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Posted on 04-21-2016

Another blog post from Ann Arbor Chiropractor, Mike Tannenbaum, D.C.

A question I often get at my chiropractic practice in Ann Arbor is “so,what is the cracking sound?” My patients wonder what occurs to make the cracking sound they hear when they get an adjustment or when they “crack” for example, their knuckles. I explain that the sound is caused by a force applied to gas and liquid encased in a protective capsule near a joint(s) in the body. As it turns out, my explanation was pretty close to correct, but not quit right. According to a study completed in 2015 that used MRI's to study the “cracking” phenomena and published in the journal Plos One, applying a force to a joint separates the joint forming a cavity and it is the process of forming the cavity that causes the “cracking” noise. That is, for example, as part of the process of having your back adjusted the gases and liquid in your back quickly move causing a cavitation (a cavity) and it is this process of forming the cavitation that causes the “cracking sound”.

So, the next question I often get is, “is it OK if I “crack” my own back?” In response, I say that my understanding is that gently “cracking” or gently inadvertently “cracking” your back is not bad for you. However, if your applying a strong force to your back in an attempt to produce “cracking” (possibly for the purpose of “self adjusting” your back) you could hurt yourself. I also mention, attempted adjustments to the back should only be done by a chiropractor. Chiropractors have years of training in the movement of the joints in the body and the correct understanding of the proper forces to apply to the joints of the body for safe and affective adjustments.

If you want to know more about how chiropractic can help adjust the joints in your back as a way to help you improve your health, reduce back or neck pain or help eliminate chronic headaches, I can be reached at my Ann Arbor chiropractic office at mgtannenbaum@hotmail.com.

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