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Snap, Crackle, Pop!

The cracking or popping sound that is produced during some chiropractic adjustments is a completely normal phenomenon. While the noise is common, it is not indicative of an effective adjustment. In other words, if a noise is not produced, the adjustment could still be very effective in relieving tension on the nervous system. Noise does not equal an adjustment. So what exactly is the noise that is produced, and are there any side effects associated with the sound produced?

Joint Cavitation

The noise that you hear during some adjustments is due to a phenomenon called joint cavitation. When a joint is separated, a small bubble is formed in the fluid between the bones. The production of this bubble is what creates the noise we are so familiar with.

Arthritis from cracking my knuckles?

Cracking your knuckles, or any other joints does not cause arthritis. That myth has been debunked and has no negative effects on your joints. If you were to only pop the knuckles on your left hand, but never on your right, your joints would age exactly the same. In fact, one physician did this for 60 years and then wrote about it, believe it or not!

Cracking my own neck or back is okay then?

While the cavitations will not cause harm to your joints, chiropractors do not recommend popping your own neck or back. As chiropractors, we are trained to assess and adjust specific segments that are fixated and are placing increased pressure on the nervous system.

When you self-crack, you are not targeting specific areas of the spine and aren’t doing yourself any good. You may actually make your joints hypermobile in the spine, which can lead to further problems. Leave the adjusting to the professionals, we promise you won’t regret it.

chiropractic adjustment

What about children?

Noises are very rare during adjustments for young children. Pediatric chiropractors are trained to adjust children differently because their spines are smaller and still developing. While rare, some children may experience some popping sounds. It’s best that they are not scared of the sounds and know that the “popcorn” sounds are completely normal and don’t cause any harm. As they continue to grow and develop, the sounds may become more common with each adjustment.

We hope this information makes you a little more comfortable about the sounds produced during an adjustment. If you would like more information, please reach out to us here.

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