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22. What’s that cracking sound I sometimes hear when I’m getting adjusted?

Awww, that’s another tough question.  The answer is, nobody really knows. 

There are a couple theories about it, certain gases collecting in the bursa sacs (fluid filled sacs that cushion areas of friction between bones, tendons, or skin) and those gases being released when the joint moves.  The fact is, any time the joint moves in relation to each other they are capable of making that sound. 

But don’t be fooled; don’t believe that that cracking sound indicates that an adjustment has taken place.  When you “crack” your  knuckles it makes that sound, but the components of the joint go right back to where they started, no change has taken place.  It is quite possible to get that “cracking” sound in the neck or the back without an adjustment taking place and it is very possible to get an adjustment without that sound.  So the chiropractor does not depend upon that sound at all to determine whether an adjustment has taken place.  The chiropractor has methods of checking to determine if an adjustment has taken place.  We use the same method to determine if he subluxation is gone as we did to determine it was present. 

We exam the spine before and then after the force has been given to the body (pre-check and then post-check).  We do this to determine if the body was able to convert the external force we gave it into an adjustment and if the body now has back control of its vertebrae.  Don’t be fooled by the sound.  It is actually meaningless and nobody is totally sure what causes it, but they think it is that movement of gasses through the membranes.

By: Reggie Gold, D.C.