Cracking after chiropractic adjustment

Is Cracking After Chiropractic Adjustments Ok?

Those cracking sounds you hear during a chiropractic adjustment can be a little disconcerting, but what do they mean?

Cracking is a normal part of an adjustment, and even cracking after the chiropractic adjustment is perfectly normal, here’s why. 

How Do Chiropractic Neck Adjustments Work?

During a chiropractic adjustment, a specialist applies manipulation to the spinal joints in order to improve spinal motion and physical function. 

Spinal bones often hold an improper position which inhibits movement and affects nerve communications with the brain. This is a common reason people suffer back pain, and one of the best ways to fix it is through a chiropractic adjustment

Your spine is a sensitive area, so this should always be carried out by a trained professional after a thorough examination. When the adjustment is carried out on the top vertebrae of the spine (generally C0 – C2) this is considered a chiropractic neck adjustment.  

What is Cracking After a Chiropractic Adjustment?

When you have a chiropractic adjustment, it’s common to feel and hear a cracking in your back. If you do, then don’t worry, it’s completely normal.

Cracking after a chiropractic adjustment - what is it?


Your joints have fluid all around them, and sometimes tiny air pockets can build up in this. When a chiropractor does an adjustment, it changes the pressure in the fluid surrounding your joints, causing the air pockets to “pop.” When they do, it creates the cracking sound you hear during and sometimes after a chiropractic adjustment. 

Because the adjustment makes tiny changes to the positioning of the vertebrae, as you move around the pressure in this fluid will change slightly, leading to some more cracking after a chiropractic adjustment. 

Chiropractic Adjustment Side Effects 

Your spine provides a vital link between your brain and the rest of your body. It’s really not something you want to take any chances with, so always make sure you go to a trained chiropractor for your adjustment. 

Cracking after a chiropractic adjustment might be completely normal and harmless, but there are some more dangerous chiropractic adjustment side effects. If you’re being treated by a trained chiropractor, then these risks are extremely minimal though:

  • Herniated disk, or worsening of an existing herniated disk
  • Risk of stroke
  • Compression of the nerves in the lower spinal column

One of the reasons it’s important to go to a professional chiropractor before you have any manipulation done to your back is because they will perform an extensive examination before any treatment. 

This will allow them to confirm that an adjustment is the right treatment for you, and enable them to carry it out safely. 

Conclusion: Cracking After Chiropractic Adjustment

That cracking sensation you feel (and maybe hear) during and potentially after a chiropractic adjustment is completely normal. As the chiropractor manipulates your back, they make slight adjustments to the positions of the vertebrae, changing the pressure in the surrounding fluid. 

When you hear, or feel a crack, it’s simply air pockets that have built up in the fluid “popping” because of the change in pressure. Not only is this harmless but it’s very common. 

It’s all part of the treatment, so there’s nothing to worry about with cracking after a chiropractic adjustment. 

The most important part is that you find an experienced chiropractor to make sure your chiropractic adjustment is carried out in a safe way. 

Schedule your visit today!

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