More Than a ‘Back Crack’: Demystifying Chiropractic Adjustments


If you’ve never been to a chiropractor before, the prospect of going to one might be a bit scary. Won’t your back make lots of noises during chiropractic adjustments – cracks, pops, that kind of thing? Hearing your spine and neck make the same sound your knuckles do when you crack them can be unnerving, or even cause downright anxiety.

Your back will crack, there’s no doubt about it. But you shouldn’t be scared or anxious. In fact, you should feel relaxed! Those sharp cracks aren’t bones being violently popped into place; they’re actually the sound of trapped air escaping. There’s a very minimal amount of invasiveness in chiropractic adjustments and they’re widely regarded to be virtually painless.

If you’re feeling a little uncertain or uneasy about chiropractic adjustments, the team at Stability Health Center in Seattle, WA welcomes you. We work with first-time patients on a daily basis and can answer any questions you have about adjustments, the noises that come with them, or the benefits of chiropractic.

Explaining chiropractic noises

As mentioned, the popping and cracking heard during spinal adjustments is a combination of air and gasses being released from synovial joints. This also produces a fluid that lubricates joints. The noise is a side effect to let the chiropractor know that the joint has been properly stimulated. As a chiropractor targets different areas of the spine to adjust, the cracks and pops will signal the efficacy of the approach.

Understanding the nature of adjustments

Chiropractors use adjustment techniques that have stood the test of time for centuries. Modern chiropractic has implements like drop tables and mechanical traction to aid it, however the low-velocity movements at the core of the practice remain relatively unchanged. And still today, chiropractic can be an effective treatment plan for any of the following:

  • Osteoarthritis;
  • Frequent headaches;
  • Plantar fasciitis;
  • Chronic back and neck pain;
  • Sciatica;
  • Acid reflux;
  • Neuropathy;
  • And much more.

Chiropractic’s tried and true method is centered around correcting subluxations (misalignments) in the vertebrae. These misalignments cause major problems for the central nervous system and support issues rooted in poor posture.

Low-velocity, precision adjustment

When your chiropractor performs an adjustment, they use specific force in a precise direction to reset spinal function. The adjustment centers on a joint that for whatever reason isn’t working the way it should. Chiropractic adjustments are used to return your spine to a neutral position, allowing the body’s natural healing process to begin. This methodology is commonly referred to as a low-velocity adjustment.

Get comfortable with chiropractic

There’s far more to chiropractic than just a twist and a pop. From the precise movement of a joint, to the low velocity pressure of an adjustment, to the release of synovial fluid, and beyond, chiropractic is more complex than most patients realize. It’s also far less intimidating once you know what’s happening!

If you’re ready to take control of your health, a chiropractor can be a great partner. The experienced team at Stability Health Center in Seattle, WA welcomes first-time patients with open arms. We’ll walk you through the process of an adjustment and explain our Chiropractic BioPhysics (CBP) approach to you. Contact us today for a free consultation.

Chiropractic BioPhysics, or CBP, is one of the most scientific, researched, and results-oriented corrective care techniques. CBP-trained chiropractors aim to realign the spine back to health, eliminating nerve interference and addressing the source of pain, fatigue, and disease. As with all chiropractic care, CBP is gentle, painless, and non-invasive.