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Crack or Adjust

So what is the difference between cracking your joints and a specific chiropractic adjustment? Sometimes they make the same sound….they make joints move….sometimes they give you relief….but are they really the same?

Let’s start with the sound. Many joints in your body are surrounded by a joint capsule and filled with joint (synovial) fluid. There are microscopic amounts of oxygen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide dissolved in that fluid. With certain movements of joints, the gas quickly makes a big bubble and then dissolves back into the fluid. That’s the part that makes the popping or clicking sound.

When someone ‘cracks’ the joints in their spine, several joints move at the same time – it’s almost impossible to specifically move only one joint. This is the important part: the joints that are moving most easily are the ones that will make the ‘crack’ sound most easily, the joints that are subluxated barely move. It’s similar to how water will always flow along the easiest route between obstacles – the path of least resistance. When a subluxation is present, loss of joint motion usually occurs and as a result, other joints take up the slack and can become too mobile (hypermobility) to make up for the loss of movement at the subluxated joint. Make sense? The joints that are subluxated cannot be corrected without a specific direction and speed externally applied.

The purpose of your adjustment is never to make it ‘crack’. That is often a side affect when there is a chiropractic adjustment applied. The purpose of any and every adjustment is to remove subluxation and restore normal nerve function.

One of the best parts of a specific chiropractic adjustment is the nerve stimulation that causes release of the neurotransmitters dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin in the brain. Dopamine and serotonin are responsible for love, joy, pleasure, reward, mood and memory. A study from 2014 even showed an increase in blood levels of oxytocin following chiropractic adjustments. Oxytocin is responsible for bonding, comfort, anti-anxiety affects, empathy and relaxation.

Chiropractic adjustments have a massive affect on the normal healing and function of every muscle, tissue and cell. So if you weren’t sure specific chiropractic adjustments to correct subluxation were much more than a ‘crack’ of the joints….think again.

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