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Chiropractic Spinal Adjustment: What is that popping/cracking sound?

Dr. Ahmed Alhamdan, BSc, DC - Doctor of Chiropractic

chiropractic adjustment

You may have had it happen to you or to someone you know. While at the Chiropractor, during a spinal adjustment, a pop/cracking noise may be experienced. If that sounds alarming, then rest assured, it is completely normal. This is called joint cavitation and it is neither harmful nor unexpected. Joint cavitation is caused by a change in tension in the joint being manipulated. When a Chiropractor adjusts a joint, the joint space (i.e. the facet joint in the spine) opens up minutely resulting with a release of pressure and a positive mechanical change that improves joint function. However, don’t be concerned if you don’t hear that pop sound when you have your spine adjusted. You will still get the therapeutic benefit of a corrective adjustment because it is the movement of the joint that is of high significance, not the popping sound.


So what exactly happens during a Chiropractic adjustment? A spinal adjustment, or manipulation, generally requires the patient be positioned in a way that allows the Chiropractor to deliver a rapid movement on a certain joint that is dysfunctional. This allows for the correction of abnormal movement patterns and restrictions. Joints that are not functioning optimally are often associated with pain and/or suboptimal movement. A chiropractic adjustment enhances joint function and helps increase range of motion. It is also very effective in reducing pain and nerve irritability.


While a Chiropractic adjustment is important in improving motion, reducing pain, and improving joint function, your muscles might still be sore or tight. Our doctors at Wellness for the Body may also incorporate other Chiropractic care therapies that are focused on muscular relief. This includes, but not limited to, soft-tissue therapy, neurofunctional acupuncture, and rehabilitative exercises. The combination of these techniques, with Chiropractic adjustments, will help bring you to an optimal healing state.

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