Chiropractic Myth: Making Joints Crack and Pop is Unhealthy

Treatment for Joint PainThere are some people in this world that firmly believe the only “snap, crackle and pop” noises that are good for our bodies comes from a bowl of cereal. Their beliefs may stem from an old myth about chiropractic care being bad for the joints, and that’s a belief that definitely couldn’t be any further from the truth. The noises that our bodies make during chiropractic adjustments are absolutely normal. They are caused by our synovial fluid, musculoskeletal movement, changes in pressure and a natural process known as cavitation.

Synovial fluid exists naturally in a human’s joints. Made up of plasma dialysate, hyaluronic acid and joint tissue byproducts, this fluid does two major things for our joints. It helps our cartilage remain healthy and it reduces friction when our joints are in use. For the most part, the fluid remains in our joints throughout our life. However, there are ways that it may be lost. The list of things that may cause people to lose synovial fluid includes disease, injury, surgery, infection and the normal aging process.

When our joints are in use, cavitation takes place. During cavitation, our synovial fluid expands in volume and releases gas vapor, which subsequently leads to a decrease in internal joint pressure and bubble formation. When our joint’s internal components move again, the bubbles burst and a noise is emitted. Therefore, the cracking and popping noises heard during chiropractic care are no more harmful than the ones sometimes heard when you move your joints on your own.

Where the element of danger actually comes in is how the joint is manipulated. A Indianapolis chiropractor knows how to manipulate joints in a way that puts the body back into alignment. You and a well-meaning friend or relative may not have that in-depth knowledge. As a result, any non-professional attempts to “crack” your joints may actually cause misalignment and damage to the joint’s cartilage, tendons and ligaments to occur.

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