The Bizarre Relief of Watching Chiropractic Adjustments on YouTube
A chiropractor explains YouTube’s addictive ‘crack’ videos
Sound can be many things, take on many forms, and conjure a vast array of emotions. Sound can bring us to rage or laughter, or it can calm our nerves, invoking an almost sedative, relaxing quality. While chiropractic work is known for many therapeutic things, soothing sounds aren’t primary among them.
I am a practicing chiropractor. And no less than once a week, I find myself speaking to a patient — in person or over the phone — asking for what I call “the Youtube special.” Can you do that thing I’ve seen on Youtube? That “thing” they’re referring to is a chiropractic adjustment, also called a spinal correction or manipulation. But these prospective patients are seeking a very specific type and style of adjustment — one which produces audibly loud sounds released from the joints within the spine or body.
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In many cases, chiropractors do utilize techniques that produce sound, similar to cracking one’s joints. In some cases, however, they do not. The fact that these videos have become popular (viral even), garnering millions of views, is surprising. It’s one thing to receive a spinal adjustment, but to watch it take place (over video, no less) and experience relief in doing so seems perplexing. You read that correctly: Some observers actually experience relaxation, pain relief even, by simply watching these videos.
After hearing these and similar stories, I decided to conduct my own research into Youtube’s addictive “crack” videos. What I found was both enlightening and surprising. Many of the videos are nearly an hour long, some of them compilations, with different body parts being adjusted or manipulated. The practitioners who record them use sophisticated sound equipment, including microphones and amplifiers that ensure viewers hear every detail. Certain videos also display times whereby specific manipulations or sounds occur. And I can’t forget to mention the comments — those…