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Why Is There a Popping Sound When a Joint is Adjusted? 



Woman having a spine adjustment from a good Schererville chiropractor.

Over the years, chiropractic has become a popular way to manage chronic pain, and many of our patients at Motus Integrative Health find relief with this holistic treatment. From back pain to migraines, chiropractic care delivers a host of health benefits for those suffering from discomfort in their day-to-day lives. However, if you’re new to chiropractic, you may be surprised by your first appointment. Many individuals experience a distinct popping sound when an adjustment is done to their joints. Here’s why that happens and what it means.

Understanding What Happens During a Chiropractic Adjustment

Before we can explore the reasons your joints pop during an adjustment, we need to know what’s happening during the procedure. The goal of a chiropractic adjustment is to realign a joint in its proper place to restore proper nerve function. In order to do this, a chiropractor will apply a force to the joint using his or her hands. This helps the joint return back to its natural, most comfortable position. As a result, there will be far less discomfort once a joint is back in its proper place since it’ll be more stable.

Stretching of the Spine Joint

Your spine consists of many bones, and after long periods of inactivity, you’ve likely heard it crack upon standing up. When you are receiving chiropractic care for back pain, the adjustment is done on your spine. It’s very common to hear a cracking or popping noise as we restore the spine’s original alignment. The noise you hear is natural and nothing to be concerned about. In fact, some consider the popping sound to be an auditory confirmation that the adjustment is working.

Air in Joint Capsules

Another common reason your joint pops is due to the fluid and air bubbles inside them. Joints act as cushions between bones. In between the tissues is fluid that acts as a lubricant, helping bones glide smoothly when we move. When a joint is stretched, the air bubbles inside it are released, causing a distinct popping sound. This is what you hear when you crack your knuckles, too.

What It Means

While a popping sound may be concerning, it’s a natural part of adjusting a joint. Many times, it’s a harmless side effect of a chiropractic adjustment, and it’s common regardless of age.

There are times, however, when a cracking joint may signal a health issue. In cases where the cracking noise is accompanied by pain, there is a chance it could be arthritis or another joint-related problem. Our chiropractors can help you determine what’s the cause as well as an effective solution.

Visit Our Schererville Chiropractors

The next time you get a chiropractic adjustment, don’t worry if you hear a popping sound during your appointment. It’s a harmless indication that your joints are getting back into place. With this in mind, you can relax and enjoy the benefits as our Schererville chiropractors help you manage your chronic pain. Get started now by visiting Motus Integrative Health.


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