We are often asked – “What’s that CRACKING sound during an adjustment?” Or sometimes a patient will say, “I need you to CRACK me today, Doc!” If someone asks us to “crack” them, we usually jokingly respond “Eggs get cracked — spines get adjusted!” But it’s a great question – and we love to help people understand what’s going on during an adjustment.
What’s Happening In The Joints?
Why does an adjustment sometimes make a popping sound? That noise that sometimes occurs is called a “cavitation” of the joint. It’s a fancy way of saying that gases (oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide) escape from the fluids in the joint, releasing some pressure and creating a sound we can hear.
Is The Popping A Good Or Bad Sign Of An Adjustment?
The cavitation noise itself does not need to happen for an adjustment to be successful, it is merely a byproduct of the motion that occurs some of the time in a high velocity adjustment. You might notice that certain adjustments are accompanied by this sound, while others often are not. It depends on the technique being used, the adjustment application, and the person.
What IS important during the adjustment is the removal of stress and interference from the nerves. This is accomplished by realigning and inducing proper motion into the spine, adjusting away subluxation and/or fixation of the joints, and giving the body time to adapt and heal to the changes.
What About Arthritis?
Many people have been told not to “pop” their knuckles or joints because it can put you at risk for arthritis. The idea that cracking your joints causes arthritis is actually an incorrect belief – and it was disproved by studies at John Hopkins University. So that’s one old wive’s tale you can stop worrying about!
Important Things To Note
Chiropractors have in-depth training – in fact, our schooling is as long and as comprehensive as a Medical Doctor’s schooling, although different in which topics are covered. A primary difference, for example, is the time spent learning pharmacology in medical school is replaced by time spent learning biomechanics and adjustment technique in chiropractic school.
As long as you are being adjusted by a properly trained, professional, credentialed chiropractor, you should be safe and in good hands. So – rest easy when you hear a snap, crackle or popping sound – your body is just responding the way it should be!
Enjoy the improved motion, function, and better feeling of a well-adjusted joint!
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