Client Guest Blog: All About Back Cracking

 Osteopath Manchester

“One of those sadists who cracks your back?!”

This is usually what people say when they hear I’ve booked in to see an osteopath. Yep – that’s the one; one of those sadists who cracks your back. My osteopath, Ed Madeley, founder of the Movement and Wellbeing Clinic in Manchester, seems to take great delight in the process, too! I’m writing this blog in the hope that it will help anyone who is thinking of visiting an osteopath but is a bit worried. Before my first visit, I’d never had a conversation with anyone who had been to an osteopath, and I think it would have helped me get on board a lot quicker.

My First Thoughts on Back-Cracking

My expectations were based on an Eddie Izzard stand-up sketch, whereby he implied that osteopaths will look for any reason at all to get the opportunity to “crack your bones”. Mr Izzard swore by their effectiveness though, so, with a nervous smirk on my face, I was ready to give it a go.

Despite the assumed glee, Ed has always been a complete professional and he really knows his stuff, so I’d like to think that he ‘enjoys’ the back-cracking part of my treatment sessions because he knows it will make me feel better, ease tensions in my body and help with my posture.

Each time I visit Ed, I spend half an hour with him, and I can safely say that only at the very end of the session does the back-cracking commence, and even then, if I didn’t feel comfortable with having it done for any reason, Ed is really respectful of my wishes as his patient. I know this because there are so many treatments that Ed can offer in order to help with movement, pain and wellbeing, and the ones I’ve said aren’t me have never been pushed on me.

Getting Past the Stigma

The word ‘crack’ is usually the one that puts people off the idea of visiting an osteopath. The term itself isn’t entirely accurate though, as nothing is actually being broken, damaged or weakened in any way. The cracking is merely the sound of air escaping and the actual result is one of healing, correction and a sense of wellness.

I’ll leave it to Ed to explain the whole scientific process in more detail, but I wanted to put this out there to explain it from a patient’s point of view. Back-cracking is not that scary, and certainly not a painful experience, although I will admit that the sound takes some getting used to!

Everyone loves bubble wrap, and you know that joy you feel when you pop several bubbles at once, perhaps having scrunched or twisted the sheet together in your hands to achieve the effect? Having your back cracked sounds exactly like that, and it’s just as satisfying because you really do feel better after having it done.

Admittedly, that fearful sound probably sounds louder in my own head, and you probably can’t hear anything at all from a few metres or so away. In my head though, it’s like a Ford Focus driving over an industrial-sized roll of bubble wrap, but I know that’s ridiculous. Ed assures me it’s more like a small scooter…

The whole point of visiting an osteopath is so that you leave the session feeling physically and mentally better, not so you can leave the office sobbing and stooping in pain, so if you think about it, back-cracking can’t be all that bad now, can it?

Back-Cracking All the Way!

I have to say that, despite my initial hesitance prior to the first back-cracking, I actually enjoy the process now, and I can’t ever see myself shying away from having it done. Ed’s a professional, and there have been some sessions where he hasn’t included back-cracking as part of my treatment plan at all because on that occasion there’s simply been no need for it. This approach makes me even more convinced that, if your osteopath says you need it – you need it!

Just take some headphones with you the first time if you feel a little squeamish!