These Addictive Back Crack TikToks Are The New Dr. Pimple Popper Videos

In one of his most popular TikToks, Cody Hanish cups the skull of a patient lying face-up on an adjustment table. He uses his fingers to tap the sides of her neck, then abruptly twists her head, eliciting a loud crunch. Hanish breaks into laughter as the woman groans; then she slaps her hands over her mouth and giggles along with him.
Hanish, who goes by Dr. Cody, is a chiropractor based in Sydney, Australia. He started posting videos of his spinal manipulations — what he calls “crack videos” — on Instagram in late 2018.
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Before then, his Instagram feed could have been anyone’s, dominated by pictures of dogs, landscapes, and food. Then, on November 20, he randomly posted a video of a spinal manipulation. The format is one he’s stuck to ever since — a patient in one of a handful of poses (in this case, lying face-up), a sudden twist of the neck, a rat-a-tat-tat of pops, a relieved laugh. “SOUND ON!” the caption reads. “So satisfying. #chiropractic”.
The video eventually racked up 6,767 views, 191 likes, and 8 or 9 comments — mildly popular, but nothing crazy. The response seemed almost mixed. One commenter wrote, “Cody!!! That makes me shudder…!! Ugh (But NEED).” Still, from then on, Dr. Cody started posting almost exclusively “crack videos.”
Nearly a year later, in September 2019, a patient told him his content was perfect for TikTok. “I kind of thought, ‘Oh great, another thing I have to do,’” Dr. Cody tells me via Skype, sitting in his bright, white-and-light wood office in Sydney, where he’s lived for the past 11 years. But his patient convinced him the videos he was already posting would do great on the platform. So Dr. Cody recorded both of their sessions on his phone, using a lapel mic to pick up the sounds, edited them down to the best, crack-iest parts, and posted them.
They went viral almost immediately. “I was getting so many notifications that my phone was constantly vibrating. I had to shut it off,” he says. As of writing this, the two videos together have garnered over 20 million views, over 1.8 million likes, and nearly 10k comments.
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Watching someone get their back cracked falls into the realm of “strangely satisfying experiences.” It’s kind of horrifying to witness. But most of us have cracked some parts of our bodies before, so we know it feels good. It offers a special kind of gratifying, vicarious thrill.
(For what it’s worth: Some chiropractors argue that hearing a crack does give patients relief, at least in part due to the placebo effect.)
Dr. Cody’s closest peer in the category of “gross and slightly medical ASMR” is Dr. Pimple Popper (a.k.a. Sandra Lee, MD), a dermatologist who became so famous for her zit-popping Instagram videos that she now has her own show on TLC. “EVERYONE SAYS THIS!” Dr. Cody interrupts, before I can finish saying her name. Though he finds pimple popping videos too disgusting to watch, he says he gets it. “I can understand how some people enjoy them. I’m sure some people don’t find hearing the spine adjust very satisfying.”
Dr. Cody does, though. Crack videos are fun to watch partially because the Minnesota-born chiropractor is clearly just as fascinated as all the people watching his videos.

“There are a lot of other chiropractorsout on Instagram and YouTube that are doing the same thing I am. I’m not the firstperson to ever post a video like this,” he points out. “I think people connectwith my energy, and the genuine nature of it. I’m not making it pose-y, orediting the videos, or telling patients how to react. Most people can connectand be like, ‘Wow that guy loves what he does.’ And I do! I’ve been in privatepractice for almost 11 years and every day I come to work and I’m so excited tohear another crack, as weird as that sounds. It never gets old.”

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In many of his TikToks, either thepatient or Dr. Cody — or both of them — start laughing after theadjustment, a quirk that often gets mentioned in the comments. “I can’t explainit. It does release endorphins,” Dr. Cody says. “The first time I was adjusted,I was a teenager and I laughed the entire time.”

I tell him that my favorite videos of himare the ones where even he seems surprised by the volume of a crack. That doesn’thappen often; he says after over a decade of practicing, he can pretty muchpredict how many pops he’ll get out of a patient, and how loud they’ll be.

“Is there one pose that brings out theloudest cracks?” I ask, and he answers almost before I finish speaking: “CTJunction,” he says. “That’s when they’re lying face-down and I bring my thumb intothis spot right at the base of their neck, and bring their head over. You getone of those crisp cracks — they’re my favorite ones to give and myfavorite ones to get done on myself as well.”

The attention Dr. Cody has received from his crack videos hasn’t all been good. Most of his comments are positive, from fans or chiropractor students looking to learn from his technique. But like many complementary and alternative therapies, chiropractic care has its share of controversy, with people some people calling it bunk at best, and dangerous at worst. Dr. Cody mostly ignores what he calls the “keyboard warriors,” though he’s happy to answer questions from students, other chiropractors , and the genuinely curious.
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He gets about 20 new patients a week; he was getting six to eight before joining TikTok, he says. About 75% of these visitors say they found him through social media. “I get a lot of travelers too. People tell me, ‘You’ve been on my bucket list!’” says Dr. Cody. “I’m always like, ‘First of all, I’m not famous. Second, why is a chiropractor on your bucket list?’” he laughs.
He just opened a new clinic, Combined Clinics Australia, where he hopes to combine various therapies to offer chiropractic adjustments, Pilates, cosmetic injectibles, and more. He was also nominated for a Shorty Award — a competition meant to recognize social media content creators — in the health and wellness category, though he's not currently a finalist.
“My great goal in life is to help as many people as I possibly can,” Dr. Cody says. “If TikTok and Instagram allow me to do that, then that’s great.”
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