Abstract: The biomechanical release of the articular fixation element of a vertebral subluxation is often signified by an audible cavitation. While some minor cavitation may occur with non-specific forms of finger manipulation, it has been shown that a manual adjustment results in audible cavitation which can activate sensory and autonomic reflexes. However, more recent research indicates that the audible cracking sound is not related to the collapse of intra-articular gas bubble. This review discusses aspects of the articular audible cavitation of the previously researched metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joints under distraction, as compared to cavitation of a vertebral facet fixation noted during a segmental adjustment. It is suggested that these procedures may be quite different mechanisms. The mechanism of the origin of audible cavitation has been the subject of a range of theories over the years. Its timing in relation to a gas cavitation and separation of facet joint surfaces is still subject to clarification following recent research. Due to technological constraints, the speed of the audible release and the cavity formation, the specific timing has yet to be conclusively demonstrated. Future research may focus on suction separation of the facet interface, and particularly of vertebral facets in preference to research done with metacarpophalangeal articulations.
Indexing terms: Cavitation, Audible cavitation, Articular release.
Cite: Rome P. Waterhouse JD. A review of considerations regarding audible articular cavitation: Part 3 of a series. Asia-Pacific Chiropr J. 2021;1.3. URL www.apcj.net/rome-and-waterhouse-cavitation-considerations/