The first question or concern about chiropractic for some people can be about the “cracking” or “popping” noise generated by a chiropractic adjustment. This feature seems to scare some people away from chiropractic care. We understand that some people are concerned about the safety of chiropractic adjustment and worry about what this noise is. Researchers have explained how this sound is produced.
Cavitation, or the audible “cracking” sound followed by a high-velocity, low-amplitude (HVLA) spinal manipulative therapy (SMT), is the result of forces acting on the joint, which increases the joint volume and decrease joint fluid partial pressure, creating a gas bubble as intra-articular gases are drawn out of solution.(1) A similar process that we might all have experience is when we pull a suction cup off the wall and it creates a “popping” sound.
Some underlying pathologies can contraindicate a HVLA manipulation. For example, osteoporosis is a disease that reduce bone density and it is a bone weakening condition.(2) In such cases, we modify our techniques to minimise the risk of potential complications.
At Little Sprouts Chiropractic, all of our chiropractors will take a full medical history and perform a thorough physical examination on your initial visit, therefore we have a better idea of your overall health to tailor a care plan for each individual to maximize your safety and results.
If you, or any of your friends have stepped back from chiropractic care because of the sound of cavitation please share this blog.
1. Conway P, Herzog W, Zhang Y, Hasler E, Ladly K. Forces required to cause cavitation during spinal manipulation of the thoracic spine. Clinical Biomechanics. 1993;8(4):210-4.
2. Rachner TD, Khosla S, Hofbauer LC. Osteoporosis: now and the future. The Lancet. 2011;377(9773):1276-87.
The Drs and Staff of Little Sprouts Chiropractic