of motion, which can also be achieved using chiropractic techniques that do not involve cavitation. Examples include Drop table, Adjusting instrument, Flexion-Distraction, Directional preference, Mobilisation.

So next time you’re getting your adjustment remember if you have not heard or felt a ‘pop’ or ‘crack’ does not mean that the joint has not been moved in a therapeutic way. Always speak with your chiropractor about your individual case, including treatment techniques used, expected response and outcome.

Chiropractic is a safe and effective treatment for restricted joints, regardless of the ‘pop’ or ‘crack’.

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