It depends on who and how the manipulation is done.
First, cervical manipulation when done the right way by a trained professional is a safe procedure. The odds of things going seriously wrong are only about 0.000002%. That said, about 3/10 people will still experience some type of adverse response, which is why it is always advised that any cervical manipulation is performed by a registered health practitioner, a chiropractor of course being the one most qualified to perform the procedure.
In the same breath, however, I do not recommend routine neck manipulation. My qualifications as an advanced certified Blair upper cervical chiropractor, who has completed post-doctorate studies in the cervical spine neurology, biomechanics, and who has been a Brisbane chiropractor for the past decade-plus is that the majority of standard neck manipulations are not congruent with what people actually need.
I emphasise this point heavily in seminars there I teach North Lakes chiropractors, Brisbane chiropractors, and also doctors from around Australia and New Zealand that it is essential to perform a detailed series of tests prior to performing any neck adjustment, and then to only choose a procedure that is in line with what you patient needs.
Most common neck manipulations involve twisting and pushing the neck from back-to-front by stretching the neck to a point of tension, and then pushing it just a little move in order to get a release. The thing about it is that movement done too much can cause your ligaments to stretch, which is ultimately has the potential to lead to other problems down the track.
Instead, in our north Brisbane chiropractic practice, we advocate performing adjustments with your head and neck is a neutral position, and then using the lightest force possible - about the amount you would use to feel your pulse - in order to correct any misalignments within the joint’s normal range of motion, like slipping a key into a lock.
So the procedure that we use doesn’t involve any neck twisting or cracking, and has an extremely successful safety and effective track record.
The additional keys to what make the procedure special is that we perform a series of tests in our North Lakes chiropractic office before doing any adjustments. These tests include neurological testing, a structural analysis, motion testing, and also 3D customised x-rays, which all help us know with certainty what type of adjustment you actually need.