Let’s talk about something you might’ve heard before: chiropractors “cracking” backs.
You might imagine someone snapping a twig or stepping on popcorn at the movies.
But is that what’s really happening?
Dive into this article to find out the ins and outs of “back cracking” and how chiropractors actually conduct chiropractic adjustments.
Get ready to bust some myths and learn some cool facts about chiropractic care!
Do Chiropractors Crack Your Back?
Do chiropractors actually “crack” your back?
When hearing that “crack” sound during a chiropractic adjustment, you can’t help but think that your bones must be coming apart.
But here’s the scoop: they’re not!
The sound is actually caused by tiny bubbles popping in the fluid surrounding your joints. So, while it may sound like your back is being “cracked,” it’s really just these bubbles bursting.
Some patients find the sound satisfying, while others are nervous about it. No matter how you feel about that bone-cracking sound, there’s no danger to your body.
Where’s That Popping Sound Coming From?
The inside of our joints contains a special fluid called synovial fluid. This fluid acts like a cushion and lubricant for our joints, ensuring everything moves smoothly.
Synovial fluid contains dissolved gases, mainly oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide.
When a chiropractor applies a quick, controlled movement to the targeted joint, the space inside that joint increases, causing a sudden decrease in pressure.
Because of this pressure drop, those dissolved gases form tiny bubbles, creating that notable “popping” sound when they burst.
The popping sound is part of the chiropractic experience for some patients. Whether you hear it or not, the chiropractor’s primary goal is to help your joints move and feel better!
The Differences Between Cracking Your Back and Chiropractic Adjustment
While cracking your back might give you a quick fix, chiropractic adjustments are a more thoughtful, safe, and practical approach to caring for your body.
First, when we talk about “cracking your back,” we mean stretching or twisting until you hear that soothing pop or crack.
But that tension you’re releasing might move to another part of your spine or even hurt it. It’s like tuning a guitar without knowing the notes—you might get close, but it’ll never sound like Apollo’s lyre.
On the flip side, chiropractic care is all about precision.
A chiropractor spends years studying the human body to understand how each joint and muscle works together. When a chiropractor adjusts your back, they target specific parts of your spine to improve your range of motion, decrease pain, and correct misalignments. It’s all about expertise and careful planning.
Another significant difference lies in the goal.
When you crack your back, you seek quick, temporary relief from stiffness or discomfort.
But chiropractic care is about the big picture. Chiropractors aim to improve your overall health and well-being, not just give you a moment of pain relief. They will also provide exercises and tips to help you stay feeling good.
Lastly, there’s the safety factor to consider.
Cracking your back without knowing what you’re doing is risky. You might push a joint too far or in the wrong direction.
Conversely, a chiropractor has the training and expertise to ensure everything is safe and effective.
So, next time your back feels a bit off, consider getting professional help instead of going the DIY route!
Does Cracking My Back Benefit My Health?
While cracking your back provides short-term relief, it doesn’t solve any underlying issues. If you’re feeling the need to crack your back a lot, it’s probably because of tension or a misalignment in your spine, problems back cracking cannot address.
There’s also the risk of overdoing it. If you’re not careful, you might push a joint too far, causing an injury. And if there’s an underlying issue, like a herniated disc, cracking your back could make things worse.
Some patients think cracking their back helps realign their spine. But spinal realignment is way more complex than just a simple pop. That’s where chiropractors come in with their years of spinal manipulation training.
If you find yourself constantly trying to crack your back or if it’s causing pain, chat with a healthcare professional. It’s always best to have a game plan for taking care of your body in the long run!
Will Popping My Joints Lead to Arthritis?
Popping your joints does not cause arthritis—another myth put to rest. The sound you hear when popping or cracking your knuckles comes from gas bubbles in the synovial fluid around your joints. It’s like nature’s bubble wrap!
If you have arthritis and your joints pop on their own, it doesn’t necessarily mean things are getting worse. It could just be the way your joints are moving.
Here’s where you need to exercise caution, though. If you have arthritis, your joints are already sensitive because of the inflammation. Pushing or pulling on them too much might cause more pain or even lead to an injury.
According to a 2017 study, between 25 and 45% of people regularly crack their knuckles.
Some patients with arthritis say that gently moving or stretching their joints helps them feel better. And that’s great! But that’s different than trying to get the popping sound.
Chat with your chiropractor if you’re curious about what movements or stretches might help your arthritis.
“Pop” by Dr. Doerr’s Office for Your Routine Chiropractic Treatment!
At Bergen Chiropractic and Sports Rehabilitation Center, our chiropractic team, under the leadership of Dr. Gregory Doerr, adheres to the highest medical standards to provide superior chiropractic help. Our mission is to provide unparalleled patient care in a comfortable, healing atmosphere.
Access our contact form or call us at (201) 945-4075 to learn more about our chiropractic care services! Our offices at 532 Anderson Avenue, Cliffside Park, NJ 07010, and 62 Summit Ave, Hackensack, NJ 07601, are ready to welcome you as we proudly serve the areas of New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, PA, and Baltimore, MD. Also, access our blog, Facebook, and Instagram pages for more information on chiropractic treatment for spinal health!
- “Do Chiropractors Crack Your Back?” Wolke Chiropractic & Rehabilitation, 3 Aug. 2022, wolkechiropractic.com/blog/do-chiropractors-crack-your-back/. Accessed 21 Sept. 2023.
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- Dour, Dr. Jennifer. “Just What Is Happening When a Chiropractor “Cracks’ Your Back?” Chiropractor in Montclair, NJ, 11 July 2023, www.gardenstatespinalcare.com/just-what-is-happening-when-a-chiropractor-cracks-your-back. Accessed 21 Sept. 2023.
- Legere, Marc. “What’s Really Happening When Your Back ‘Cracks’: Expert Opinion.” Https://Www.Inquirer.Com, The Philadelphia Inquirer, 10 Dec. 2021, www.inquirer.com/news/back-crack-explanation-chiropractic-manipulation-20211210.html?outputType=amp. Accessed 21 Sept. 2023.
- “The Difference between Back Cracking and an Adjustment.” Casey Chiropractic, 9 Sept. 2019, www.caseychiro.net/back-cracking-and-adjustment/. Accessed 21 Sept. 2023.
- “This Is Why Chiropractors Crack Your Back.” Morley Chiropractor, 25 May 2023, morleychiropractorclinic.com/this-is-why-chiropractors-crack-your-back/. Accessed 21 Sept. 2023.