Chiropractic Is Not All About The Crunch

There’s more to chiropractic care than just a crunch or crack…

Over the last few years of our registered Chiropractors seeing patients in our Basingstoke Clinic, we’ve seen quite a number of new patients. The one thing that surprises us most is how little most people coming in for an adjustment know about Chiropractic. For many people, videos that they have seen online are their main source of information. Sadly however, they are often sensationalised, don’t always paint the Chiropractic profession in correct light and may not accurately depict what you’ll see in clinic.

More recently we’ve seen so many people coming in saying that they “need crunching” or “want to be crunched”. We’ve even in our time been asked to be “racked and cracked.” (Whatever that means!) The slightly unpopular reality however is that, contrary to what you may expect, Chiropractic is not all about the crunch.

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Whilst we’re aware this post may be an unpopular one for many, we just have to post it: You can have a really successful adjustment without an audible crunch. Similarly, you can have a really awful adjustment that crunches!

What is the crunch?

chiropractic is not all about the crunch

What we know is that the crunch is caused by a little bubble of gas that is released from a joint space. When the joint moves quickly during an adjustment, and is taken to a particular range of motion, it can make a crunching, cracking or popping sound. If a joint moves quickly, you are more likely to get a pop or a crunch than if it moves slowly. 

If we can compare this motion to the Great British Bake Off, it may help to explain things further. Imagine stirring cake mix in a bowl.

Option one, you stir it really slowly. And believe it or not, nothing terribly exciting happens apart from the exact thing you are trying to do – the cake mixes. 

But then, option two. Take the same cake mix and stir it real quick. You’ll notice air bubbles get caught in the mix and create pops or slops. Sounds that you wouldn’t have had if you were stirring slowly. 


But, is it safe?

Whether it be a pop, a crack or a crunch, is it safe? And what makes the noise? Does it come from the bones? 

The pop you sometimes hear in a Chiropractic adjustment comes from a simple release of gas from the joint. It doesn’t come from the bones. 

Evidence shows that this little release of gas is a safe side effect from receiving adjustments. 

Whilst we are at it, it’s worth knowing that the old wives tale of it causing arthritis has actually been disproved. But let’s not tell your children that; We’d still rather they didn’t build an uncontrollable habit or put their joints, ligaments and connective tissues under stress!

What about all the videos online?

There are many videos on social media which glorify the crunch of a Chiropractic adjustment. This can sometimes frighten some people in deciding not to come for Chiropractic care. 

The reality is, the crunch is a harmless side effect to receiving adjustments and is not the end goal. So, if you have a Chiropractor saying “we need to get a crunch here”, they are focusing on the wrong metric. It’s more about getting you to function better rather than to deliver the perfect crunch.

chiropractic care is not all about the crunch

Placebo effect

Whilst there is evidence to suggest Chiropractic is effective at helping a number of conditions, there is no evidence to suggest a crack or crunch makes an adjustment any more or less effective.

That said, there is a thought however that a crack may provide a slight benefit to some people however, as a type of placebo in addition to your care. Even with this slight curveball to our damning post on crunches however,  it’s still less about the crunch itself. Instead, it’s more about the power of our body and mind when we focus on self care and make changes to improve our health.

The crunch in Chiropractic is a lot less important than people think

You would probably be amazed at how many people come into the clinic wanting just a crunch – without really considering what they’re asking for. (I don’t think the profession would have been going since 1895 if we were crunching peoples bones, for a start!)

We similarly have people who come in who are concerned about the cracks and crunches after having seen videos online. The reality, sadly, is that it’s nowhere near as exciting as you may first think, the crunch is just a side effect and it’s really not much more significant than any other release of gas within the body.

There’s also always usually another way of administering an adjustment if we need to so that it is less intrusive if you are feeling more anxious. After many years of experience, our Basingstoke Chiropractors are able to make sure your Chiropractic treatments are tailored to you and your preferences, as well as the needs of your body.

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Connective Chiropractic Ltd,
55 Kingsclere Road,
RG21 6XG

01256 639 452


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Registered Company (10788728) in England & Wales, Registered Address: 55 Kingsclere Road, Basingstoke, Hampshire. RG21 6XG.

Site content last edited 11 September 2023 (Version 1.4) (Version 1.0 - 1st November 2017). Last update Monday 11 September 2023

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