Do You Crack Your Knuckles?

crack your knuckles

Doesn’t cracking my joints cause arthritis?

How many times have we all been told cracking your fingers will cause you to have arthritis and to knock it off? Many! The truth of the matter is that if you crack your knuckles the sound is actually the release of gases from the joint. So if you crack your knuckles there is little evidence that ties that to arthritis.

Arthritis can actually be a process that occurs when our bones are not moving the way they should. This causes dysfunction all around that area, along with others, that can lead to changes of the bone and disc in your back.

That being said let’s talk about what we do in our office as far as “cracking”. First off we call it a “cavitation” and it is something that can be a result of an “adjustment”. An adjustment is a specific force delivered to a specific misalignment of the spine. Sometimes in this process there is a cracking sound that is produced, but that is not the adjustment. There are also adjustments that do not create the sound, for a cavitation is not a requirement.

If someone is not a fan of the cavitation, we do offer other options in our clinic. We do have some adjusting tools such as the Activator that can be used to still achieve an adjustment. It is a spring loaded device that is able to apply a specific force, at a specific depth and speed. It is something that is approved to use even on babies and elderly with osteoporotic bone.

So to get back to the real question….. NO, CRACKING JOINTS WILL NOT GIVE YOU ARTHRITIS.

General Chiropractic

What Is The Cracking Sound During An Adjustment?


When a chiropractor does a neck adjustment, the joint separates just enough to release pressure. The joint separation is within the normal range of motion so nothing is damaged. The pressure release is from different gases such as hydrogen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide.

Some chiropractic patients tell us they like hearing the cracking sound and some patients say they do not. We have several adjusting techniques that we can use on our patients. The manual, or hand adjustments, can be done with most patients who do not have a preference. Some patients do not like the sound and instead we use an adjustment instrument called the activator or integrator.

Instrument adjusting is very popular with patients who do not want to hear the cracking sound. Sometimes we call the activator “the clicker.” The activator works great for kids, the elderly and anyone else who doesn’t want to hear the cracking sound during the adjustment.

General Chiropractic