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Chiropractic Blog

Chiropractic Care Without Cracking

Published Date: 
November 6, 2023
Chiropractor working on a patient's back.

Whether you’ve had a chiropractic adjustment before or not, you might have heard about the cracking or popping sound that sometimes occurs during the procedure. Some people even claim that adjustments are nothing more than cracking your back.

This isn’t true, nor is it true that people who are scared or uneasy about the cracking sound that might occur should avoid going to a chiropractor.

Chiropractic adjustments do not “crack your bones.” The sound you might hear during a session, which is more of a pop than a crack, has to do with air and gas in your joints. It’s a normal sound, and it’s not painful.

However, if you’re unsure if chiropractic treatments are right for you, many chiropractors offer adjustments without cracking. These techniques can be just as effective as regular adjustments and might even allow you to be comfortable enough to undergo other techniques that once made you nervous.

Additionally, chiropractors offer guidance and support that enables you to take control of your well-being and make choices that enhance whole-body health. 

Can a Chiropractor Treat You Without Cracking?


Chiropractic treatment typically involves gentle force on the spine or neck used to release tension.

However, if the idea of force or “cracking” makes you feel uneasy, other chiropractic techniques do not involve any cracking or popping. Many are low-velocity techniques.

No Crack Chiropractic Techniques

  • Erchonia Adjuster: This medical tool allows the chiropractor to realign any bones that are out of place.
  • Activator Technique: This technique uses a tool that uses neurological tests to adjust your joints. It’s used on the spine, as well as the arms, legs, and shoulders.
  • Thompson Drop Technique: This technique uses more force than the Activator but doesn’t create any popping or cracking noise. It’s excellent for relieving pelvic pain and lower back pain. The technique uses a lever that raises part of the treatment table so your chiropractor can adjust a joint as the table drops down a small amount.
Chiropractic Activator tool.

In addition to these specific techniques, chiropractors also offer various treatment options that have nothing to do with spinal manipulation.

For example, they have broad diagnostic skills and are trained to recommend therapeutic and rehabilitative exercises. Most also provide nutritional, fitness, and lifestyle counseling.

What Causes The Cracking Sound During an Adjustment?

The cracking sound you hear during chiropractic adjustments is called a cavitation. It’s not your bones cracking. It’s gas being released from your joint.

Joints are made from two bones. The bones of a joint are located within a capsule or socket that contains synovial fluid and gas. Over time, this gas can lead to pressure within the joint. Adjustments release this gas, and the pop or crack sound you hear is the release of the gas. It startles some people, and others dread it, but it’s perfectly normal and doesn’t hurt or harm the body in any way.

Why Cracking Your Back Feels So Good

Not everybody enjoys cracking their back, but it’s a feeling of relief for many. In some cases, this is because it relieves stress.

If you work at a computer all day or spend most of your waking hours in an uncomfortable position and your body tightens up, the cracking joints release tension.

Woman sitting on the edge of a couch stretching her back.

Your spinal cord is surrounded by cells that send signals to your brain. These messages travel along your spinal cord and tell your brain things about pain and joint positioning. When you crack your back, the signal that travels to your brain is “less pressure” or “less tension,” so you feel better.

Some believe the sound of cracking joints is what comforts people. They feel as if they have accomplished something, allowing them to sense a physical improvement, even if there isn’t one.

Chiropractic Adjustment Vs. Cracking Your Own Back 

A medical professional performs chiropractic adjustments under controlled conditions. Special tools might be used during the spinal adjustment. They also include an assessment of your overall medical health and a diagnosis of the problem in question. This is different from just cracking your neck or back to relieve pressure.

Even though the latter might feel good and fix discomfort, it’s not correcting misalignments or resolving significant medical issues.

Why Chiropractic Adjustments Provide Relief (Crack or No Crack)

Whether you are ready to undergo a traditional chiropractic treatment that results in a crack or pop or you’d rather avoid it, adjustments can still provide relief.

Chiropractor adjusting a young woman's back.

Chiropractic treatments aim to improve your musculoskeletal health and the function of your nervous system. Both of these things impact your overall health. No matter what type of treatment you undergo, chiropractic care helps improve full-body health. It’s also drug-free, so you won’t need to worry about any side effects of medication or other invasive allopathic medical treatments. In many cases, chiropractic adjustments help you avoid these potentially risky treatments.

Dr. Eric Neumann D.C.

Dr. Eric Neumann grew up in Alberta, Canada where he majored in Chemistry at the University of Calgary. During his time at University, he obtained licensure as a Massage Therapist. It was clear that hands-on healing would be his calling. After suffering multiple sport-related injuries he became interested in Chiropractic. Dr. Neumann graduated from Western States Chiropractic College in 2009. He has since specialized in the treatment and management of acute spinal injuries.

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