Why Does My Back Crack During a Chiropractic Adjustment?

If you’ve ever undergone chiropractic treatment, you will probably have heard your back crack at some point during the session. It is not cracking per se, but a noticeable pop can be heard when spinal manipulation is performed. If you hear this sound, there is nothing to worry about because there is nothing harmful happening to your bones, muscles, tendons, or joints. Continue reading to find out precisely what the back-cracking noise is all about.

About spinal manipulation

There is no question that your spine is at the very core of your existence. The spine houses the central nervous system, and the nervous system impacts every cell of your body. Your spine also gives you an upright posture while providing the framework for your whole body to move about freely and efficiently. Whenever your spine is out of alignment, bad things start happening. A misaligned spine can exert pressure on nearby nerves, and you’ll feel that as some form of back pain. It can cause poor posture that can lead to several other health issues. Spinal manipulation seeks to restore optimal positioning of the vertebrae in your spine so you can enjoy a healthy, productive lifestyle.

Man giving women spinal adjustment
Spinal adjustment, Back cracking, Salt Lake City Chiropractor

What exactly is the popping noise?

In medical terms, the popping noise you hear during spinal manipulation is called cavitation. It occurs when gas leaks out between your joints, such as your spinal joints or synovial joints. There is always a quantity of fluid around these joints to promote lubrication of the bones and prevent bone grinding on bone. When this fluid builds up in the synovial joints, it generates oxygen, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen. Spinal manipulation opens these joints and releases some gas around the synovial joints.

That release of gas is the source of the popping noise that you hear during a chiropractic session. The popping has nothing to do with any specific body part being harmed or impacted. The sound is just the gas released from your synovial joints. In general, when the joint pops like that, additional fluid flows into the joint and the patient feels immediate relief. As with cracking your knuckles, it feels very similar. Neither one of these situations will harm your body in any way.

Seeing chiropractic care

Chiropractic care is the least invasive form of treatment available. If your hesitation arises from concerns that the cracking sound is damaging your back, rest assured that chiropractic adjustments are safe and effective. It relies on finding the underlying cause of your discomfort. Treatment will focus on handling that underlying cause so you can experience long-term relief. It eschews painkillers and surgeries and instead seeks to relieve the underlying cause of your pain, so the body can then be free to heal itself. Contact us at Creekside Chiropractic in Salt Lake City to find out what’s troubling you and take immediate steps toward helping you to a pain-free existence.

If you have pain pain or need a chiropractic adjustment call us at (801) 693-4088 or fill out our online form for a chiropractic care plan just for you. 


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