What is the Cracking Sound During Chiropractic Adjustments?

What is that Cracking Noise You Often Experience at the Chiropractor?

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Chiropractic patients know too well the cracking sound that usually goes with a neck or back adjustment. It’s most often the neck that makes the most severe cracking sound, unless you’re getting spinal decompression and have a ton of subluxations, then it may be your back!

What are subluxations anyways?

So, what exactly is the cracking sound you hear during a Chiropractic adjustment?

The cracking sound during Chiropractic adjustments happens because the fluid inside the capsule around the joint builds up in pressure. Upon adjustment, the fluid changes from a liquid into a gas, making the cracking sound that you hear. This is called “cavitation“ and you can find gas bubbles in the joints after an adjustment if you x-ray!


When receiving a Chiropractic adjustment, your Chiropractor will typically manipulate your back, neck and other parts of your body with short and forceful movements. These may or may not cause a cracking sound.

Usually, however, these adjustments are in fact accompanied by an audible crack caused by the release of carbon dioxide, nitrogen and oxygen, which releases pressure in the joint.

This process of “cavitation” may also be accompanied by a sense of relief, although in rare cases discomfort may be experienced by the patient if the surrounding soft tissues are in spasm

If I Don’t Crack, Is It Okay?questions health northwest calgary chiropractor

Yes, even if you don’t hear the cracking sound during a Chiropractic adjustment, everything should be just fine! Not all adjustments will produce the cracking sound. That’s because there are numerous techniques used by Chiropractors, some that use high-force and others low-force.

It also depends on the part of your body being adjusted. For example, a Chiropractic adjustment to your neck or back is much more likely to crack than getting one to your elbow or knee.

Sometimes your doctor may be focused on more symptomatic parts of your body and not crack your neck or back all together. However, this is very rare as these two adjustments are typically standard when visiting a Chiropractor. They are at RHC!

Haven’t been to a Chiropractor before? See What to Expect on Your First Chiropractic Visit [Video].

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