During a chiropractic spinal adjustment, should you be concerned if you hear a popping sound?

You've been told you should see a chiropractor. You don't know where to start so you search for a chiropractor in Maple Grove MN or for a chiropractor near me but before you take that first step into becoming a new patient you decide to watch other people getting adjusted so you know what to expect.

It's a huge viral craze with hashtags like #asmr and #chiropracticadjustment or #adjustment getting millions of views. The chiropractor will say things like "relax on this one", "breathe in and out", "drop that shoulder", "keep your head heavy". Then with a quick thrust you hear a popping or cracking sound as the patient reacts either surprised, shocked, some may not react at all so you think they're incapacitated and some may give a scream or shriek.

Sounds alarming, doesn't it?

Your spine is made up of almost 100 individual synovial joints that allow your body to do some amazing movements while protecting your brain and spinal cord. These spinal joints have two articulating surfaces with fluid between them encapsulated by connective tissue. Your chiropractor may commonly call them facet joints. During a chiropractic back adjustment, your spine undergoes a quick, gentle stretch of one or more spinal facet joints affected by a vertebral subluxation. The affected joint enters what is called the para-physiological space of a joint's range of motion. This phase of range of motion creates a small pocket of air called a cavitation. The formation of a cavitation creates an audible "popping" or "cracking" sound. This lets the chiropractor know the joint now has regained it's full range of motion and a common patient response after an adjustment is that they feel better and is moving better.

To better explain the joint popping phenomenon a study was done in 2015 using an MRI. Watch the study's MRI video. If you're a geek like me you won't regret it https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJLU-4M-hdE

Don't worry that pop during a chiropractic adjustment is completely normal to hear.

Is Chiropractic Care Right for Me?

If you're ready to try a drug-free non-surgical form of care for you back pain then chiropractic care may be a good option for you. To better asses if chiropractic care is right for you start with a consultation.

When working with patients who are experiencing back pain or neck pain we may suggest other chiropractic treatments, such as muscle therapy and physical rehab exercises. We also see the benefits in teaching and educating on ergonomic tips such as on how to lift, bending over, or how to set up your workstation or home office.

Remember, you shouldn't be alarmed by a popping noise during your first chiropractic adjustment—it's normal.

Dr. Greg Beenken

Dr. Greg Beenken

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