Gimme a Good Crack Doc!

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard this one. I get asked on a regular basis for it. For some, there is fear about the sound, or more accurately, what is happening inside the joints to make the sound.

Firstly, it is not the sound of bones rubbing together or ligaments snapping. Try this: grab one of your fingers and gently, but quickly, pull it away from your hand. The result? An audible click. If it was the result of joints rubbing together, it wouldn’t occur when you pulled bones away from each other. Some people believe that repeatedly doing this will cause arthritis or degeneration of your joints. Several research studies have confirmed that there is no arthritis caused by popping your fingers.

Back to the cause of the sound….there is a capsule filled with fluid (synovial fluid) around most of the joints in our body. Think of it like a balloon filled with water. The joint fluid inside the capsule lubricates the joints, carries oxygen and nutrients to the cartilage cells and carries away waste. The fluid has tiny gas bubbles dissolved in it. When you pull your finger, or in some chiropractic adjustments, the gas that is dissolved in the joint fluid creates a larger bubble of gas because of the joint movement. The large bubble then goes back into tiny bubbles and is rapidly dissolved back into the joint fluid. That process causes the clicking sound.

It’s sometimes thought that the purpose of a chiropractic adjustment is to “crack” your joints. The sole purpose of a chiropractic adjustment is to remove nerve interference. When we hear a click, we know the joint has moved a certain amount or direction, but the sound by itself doesn’t tell us that the subluxation has been removed. There are many chiropractic adjustments that can’t even create sound because of the shape or type of the joint being adjusted.

I often get asked if “cracking” your own back is helpful. Firstly, you cannot detect and remove subluxation by twisting your lower back or neck. Subluxated joints are not moving well (or at all), causing loss of normal nerve signals. When you cause a “crack” by twisting your own back or neck, it simply allows the joints that are moving most easily to make a sound – the path of least resistance. Secondly, while “cracking” those joints will cause some nerve stimulation to your brain and a temporary feeling of ease, or pain relief, it still isn’t changing the cause of the problem; it isn’t removing the subluxation. It’s actually the speed of the adjustment the provides the greatest amount of value.

As a chiropractor, I have two jobs. Detect and remove subluxations, sound, or not.

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  • 5 star rating  I have been a patient for about 9 years. My sons, since birth and they 7 and 4 now. I can't say enough about the Ancaster Family Chiropractic team. They are very friendly and accommodating and truly make you feel like part of their Chiropractic family. Our visits have helped keep our immune systems strong and help our bodies heal and stay healthy. Dr. Neil and his team are fantastic with my boys. They fondly call him Dr. Clickers. He is a big part of our health maintenance and we're grateful to have found him.

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    10/31/2019
  • 5 star rating  I have been a patient with Dr Neil for about 2 years now and have definitely noticed an overall improvement in my well being and good health feeling since starting with the adjustments. I can also attribute a successful and remarkable quick recovery from 2 Total Knee Replacement surgeries to having good chiropractic care supporting good health healing! Dr. Neil is not only a caring friendly professional, he is also highly experienced and I wish to recommend him to anyone that needs a boost to daily health.

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    10/21/2019
  • 5 star rating  Dr Brown is efficient, empathetic and excellent at what he does, which is helping your body heal itself! The investment that he, and his supportive team of Deb and Sue, make towards your long term care plan is by far the most thorough and well thought out that I have ever experienced. I highly recommend their services for the whole family.

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    10/31/2019
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    In all honesty, Dr. Neil has been a huge help getting rid of my headaches and chronic sickness - issues that no medication in the world could help. He’s a class act and treats his clients like a true professional. If you’re dealing with any sort of health issues, I would recommend booking an appointment with him.

    Thank you Dr. Neil and your team (Deb & Sue are fantastic!) for your commitment to my health and your welcoming environment. I look forward to my appointments!

    Caleb Radley Avatar Caleb Radley
    3/15/2020
  • 5 star rating  The team at Ancaster Family Chiropractic are very knowledgeable, friendly, and professional. They are very welcoming, and are flexible and able to work with your schedule and needs. My husband, daughter and I all see Dr. Neil. He is very helpful and great at what he does! I would highly recommend him to anyone considering chiropractic care!

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    5/06/2020
  • 5 star rating  I have been a proud client of Dr. Neil and the support team since 2016 and wouldn't think of going anywhere else. I tried other chiropracters previously and the experience at Ancaster Family Chiropractic is far superior than any other. The atmosphere is positive, friendly and professional. The set up is great and the organization/structure just makes sense. I love having a key fob...makes me feel important! They actually teach about chiropractic care for a greater understanding of same. The name is fitting as you feel like part of the family. Thanks for everything you do.

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