What That Cracking Sound Really Means

It’s time to set the record straight – what on earth is that cracking sound so many people describe after seeing their osteopath?

If you’ve been treated before, you’ll likely know what we’re talking about. It’s almost like the sound of opening a champagne bottle, except it’s coming from your back or around your neck and, let’s be honest; it can be a little intimidating.

So that’s why we’re covering this topic in our latest blog – to dispel the rumours and reassure you that the cracking sound is normal, safe and in most cases delivers immediate relief.

It’s All About Gas Release

Okay, we know how that sounds, but truth be told that is actually what’s happening when your osteopath performs an ‘adjustment.’

The process is technically called cavitation which refers to the formation of small air bubbles in fluid. But let’s back-track (get it?), and first explain a little about joints.

Most joints are surrounded by a protective capsule which contains a nourishing fluid that provides a number of essential ingredients for healthy motion – it’s called synovial fluid. A byproduct of the fluid is a gas made up of oxygen, nitrogen and CO2.

When receiving treatment, pressure is applied to create a gap between our joints. This releases the gas and creates that famous ‘popping’ sound.

After the joint has been ‘released’ many patients describe feeling more relaxed, relieved of pain/tension and describe having better mobility in the area that’s treated. After the gases have been released, synovial fluid re-lubricates the joint surfaces automatically so that normal mobility can continue.

Is Cracking Safe?

When applied by a trained professional, such as at our clinic, having your joints ‘cracked’ is completely safe. Contrary to popular myth, cracking involves no breaking of bones or tearing of tissue.
Research shows that there is no link between cracking joints and osteoarthritis, which is another common myth. However, at the same time, that’s not a green light to constantly crack your fingers, knuckles and necks. ‘Over-cracking’ can cause complications like hypermobility as well as make you more injury-prone.

Speak To Us

In a nutshell, osteopathic adjustments can relieve pain, restore mobility and provide relief. They’re safe, generally painless and nowhere near as frightening as what they can sound.

As always, if you have any reservations about having your joints ‘cracked’ speak to our team before your treatment and we’ll work to keep you comfortable.

Until next time

Total Balance Healthcare

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