I was on the treatment table because of severe back pain. Theo, the therapist, spoke cheerfully: “I’ll crack a small vertebra of yours and then I’ll massage your lower back into the fold. Bet you’ll walk out whistling later?” He bent over me and hugged my torso with his arms. Then he pressed on and I bit my lip. Indeed, there was a crack. After that, Theo couldn’t move anymore. The sounds he produced are difficult to describe. Two of Theo’s colleagues released him from me and then brought him home. I lay on that table for another hour. I couldn’t get rid of it myself.
A version of this article also appeared in NRC in the morning of July 15, 2021