Chiropractic without the ‘crack’
At Greentree Chiropractic, we have developed our ‘5 Steps to Healing’ process, and this blog covers Step 2 in more detail – how and why we want to free up stuck joints.
Low Force vs Manual Manipulation
The most common reason I hear that people won’t see a chiropractor, despite having a body or health challenge, is that they’re afraid of having their neck ‘cracked’. The fear is usually that the practise might be potentially harmful, a lack of trust in the practitioner, or just a general ‘gross out’ factor from that sound being produced by their body.
What a lot of people don’t realise is that there are genuine alternatives to that method which produce the desired result – without the ‘crack’.
What impacts spinal movement
First, let’s look at why chiropractors want the spine to be moving correctly.
Chiropractors understand that the spine must move correctly for the crucial brain-body connection. Many reflexes and pieces of information being transferred through the nervous system can become blocked or dysfunctional, causing less than optimal function within your body and nervous system in general – which you will become aware of through pain or other symptoms.
It all starts when the body is given some sort of challenge that it finds overwhelming – and it will ‘switch off’ or ‘shut down’ as a protective reaction. These challenges can be physical in nature, for example, poor posture for extended periods or over extending yourself in the garden clean up. They can come from internal organs or biochemical stress – when we’ve eaten something that the body doesn’t want or can’t process, like food intolerances or an ‘off’ meal. Often overlooked, but quite common is that the challenges are caused by mental and emotional stresses that haven’t been fully processed, and stay in the system.
This protective ‘shut down’ at the spine by the nervous system can seem quite disconnected from the cause of the stress, but it leaves the related spinal segments ‘stuck’ – often causing muscle spasms which are painful when trying to move.
Chiropractors are specifically trained to identify where the spine has become stuck and apply the correct movement to unlock the joints and free the muscle spasm. This also (and more importantly) resets the nervous system to allow proper flow and connection between the brain and the body.
Manual manipulation and the ‘crack’
The crack itself is a sound produced by the pressure changes inside the joint as it is moved and stretched – it’s just a sound – nothing is actually cracking.
The most common approach chiropractors use to correct stuck spinal joints (which are traditionally called ‘subluxations’) is the manual manipulative thrust, called an ‘adjustment’. Often, the short and fast movement will produce a crack sound from the specific joints which were stuck. The crack itself is not the goal of the adjustment – the goal is to restore correct motion which in turn allows the body to heal itself and regain normal and optimal function through the nervous system.
The low force alternative
In my practice, we provide adjustments without the manipulative thrust and the crack. From many years of training and experience, we use a combination of low force techniques from the Arthrostim – a hand held tapping instrument (like a tiny electric jackhammer) which moves the joints very quickly through a wide variety of angles and ranges of movement.
We find that people enjoy the full benefits of having a happy spine and nervous system, in an easy to receive way that is not ‘scary’ or forceful.
Personally, I believe the Arthrostim is better in many ways than a manual adjustment, as it can be used on all joints of the body in unique ways to regain normal motion, and I appreciate the easy and low stress options for helping the young, the elderly and any cautious clients.