Have you ever had your back cracked and wondered what that ‘pop’ noise was? You’re not alone! There’s a reason why chiropractors are asked this regularly. While spinal adjustment— or back cracking— is harmless when done by a trained and experienced chiropractor, it can be dangerous in the wrong hands. Here, we’ll sort out what happens when a chiro adjusts your spine and why.
This blog will help you discover why your back goes ‘pop’ when it’s cracked and why a chiro treatment isn’t breaking your back or neck! For personalised advice or to book an appointment, contact our team at Northside Chiropractic today.
What’s the Difference Between Cracking My Own Back and Getting Chiropractic Treatment?
Most of us know the feeling. It’s a couple of hours into your workday, you’re sitting in your office chair, and your back is aching. You straighten up and stretch, maybe twist a little, and hear that ‘pop’. Then, relief, followed shortly by worry. What is that noise? Am I falling apart?
In short: Probably not. The technical name for that popping sound is crepitus, and it’s a well-known term amongst chiropractors. Nothing is actually cracking or breaking! The sound is thought to be from gases in the joints being released. When pressure within your joints changes, as it does when your back cracks, the gas bubbles pop and cause the sound. However, when you do it yourself, you may do it too quickly or push too hard. A chiropractor takes your medical history, posture, and sometimes even x-rays into consideration before performing any type of treatment or adjustment.
The difference between crepitus ‘popping up’ during a chiropractic adjustment compared to giving it a go yourself is all in the education and training. While a DIY situation may feel similar to spinal manipulation therapy, the processes used by chiropractors are well-documented and studied. Unless you’ve undertaken that training, it’s definitely not the same thing.
Can Anyone Crack My Back?
The spine is a complex structure. Chiropractors in Australia undergo extensive study and academic training, and once certified, are required to undertake continued professional development training every year. Your friend or partner means well, but it’s very likely they don’t know what they’re doing. So to answer the question: We don’t recommend it.
The risks of cracking your own back or having somebody without professional training do it include:
- Pinched nerves, leading to a loss of mobility and/or sensation
- Muscle tearing, reducing flexibility and range of motion
- Overstretched ligaments, increasing your risk of injuries and osteoarthritis
- Injury to blood vessels in the area
So while it may feel good in the moment, overall, it’s safest to leave it to the professionals.
Is Chiropractic Treatment Risky?
If you’ve ever worried about the popping sound, chances are you’ve wondered how safe chiropractic treatment is. Spinal manipulation is generally safe when provided by a trained chiropractor. Chiropractors aren’t just ‘professional back crackers’, as some may think. For years, each chiropractor studied— and continues to study— the spine and how it relates to overall body function.
Chiropractic care has a very low-risk profile, especially when compared with more invasive treatments. However, it’s not always suitable for everybody. For example, people with bone diseases and infections, inflamed joints, and problems with circulation should speak with a chiropractor before requesting treatment.
A chiropractor’s goal is to change curves and reduce any further degenerative changes. They do this by using multiple chiropractic methods, including manual adjustment- this is just one of the ways a chiro can support your recovery and general wellbeing. Whether it’s a spinal adjustment or another form of chiropractic treatment, your chiro assesses your situation and uses specific movements to safely adjust your spine.
What Physically Happens When a Chiro Adjusts My Spine?
Sometimes you hear the pop, and sometimes you don’t. However, either way, your spine is getting the treatment it needs.
After evaluating your pain and medical history, your chiropractor will assess where your spine needs to be adjusted. They will then use a controlled, high-velocity push which facilitates the movement of the joint. This ‘stimulates’ the nervous system, improving function.
What Should I Expect After Chiropractic Treatment?
After chiropractic treatment, you should expect to feel looser, lighter, and just generally freer. Treatment will improve your range of motion, tension will be released, and you may even feel taller! The impacts continue well after your treatment as well. Chiropractic treatment will have a secondary effect on other day-to-day activities, so you keep feeling good long after you walk out of the clinic. It’s also known to improve sleeping, working, and exercise. It’s a win-win!
Looking For Chiropractic Care?
If you’re experiencing back or neck pain, we hope this article has helped you discover how we can help elicit that satisfying ‘pop’ noise! At Northside Chiropractic, we care about your health and wellbeing and want to help you achieve your health goals.
We are located in Thornbury and serve residents from across Heidelberg, Reservoir, Northcote, Preston, Coburg, and Brunswick. For effective chiropractic treatment, click the button below to book an appointment with one of our experienced chiropractors today!