why does a chiropractor crack your back

By Dr. Michael Noonan, Special to the BDN
December 4, 2014 9:14 am The majority of my patients have never had manipulation before, and naturally they have a lot of questions. First and foremost is, БWhat happens when the joints of the spine БpopБ or Бcrack? ББ It turns out that is not a simple question. It has been debated for years by doctors of chiropractic, osteopathy and others who do manipulation. One school of thought is the treatment puts a bone that had been slightly out of position back into place. When you really need a treatment, that is exactly how it feels. I started chiropractic care as a teen because of low-back and leg pain, and I recall the big Бpop,Б the feeling of something going back into place, and the instant relief from my back pain after my first treatment. Patients who are familiar with the treatment often ask me to Бput it back inБ when they have a new injury or flare-up. For some doctors, the bone is out of place and the thrust realigns it. The other theory is that the joints stiffen and become restricted, similar to a tight muscle, and the manipulation releases the stiffness in the joint.


I recall a class in chiropractic school where we were trained to assess the normal play of nearly every joint in the body, from the top of the neck to the low back, even the joints of the arms and legs. The stiffness in the joint can be very subtle, and it takes training and practice to feel it. But if the joint does not move properly, it will become inflamed and painful. Every joint has its own Бfeel. Б When you are trained to evaluate for it, you can quickly pick up problems that do not show on a regular exam, an X-ray, even an MRI. If the manipulation is successful, the doctor can feel the joint is looser, and it continues to improve until it is normalized. The key part of the manipulation is the quick, shallow thrust. But the treatment does not need to be done exclusively by hand. It can also be done with special tables with built-in БdropБ sections. These sections can be raised about an inch under the problem area. When the doctor gives a quick push, the table drops, delivering a thrust to the joint that is quicker and gentler than the typical manual style.


Even gentler Б often used for seniors, young children, patients in acute pain or those who are very nervous about manipulation Б is a handheld tool that thrusts into the joint faster than any hand can. When you increase the speed of the treatment, the amount of force needed is much less. Joint problems underlie most back and neck pain, as well as pain in other joints. They need to be treated specifically. Muscle treatments, like БcoreБ strengthening, stretching or massage will help somewhat but will not solve the joint problem. I have seen patients endure years of treatment directed toward reducing inflammation, strengthening or relaxing muscles, surgery or just controlling pain with only partial relief. With many of them, treating the joint with manipulation gives the best relief for their pain and disability. Despite how effective and safe it is, there is still a lot of fear and ignorance around manipulation. Patients have all kinds of concerns. Will it break my neck? Absolutely not. Is it dangerous?


No, it is even safer than taking aspirin. Will it help my problem? That depends on whether there is a problem in the joint, and the only way to determine that is by having the area evaluated by someone who has been trained in it. Dr. Michael Noonan practices chiropractic, chiropractic acupuncture and other wellness therapies in Old Town. He can be reached at noonanchiropractic@gmail. com. Crack, Snap, Pop! When a detects a stuck joint, they will correct it with a chiropractic. There are many techniques that include a quick, painless thrust of the neck and other body parts. The loud crack or pop heard during an adjustment may sound unnerving, but understanding whats physically happening can help ease your mind and make the process go much smoother. That alarming pop or crack you hear during a chiropractic adjustment is completely normal, and can provide relief! During a back adjustment, your back undergoes quick, gentle stretching of the neck and spinal joints, causing the cracking or popping sound (called cavitation). This is not bones cracking, but instead is the sudden release of gasses (oxygen, nitrogen, and CO2) caused by small pockets of air or bubbles of fluid that surround your joints in order to lubricate them for proper movement. joint tissues are stretched during a chiro crack, the pockets of air pop, which creates that cracking sound, and can actually create a pleasant and relaxing effect.


Cause and Effect Stuck joints (called subluxations) cause a number of severe consequences to your body. The first and most obvious is a lack of motion: stiffness, feeling locked up, or the inability to turn your head or stand up straight. Some other major problems are pain, inflammation, and loss of function. There is also the neurological component to consider. Stuck joints can often irritate the nerve tissue and lead to a disruption in the normal function of the skeletal system, leaving the body out of sync. After the treatment, you may feel more movement in your back. However, the muscles may still be sore and tight. Your chiropractor may also incorporate other such as muscle therapy. You should notice more back pain relief with each session.

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