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When a Chiropractor Cracks your Back What Happens?

Chiropractic care often involves manually manipulating the joints of the spine, causing a popping or cracking sound and feeling. When done properly by a qualified chiropractor, ‘back cracking’ as it’s commonly called, can bring immediate relief to the patient. So what exactly happens when a chiropractor cracks your back — and can you get the same benefits by doing it yourself?

What Happens When a Chiropractor Cracks Your back

Let’s look at why a chiropractor would crack a patient’s back in the first place. There are two theories behind spinal manipulation:

* Popping misaligned bones back into position — The thought here is that a bone is slightly out of place, and the manipulation is used to pop it back into position.

* Releasing the stiffness of a restricted joint — Look at one of your healthy joints, watching and feeling as you rotate it through its normal range of motion. Now imagine that same joint, but with limited motion. It may be sore and inflamed; there might not be an alignment issue, which means an x-ray would be inconclusive, yet the joint is stiff and restricted. Chiropractors can evaluate the joint, feeling for proper movement and making slight adjustments to loosen its stiffness.

Both approaches involve using quick, shallow thrusts to the affected joint. Thus, if you seek care from a chiropractor for back or neck pain, the chiropractor’s treatment will likely involve a spinal adjustment. In other words, the chiropractor might “crack your back.”

Though it might sound frightening, the sound you hear is not the sound of bones breaking or crunching up against one another. Rather, the manipulation of the joint releases tiny gas bubbles, causing an audible cracking sound much like the sound you hear when you crack your knuckles.

Other Treatment Options for Back and Neck Pain

Many patients turn to chiropractic care after becoming frustrated with other approaches. Some have suffered through back and neck pain for years, undergoing round after round of ineffective treatments. Some of the more common approaches to treating back and neck pain include:

* Exercises and stretches

* Massage and other muscle tissue treatments

* Painkillers and muscle relaxers

* Surgery

Each of the above may bring partial or temporary relief of back pain, but they are often ineffective — if not risky. For example, powerful painkillers have dangerous side effects, could interact with other medications, and could lead to addiction, and surgery always brings its own set of risks.

When seeking medical care for back or neck pain, consider adding chiropractic care to your treatment plan. It’s a non-invasive option without the risks of prescription drugs or surgery, and it is safe and highly effective. Not only is chiropractic treatment an effective way to relieve back and neck pain, it addresses the source of the pain — the joint itself.

Should You Crack Your Own Back?

Meanwhile, many people attempt to crack their backs. They may be accustomed to cracking their knuckles, or they may get an initial sense of satisfaction when cracking the neck or back. Some may even experience some pain relief at first. This is because cracking your neck releases endorphins which deliver a temporary pain-relieving effect and give you a feeling of pleasure. Also, some people associate the popping sound with pressure release leading to a placebo effect.

However, despite the satisfaction that cracking your own back or neck brings, doing so is extremely dangerous. Not only is it a haphazard approach that offers, at best, a fleeting moment of relief, the back and neck are delicate and prone to damage. Some of the negative outcomes of cracking your own back or neck include:

* Pinched nerves

* Punctured blood vessels

* Blood clotting

* Muscle strain

* Hypermobility

* Perpetual instability of the ligaments / stretched ligaments, which put you at risk of developing osteoarthritis in the joint

When done under a chiropractor’s care, spinal adjustments are a safe and effective treatment for back or neck pain associated with stiff joints and misalignment. Not only might you feel as if a bone snapped back into its proper place or be better able to move freely, spinal manipulation can bring immediate pain relief.

Getting your back cracked by a chiropractor could bring the lasting relief you’ve been looking for. Rather than spending months, if not years, on ineffective treatment, schedule a consultation with a chiropractor to find out if your condition could benefit from chiropractic care.



  1. My Chiropractor adjusted my spine and it made a sound like a crack. She only said, “Wow” nothing more. I thought about it after and decided to ash here. If her purpose was to hear such a sound, now I know why. Thanks 🙂

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