Analysis of zygapophyseal joint cracking during chiropractic manipulation

J. W. Reggars*, H. P. Pollard

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    32 Citations (Scopus)


    Objectives: To determine if there is a relationship between the side of head rotation and the side of joint crack during 'diversified' rotatory manipulation of the cervical spine. Design: Randomized experimental study. Setting: Macquarie University, Centre for Chiropractic, Summer Hill, New South Wales. Subjects: Fifty asymptomatic subjects were recruited from the students and staff of the above college. Intervention: Single, unilateral 'diversified,' high velocity, low amplitude, rotatory thrust technique. Main Outcome Measures: Joint crack sound wave analysis of digital audio tape (DAT) recordings, taken from two skin mounted microphones positioned on either side of the cervical spine. Results: All 50 subjects exhibited at least one audible joint crack sound during manipulation. Forty-seven subjects (94%) exhibited cracking on the ipsilateral side to head rotation (95% confidence interval, 83.5% to 98.7%). One subject exhibited joint cracking on the contralateral side only, while two subjects exhibited bilateral joint crack sounds. There was a statistically significant lower rate of exclusively ipsilateral joint cracking in subjects with a history of neck trauma (80% vs. 100%, p = .023). Conclusions: This research suggests that during the 'diversified' rotatory manipulation of the cervical spine utilized in this study, there is a higher occurrence of the joint crack on the ipsilateral side to head rotation.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)65-71
    Number of pages7
    JournalJournal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 1995


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