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Cracking Sounds Associated with Chiropractic And Benefits of Chiropractic

Have you ever wondered why your knee joints make a clicking or cracking sound while going up or down stairs or your back, elbow or shoulder clicking when you reach out to pick something up?

Some people get a little bit anxious, some even cringe when hearing a joint click. Wives tails even go as far to explain that if you crack your joints too often that you may develop arthritis; is there any truth to that?

In this blog, we’ll discuss where the cracking sounds come from, what’s happening physiologically and whether or not it’s good or bad to crack joints throughout your body.


Origin Of the Chiropractic Cracking Sound

OK, so where does the cracking sound come from?

Joints are made up of cartilage sandwiched between 2 bones. Think of cartilage as a sponge (collagen matrix) loaded with pockets or pores filled with nitrogen gas and water. Cartilage is composed of approximately 70% water and 30% fibrous tissue.

When you hear a cracking sound (more like a click) within a joint due to a Chiropractic adjustment/manipulation (or reaching for something), you’re hearing nitrogen gas escaping the pockets within the cartilage. This in NOT dangerous, it’s natural.

Habitual, constant and forceful SELF popping or clicking of any joint will result in hyper mobility of that joint; this is NOT natural!

Hyper mobility in joints located in the spinal column are amongst the worst joints anyone can hyper mobilize because the connective tissues (ligaments) which stabilize the joint becomes too lax or loose and results in joint instability/injury; allow only a qualified Doctor of Chiropractic to mobilized your joints beyond the “Physiological Space”.


Why you hear a popping sound during a chiropractic adjusment.
Chiropractor performing a chiropractic adjustment on a patient that makes a popping sound.

Joints in the spine which are instable normally causes a shearing effect to the Cartilage allowing the bones of the joint to approximate or get close to each other. Traction of the spine administered by a qualified Chiropractor offers instantaneous relief from joint shear.


Compressed Joints and Their Negative Side Effects

Compressed joints are dangerous to the spine; this leads to decreased joint spaces overall. A condition created by decreased spaces in the neck, mid or low back may lead to a condition called “Foraminal Encroachment”, this creates spine or back pain. This condition narrows the space of the exiting nerve root causing pain, or radiating pain into the arms or legs.

A point that begs thought is if the nerves that exit the spine that travel to your organs become choked, due to Foraminal Encroachment, will abnormal signals reach the organs which are innervated by that nerve?

Considering that the nervous system is a highway of information moving up and down from the brain to the spinal cord to nerves to target organs or muscle; what happens if this highway is bottlenecked by choked nerves?

Cracking sound like an accident waiting to happen? In extreme cases choked nerves may cause dis-ease or un-easiness of the body. A Doctor of Chiropractic is qualified in performing effective neurologic, orthopedic and biomechanical studies to determine if you’re at risk.



Back to joints popping and cracking… the general rule that I like to follow is stretch any joint you like slightly beyond the normal range of motion, if you hear a cracking sound, it’s usually nothing to be concerned about; just make sure that you’re not going out of your way by grabbing your chin in one hand and your head in the other and then twisting…that’s simply unintelligent.

Joint stability is crucial.

Doctors best qualified to restore joint stability without the use of surgery, drugs or injections are Chiropractors; American or Canadian Board Certified and Accredited Doctors of Chiropractic are most qualified to help restore the body’s natural state.

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