So, Doc... what is that popping and cracking, when I get adjusted? Answer:
When the swollen or "stuck" joint gets released, it causes cavitation. This is the gas released when you experience the popping sound. The fluid contains
the gases oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide. When you pop
or crack a joint, you stretch the joint capsule. Gas is rapidly
released, which forms bubbles. Here is a detailed but easy explanation of the joint capsule. When the joint is extended (opened up) gently or gapped, the gas is released and you hear a distinctive popping sound. This process of release is much the same as opening a bottle of wine, or
champagne...and the after effects of the adjustment, are just as
Most people who have had a joint stuck know what this feels like and how it causes the surrounding muscles to contract in protection therefore not be able to move very well with a stiff feeling. Following an adjustment there is relief. Of course how immediate the relief is depends on how acute or inflamed the joint is, and how long the subluxation has been aggravating the joint.
Pop, crack, and rice-krispies (for the children) are all words I like to have the patient substitute with the actual experience of a "RELEASE" when they are explaining their adjustment to someone who has never been adjusted. Think about it. If I drop a coffee cup and it CRACKS into pieces it's not very pleasant. If I CRACK an egg open, I can't put it back like it was. If I POP a balloon it's finished. If I CRACK a stick or board in half, it can't be restored. But, how about if I RELEASE you from jail. Or RELEASE you from behind a locked door? Or RELEASE you from harm's way. That would be good wouldn't it?
I have, in the past 34 years of practice had people time and time again wait months before they could get up enough courage to have a chiropractic adjustment on their neck or back, for fear that the "cracking" would be unbearable. It was because their referring friend explained their experience of getting their back "cracked" and how much better they felt and how quick the relief was.
So, I am Mr. Word Police in the clinic when they say or make reference to "crack" or "popping" from the adjustment. What they really are feeling is the IMMEDIATE relief from the "RELEASE" of the immobile joint causing discomfort.
It's just as simple as that!
Yours in Life and Health,