Why Do Chiropractors Adjust/Manipulate/Crack the Spine?

I spend a large portion of my day explaining to patients what is causing their pain. That is usually followed with recommendations for treatment. Since I am a chiropractor, it should come as no surprise that chiropractic adjustments are often a main part of the treatment plan. I have become so accustomed to explaining why an adjustment would help that I have omitted explaining how it can help. In the heat of a painful injury, most people don’t care how anything helps, they just want relief.

Hopefully all my patients know, and agree, that a chiropractic adjustment results in a relieving crack or pop. That sound that is made is from the pressure that is released from our joints during that quick movement. The movement of our joints through its full range of motion helps spread this slippery stuff called synovial fluid. When we suffer trauma or subject our body to repeated movement, we experience a buildup of pressure in our joints. Without the mobilization that comes from adjustments, that pressure will continue to build. Our joints will ache, the neighboring joints will have to compensate, and we start to have increased pain and restriction. The adjustment is a treatment that restores proper movement in the joint, reduces the pressure that causes pain and stiffness, and helps improve quality of life.

Research continues to show that adjustments are beneficial. I thought about quoting studies here, but I don’t want to reward those that have read this far with boring stats. The most effective study is to experience it yourself. If you know you want adjusted, but are curious what it looks like, check out this clip to get an idea. Notice the smile on the patient’s face when she feels the relief!

–Dr. Aaron England