What is that poping sound during a chiropractic adjustment?

One of the more common questions we are asked is “what is that popping sound?” All it is is gas being released from the joint. Every joint in your body has a joint capsule around it which manufactures synovial fluid, which is a substance the same consistency as motor oil, which has the purpose of lubricating the joints and reducing friction when you move them.

Often times when a chiropractor performs an adjustment, an air pocket is created in the joint capsule and gas escapes from the synovial fluid into the air pocket and we hear a pop…that’s it.

Now when we don’t hear a pop it does not mean we did not get make an adjustment…it just means we did not hear a pop. We don’t have to hear one to make an adjustment. Sometimes we hear sounds and sometimes we don’t.

In addition, some patients do not even like the sounds, so we purposely avoid them. We use techniques like the ‘”Activator” or “Drop Table” or “Active Release Method”. There are many ways to get the job done.

Some patients…in fact most chiropractic patients want to hear the pops, and feel a sense of relief when they do, and this is fine too.

What we are most concerned about is reducing pain levels and improving lost functionality. This can be accomplished with or without the popping sound.

Some are concerned the popping sound is bones “crunching” or something bad…simply not true. Some connect the popping sound to the old wife’s tale that cracking your knuckles would give you arthritis. This is far from the truth. In fact, studies show that knuckle crackers have less arthritis…funny huh?

So anyway…that’s what the popping sound is and there is no reason to be afraid of it. There is also no reason to think you did not receive an adjustment if you don’t hear it. Sometimes we do and sometimes we don’t.

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