Almost everyone loves to get manipulated; often the loud crack follows with a sense of satisfaction. But what is it actually?
It is a movement caused by a therapist who passively moves a joint beyond its normal physiological control. It is a small amplitude, high speed thrust performed on a joint beyond its range of motion without influencing the integrity of the joint and is complemented with a clicking noise.
You often hear the click, which is due to a sudden decrease in joint pressure as there is a distraction placed on the joint surface. Following the manipulation there is an increase in the space within the joint with the formation of CO2 into the joint cavity. The gas bubbles are absorbed within 20minutes thus you can manipulate once again. If you get a pre-click or no click at all, it is debatable whether the manipulation worked and is suggested to try again.
So why do it? It will help you achieve normal spinal movement when you can’t achieve it yourself, due to pain and loss of tissue flexibility. Following an injury normal tissue function generally can’t be restored due to abnormal spinal movement. Forms of passive movement to a joint will help with the recovery and repair of normal tissue and can help control your pain symptoms.
However, whether a joint manipulation is needed is dependent on many factors. Your best option is to seek professional advise before committing to any of these types of treatments.