Is Chiropractic Neck Cracking Safe?

Is Chiropractic Neck Cracking Safe?

By Nordic Balance

“Are you sure you won’t snap my neck?” “What if you paralyze me?”


Due to the rise of the YouTube wanna-be-chiropractors, these are questions that Chiropractor Joe Abbott often hears.


Even during clinical practice sessions, clients can still be slightly sceptical. For sure, Joe will be the first to admit that chiropractic neck cracking is famous for being a little bit strange… but he insists that it is incredibly safe, and the results feel amazing! 


And yes, while it does resemble the moves shown in all those action movies, remember that you’re receiving treatment from a highly trained specialist. Here Joe explains exactly what neck cracking is and the associated benefits as part of safe and controlled chiropractic treatment.


Are there risks to ‘neck cracking’?


Chiropractors have extensive experience and know exactly how to recognize and diagnose any signs or symptoms that could cause or be related to an adverse reaction.


If we see anything that suggests the neck cracking treatment isn’t for you, we won’t do it; it’s as simple as that.


In these cases, we adapt our treatment – we have many other tools in our chiropractic toolbox that can treat your stiff or painful neck. These tools range from stretching, traction, and massage to medical acupuncture, to name just a few.


It’s also important to note that ‘cracking’ (named so because of its audible release) is not caused by the noise of bones snapping, breaking, or anything sinister like that. It is the same source of noise as you hear when you crack your knuckles. 


The cracking noise is caused when gas bubbles form and then pop in the joint. 


While we are on the subject, another piece of advice, straight from the expert. Despite what your mum used to tell you, cracking your knuckles is also completely safe, and it doesn’t cause arthritis or any other damage. 


During a session with a chiropractor, they will manipulate the joints in your spine. These joints have a capsule around them, and the fluid within these capsules is designed to help them move freely, without any friction. 


As the joints move during this manipulation, the pressure changes in the joint, causing bubbles of gas to form and pop. This is what creates that famous and incredibly satisfying (yes, I know you’ve watched the videos on YouTube); CRACK!


So, what are the benefits of chiropractic neck cracking?


The proper term for neck cracking is cervical manipulation. Its magical secret lies in a high-velocity, low-amplitude thrust (HVLA) applied in a precise location. 


Initially, chiropractors will palpate your spine to locate the restricted spinal joints, and it is these that we will manipulate. 


To get that famous ‘pop’, we perform a super-short and sharp movement to achieve the therapeutic benefits. 


It is this fast and small movement that makes the treatment both safe and effective. An adjustment stimulates mechanoreceptors in the facet joints of your spine, causing the muscles and joints to relax and become freer. 


The key benefits are that it quickly reduces pain, increases your range of motion, and improves the function of your spine.


Similarly, it improves stiff and sore necks and has also been shown to help treat everything from certain types of headaches to brain fog and even whiplash. 


Even If you aren’t suffering from pain, chiropractic treatment can still help you with your overall function, musculoskeletal health, and general well-being. 


For further guidance, book an appointment with Chiropractor Joe at our Wimbledon or Clapham-based physical therapy clinics in South London.


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