This week I was checking and adjusting a practice member who has been going to Chiropractors for years and coming to me for the last year. She asked me a question and after I gave the answer she said, “You really should tell everyone that because it is one of the biggest fears of those who know nothing about Chiropractic”.
Her question was, “What causes the noise during some adjustments?” It is a great question, and one that I possibly overlook in my explanation of Chiropractic care. I am going to answer it in the most concise way possible below:
Remember that the human body is perfect in its design. This includes our joints which are designed for efficient movement over a lifetime. The two bones that come together to make a joint have a protective capsule of tough ligaments around them to keep them together. They also need lubrication! The lubrication comes in the form of a fluid that is in the joint that helps to keep it healthy by exchanging nutrients from the surrounding environment. It is VERY important to note that if the joint is not moving properly it does not circulate the fluid as well, nutrition to the joint lessens and you have a joint that is getting less healthy by the day. Now back to the noise. Just like a spray paint can with a ball bearing that helps to circulate paint, the fluid has gas (mostly nitrogen, oxygen, and carbon dioxide) suspended in it. When the joint has pressure put on it (Examples: during an adjustment, during exercise, during a stretch) sometimes this gas is released from the joint and later reabsorbed by the body.
5 Additional things you should know about the noise (and Chiropractic):
1) Hearing a noise from your spine during an adjustment is not something to be afraid of, and your Chiropractor should inspire you to feel confident that you are with a practitioner that is competent, gentle, and will work hard to earn your trust over time.
2) The purpose of Chiropractic is not to release gas in joints. It is to find areas of spinal Subluxation which are causing interference to the transmission of information from the brain to the body parts.
3) The sound is NOT necessary to receive an adjustment. I have been getting adjusted my whole life and some of the best adjustments I have ever received involved no noise.
4) Some techniques are noisier than others. Many Chiropractors use different techniques to accomplish the same goal.
5) Terms like “cracking” ,”popping”, “manipulation” are pet peeves of most good Chiropractors, and some find those terms insulting. If you read this article, you know know better. (the preferred term is “adjustment”)