The simple answer is no. It does not hurt. We’ve heard countless stories from patients who’ve been terrified from misconceptions and misunderstandings about chiropractic care, and only resorted to chiropractors when everyone else has seen can’t cure them.
Here we’ll dispel two of the reasons why people think chiropractic treatments hurt and explain exactly what happens.
Spine cracking videos
One misconception when people inexperience with chiropractic care is that it “sounds painful”, and that is perpetuated in part by the chiropractic adjustment videos that have gained millions of views on YouTube. And if your first encounter with chiropractors is through these videos, there’s a good chance you’ll be turned off from chiropractors. But adjustments aren’t painful, it just sounds like it is.
The popping sound originates in the synovial joint, a connection between two bones consisting of a cartilage lined cavity filled with fluid, of which many are in the spine. When the joints are forced apart, gasses are trapped in the joint forming gas cavities, properly called “synovial fluid cavitation”, or simply “cavitation”.
During an adjustment, your chiropractor applies a thrust with a measured amount of force to release the gasses oxygen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide which rapidly escape from the joint with a cracking sound. It’s totally normal to have cavitations, and they’re found in places other than the spine – the knuckles for example. Chiropractors focus on spinal cavitations because chiropractic medicine is rooted in the belief that optimal health would be achieved through a healthy spine. So, if you’re terrified by the cracking videos on Youtube, you don’t have to, because they don’t hurt.
Neck cracking videos
Neck adjustments are next to back adjustments in being the most well-known cervical procedures that a chiropractor performs. However, your chiropractor only applies it in situations where it is necessary. When it’s part of your treatment plan, you might think of backing off, especially when its other names are “neck twisting” and “neck cracking”. But, like the cracking sounds from an adjustment, it’s nothing to be afraid of.
Located on the signs of your neck are facet joints, and what happens is like what happens to your spine, where pockets of gas get trapped in the joints. And just like back adjustments, you’ll also hear cracks during a neck adjustment. At most you’ll feel a little sore, but later you’ll feel substantially better. But given that neck adjustment is rarely administered, it should not be a reason to deter you from visiting a chiropractor.