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Chiropractor Saanich: What is Joint Cracking and Joint Cavitation?

Everyone does it, you crack your knuckles or bend from side to side and you hear a pop! What does it mean?

What is joint cracking?

Every joint in your body has small cavities with spaces between them, the sound you are hearing is just gas escaping!


When a Saanich chiropractor adjusts your back, the technical term is a cavitation to describe the popping sound you may feel or hear. The sound is produced from gas bubbles (consisting of nitrogen) within your joint spaces, as the joint is quickly moved.

It can be noted that hearing the popping sound does not mean an adjustment or manipulation was successfully, the goal is to improve range of motion within a segment of the spine.

Human Spine - Joints

When two segments of bone meet, it is called a joint. When a Saanich chiropractor assess your body and spine they are looking globally how each spinal segment is moving throughout the kinetic chain.

Housed within these joints are approximately 33 pairs of spinal nerves, and the joints protect these crucial structures, including blood vessels.

Seeing a chiropractor in Saanich can help keep these joints moving correctly and not irritating or impinging on these important structures of the spine.

Facet joints are on the back of your vertebral bodies (spine bones) and and are highly mobile synovial joints (filled with fluid). They play a role

The facet joints, like most of the joints of the body, are highly movable joints known as synovial joints. The bones form a joint capsule along with tendons (muscle to bone attachment) and ligaments (bone to bone attachments). There is small amount of fluid (synovial) that provides lubrication and support.

Cracking your knuckles and arthritis

This is an old story or myth that has no research within any clinical setting that, cracking or adjusting your joints will cause arthritis or stiffening. This is probably the most common misconception we hear in our office in Saanich.

Joint Cracking and Joint Cavitation

Cavitation occurs when those gas pockets form in the joint capsule within the joint cavity. The surfaces of the joint are rapidly separated during a chiropractic adjustments. This is similar to cracking your knuckles.

When you get up in the morning, start moving around, and hear a few pops and cracks, there is no reason to worry, this is normal.

Nothing is actually cracking when you stretch and you may hear those sounds.

What is arthritis?

The term arthritis is used to describe the inflammation, irritation, and changes of the joints that occurs over an extended period of time. Many times, arthritis in and around the joints of the spine develops due to movement and stressors of everyday life.

Adjusting the spine can go a long way towards helping take the pressure off the joints and structures of the spine which, in turn, can decrease the development symptoms of arthritis in the spine and around the body as a whole.

What does all that mean?

Movement is medicine for the body

Movement-based care can help keep the joints of the body moving well from head to tie. Every joint in the body works together to achieve a task, and required adequate range of motion, whether you are lunging for a tennis ball or running your favourite local Victoria trail.

There’s also no evidence that standard cracking your joints will lead to arthritis, and popping or cracking sounds have nothing to do with the success of the adjustments you receive from your favourite Saanich chiropractor. The therapeutic effect is the same with and without a cavitation. Even with no sound, there is movement, and sometimes that lack of sound is simply because you just finished cracking a joint

So, you can enjoy those knuckle-cracking sessions.

And if you have concerns Dr. Mike Hadbavny, your chiropractor in Saanich is always ready to help out.


Dr. Mike Hadbavny

Victoria Sports Chiropractor FRCCSS(C)

If you are interested in learning more about how chiropractic care can be effective for your particular condition or health goals, contact Dr. Mike Hadbavny at 250-881-7881 today to make an appointment and discover the many benefits of seeing a chiropractor in Victoria BC. Contact us today.

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