Not everybody likes getting their neck cracked
Of course, as doctors of chiropractic, we don’t like to talk about “cracking” your neck.
Instead, we call the maneuver a spinal adjustment or joint manipulation. When it results in a cracking sound, we call that an “audible release” or “joint cavitation.”
But whatever you call it, a lot of patients feel protective about their neck and the idea of a cracking noise gives them the creeps.
What’s the purpose of spinal adjustments?
Actually, the cracking noise is an incidental side-effect of a joint adjustment.
The important purpose of the procedure is to improve joint play – the subtle gliding motion of one vertebra relative to its neighbor to the north or south. Sometimes a crack occurs as part of the beneficial effect when the bones spread apart and the joint space opens up.
Here’s an alternative I use
In my practice, I often use a technique I call “cervical joint play” as an alternative to a rapid style joint adjustment. Many of my patients prefer it. While you lie on your back, I palpate the tight spots in your neck and perform gentle rocking motions to free up the movement of the joints. If I can palpate better mobility of the joints afterward, I know I’m doing my job.
Multimodal manual therapy
There’s always more than one way to get the job done. That’s a principle I’ve developed over more than 35 years in practice. And my patients appreciate the flexibility, creativity and experience I bring to my work.