FAQ #1: why does it sound like something is popping?


Chiropractic is new and unfamiliar to many, leaving them worried about what actually takes place during a chiropractic adjustment. One of the biggest fears is experiencing the well known popping noise that accompanies getting adjusted. Some patients continue to be scared about the noise’s implications, but this is because there is no understanding of its cause.

Chiropractic doctors adjust subluxations, which, in the simplest terms, are stuck joints – parts of our body that have lost a full range of motion over time. People experiencing misalignment also face pain, inflammation, and complete loss of function of any of these areas of the body. These joints may and, often, irritate nerve tissue, which explains many of the neurological symptoms that patients complain about.

Although there are multiple ways to treat subluxations, the most common and traditional way involves a chiropractor finding the spine and administering a painless thrust, which corrects the subluxated joint.

The pop that patients hear is called a cavitation. In the production of synovial fluid, yielded by synovial joints (joints of the spine), oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide are byproducts. When a joint is opened up from a chiropractor, for example, applying a quick thrust to the spine, the gas is released, and you can hear the popping sound. Once this happens, this synovial fluid lubricates the joints once again, and patients can experience a more normal range of motion. How quick and how complete the relief is that follows depends on each unique person and the circumstances that led up to the experience.


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