The popping noise at the chiropractor is one of the biggest points of concern for newer patients. It’s loud, startling, and unexpected. Though it can be shocking, it’s actually a natural process. It does not mean that any part of your adjustment is going wrong or that your chiropractor is cracking your bones. So, what is that mysterious popping noise? It’s just an adjustment.
A chiropractor does not pop your back; they pop your joints. In between each joint, there is a small pocket of synovial fluid. This fluid acts as a lubricant and allows the joint to move smoothly, but over time, gas builds up in the pocket. This causes the joint to become restricted or stuck, the chiropractor moves it to the end of its range of motion and performs the adjustment, generally restoring it to its full range of motion. The adjustment is not a hard push on the bones, rather a slow and controlled stretch.
Why Does it Pop?
The pop itself is the release of gas formed at the joint and is called a cavitation. Over time, gas can build up between the joint and surrounding tissue, resulting in a limited range of motion and the feeling of the joint being stuck. When a chiropractor performs an adjustment, they are breaking up the gas and allowing the synovial fluid to lubricate the joint. So that popping noise that you hear well, it’s nothing more than your body announcing that the joint can move again.
The next time you hear your joints crack or have an exceptionally loud pop at your chiropractic adjustment, know that it’s not a big deal. It means your joints are back on the right track.