Crack! What’s that sound?
Going to a chiropractor for the first time is intimidating!
It’s true – most people don’t know what to expect, and may even be a little scared of getting adjusted.
Let’s face it. Almost everyone has turned their head and heard a loud CRACK(!)…and it’s scary if you don’t know the anatomy. So the idea of doing it on purpose can be a little frightening, especially when that something involves trusting a total stranger with their hands on your spine.
If you feel this way every time you get on a chiropractor’s table, don’t fret, you’re not the only one. But the instantaneous relief you receive from that same chiropractic adjustment almost always more than makes up for any jitters you might have had.
First, it’s important for people to know exactly what we are adjusting. Chiropractors adjust subluxations. Some chiropractors explain a subluxation as a misaligned bone – and there’s truth to that – but I find it more accurate and easier to grasp explaining it as a joint that isn’t moving like it was designed to. A subluxation is a joint that has lost its full range of motion; basically, it’s a “stuck” joint.
Joints that aren’t moving properly cause a number of consequences for the body. The first and most obvious is a lack of motion: stiffness, feeling locked up, or the inability to turn one’s head or stand up straight. Some other major problems are pain, inflammation and loss of function. And then there is the neurological component. Subluxations can, and often do, irritate the nerve tissue as it exits the spine. This can lead to a disruption in the normal function of this very delicate and precise system. Left uncorrected, especially for a long period of time, subluxations can disrupt the function of the body and its various systems.
We correct a subluxation and restore proper joint motion with an adjustment. There are many techniques a chiropractor might use to adjust a subluxation. At Ascent Chiropractic, we primarily utilize low-force, soft-tissue based techniques, but occasionally will use a gentle, quick, painless thrust that results in a loud pop.
A chiropractic adjustment is not “bones cracking”. When an adjustment is performed, it’s the joint that’s opening up – we call it gapping the joint . When a joint opens up, think of it like pulling apart two surfaces that have been stuck together by a sticky substance – when they release, you hear a pop.
The actual pop is called a cavitation, and it’s dissolved gas coming out of solution that makes the popping sound. The joints of the spine are called synovial joints, meaning they’re surrounded by a joint capsule made of ligaments, and they produce a fluid called synovial fluid. Synovial fluid lubricates the joint (for movement) and nourishes it. When a joint is gapped, or opened up, the negative pressure produced causes nitrogen gas to come out of solution and you hear a distinctive popping sound.
Once the joint is opened up, those gases re-dissolve, the synovial fluids can lubricate the joint surfaces again and normal motion is restored. Anybody who has ever had a stuck joint and has been unable to move properly knows exactly what follows the adjustment – relief. True, depending on the situation – how severe the subluxation is, how long it has been festering and how “hot” or acute it is – determines how complete the relief will be, but without a doubt, most people feel better almost immediately.
The Ascent Chiropractic Difference
Know someone who’s suffering from the effects of a “stuck” joint? At Ascent Chiropractic we correct problems in the spine using low-force chiropractic techniques combined with the best of physical therapy modalities to get results that are unmatched anywhere. If you’re in the Brookfield, Wauwatosa or New Berlin areas and suffering with back or neck pain, we’d love to help. To make an appointment at Ascent Chiropractic, call 262-345-4166 or schedule an appointment with our online scheduling app.