Popping Sound During Chiropractic Treatment Explained

During chiropractic adjustment, patients often hear a loud cracking or popping sound as the joints mobilize. For better or worse, the sound has become closely associated with chiropractic care. In fact, it is actually a harmless incidental side effect of the treatment itself. If you have ever wondered about what causes the cracking sound and what it signifies, read on for more information.

Myths About the Popping Noise

First of all, you should rest assured that the sound is nothing to worry about. Though some people find it disconcerting, it is normal during a chiropractic adjustment and does not indicate that anything has gone wrong during the treatment.

It is also perfectly normal when the noise does not occur. Some people may think that the sound indicates that the treatment is working, but that is not true. The same noise can be produced even when a chiropractic adjustment is not taking place by moving your back in certain ways.

The goal of an adjustment is to bring your bones back into better alignment. However, the sound does not mean that your bones are shifting back into place. If you ever hear a chiropractor give that explanation for the sound, you should find a different doctor of chiropractic because the one you’re seeing now is not trustworthy.

Truth About the Cracking Sound

The noise actually doesn’t come from your bones at all. It comes from the joint spaces in between them.

Most of the joints in your body, including the joints between your vertebrae, are filled with a substance called synovial fluid. It functions in your body similarly to the way that motor oil works in your car, lubricating moving parts and preventing them from building up too much friction.

Synovial fluid is a greasy material with a consistency similar to raw egg whites. Little pockets of gases can form bubbles within the synovial fluid. This is normal and harmless, but with mobilization of a joint, the bubbles can become broken in the process, and that is what causes the popping noise.

Any joint in the body that contains synovial fluid can have those little bubbles of gas form and produce the same cracking noise when they pop. If you’ve ever cracked your knuckles, the same thing is happening.

The cracking or popping may produce a satisfactory sensation, but there is a lot more to chiropractic treatment than that. To find out more information or to make an appointment, contact an office today.

 

Resources:

Wikipedia, Chiropractic Care

Ameriwell Clinics, Chiropractor Takoma Park, MD

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